Tuesday, July 28, 2009

AtmoLight Clone

For quite some time i thought about building a Philips Ambilight Clone, but all the current projects were not flexible enough for my taste and used special microcontrollers and boards.
So i thought how can i build one with standard components as a near plug and play solution?

my main points for this project were:
building a ambilight like system using the atmolight protocol
with the possiblity to switch to another protocol without to much work
using small but fine stepped led controlers in a flexible structure (with the option to add n more)

after some research my choices went to the arduino duemillanove and the macetech shiftbars.
the arduino can do pretty much everything and in the combination with the shiftbrite shields and the shiftbars it's really just plug and play.

The AtmoLight system
(some technical information)

How to build your own AtmoLight setup
(this post includes all the sources for the hardware and software)

How to setup videolan (VLC) to use Atmolight

I setup a 3 channel installation behind my computer display as a proof of concept and i must say it looks pretty nice.


  1. how much money do you need to setup this ambilight clone?

  2. depends on how much led strips you want to use
    but probably at least 150-200€

    In the "How to build your own AtmoLight setup" post is a list of all the hardware required and links to shops where you can buy all the needed hardware.

  3. Will this also work if we hook the USB to Playstation 3?

  4. no, it will only work with a pc running a compatible software

  5. does it only work with VLC player?

  6. @chunky
    no, it will also work with some other software and games

  7. Does it only display RBG? Im looking for a more subtle light source. Or can you turn down the brightness?

  8. sure you can turn down the brightness ...
    each colour can be adjusted in 256 steps = 16,7 million combinations for RGB
    the shiftbrite modules actually support 1024 PWM steps but i am currently limit to 256 because of the atmolight protocol

  9. Just to clarify, because AtmoLight does support web/desktop lighting source, does this mean that if I use any video player, besides those listed (WMP, VLAN, etc.) it will still work. Let's say if I were to use PowerDVD, I can still have this effect? Basically, anything I do on my PC will work with AtmoLight? Is that how it works? I just wanted to have something where no matter what I do or what programs I use, I still get this effect. Please clarify and thanks for your time and information site.

  10. Also, how responsive can your system or any other more popular systems be? I came across this video on YouTube that shows this user using a Phidgets LED64 controller and individual RGB LEDs wired up to the controller. He then programmed the code himself in C#. (I messaged him regarding details of his setup).

    You can see the first couple seconds where the lights are very responsive to each individual yellow 'banner':


  11. @BPCivicSi
    yes, the current AtmoWin software also supports any other video player or game or anything else you can view on your display

    The responsivness of the system can be set to your liking, from instant changes to soft transitions. I don't know how fast my system can update the lights, but i think at least 50hz is possible.

    The setup with Phidgets LED64 driver is nice but it has a slight delay. If you use the VLC module for atmolight you can adjust a delay setting and the lights will be in perfect sync with the video.

  12. Would it be possible to do this with an analog video input (RCA, VGA), or even a digital video input (DVI, HDMI) as opposed to a USB connection from a computer?

    I have several inputs that I'd like to run this through for my home theater, and my receiver's got a "monitor" or "preview" output that would be perfect for this..