Architecture

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The modular niftylight system enables you to setup and control light-sources quickly and easily with cost effectiveness in mind. It provides everything to fulfil standard lighting tasks or to realize complex and extraordinary setups with least efforts.


A simple Example

This figure shows the most simple setup:


Server
Ex controller.png
Ex power.png Ex led.png
  • Server (PC)
    • Standard PC hardware or embedded system
    • The server prepares brightness values for each illumination element (e.g. one LED) from the frame input and feeds it to the controller hardware.
    • any frame input can be used (e.g. video-grabber / camera, audio-visualization, movie-file, scroll text, etc.)
    • colorspace conversion, brightness / contrast / saturation / gamma correction etc possible
  • Adapter
    • The adapter hardware (niftylino USB-Adapter, DMX controller, 3rd-party controller) translates data & sends it to the light-sources.
    • Combinations of different protocols (e.g. DMX, ArtNet, DALI, MIDI, etc.) therefore are easily possible.
  • Power supply
    • Most hardware uses some sort of external power-supply. For most niftylight LED-modules you can use 7-24V DC power-supplies. You may choose the kind of power-supply according to your space-requirements, thermal conditions or budget.
  • Light-sources
    • LED-Modules, high-power LEDs, wall-washers, spotlights etc.
    • Different lighting hardware (e.g. white-LEDs, RGB-LEDs, different LED pixel-pitches, etc.) can be combined easily.


More complex example

Ex 2server.png
Ex 2controller.png
Ex multiled.png


You can connect multiple controllers / light-source chains to a single server. Additionally you may also use multiple servers to share load or interconnect setups with different physical locations.


Advanced Example

Ex input.png
Ex 2server full.png
Ex 2controller full.png
Ex multiled2.png Ex multiled3.png Ex multiled4.png


  • Input hardware
    • Motion detector detects amount of movement in a room
    • Camera delivers frame-image at 25 fps
    • SMS gateway converts incoming SMS to text
  • Servers control everything
  • niftylight USB-adapter & DMX controller
  • LED-display shows post-processed camera image with nice filters according to movement inside room
  • LED-scrollbar shows nice antialiased incoming SMS-messages as ticker
  • Accent lights illuminate environment according to movement (e.g. fast/flashy when there's a lot of movement, dim/gloomy when there is little movement)

there is literally no limitation for your light-installation.


System Components

Server/PC

As creator and/or processor of the visual data for all light sources, one or more servers are used. Depending on your requirements, a dedicated embedded system (small, low power consumption, mobile, ...) can be used. Also a standard off-the-shelf PC (cost effective, high load capacity, ...) can be turned into a niftylight-server using the niftylight software suite.


All light sources are connected to the server using appropriate adapter hardware (niftylight USB-Adapter, DMX-Controller, ...) and thus receive their target-brightness from the server.


For interactive setups, input-devices can be connected to the server. It's also possible to use remote input-devices connected to other network PCs.


To accomplish all this, the server runs the niftylight software suite:

  • open source (thus completly customizable)
  • runtime loadable plugin-mechanism (easily intergrate custom hardware)
  • configuration cross-platform GUI (local or remote via network)


The main task of the niftylight software suite is to:

  • get the image-data from one or more pixel-sources
  • map the data to configured light sources
  • and to send the post-processed brightness-data to the hardware adapters (which can use various interface types/protocols to control connected light-sources).


Hardware Adapters

To translate data and/or send it to the light-sources, some kind of adapter is needed. This can be a niftylight USB-Adapter for niftylight products or 3rd-party Adapters (e.g. for DMX Products, X10, Midi-Devices etc.)


All PC interfaces can be used for interfacing lighting devices:

  • USB
  • PCI/PCIe
  • VGA/DVI
  • Ethernet
  • RS232/COM-Port
  • Parallel Printer Port
  • Custom I/O Hardware


Data Link

Depending on the hardware adapter, various physical datalinks & protocols can be used. The datalink used by niftylight hardware uses standard Cat5 ethernet-cables. Other advantages are:

  • galvanic decoupling (thus complex power-supply arrangements possible)
  • compatible to a wide range of lighting devices (combine different hardware)
  • low-cost USB-Adapter available


Power Supply

There are multiple ways lighting devices are powered. For niftylight lighting devices multiple power-supply choices are possible:

  • DCDC Converters (7-24V) for efficient & cost effective supply by battery or external power-supplies
  • ACDC Converters (230V) for easy daisy-chain cabling
  • various connectors possible (DC-Jack, cable clamps, screw-joints, ...)


Illumination Hardware

Depending on what Adapter-Hardware is used, nearly every illumination device can be controlled.

  • LED clusters of various resolutions, sizes, shapes and different LED types
  • white LEDs (grayscale), RGB (full color) or other subpixel arrangements possible
  • irregular pixel-arrangements possible due to mapping mechanism
  • 1 channel devices (single LEDs or dimming)
  • D/A 0-10V analog output to control custom stage hardware


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