Author Topic: Formally Introducing a New Controller - SC, Micro String Controller  (Read 8492 times)

Offline corey872

  • Supporting Member
  • ******
  • Join Date: Oct 2013
  • Location:
  • Posts: 490
  • Kudos: 16
    • Link to the sale...
Formally Introducing a New Micro String Controller - SC, the Micro String Controller

Basic, ready-to-program board. 1.240" long x 0.690" wide



Back side with solder mask and plated solder pads



Some options including indicator LEDs and magnetic reed switch (explained in depth in the video)



I am NOT the worlds greatest video editor, but a demonstration video is live at  http://youtu.be/kozI6qHMTao


Some Specifications:
(anything listed here will supersede anything I mentioned in the video)

Voltage Input:  5-16VDC

Voltage Output to Nodes: Same as Vin

Voltage Output on Data Line: 5V square wave across 5-16V input range

Controller Power Consumption:  (maximum with 4 indicator LEDs installed) 

    Idle (on, but not transmitting data) - 23mA
    Full Tx mode - 26mA

Controller-to-Node Data Tx Distance: Always keep as short as practical, realistically 10-20 feet, stress tested at 90 feet.

Node Compatibility:

    TM1804 - Confirmed
    TM1809 - Confirmed

    WS2811 - Confirmed - Thanks arw01
    WS2812 - Likely
    WS2812B - Likely

    Pixabulb (WS2811) - Likely

    INK1002 - ?
    INK1003 - ?

    WS280X - No (requires additional clock signal this controller does not transmit)

    Maximum number of nodes controlled:  150

    Overall dimensions - 1.240" long x 0.690" wide (slightly shorter than an SD memory card and under 3/4 of the width)

    "Through hole" PIC programming tested to 200 programming cycles, still in very good condition.
     (Strongly consider if you 'need' to add programming header)




Some design Features:
(anything listed here will supersede anything I mentioned in the video)

- Refined to get board small as practical

- Uses all SMT on the basic board for small size, cost effective components

- Selected components optimized for the job.  Cold weather operation, transmission line capability, MOSFET driver, ESD protection etc

- Comes ready to program (no board assembly needed), just program firmware, attach wires and go

- Flat board with no contact pins easy to waterproof in heat-shrink tubing.

- All strain relief holes big enough for the 3-4 pin connectors on the market, bundled Cat5, or most any other wire you need

- RS485 receiver, 14kV ESD protection

- On board voltage regulators provide self regulating / auto shutdown overload protection.

- MOSFET driver output section: Schmitt triggered, ESD protected, true push-pull output for solid data transmission through long wires. (Not recommended, but bench tested for weeks with 90 foot SC-to-first-node distance)

- Upgrades are configured to not add any additional cost to the basic board.  Upgrades can be completed with simple through-hole soldering (LEDs and pin header) or simple surface mount attachment (magnetic reed switch)



Upgrades which can be added separately:

Magnetic Reed Switch:  a no-contact/waterproof way to enter test mode
   
Indicating LEDs (specific LEDs have internal current limiting resistor to save space, cost and complexity on board)

Some discussion of indicator LED brightness with pics and vid:   http://falconchristmas.com/forum/index.php/topic,835.msg7035.html#msg7035

- PIC signaling: Confirms PIC firmware programming and boot up.  Confirms PIC data processing and infers frame rate through blinking speed

- Power LED: Indicates power at the 3.3V regulator on the controller, which effectively confirms the complete power chain of the board:  12VDC input > 5.0V regulator > 3.3V regulator, easily indicates blown fuse on hub or open circuit on power wires.

- Input Data LED: Indicates data present on the input lines to the controller.  Can also indicate data quality as the LED will emit a notable blink for each frame of data. (individual bits of data transmission are too fast to see)  so an LED with a slow blinking rate indicates a slow frame rate while a fast blinking (or nearly steady on) LED indicates a fast frame rate.  An LED which alternately blinks fast/slow or appears to be on and off intermittently may indicate a data transmission issue such as the show computer locking up or falling behind in sending data, or an intermittent contact in a data connector.

- Output Data LED: Indicates data present on the output lines of the controller.  Indicates data quality and integrity as detailed above.

- 6 Socket programming Header:  Not required for initial programming, but can be useful if repeated / multiple program events are needed.  Socket header eliminates exposed 'live' pins / chance of short circuit found on SSC models.



Currently there are a small number of hand etched, hand assembled boards being torture tested 24x7.  The next planned step is to have a small number of boards professionally etched and hand assembled for additional testing.  Depending on interest level, this could then lead to (per Dave's suggestion) a co-op of at least the basic boards, with possible optional upgrades depending on interest.

Please use this thread to ask questions.  If you wish to reply 'I'll take 10' - please enter that in the survey.

Enjoy!

Corey

« Last Edit: July 19, 2014, 09:09:42 AM by corey872 »
Corey
 2018 uSC, Afterburner, uAmp co-op - pending May-June 2018.  Remaining boards are now FOR SALE

Offline David Pitts

  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Join Date: Mar 2013
  • Location: Falcon, CO
  • Posts: 3,943
  • Kudos: 80
Re: Formally Introducing a New Controller - SC, Micro String Controller
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2014, 09:50:58 PM »
Awesome job Corey. That controller is sweet. I was really impressed with the 90 feet of various types of cables that were connected between controller and the lights. I was like OMG. :)
PixelController, LLC
PixelController.com

Offline danj

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Join Date: Oct 2013
  • Location:
  • Posts: 304
  • Kudos: 1
Re: Formally Introducing a New Controller - SC, Micro String Controller
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2014, 10:09:19 PM »
Corey:  Wow.  Great job.  Really great explanation on the video, too.  Thanks so much.  Looking forward to putting several of these to use this Christmas!!  One question for you--if I am reading correctly, this will have 12VDC input and will output 5VDC?  thanks.

Offline Skunberg

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Join Date: Aug 2013
  • Location:
  • Posts: 200
  • Kudos: 0
Re: Formally Introducing a New Controller - SC, Micro String Controller
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2014, 04:09:40 AM »
Not being from the ssc world, what is required upstream to the Pi or pc? And on the downstream side what pixels and voltages are supported?

Sent from my SCH-I545 using Tapatalk


Offline corey872

  • Supporting Member
  • ******
  • Join Date: Oct 2013
  • Location:
  • Posts: 490
  • Kudos: 16
    • Link to the sale...
Re: Formally Introducing a New Controller - SC, Micro String Controller
« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2014, 08:22:33 AM »
danj - I upgraded the initial post with a 'specifications' section.  In running the controller off the 5V rail of my ATX power supply, it performs the same as hooked to the 12V rail.  Not terribly surprising, since the first thing which happens on the board is to step 12V down to 5V.  But the test confirmed it!  The upper limit is set by the max Vin for the regulators, which is 16V.  So this should give an effective Vin operating range of 5-16VDC.

Skunberg - I also upgraded the initial post to reflect pixels supported.  I will keep it updated as more confirmations come in.  On the upstream side, you basically need 4 wires:  Data A, Data B (should be a shielded twisted pair), Power + and Power - (5-16V).  Obviously Cat5 works well for this.

Offline danj

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Join Date: Oct 2013
  • Location:
  • Posts: 304
  • Kudos: 1
Re: Formally Introducing a New Controller - SC, Micro String Controller
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2014, 08:28:58 AM »
Thanks Corey.  I will read the initiating post.  I can't find the poll, though.  Would like to put my name in for ordering some of these sweet controllers.  Can you point me to the poll?

Offline corey872

  • Supporting Member
  • ******
  • Join Date: Oct 2013
  • Location:
  • Posts: 490
  • Kudos: 16
    • Link to the sale...
Re: Formally Introducing a New Controller - SC, Micro String Controller
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2014, 08:55:30 AM »
Sure - there are links to the video and poll just under the pictures, but here is the link again:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/5GD6KVC

Please note - just to be clear, this is only to gauge interest, this is not actually ordering or confirming an order at this time.

Offline danj

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Join Date: Oct 2013
  • Location:
  • Posts: 304
  • Kudos: 1
Re: Formally Introducing a New Controller - SC, Micro String Controller
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2014, 09:00:20 AM »
Thanks Corey.  I provided my inputs.  Appreciate your work on this!

Offline twooly

  • Supporting Member
  • ******
  • Join Date: Oct 2013
  • Location:
  • Posts: 1,115
  • Kudos: 12
Re: Formally Introducing a New Controller - SC, Micro String Controller
« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2014, 12:36:30 PM »
Awesome job I'll fill out the survey tonight.

Offline RichM

  • Supporting Member
  • ******
  • Join Date: Mar 2013
  • Location: Colorado Springs, CO
  • Posts: 307
  • Kudos: 0
Re: Formally Introducing a New Controller - SC, Micro String Controller
« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2014, 02:12:57 PM »
Survey taken.  Your demo video looks great!

Offline pk

  • Falcon Beta Team
  • **
  • Join Date: Mar 2013
  • Location: Arvada, COLORado
  • Posts: 151
  • Kudos: 1
Re: Formally Introducing a New Controller - SC, Micro String Controller
« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2014, 03:38:34 PM »
Looks great.  Survey taken.  Are you using a low drop regulator for the +5?

Offline tlh

  • Supporting Member
  • ******
  • Join Date: Jul 2013
  • Location: Flowood, MS
  • Posts: 64
  • Kudos: 0
Re: Formally Introducing a New Controller - SC, Micro String Controller
« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2014, 05:32:09 AM »
Thanks, Corey, for an awesome controller.  Survey completed. 
Terry

Offline rdebolt

  • Supporting Member
  • ******
  • Join Date: Aug 2013
  • Location: Boise, ID
  • Posts: 554
  • Kudos: 3
    • Christmas in Boise
Re: Formally Introducing a New Controller - SC, Micro String Controller
« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2014, 08:59:59 AM »
Awesome job Cory! Survey taken.


Roger

Offline JerryPlak

  • Supporting Member
  • ******
  • Join Date: Jul 2013
  • Location: Sunbury, OH
  • Posts: 608
  • Kudos: 2
Re: Formally Introducing a New Controller - SC, Micro String Controller
« Reply #13 on: March 27, 2014, 08:25:37 PM »
Survey taken:  Awesome job Cory!!
Jerry Plak

Offline corey872

  • Supporting Member
  • ******
  • Join Date: Oct 2013
  • Location:
  • Posts: 490
  • Kudos: 16
    • Link to the sale...
Re: Formally Introducing a New Controller - SC, Micro String Controller
« Reply #14 on: March 30, 2014, 09:36:14 AM »
Thanks to all who have answered the survey so far.   https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/5GD6KVC if you haven't yet answered but want to enter your info.

The survey has been live for just a bit over a week and we have about 750 basic boards requested given the responses so far.  About 2/3 of those would be upgraded by the user in some way.  There were also requests for approximately 350 boards fully preassembled with the options.

I knew in throwing the survey together so quickly, there would be some ambiguity, so I'm not sure if that translates to 750 basic plus 350 fully optioned/preassembled, or if that would be 750 total, of which 350 would be requested fully optioned/preassembled.  I tend to suspect the "plus" option, though hate to count chickens before hatching!

Either way, 750 or 1100 should get us in the range of some very nice 'volume' discounts, so  I'm working to get board fab, assembly, and part prices based on those general levels of purchase.

Thanks again to all who responded so far!

 

Back to top