View Full Version : Simple 32 Channel controller

09-21-2007, 04:46 PM
Getting a late start? Want a simple 32 Channel controller? No fancy stuff? Bare minimum? Minimum soldering and parts? No coops to wait on? Parts to your house in 4 days? Upgradeable to dimming later?

Note: This does NOT include any SSRs (Solid State Relays).

1) Build a standard FGDimmer field module using the Express PCB file below and the Mouser parts list below. (remember if you are using sinking SSRs, and most every one is, the long LED lead goes in the round pad and the short LED lead goes in the square pad). Install the shunts on 2, 3, and 4. Do not install a shunt on 1.

Here (http://web.olpdsl.net/firegod/Lights/32ch_r1.pcb) is the field module ExpressPCB file .

The software can be downloaded from www.expresspcb.com

The boards alone will cost $59.00 if you use the "Mini Board Service". The boards and parts for one module will cost you about $90.00 and you will have 2 extra boards left over for later expansion. If you build all three boards (96 channels total), it would cost about $140.00.


2) Get someone to program your PIC using the code below.

3) Buy a Normal CAT5 network cable and a 9 pin serial extension cable form the local office supply.

4) Buy a 5VDC wall transformer power supply from the local Radio Shack or other electronic store.

5) Cut the ends off all the power and network cables and strip back the insulation the wires. Cut the serial cable in half. Use the male end of the serial cable to find the wire colors for pins 3 and 5.

6) Connect the BLUE network cable wire to the ground of the 5VDC wall transformer AND pin 5 of the female side of the serial cable (use an ohm meter find the pin 5 wire color using the male half of the cable).

7) Connect the WHITE/GREEN network cable wire to the +5VDC wall transformer.

8) Connect the GREEN wire of the network cable to a 22k Ohm resistor and connect the other end of the resistor to the pin 3 wire of the of the female side of the serial cable (use an ohm meter find the pin 3 wire color using the male half of the cable).

9) Use electrical tape to insulate the connections.

10) Plug it all in and set up a Vixen sequence with a FGDimmer plugin for 32 channels. Set up the serial port for your COM port number and make the baud rate 9600. Select the "Using field module 1" check box and set the starting channel to 1. Then program and run your sequence.

Note: The LEDs will not illuminate unless SSRs are plugged in.

09-21-2007, 05:26 PM
FYI, this is not a dimmable controller. If you want dimming, you will need to build a PC interface. (see the "128 Channel PIC Dimmer System" topic)

This controller is on/off only. It will support 25 ms intervals with 32 channels.

Using USB to serial adapters, you can run several of them from one PC.