Scale model

The idea for the Fred controller came from a large scale model of two 55 story towers. Lighting for the job went over budget and fell behind schedule due to problems with the design. Taking a new approach the Fred is able to alleviate or eliminate every challenge.


  1. 5V data lines are not able to reliably transfer instructions further than 2m before line noise starts to cause problems. By adding a small resistor at the beginning of each data line on the Fred this problem is alleviated.
  2. Wired data lines running from the controllers were permanently fixed inside the model. Any wire tension near the base of the model risked damaging connections that could not be accessed after the model was glued shut.
  3. More than 2,400 WS2811 Pixels were permanently fixed inside the tower.  LED failure was <1% with the most common issue being the green LED failing resulting in pink windows on an otherwise white tower. Twice we opened the tower to replace 3 pixels at a cost of thousands of dollars each time. Upon delivery three more green pixels failed leaving more stark pink windows on a white canvas.
  4. LED controllers used cost thousands of dollars each and four of them were needed for the project.
  5. The company that sold the proprietary LED control system would not share their code when needed for modifications. This made it difficult for the model builder to deliver a product that the staging company tasked with installing control touch screens.
  6. Setting up the installation required more than a day of wiring and troubleshooting.

The towers were wired in