The PropController is an open source single-board hardware platform designed for lighting and prop control. Based on the Parallax Propeller microcontroller, the PropController has 24 I/O pins, can be powered by both AC and DC supplies. Some of things you could control with the PropController include AC Dimmers, Low Voltage DC LEDs, Pixel Strings, hobby servos, and even motors.
There are two versions of the PropController, RS-485/DMX and Ethernet. The DMX version features a galvanically isolated RS-485 half-duplex interface. The Ethernet version features the WizNet WIZ812MJ, which makes communicating via Ethernet easy. In addition, both versions are designed to be compact and have 4 mounting holes allowing it to be mounted into any enclosure.
Programming the PropController is easy with the on-board USB interface and Parallax's Propeller Tool (a free download from Parallax Inc). To give you a head start a Google Project site has been created to provide both pre-made hardware drivers and completed “program and play” projects. Since the PropController uses the Propeller microcontroller it is supported by a very active community of users at the Parallax forums. So if you have an idea but need help head over there.
HISTORY and PURPOSE
I wanted to create a DMX/Ethernet swiss army knife for the DIY Christmas community. I wanted to make something that anyone could learn and customize. Because the Propeller's development environment is free and well documented I'm hoping that not only will people learn to develop with the propeller but also the community will start to create daughterboards (with drivers). This will allow other members to use these building blocks to create a custom controller/dimmer.
This project is meant to be a development platform and not a finished product. What that means is you must either be willing to write the code for this device yourself or find someone who will. As finished projects are created I will post them to the google project site for others to use.
• Holiday lighting displays
• Special FX and props
• Show Control and automation
• Parallax Propeller 8 core microcontroller
• RS-485/DMX or Ethernet Interface
• 4 General I/O headers (4 data pins, 5V, 3.3V, Vin, Gnd)
• 1 Special I/O header (4 data pins, 5V, 3.3V, Vin, Gnd, I2C, TTL)
• USB Programming Interface
• On-board Zero-Cross sensing
• Bicolor Status LED
• Low Voltage AC and DC power input (6 to 9 V)
• Screw Terminal Power connectors
• Molex KK I/O connectors
• 3.3V and 5V voltage regulators
• 5V regulator provide 1 full amp of power for external hardware
• Compact size: 5.25” x 3.00”
• Free Development environment
• Forward or reverse phase Dimming
• LED Dimming
• Ethernet to multi-universe DMX node or protocol converter
...and any combination of the above.
Latest Code and Files
I've moved everything to a central location so as to avoid cluttering the forum with posts. Code and schematics will live at http://code.google.com/p/propcontroller/.
I have a small number of boards left over from a recent order. If you are interested in this project and would like boards please PM me.