Melbourne, Australia is home to a 300m interactive matrix of color changing LEDs on the new Craigieburn Bypass road. Supplied by lighting projects company, Lightmoves Pty Ltd, the matrix is one of the unique design features on the freeway extension that links the Melbourne's Metropolitan Ring Road with the Hume Freeway. The LED matrix is incorporated into an acoustic barrier wall of screen-printed acrylic panels, as part of the overall architectural and artistic design of the new roadway.

Designed by landscape architects Taylor Cullity Lethlean and engineers Webb Australia in collaboration with local artist Robert Owen, the wall is the main lighting feature of the project. Lightmoves designed a system to deliver a matrix display of color-changing LED fittings that could be individually controlled and regulated by transducers in the road.

Installed by contractors Alstom Australia, the wall is one of the most ambitious lighting installations ever undertaken in Australia. “The magnitude of this project was quite large as a number of electrical connections were required to terminate nearly a thousand luminaries. Therefore, good design, planning, and documentation were paramount for this project to be on time and within budget,” explains Lightmoves project manager, Joe Casamento.

The specification was predominantly performance-based, calling for a weatherproof luminaire that housed red, green, and blue LEDs, and a control system that allowed individual control of every LED. The control system had to treat the wall as a low-resolution video screen that allowed artists to use it as a blank canvas. Programming of sequences had to include the ability to import images in the form of bitmap and video files.

The challenging part of this project was the need to manufacture a custom LED fitting. It had to meet the performance specifications while fitting within the 40mm diameter area of the acrylic screen fixings. Such a fitting also had to be designed to endure diverse weather conditions and high UV radiation. Lightmoves collaborated with Digilin to develop a suitable LED fitting. The light source is a series of RGB surface-mount LEDs designed to be directly driven from an off-the-shelf Dynalite LED controller.

With nearly 3,000 channels of lighting control, Lightmoves used Dynalite's 48-way constant current LED controllers as the basis of its control solution. DMX512 was the control protocol.

The Color Tramp system from Artistic Licence provides the overall control of the wall. It uses the Art-Net DMX over Ethernet protocol as output for its multiple streams of DMX data. Datagate by Enttec translates the Art-Net data into standard DMX.

An AMX Netlinx NI-3000 processes information from the traffic counter system. Three induction loops in the road sense traffic flow and pass this information via a traffic counter controller to the Netlinx using switch closures. The Netlinx then triggers Color Tramp via its RS232 input, selecting certain sequences depending on the volume of traffic.

Gear:

935 LMCB40 Stainless Steel Outdoor RGB LED
63 Dynalilte DLEDC48 Constant Current DMX LED Controller
1 Enttec Datagate DME 8-way Ethernet to DMX Interface
1 AMX Netlinx NI-3000 Integrator
1 Artistic Licence Color Tramp 4096 Software