FAST was created by Cory Helmuth as a inexpensive snowfall or meteor tubes. Snowfall tubes are long clear plastic tubes that have a group of LEDs arranged in a linear fashion and the LEDs light in a sequential manner from the top to the bottom. The visual effect looks like a bright snowflake falling down. The FAST consists of a FAST Controller PCB that drives 1-8 LED Segment PCBs each with 7 LED’s per segment for a total of 7-56 SuperFlux LED’s. Based on the number of LED Segment Boards used, the snowfall tubes can be between 12″ to 48″ in length.
The FAST is designed using a concept called Charlieplexing. Charlieplexing, in its simplest form, works using a matrix of complementary pairs of LEDs. This allows a large number of LEDs to be driven by a small number of I/O pins from a PIC microcontroller. In the FAST, 56 LEDs are controlled using just 8 connections!
Check out full details in the Wiki over at DIYC.com
I purchased a number from the guys at diyledexpress
I found the controller PCB too big to fit in the tube I sourced, so had to repurpose the Controller PCB.
Initially I used strip board to.
Eventually I decided a small PCB would make things tad easier. This article details how I progressed.