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  • Chevrolet RGB LED Grill Badge

    Ok so forum member "redheadedrod" was asking me if we can make RGB LED badge for Chevy to make it light up in all color and possibly do some animations to it (like logo changing colors or lines running, simulated shine?) Anyway I spend some time making metal shell for casting and PCB larout for LED placement. Here see photos for progress. So far we got 40 LEDs quite bright once for small scale RGBs.

    So far everything looks doable, just a bit costly to produce as we will need to make packaging, electronics and some sort of firmware/soft to control it. Maybe USB interface so you can manage animations from car PC

    Anyway lets see what you think about it

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  • #2
    I would place the 2 horizontal lines of leds to match the angled lines of the logo, other than that , looking very nice, what will the color of the logo and the led background be ?
    View my worklog here

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    • #3
      The main idea was to make the LED's tri color so you could make them whatever color you want. Controlled by the attached electronics. I am sure if a customer wanted a single color one they could probably do one of those easily as well since it would just be a simple circuit board and wouldn't require any extra hardware to run it.

      The second aspect was to build it so each vertical line could be a different color. You could probably actually set it up to support this but to simplify the controls the built in controller could have just solid colors with a dial and to do anything else you need a computer connection to it. This is my idea, not theirs so I don't know what they might have in mind.

      I had hoped if it wasn't too complicated that they could actually have enough rows of LEDS that you could actually build a display that could show text but looks like that density won't be possible. (text would have to be from PC only since would be too costly to build a controller with the capabilities.)

      Would need to be at least 8 "pixels" tall.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by eugenweij View Post
        I would place the 2 horizontal lines of leds to match the angled lines of the logo, other than that , looking very nice, what will the color of the logo and the led background be ?
        yes, I agree, it would look cooler if the 2 lines of the bowtie were offset horizontally so the light up matches the shape of the bowtie instead of a plus sign illumination pattern.

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        • #5
          Looking at some links you should be able to go 6 LED high. The bow tie on the Avalanche is pretty big. I think the newer ones have a little different style but uses the same base. Mine is a simple black plastic with a note about the hood latch being under it.

          Some people have made their own out of simple LED's.

          Also, if you look at doing these in a couple different sizes you might be able to see a bunch of them to standard truck owners as well. The bowtie off my truck I can only guarantee will fit on 2002-2006 Avalanches. They might fit on others as well but I only know mine will fit for sure on those years.

          I think the standard GM truck uses a slightly smaller bowtie.

          If you do built intelligence into the controller maybe a blue tooth option would be nice so that people could access it with their phone or from a car PC instead of a wired USB connection.
          Last edited by redheadedrod; 02-26-2013, 11:20 AM.

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          • #6
            1. 2 Lines Shift
              This is not a problem, I can shift lines. I was liven the lines at same geometry so animation would be easier to build. Ex same idea with text.
            2. LED Board Background
              PCB Board probably will be either Black or Green, with tiny white LEDs on it i think it will look good. then we will fill in the cavity with clear epoxy to waterproof whole thing. The body of the badge will be white brass or sterling silver so it shines well Any one want real gold?
            3. Pixel Density
              I can make very very dens display, you would even be able to show photos there, BUT will people be able to afford it? Right now LEDs alone cost $40 ($1 each) to make it very dence we will say need 4-6 times more leds, and tats much more extra money, and if we add option to do text or direct outputs then controlling software becomes much more expansive. Of course we can do that but I would need some one to get project on kick starter and see if people will be willing to spend ~$300-500 for their badge? I think that would be expansive, there we would probably can go with real gold body lol
            4. Badge Size
              I did not find specks so i made it around 6" I think that's what we have on most Chevy cars?
            5. Controller Interface
              BT is possibility but then we need to add pairing button to he device and make sure that pairing is not dropped when car is off. + for phone then we need to do say iPhone + Android software which adds extra unavoidable cost of development
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            • #7
              Maybe you could go this route and tap a market they have left open (no bowtie). They work great and look sharp. I also have a lumi-logo but they are no longer in business. SNO
              http://www.lo-glow.com

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              • #8
                The bowtie on my truck is a little bigger than most of them. It is 10" wide at the middle and 3.5" tall. I believe the standard truck is a little bit smaller.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by SNOtwistR View Post
                  Maybe you could go this route and tap a market they have left open (no bowtie). They work great and look sharp. I also have a lumi-logo but they are no longer in business. SNO
                  http://www.lo-glow.com
                  Oh those are much easier to make and cheaper too obviously as seen with their prices. I can make kits for badge conversions like that both RGB or single color.

                  Do they sale badge with light or just light pad? How could i steal their customers? Lol
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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by redheadedrod View Post
                    The bowtie on my truck is a little bigger than most of them. It is 10" wide at the middle and 3.5" tall. I believe the standard truck is a little bit smaller.
                    ok then for your track type we will need more 10" is damn big thing. I can look in to eBay leds, they are cheaper but very often you never know what results you will get in terms of quality of light and current consumption. For Chevy avalanche, do you think you will be able to find 30 friends to buy RGB version so i can afford development? I think some Chevy truck owners forum would be better to find them.
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                    • #11
                      You just get this, no emblem. Click image for larger version

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                      • #12
                        heh for $30 not bad that's just PCB plate with acrylic diffuser. I can easily do things like that
                        if i can figure out how to make universal PCB then i can cut shapes custom on my machine right away for any request
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                        • #13
                          They are sealed up pretty good, It's like they mold it with pcb inside. I was worried they would get water in them but 2 winter's so far and all is good. I have blue on front and red on back. Just find out the standard sizes of bowtie's chevy made and make those. I am sure you would sell a crapload in the market, i.e. chevy car/truck forums. On a side note do you do laser cutting of acrylic? SNO

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                          • #14
                            sealing is not big deal, even DIY with clear silicon works well, obviously factory seal is better but then its 1000pcs run. I don't know how to sale those many, would need to know dealers who can do distribution. I'm running engineering company so we only know how to makes things lol

                            And yes, we do laser cutting and engraving on all organic matters including acrylic. I need to cut something?
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                            • #15
                              I will try to get a little more information for you on them. I haven't had time to really do much on the avalanche site.

                              My guess is that the PC board will be the most expensive part of the whole project.

                              If there are 3 different sizes of chevy emblems would it be possible for you to make a board to fit the smallest of the 3 and just make the body sizes different?

                              Also, how hard would it be to have 3 or 4 different levels of complexity with these? I ask because the chances are if we can make simple ones you may be able to sell quite a few of them and offer up some higher end ones for those people who might be willing to pay more for them. (Personally at some point I would LOVE to have a display that would be as good as a video screen and would pay $500-600 for it. but for now a simple one that has the vertical lines or a low res text display for about half that would work for me. )

                              Complexity levels:
                              1.So maybe the bottom has a single or tri color LED but the whole piece is the same color. (tri color you give a choice of colors that the user then can select from some device.)
                              2.A tri color one that can be controlled by a computer so you can do the separate vertical lines.
                              3.Simple LED character displays that have to be computer controlled to work.
                              4. Full blown display capable of displaying a picture...

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