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New 20 channel WS281x pixel interface cape for BBB

Started by fauxton, March 23, 2022, 11:19:07 AM

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Hi folks, 

I've expanded on my success with the 4 channel BBB pixel driver cape and now have a 20 channel cape to offer.

This one does not have power distribution onboard.  On a system this size, it's advisable to handle power distribution on large external terminal blocks or other wiring solutions like DIN rail phoenix terminals.

I've added the OLED status display and navigation buttons.  There is a population option for the cape identification EEPROM.

This board has 6 opto isolated trigger inputs for adding off-board buttons or a receiver for a wireless remote.  This allows the simple use of any contact closure to give you a GPIO event to assign in FPP.  All inputs are hardware debounced for hassle free operation.  No extra resistors or wiring nonsense just to hook up a simple button!  No supply voltage is run off the board, ensuring safety of your controller.

I've employed the same tried and tested output circuitry with "selectable drive power" to maximize data stability on both short and long data wire runs.  This can even allow the use of less than ideal wire in most cases.  A simple DIP switch for each output selects high or low output impedance.  You can select high for longer or larger wires to ensure a strong enough signal at the far end, or dial it back to low to minimize ringing.  Use an oscilloscope to decide, or just see which is more stable on your install.  I've had extreme success with this system. 

The board has a built in WS2811 pixel for each data output, allowing easy monitoring of whether you have data going out when your pixels may not be in view from the controller location.

There are no separate grounds or clock outputs.  The controller ground is meant to be bonded at the pixel power distribution.  This ensures good ground topology.  2 terminals are supplied for both input power and ground to provide adequate connection locations.

This board has 2 driver outputs for each channel.  This is sort of a niche feature, but it was needed for my application.  It can allow mirroring to save channels if you have a prop that is only visible from one side at a time.

I design and manufacture boards for industrial controls as my day job, these boards are carefully designed to be as robust as reasonably possible.  They feature reverse supply voltage and overvoltage protection, in addition to the wide input voltage range of 9-32VDC.  The data outputs each have individual robust TVS protection which makes them extremely resilient through "wiring accidents" and water intrusion to the pixels or data wiring.  The BeagleBone gets it's own high-end 5v regulator separate from the data drivers.  Shorts on your output wiring won't cause unwanted reboots like you get on some shared power supply boards.

I'm offering these boards for sale (link in my signature) in hopes that they can carry some of us through the chip shortage while other controllers are not available.  I build the boards right at my shop here in Florida.  No outsourcing other than the blank PCBs

For those not familiar with using the BeagleBone as a controller, there is a lot of information on the forum to help.  FPP running on the BBB allows for just about every feature I have seen.  

I am also open to designing any other similar cape that the community would find useful.  I have the SMT equipment to keep up with any amount of demand.

Thanks for your time and I look forward to contributing to helping people get pixels connected to the great Falcon software
I am building pixel interface capes for BBB -


What is your web link?  I don't see your signature anywhere.


Looks like my signature was erased, I am checking to make sure there wasn't a reason for that, otherwise I'll put it back
I am building pixel interface capes for BBB -

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