I peppered this list with several questions about a month ago and promised some info when my project finished, so here it is.

I created an installation art piece for Burning Man called the Solarium.  The idea behind the Solarium was to create a small intimate sheltered space (seat 4-6 people) with a domed ceiling.  Within, the ceiling was covered with color LEDs that simulated a sunrise and sunset effect every few minutes.  It was also 100% solar powered.

I picked the Verdex Pro as the controller for this project because it was small, used minimal power and I was familiar with it.  The Verdex communicated via I2C with 36 boards that controlled 16 RGB LEDs each for a total of around 576 LEDs.  During construction I planned for each RGB LED  to draw a maximum of 60mA, so I was looking at about 35A @ 5V max power when all were full on.

A few of the problems I encountered while working on this project were the last minute blown Verdex Pro (reversed polarity that I thought I'd checked caused my original Verdex Pro to release its magic smoke). Additionally there were line noise issues with the I2C signals between the Verdex Pro and the LED controllers.  I was able to rush order a suitable gumstix replacement that was almost exactly the same, and for the noise problems I replaced the existing cabling with shielded CAT5.

The Solarium electronics and programming were completed as the structure was being taken down for transport, so it was truly a last minute effort to get this project finished.  Once constructed on the playa, the Solarium ran flawlessly 24x7 for the time it was out there.  The fact that the actual power draw was far less than the maximum I'd calculated helped immensely, so it was able to run continuously.

I'll leave a link to a video I took of the Solarium.  It doesn't get into the technical details and unfortunately the effect is difficult to see in the interior shot; my camera auto adjusted the day & night brightness levels to be uniform and it couldn't capture the whole ceiling.  Please excuse the silly hats:


I'd be happy to answer any questions and describe anything in more detail than what's given here.  Thanks all for the help!