To color up my local hackerspace, I proposed to make 13 RGB tube lights. After getting a budget and waiting for Aliexpress, the fun could begin.
As a base I'm using Hornbach's White LED Tube Light, which offer a beautiful diffuser with aluminium heatsink. Sadly Hornbach discontinued these. Their new design is more expensive and all plastic :(
We start by tearing it down, which is surprisingly easy: After removing the white led pcb, it's time to glue 1.2 meters of APA102 strip in it's place. For connecting the tubes, I'm using RJ45 connectors. the TX pair (orange) for data, and the Power pair (brown) for clock. They are both twisted with a ground. The RJ45 connector fits snuggly inside the casing The PSU consists of 2 USB plugs, and an IKEA KOPLA power supply On the other side of the tube is another RJ45, which transfers ground, clock and data to the next tube With two connected togeather, it already looks great! Here I installed the first two, driven by an Arduino Nano. Later on, a Raspberry Pi Zero W will take it's place.
Here's half of them hanging. The Arduino was upgraded to a Raspberry 3B+, running an SPI driver in C, controlled over STDIN by a bunch of Perl, which can all be found here