The Raspberry Pi Ambilight alike you can put together in the UK

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For Christmas this year, I decided to put together an ambilight a like using Raspberry Pi- you’ll find a number of similar projects on the internet, but almost all require exceeding expensive components or items you can’t easily source in the UK- so I’m putting together a quick series of articles to take you from purchase to building and on to tweaking so you can build your own.

I’ll start with the shopping list:

  • Raspberry Pi – I grabbed this starter kit from Amazon: http://goo.gl/brmBU5 – it’s a good deal and comes with a nice little case that still gives you the scope to pass cables through for the lighting array.
  • 3M Hooks to mount the lights on the back of the TV- easy to use, can be removed without much pain too- you’ll want a heap of these (we used four packs for perfect positioning) depending on the size of your TV- forunately they’re pretty cheap but very robust- http://goo.gl/SBOjcr
  • Many other posts on this topic suggest not using the on board USB to power the lights- but I was running in an environment which lacks power points (Xbox 360, Kinect, Amp, Blu ray player, speaker bar, network hub, PoE and TV in a minimalist stand doesn’t lend itself to spare power points!)- http://goo.gl/tDsjR2 will get you up and running and I haven’t yet identified any power issues.

For the final bits (the very important lights and power)- I had to leave the comforts of Amazon- I had a fight to find any one who didn’t ship from China and had mixed reviews (check out Amazon for plenty doom and gloom orders)- fortunately I found a great site:

  • WS2811 Waterproof (IP66) 12mm LED String Digital LED pixels Adafruit Compact for – £22.99 – these are a bit bulkier than the strip lights you can order, thus require more effort to position, but have a string of lights made things a lot easier as there was no need to cut strips and reconnect them- this saved me a LOT of time.
  • Female DC jack Connector plug 2.1mmx5.5mm plug for cctv camera – so you can get your power to the lights – solder free!

I’ll be back soon with some photos and the build steps, and then we can move on to the software side of the equation!

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