Novira Plaza – the most Beautiful LED lit building in Estonia?

This was probably our longest LED installation till now. To be honest, before this installation I could not imagine, it can take so long time to come up with a complete solution for buildings.

The whole installation took more than one year. The main reason in my opinion was the distance and the way we had to communicate with the client. Complete installation was done over email 😊. We’ve spent more than a year exchanging emails, pictures, dwg plans… But it was worth it. Novira (the name of the building) is now one of the most interesting buildings in night Tallinn.

Looking back, we had to solve several problems/issues:

What aluminum profile we’ll use?

The building design was given by the building architect. We could not just use any kind of profile. That’s why we’ve asked the client to define what design he likes to use. This was the final aluminum profile we agreed to use finally:

Aluminium profile
This is the final third alternative of LED profile we’ve used

We’ve designed the LED profile to have also the power and signal cables in the back, so it was a lot easier to install.

LED board designed by LED Strip Studio
Well you end up with a lot of strange pictures, when communicating with the client over email 🙂
3D printer in action
3D printer in action
3D bar test
3D printer can save you a lot of trouble.

How to power all those LEDs?

The main issue was how to power almost 50-meter-long segments. If you calculate, we’ve used 32 LEDs/m, which is almost 2A/m at 5V (about 10W per meter). The whole 50m line needs almost 100A at 5V. The problem is, you can’t transfer 5V using thin cables. That’s why we came with special version of our controllers, which can receive 24V power (easy to transfer using thin cables) and they convert it down to 5V.

dcdc converter
We’ve used 24 to 5 V dc-dc converters to be able to use thin cables.

Thanks to these cuties we could use thin cables, which was really required, since there’s not enough space in the aluminum profile the client requested.

Thin cables were a lot easier to install in the given aluminum profile.

How to control all those LEDs?

We always use our LED Strip Studio to control huge installations like these. The signal part was quite easy, we use several LED Strip Studio boards and Ethernet switches to drive the LEDs over SPI. The customer can define his own animation or even play some video on the LED bars.

The only special thing we’ve developed is how to transfer digital SPI signal on a long distance. We came up with an idea of using symmetric digital SPI signal.

This guy helps us transfer signal on long distances (20 and more meters)
ETH + signal buffers + spacers and lugs
And some more boards to be able to use symmetric signal.
This is all the stuff we’ve developed specially for this installation


This is the most complicated part. But in this project, it was my most favorite. The reason is simple – it was not done by us 😊…

Tallinn is quite far from Bratislava (more than 1600km) and it was a lot cheaper for the client to install the LEDs by himself. We’ve prepared all the cables and LED bars and the client did the complete installation. Well he didn’t complain after the installation, so I think it was ok 😊…

We’ve prepared the complete cables for the client…
… and the cables were really long (40+ meters).
Client produced the complete LED bars using our LED boards and controllers.
Yeah, first one’s working …

Was it worth it?

Depends on how you look at it. Speaking moneywise, probably not. We’ve spent more than one year talking with client, I personally have more than 100 emails exchanged, my colleague even more. We’ve spent incredible amount of time figuring out all the details. I know when you read this article, it seems like a pretty straightforward project. But believe me, it was far from that. A lot of prototypes, lot of mistakes, lot of trying and failing.

But we’ve gained a lot of experience about how to do great LED installations on huge buildings. And we’re looking forward to installing the next one 😉 …


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