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Topic: DMX to arduino to RGB LED sequencer or similar (Read 2059 times) previous topic - next topic


I need to program 50+ lights in some interesting ways that I think DMX would be the easiest to see what I want.  But I only need that to program what I want, then, offline, I'd like to either embed or upload the sequence to the arduino for manual control (start sequence x, stop sequence y).

I'm sure someone out there has had some experience in this.  I'm done color cycling and I'm ready to move on to creating a light show.  I want to use DMX to visualize it, then ??????? to serialize what I've defined as individual sequences, then manually tell the arduino/5050/ws2801 strips to do stuff.

any suggestions?


I think your choice would depend on how you want this stuff layed out physically. If the led strips are coming off of a single arduino/5050/ws2801 location and in close proximity then you could just send the sequences you want to the arduino over serial connection. However, if you wanted to control the lights from a more distant location, like from a sound board control area to a stage then you would need something that can send over longer distances. If that is the case that is very much like the project I am working on now. As you mentioned dmx was made for this.

The approach I took was to use rs485 via the max485 chip in order to send commands to a distant arduino which in turn tells a local tlc5940 chip which leds I would like turned on/off. I believe dmx is rs485 at a serial speed of 250,000. I was actually able to put my serial connection at 2,000,000 and it worked without a problem.For the protocal I used the easytransfer library. I don't actually have a remote arduino, but the atmega328 chip it uses. I was able to get the atmega328, the max485, and the other minor components needed to implement the remote node for about $3 total.

What is nice about rs485 is you can just drop any of these nodes on the 2 wire network and they just work. I'm a total newb and this was a suprisingly easy solution for me. The easytransfer library takes care of all the technical details of the protocal. From my pc I have programmed sequences which I send to my master from the pc via serial, which then in turn sends the sequence to all the nodes I have on the network. So far I have 4 nodes placed spaced about 20' apart for a total of 64 leds and I feel I could drop in many more no problem. The easytransfer protocol with serial speed set to 250,000 or higher is also very fast. If I instruct the leds to turn on and off in a loop with no delay put in they are pretty much a solid color with no flicker. If this was the kind of thing you were looking for I could share my project details with you.


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