For as long as I can remember I’ve had a strong fascination with renewable energy sources. Not just out of a sense of eco-responsibility (though I did watch a ton of Captain Planet as a child) but also because of the dichotomy between the advanced technology involved and simple elegance of wind, hydro, and solar power. So, my plan has always been to gain grid independence and carbon neutrality and, on March 29th of this year, I’ve finally taken the first step by having solar panels installed on my house.

The above was shot throughout the single day required for NC Solar Now, a local Raleigh company, to install my new 7.15kW solar system. But I’m getting ahead of myself. I’ve had so many questions about the system, finances, hurdles, etc. that I really should back up a little…

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We are proud to announce the crowd funding campaign for our joint project with our friends at WyoLum, the ULTiM8x8!

ULTIM8x8 is an LED panel that does it all. From small wearable projects to huge displays, ULTiM8x8 has you covered. We’ve designed a super-bright, extendable LED panel system that you can assemble without soldering or special skills. ULTiM8x8 is a flexible, reconfigurable display that perfectly suits your changing needs.

The ULTiM8x8 is designed for people who need an easily controlled LED display in a solid and very flexible system that puts out lots of color. Whether you need a small, powerful LED matrix or you’re putting together a monster display, you will love the mounting and connection options the ULTiM8x8 provides. Because it’s compatible with existing software libraries and hardware controllers, you avoid the extra headache commonly found with obscure control components and protocols. Art installations, ad spots, cosplay, info displays, and any IoT widget needing a few more status lights will welcome the addition of the ULTiM8x8.

For all the juicy details, checkout the CrowdSupply campaign page.

Back when we launched the AllPixel, we also created a small device called the PowerTap that eases the task of splicing power at various points along a strip of LEDs. We sold many during the Kickstarter but they never really sold well after the fact. We’ve actually never made more after the original batch from the Kickstarter! As of last night we sold the last of that batch.

It’s not really worth our time or money to produce more but, if you want some, have no fear… they are open source and you can still get your own!

First head over to OSHPark:
It’s $4.15 for 3 boards.

Then, order 3 or more copies of this project on Mouser:

We do realize that this ends up being more expensive than what we sold the PowerTap for ($5 each) but this is mainly due to the cost of the two screw terminals. If you want to add one more place to order from, just find a 2.54mm (0.1″) pitch, 4 pin screw terminal from ebay like this one. They are not as good quality, but much cheaper.

Alternatively, you can just leave out the terminals all together and directly solder the LED strip leads to the power tap. Either of these options can bring the total per PowerTap cost down to or below the $5 we sold them for, assuming you are OK with skimping on the terminals a bit.

Also, we are aware that the AllPixel is out of stock both on Tindie and Seeed but fear not! A new version is coming very soon 🙂