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BETA testers for the µSC...

Started by corey872, March 24, 2014, 11:54:09 AM

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As an update on the micro or 'µSC' project:  A hand-made alpha version has shipped out to Dave today.  So we should have some additional input soon.  Also, I've sent off an order to get a small number of professionally etched boards which I will then hand assemble. 

I'm looking to get a few beta testers across the widest array of hardware and nodes possible.  I've been torture testing the alpha versions 24x7 for the past several weeks with 100' of Cat5 to the controller and 90' of various cords, cables, and jumpers from the controller to the first node, as seen in the demo video.  This was done using a DLA hub with TM1804 and TM1809 nodes, so those combinations as well as basic functionality are pretty well confirmed.

Mainly looking to test / confirm compatibility with other hardware/nodes now.  So if anyone is willing to make a test on the WS281X, INK100X, pixabulbs, any of the 5V strings? etc, list the hardware you can test on and I will PM the 'winners' to exchange address and get the boards out – which will likely be in a few weeks.

So, if you're willing to take this controller for a test drive and report back, post the hardware and nodes you can test across and we can go from there!


List of changes incorporated from alpha / beta versions into the production run

- The two octagon pads for each LED mounting will be changed to 1 square, 1 octagon to further clarify polarity

- 5 position ICSP (firmware programming) header changed to 6 position.  Provides better compatibility with the male pin header adapter included with the PICKit, and pin 1 / pin 6 can be jumpered as a second method to evoke test mode.

- Add additional silk screen graphics to clarify input / output pad designations.
- Add additional silk screen graphics to the top of the board because the installed wires cover the pad designations on the bottom of the board.

- Board size reduced to 1.24 x 0.69.  (12% smaller compared to beta version)

- 'Pin 1' of the ICSP header will be denoted with a square pad, a white box and the numeral "1" - 'Pin 6' is identified with a '6'.

- Apply 'Test mode any time' mod so user does not need to cycle power to enter test mode.

Roger DeBolt

Be glad to test out for you, but I do not have anything 5 volt. Most of my stuff is DLA as well.



I'd be happy to test.  I've got ws2811 rectangles,nodes.  TM1804 nodes, TM1809 Flex strips, TM1804 rectangles, and here soon Ill have some pixabulbs.  All 12v from a DLA hub.


I have some 5V 2811 60/meter flex strips,  12 v 1804 strings, 12 v1809 strips, 12 V square and rectangular nodes.  I have DLA hardware and a Falcon 16 that I ran last season operating in split (5V/12V) mode


I have 4 WS2811 flexstrip arches that I could test with.  Everything else I have is TM1804 and TM1809.
Jim Nealand
Kennesaw, GA all Falcon controllers, all 12v Master Remote Multisync with Pi and BBB P10 and P5


I have WS2811 nodes, WS2811 strips, pixabulbs, minleon (you aren't supporting those though), TM1809 nodes, will be ordering a number of other items to assemble other elements from.  Will be including those 5v strobe strings Ray has now that we have a pixelnet compatible one.


Thanks to everyone who responded so far.   Based on the 5 responses, I should be able to send each of you one controller to try out.  There will be some overlap between hardware, but nothing wrong with that.  It will be good to get as many eyes / as much experience with this controller as possible.

If you have a few free minutes and want to PM me a shipping address, I will keep it until the controllers are ready to go.

Thanks for the willingness to test and report!

Steve Gase

I'm not monitoring the forum as regularly as I sometimes do...

If you need another beta tester, I have the following:

TM180x square (3 and 4 led), rectangle, smart string pixels, flex, technicolor
WS2811 Technicolor, balls
WS2811 5v 8x16 panels (I keep the data signal and swap out the 12v with 5v power on SSC and Falcon controllers)

also, I'll test with falcon and DLA hubs.  |  110K channels, 50K lights  |  Nutcracker, Falcon, DLA, HolidayCoro


I have enough boards to send one to each person on the list.  I'm expecting to have the beta boards going out soon - likely they will go in Thursday's mail.

Here are some points for the beta boards:

- I will assemble these as the 'basic board' which means all SMT components will be already mounted. (just like they will come in the formal orders) 
- I will program the PIC and give a quick test before they leave to confirm basic functionality.
- I will include at least some components of the 'upgrade kit', but you can add them so you get somewhat of a feel for the process.  I'll try to put together at least some basic documentation for that in the next few days.
- You will need to add the 4 input / 3 output wires - again I will try to make a quick document for working with the solder pads.

- LEDs: You can add up to 4 indicating LEDs on the board:  Rx (DIN) data, Tx (DOUT) data, PIC Signaling (SIG) and Power (PWR).  To reduce costs, complexity and save board space, I chose an LED which has a built in current limit resistor.  Downside is, they only come in three colors, R, G, Y, so you'd generally need to double up on one color.  For the co-op, I've sourced a blue LED which will work in the PIC signal slot.  It's about 3x the cost of the others, but we're talking 90 cents vs 30, so if you HAVE to have 4 different colors, it will be available in the co-op.

Please post all your results, questions, comments, etc back to this thread. Specifically interested in:

- Functionality with various hubs...DLA, Falcon, etc (should work with all)
- Nodes which you find it does / doesn't work with (should run anything an 'SSC' will - maybe a few others due to better data)
- Any extended µSC-to-first-node distances you try. (for your show, always keep as close as practical...but if you want to experiment...)
- Any other thoughts / questions / issues you note. 

I've had a couple of 'test mules' grinding away in the basement for close to 1000 hours now, so the board itself should be sound.  But will be interesting to see how they interface with other systems 'in the wild'.


Sounds GRRRRREEAATTT!  to quote a famous tiger.

I'll be out of town for work most likely when it comes in, so be a few days before I can test in the wild on a few items.  If I recall correctly, Dave had the software supporting the TLS3001 chips in some device, was it the uSSC, or the new Falcon X16G2 SS LR UC controller being designed?



Awesome good timing, pixabulbs should be here beginning of next week so more to test with :)


CELEBRATE!  The betas are on the way. 


Jim Nealand
Kennesaw, GA all Falcon controllers, all 12v Master Remote Multisync with Pi and BBB P10 and P5


Got my board and just wanted to make sure I have it right.

Input side of the board is the side with the test switch.  I see the --, ++.  Is 0 = data ?(Data 1 in DLA boards) and 0W = data ?(Data 2 in DLA boards)?
Output are the markings on the back correct --,++,DAT(I assume data)?


I think this rendering is essentially what you are looking at:

Yes, the 'input' side has the test switch and the 4 pads, output is 3 pads. (I might see if there is enough room to squeeze that label in, too)

The "O" is for 'orange' wire and "OW' is 'white/orange tracer'.  I thought that might be easier for people to follow in general because it actually describes the wire color rather than "1" and "2".  Though if you go back to the Cat5 diagrams, white/orange tracer is "1" and orange is "2" - so that would be the equivalent on DLA boards. (with 3, 4 and 5 being positive and 6, 7 and 8 negative)

Still some work to do, but this will be a little closer to the production format.  Hopefully clarifies the pads a bit.  (yes, the output markings on the back are correct and the '--' negative does swap places from side to side. (since negative is the entire ground plane of the board, the solder pad location was changed from 'straight across' (like the positive) so the data pad could have a straight shot off of the board instead of requiring that trace to meander across the board.


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