The Inside of an Embedded world !

Ambilight™ Clone Using BeagleBone

Today I will present you my custom built Ambilight™ clone. It entirely relies on open source software.

The setup is the following:

  • XBMC running on a PC I use as home theatre PC (watch and record TV, play movies and music)
  • boblight client plugin for XBMC (part of the default XBMC install)
  • boblightd running on the BeagleBone Black that offers a network interface to control the LEDs strip

I used the following hardware but note that boblightd supports other LED controllers and communication schemes so some variations are possible:

  • WS2801 SPI controlled LED strips (I ordered a clone of the original Adafruit 25 pixels 12mm strand)
  • BeagleBone Black
  • Level shifter (3.3V to 5V from dealextreme)
  • Breadboard / Protoboard
  • 5V 2A AC/DC converter

BeagleBone Black and LCD = Fun

In my previous post I gave some instructions on how to rebuild the BeagleBone Black device-tree to allow for run-time override I also teased you with a little video of some activity on the Nokia 3330 LCD I attached to the BeagleBone. Today I’m back with some detailed information on:

  • The wiring of the BBB and the LCD
  • The device tree overlay file
  • Source code of the demo

Getting Up to Speed With the BeagleBone Black

With Debian installed on the BBB it is now time to start building something. While looking for tutorial and documentation I found this page which explains how to recycle an old phone LCD display. It happened that I had two old Nokia 3330 in my drawer. After taking one of them apart I had in my hand a TYPE 1 Nokia 3330 LCD display ready to connect to the BBB.

BeagleBone Black Getting Started…

It has arrived two weeks ago and I really enjoyed the whole plug-and-play experience. It was really easy to get started by following the documentation available on I was impressed by the “everything through usb” approach where the board is seen by the PC as a USB Mass Storage device but also emulates a network connection so you can talk to the board using SSH in a matter of minutes after unpacking (they even have a SSH shell that runs in a browser). I didn’t spend much time on the Javascript based development environment and the so called “bonescript” language since I wanted to reach a lower-level of access to all the features this board has to offer.

BeagleBone Black on It’s Way…

I just got an email from Makershed that the new BeagleBone black had been shipped to me on the 29th of April. I don’t know how much time it will take to cross the Atlantic but I’m looking forward to start playing with that nice piece of hardware.