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Thread: Help design new AC controller

  1. #1
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    Default Help design new AC controller

    Hi everyone, so I am working on designing an AC controller that has triacs so it can be dimmed, similar to LOR or Renard. I may be selling these in the future or releasing files, so I thought I should ask you about how to design a few parts of it. So it will be using an atmega328p, the same chip that's in the arduino uno(Hopefully its fast enough). It will have both DMX and E131 inputs, and 16 120V AC outputs. I have just enough pins to have dip switches to select DMX address, and then 1 extra pin. I was planning on using this pin for a switch to select DMX or E131. But then we need some way to set ip address. I guess that will be a web page, but with no way to return back to the default IP with a button, you will need to look in your router's settings to find it. Is that a big problem? If it is, I can change that switch to a button that changes to a default IP, but then if you are using DMX, you will need to go to the webpage to select DMX or E131. And since you are using DMX it won't be connected to the network, so that would be a bit of a hastle to connect everything just to select DMX. Or I could just scrap the whole E131 thing since it wont be that useful anyways, and have 4 extra pins. One could be used for a status LED, but what about the others? Well there is 3 options and Im open to others, what do you think?

    Edit- Ill also need a name, so fire away.
    Last edited by Randomaker; 01-02-2021 at 06:43 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Help design new AC controller

    Any possibility of using an output as an input on power up? I've done that in the past where I check the status of the pin (setting to an input of course, internal pull up) and if its low it does its thing. If not, it sets it to be an output, and goes on with the execution.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Help design new AC controller

    With two pins you can connect a low cost OLED display for any type of status you want to provide.
    You can also go with a larger pin atmel processor and still run the arduino core, if that's what you are planning to do. (think arduino mega)
    You could force the config back to factory defaults by using the DMX dip switches set to all zero since that is an invalid DMX address to solve your 'lost' IP address issue.
    Finally, if you are going to utilize this group for design help, I'd like to suggest you open source the project.
    Most of this hobby is the fun of designing and sharing.
    A case in point are the wildly successful pixel stick controllers.
    Many variations, one software stack, and the core designs are open source.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Help design new AC controller

    Thats a good idea to set the IP to default, I didnt think of that. I may do that. Im already using i2c bus, so yes I could add a display without using any extra pins. If I have all dips off to return to default ip, is it worth the extra cost to add the screen though? The reason Im not using a 2560 (mega) is bc Im trying to stay to all tht components so anyone can build it. And yes, I am planning on making it open source once I build the first version to make sure this will even work.

    Edit- I guess I can make the screen optional, but that's another thing for an already underpowered (I think) arduino to do. But this project is for others as well as myself, so what do you think?
    Last edited by Randomaker; 01-02-2021 at 04:09 PM.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Help design new AC controller

    I find it utterly fascinating that this thread has started. Could it be that the allure of pixels has perhaps peaked and a desire to get back to basics and a simpler time is starting to arise?


    http://digwdf.org/store/
    Even though the DIGWDF Store has been closed for two years, it's still awesome!
    User guides, documentation and other files are still free and available for downloading.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Help design new AC controller

    To tell you the truth, I never used pixels and Im not a big fan of them. I think some pixels around windows and roofline look good, but shows that are all or mostly pixels just dont have the same feel as looking at normal christmas lights.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Help design new AC controller

    Quote Originally Posted by dirknerkle View Post
    I find it utterly fascinating that this thread has started. Could it be that the allure of pixels has perhaps peaked and a desire to get back to basics and a simpler time is starting to arise?

    Well, if it's a matter of going back to a simpler time, how about the Olsen controller or even the Hill-320? What's all this dimming nonsense, anyway?
    Phil

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Help design new AC controller

    Come on now. There are limits to ‘getting back to simple’.
    Live, Laugh, Love.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Help design new AC controller

    You think I have a parallel port on my PC? LOL

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Help design new AC controller

    Isn't there an option to 'overclock' the 328 ?
    Quote Originally Posted by Randomaker View Post
    Thats a good idea to set the IP to default, I didnt think of that. I may do that. Im already using i2c bus, so yes I could add a display without using any extra pins. If I have all dips off to return to default ip, is it worth the extra cost to add the screen though? The reason Im not using a 2560 (mega) is bc Im trying to stay to all tht components so anyone can build it. And yes, I am planning on making it open source once I build the first version to make sure this will even work.

    Edit- I guess I can make the screen optional, but that's another thing for an already underpowered (I think) arduino to do. But this project is for others as well as myself, so what do you think?

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