FlexLED 2.0 Uses Flexible PCBs for POV Display

Persistence of vision displays have been around for quite a while, and use LED light and rapid motion to create an optical illusion that acts like a display that can show anything from words to animated animals and people. While there are a ton of POV displays on the market, others prefer to design their own, including engineer Carl Bugeja, who is looking to improve on his original FlexLED. His original design featured a single LED on a flexible PCB, which was actuated back and forth using a magnet to create the POV effect.

The FlexLED 2.0 features LEDs on a flexible PCB and uses a magnet to create a persistence of vision (POV) display. (📷: Carl Bugeja)

For his FlexLED 2.0, Bugeja is creating a larger version with more LEDs, which will use a pattern of traces that make up a pair of coils that interact with magnetic fields. The original only used one coil, but it only needed to produce the POV effect using a single LED. By using the right amount of current, the flexible PCB can flap up and down when in the presence of a neodymium magnet.

The FlexLED 2.0 features 24 RGB LEDs, along with an LED driver, an H-bridge to drive the coils, and a microcontroller that controls both and communicates with the electronics via UART. Bugeja took to Altium Designer to design the PCB and place all the hardware components neatly before sending it over to a manufacturer. He also created a 3D-printed case this time to keep the electronics secure and also houses the magnet that actuates the flexible PCB. While the FlexLED 2.0 isn’t yet completed, you can see Bugeja’s design process in the video above.

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Author: Cabe Atwell

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