View Full Version : Building a couple color organs....


Tugboat
06-26-2008, 01:11 PM
I'm building two color organs and am having trouble locating the diffuser panels that create the diamond pattern used in earlier organs. I have found a number of different patterns, but they just aren't "right." I'm hoping someone here knows of a place that sells them. Maybe an old lighting store that's still in business that might have some NOS sitting around back.

I've tried Home Depot, Lowes, Osh, etc.... The ones they sell make circles, blotches, etc... None made the diamond pattern and they are clueless about any other styles or brands.

Thanks!

avionic
06-26-2008, 08:57 PM
think industrial lighting flouresent light diffusers

http://www.lithonia.com/products/Images.asp?Family=Door%20Frames%20and%20Diffusers&View=LargeJPG

similost
06-26-2008, 09:01 PM
think industrial lighting flouresent light diffusers

That is what I bought.. I built two of the color blasters, but have yet to build the boxes, but I did get the diffusers. They look similar to the old diamond shapes with the bulbs behind it. It isn't like the ones that were smooth though, and had the kinda frosted looking squares on it. Tried to find those, and never could. Right now I'm looking for a decent table saw for cheap, so I can build the cabs. I'm going to make them about a foot or so wide, and about 7 feet tall.. something different, that will fit in the space I have..

avionic
06-26-2008, 09:07 PM
Might also try a local craft and hobby shop or store

Tugboat
06-26-2008, 09:10 PM
think industrial lighting flouresent light diffusers

http://www.lithonia.com/products/Images.asp?Family=Door%20Frames%20and%20Diffusers&View=LargeJPG

Have you seen what a color light behind this panel looks like? I have a panel that looks like this one, but with the lights behind it, it doesn't have the diamond pattern. I've compared the layout of the pyramids on this panel to the one on an old funlite I have and they are in parallel on the funlite that creates a color diamond pattern. On the panel I purchased, the pyramids are diagonal, not parallel and don't create a light diamond.

Hmmm.....

Tugboat
06-26-2008, 09:18 PM
That is what I bought.. I built two of the color blasters, but have yet to build the boxes, but I did get the diffusers. They look similar to the old diamond shapes with the bulbs behind it. It isn't like the ones that were smooth though, and had the kinda frosted looking squares on it. Tried to find those, and never could. Right now I'm looking for a decent table saw for cheap, so I can build the cabs. I'm going to make them about a foot or so wide, and about 7 feet tall.. something different, that will fit in the space I have..

I believe the panel you are looking for is actually an uncut sheet of fresnel lenses. Each lens is about 3" in diameter. If you do a search on ebay for completed listings of color organs, there is one there. Is that the type you're referring to?

So you bought the panel linked to? I does create a color diamond patern? I hope the pattern below comes out okay. It's basically what a single color bulb creates with the right diffuser panel. Replace the x with a color dot and then connect them with a thin color line and you get the color diamond pattern all from only one light.

Okay, the pattern below gets kerned and falls flat against the left margin. The top x needs to be out two spaces, the second row needs a space before and after the center x and the bottom x needs to be out two spaces.
x

x x x

x

similost
06-26-2008, 09:25 PM
Yes.. I was looking for the fresnel lens type diffuser.. it's a sheet, that has a lot of little squares like that. THey make great paterns.. .. no idea where to find that...

From what I could tell, just by holding the lights about 8 inches or so behind the lens I bought, they had a somewhat decent pattern. I got the regular size outdoor christmas bulbs.. not the small twinkle light style..

Tugboat
06-26-2008, 09:31 PM
Yes.. I was looking for the fresnel lens type diffuser.. it's a sheet, that has a lot of little squares like that. THey make great paterns.. .. no idea where to find that...

From what I could tell, just by holding the lights about 8 inches or so behind the lens I bought, they had a somewhat decent pattern. I got the regular size outdoor christmas bulbs.. not the small twinkle light style..

I'll have to check it out, then. Can't hurt. I got one panel that looked like the napster logo! Got rid of that one really quick.

You could try contacting a company that makes/sells pocket fresnel magnifiers and see if they'll give up their supplier. Might be able to buy an uncut sheet from them. My past search for them was limited to the net and I was only able to find manufacturers of precision lenses. Way out of my price range.

similost
06-26-2008, 10:51 PM
Just too cool seeing I'm not the only one around here that is doing color organs. My wife keeps pushing me to finish them.. guess I better get busy.. been about 8 months so far since I built the electronics..

Tugboat
06-27-2008, 01:03 AM
I used to have two built into the bottom of my old book cases turned component racks. They looked and worked great (excption being the diffuser panels that didn't create the diamond pattern). I built my new racks and since they are of open design, I have to create the color organs over again inside their own boxes. I do have two smaller cubes from Funlites, but they only blink randomly. Not very exciting.

Arkay
06-27-2008, 02:18 AM
This just gave me an idea: in the scrap-recycling place, I keep seeing small glass-walled refrigerator units, like they use in kiosks and places (maybe 7-11s ?) to put cool drinks and stuff in. Sometimes the big restaurant types they put cakes in.

Sturdy cube or rectrangle, glass walls, ventilated... just rip out the refrigeration stuff (maybe add a fan) and put the circuitry there, put the light panels (fresnels or whatever) behind the glass sides, and -voila!- a color-organ CUBE that you can put anywhere in a room, even right in the middle. If you really wanted to get fancy, you could mount it on a lazy-susan type turntable with motor drive... (some of them already come rotate-able).

Anyone ever try anything like that?

Tugboat
06-27-2008, 11:39 AM
This just gave me an idea: in the scrap-recycling place, I keep seeing small glass-walled refrigerator units, like they use in kiosks and places (maybe 7-11s ?) to put cool drinks and stuff in. Sometimes the big restaurant types they put cakes in.

Sturdy cube or rectrangle, glass walls, ventilated... just rip out the refrigeration stuff (maybe add a fan) and put the circuitry there, put the light panels (fresnels or whatever) behind the glass sides, and -voila!- a color-organ CUBE that you can put anywhere in a room, even right in the middle. If you really wanted to get fancy, you could mount it on a lazy-susan type turntable with motor drive... (some of them already come rotate-able).

Anyone ever try anything like that?

I'm all for creativity! There's just something about lighting effects. I have color organs, color cubes, color infinity mirror, fiber optic lamp, spider lite, lava lamps, balafire flickering bulbs in cans (budweiser, 7-up and Schlitz) oil lamp projector and a Zenith Chromacolor fiber optic display from the 60s.

If you can get the unit for cheap, what harm could it do to try it.

Tube Radio
06-27-2008, 06:46 PM
Very interesting. My step-mom's dad had a tallish console that doubled as a small bar that had a color organ in it. I sold it, because I didn't need the console anymore.

d3imlay
07-04-2008, 09:29 AM
Here's another idea. With the proliferation of colored LEDs you can make any pattern you want with LEDs. Of course the power requirements and driver circuits are different than bulbs. I've often though about trying this. A cheap car stereo crossover could give the frequency division. rectify the crossover output and drive a transistor and a pile of LEDs. Use a 12 volt wallwart to power it all.

wa2ise
07-04-2008, 07:52 PM
Color Organs... :D Seems every electrical engineering student in the 70's has had one during some point in their lives. Think I had the one Radio shack had as a kit, it had Christmas light bulbs driven by triacs triggered by a set of band pass filters.

After a while, the novelty wears off...

Tugboat
07-05-2008, 01:22 PM
Finally got my camera back and took a picture of exactly the shape I'm looking for from the diffuser panel. The diamond pattern is created in the center with one c-7 christmas bulb and the panel creates a diamond shape with bright points of light with lines connecting them. Also, if you look closely at the panel, the little pyramids are all lined up horizontally and vertically. The ones I've found have them lined up diagonally and doesn't create a diamond pattern.

Thanks!