Archive for March 10th, 2016

Vacuum Tube LEDs: Knockoff Neopixel Failure

The knockoff Neopixel epoxied atop the big incandescent bulb just failed:

Vacuum Tube LEDs - ersatz heatsink plate cap

Vacuum Tube LEDs – ersatz heatsink plate cap

It stopped changing colors and began blinking high-intensity bursts of the RGB LEDs. Which was interesting, I’ll grant you, but didn’t produce the desired, ah, mood.

Differential diagnosis:

  • Reboot that sucker: fail
  • Shot of circuit cooler: fail
  • Failing LED with known-good Arduino Pro Mini: fail
  • “Failing” Arduino Pro Mini with known-good LED: work

Looks like a permanent WS2812B controller failure this time around.

It’s been plugged into a Kill-a-Watt meter that reports it ran for 415 hours and used 150 W·h of energy, for an average 360 mW dissipation. I think the actual power falls well below the meter’s lower limit, so I doubt the accuracy, but it’s a whole bunch less than a nightlight and much more interesting.

Now, to break that epoxy bond without breaking the bulb …