AC Dimmer Board

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See PIC DMX Development.

Overview

The AC Dimmer board is a six channel DMX compliant dimming unit. It has the capability to dim resistive loads up to ~300 Watts (untested), and with modification, much more. Each unit has a hard coded DMX start address and responds to the 6 addresses starting with the start address. The device uses the pinout used on the Philips Color-Kinetics lights, which is considered the "standard" way to pass DMX over RJ-45.

History

The AC dimmer board was designed for Rush 2011 to control ~35 strands of christmas lights in sync with music. The electrical hardware and firmware was designed by Isaac Gutekunst. The MDF enclosure was designed by Robert Johnson. This device has also been called the "Magic Isaac Box."

Computer Interface

A USB to DMX interface was also completed as part of this project. It is a simple FTDI based UART with a RS-485 compliant line driver with an RJ-45 jack.

3rd Party Software

The interface is compatible with the "Enttec OpenDMX" interface, making it supported by both FreeStyler and Q Light Controller.

Custom Python Library

Additionally a small python program was developed for custom control. The python program was mostly a hack to let us control the lights from python. It uses python-libftdi to control the USB-DMX interface. A more usable driver/library is currently being developed.

Useful Resources

Versions

Future Plans

This device does not exist.

Planned Improvements

These improvements may be added slowly, and get pushed ahead to newer versions

  • Heat Sinked and separate Triacs
  • Wireless (using nRF24L01 chip)
  • Selectable termination, potentially software definable
  • Better silkscreen
  • New MCU, maybe
  • Built in Buck from mains, so now bulky transformer is needed
  • Easily adjustable DMX start address with readout
  • Non DMX protocal
  • Ethernet/Wifi (unlikely)

Derivatives

  • Single or Two Channel Device (potentially wireless)
  • Multi-Phase device for serious load dimming