Tower Power

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Since 2010 the University of Idaho Association for Computing Machinery has put on several LED light shows by turning the Theophilus Tower into a giant pixel display. This was accomplished by placing strings of LEDs in the tower windows and controlling them through a series of chips and laptops. The current power supplies for the LEDs bring in roughly 16 VDC, the majority of which is dropped across the parallel strings of LEDs. Any excess voltage is then dropped across a transistor acting as a constant current source. This causes a lot of excess heat. To prevent the LEDs and chips from over-heating, several large heat-sinks need to be placed on the control chips. The goal of this project is to create new power supplies or re-design the current supplies to make them more efficient by reducing overall power consumption. Specifically the input voltage should be controlled so that the diodes in each string drop a voltage roughly equivalent to the input. This will eliminate the need for a transistor or resistor to compensate for any extra voltage. Current will also need to be regulated since each diode requires a current within the range of 270-300 mA to emit the light needed for the light show.


Dudes Descriptions
Jake Wagner, E.E.

My name is Jake Wagner. I am from Clarkston, Washington and am a senior in Electrical Engineering at the University of Idaho planning on graduating in December of 2013. I currently work at the Polya Math Lab here at the U of I. In my spare time I enjoy playing guitar, video games, and soccer. My main interests are in the fields of electronics and power electronics.

Jesse Walson, E.E.

I was born and raised in Sandpoint, Idaho. I have a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from the University of Idaho, and am working on finishing a degree in Electrical Engineering. I have worked at Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories for more than two years. One of my major hobbies is playing games of all types. I am very interested in power electronics, so this project was very appealing to me.

Dave Miller, Comp.E., C.S.

Dave is a senior at the University of Idaho studying Computer Engineering and Computer Science. He is a software engineering intern at Metriguard Inc. in Pullman, Washington. Dave's hobbies include fly fishing, playing music, riding boards, bicycles, and cooking. His professional interests include embedded systems, software development, and database systems.


Faculty Members Descriptions
Bob Rinker, E.E.

Professor of Computer Science at the University of Idaho. Research Areas: Computer architecture, reconfigurable computing, embedded systems

Touraj Assefi, E.E.

Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Idaho. Emphasis Area: Control systems and signal processing


Document Description
Tower Lights Website

Website from first semester, created prior to the wiki switchover. Primarily first semester documents.


Final Snapshot Poster

Full Solution

Solution Circuit demonstrating one string of 10 LEDs

Simulation Results

Simulation Results

Customer Statement (PDF)

Customer Statement detailing the tower lights project along with specs for design

First Semester Report (PDF)

First Semester Report

Design Review (PDF)

Power Point presentation summarizing solution concepts from first semester design process

Technical Presentation(PDF)

Technical presentation

Original Circuit Schematic (PDF)

Schematic for the old tower lights circuit