The perfect is the enemy of the good. -Voltaire
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I can't agree with you more... I have run into that very problem once during my testing (172 channels) and as far as I can tell, the error came from the computer. A lower baud rate seemed to remedy the problem though.
- Jon Proietti
How about a Kit 74 board(s)? They seem easy to hook up and have built in relays. Are these supported by Vixen? If so, what Vixen plug in would you use?
As long as you stay within the stated parameters then you should have no issues timing wise with an Arduino. If my memory serves me correct the PIC16F688 does one machine cycle every four clock periods. While the Atmel processors execute one machine cycle every two clocks. One the surface the AVRs seems to be a slightly faster processor.
As for LED dimming, as long as the base frequency of the PWM is above 150 Hz, you should have no problems with flickering while dimming LEDs. The flicker problems come when the base period is less than 100 Hz.