Calling all DIY LED "Junkies" - Your opinions wanted!
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Old 07-11-2012, 10:09 PM   #1
O2surplus
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Calling all DIY LED "Junkies" - Your opinions wanted!


I was bored to death at work today, so I designed this just to keep my brain busy and pass the time. It's a 4 channel LED driver- that's very similar to ones that I built in the past, but with a new twist. I integrated a micro-controller/ real time clock into the design that will allow full programmable control of each channel. The controller features an I2C connection that will enable multiple driver boards to be connected together to communicate with, and act as slaves to a "master controller," or simply wired up to leds and left to run a user defined LED dimming "sketch". The controller is programmed using the standard ARDUINO IDE. I see this design being a really great way to have high resolution control over large groups of leds, or as a "stand alone" driver contoller for Nano Tank led builds. I personally have 90 leds over my tank being driven and controlled in groups of 30. This set up leaves me with only 3 channels of control. If I built this design, I'd have 15 channels of control to play with and be able to create seriously high resolution dimming and other lighting effects. Does anyone else see a value to this design? Thoughts?

Here's a photo/schematic of the driver


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Old 07-12-2012, 01:15 AM   #2
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I'd use it.

I can see how this is going to go. I'm going to be upgrading my fixture every six months.
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Old 07-12-2012, 02:43 AM   #3
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This would work really well with one of the "full spectrum" builds, particularly when dialing in good color rendering. Sounds like you could pretty much fine tune it like a stage light board to shift color intensities over time so you could have a nice crisp noon sun color, then fade in some deeper ambers and reds at sunset. It'd be a neat effect.

I wonder if you could program a few fast pulses for a brief thunderstorm sequence. Do you have that degree of time resolution?
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Old 07-12-2012, 02:47 AM   #4
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You can really do anything, if you can code it. Coding is the hard part. Well, once O2Surplus does the rest for us. In other words, the arduino controls everything the electronics do. Rey just do what they are told by the arduino, so you have to code it to do whatever.
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Old 07-12-2012, 03:18 AM   #5
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Can You guys think of anything else I should add? I'm thinking that I'll add a transistor to switch the 12v output off/on. That way cooling fans can be controlled directly and can be programmed to follow the Off/on times of the LEDS. I"m also thinking that I should "breakout" more pins on the micro-controller chip so that all the analog inputs can be addressed and used. I can see a situation where someone may want to add a temp sensor to their LED rig, measure Ph, or add an LCD display. I guess the possibilities are only limited by ones imagination. I just want this gadget to be as feature packed as possible before I pull the trigger and order the PCB's
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Old 07-12-2012, 03:33 AM   #6
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Oh in that case, CO2 control would be great. Simple as a relay, that. Auto water change system/top off.
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Old 07-12-2012, 04:45 AM   #7
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Don't you think the master should have a lcd screen? My ideal all in one would have:

Lcd
Buttons for menu nav.
Four drivers
Full Dimming, Sunrise/sunset on all strings
Movie mode (something like dimmed lights and back to normal after 2.5 hours)
Moonlight Control (Just an override for a daylight string to come on at night too)
Co2 control by timer, just low voltage, not 120V
Fan control by fixture temp

Not sure how practical all those requests would be, but ideally, the expansion would just have more driver strings. Have a Plug it in and go. I'd like to hear how the controller would work for expansion.

Is adding more strings in the code as simple as copying the code from the other strings and giving it a new designation or something along those lines? It would be nice if it was pre-programmed for a bunch of channels, like 12 or 20 separate strings.

Neat concept. I hope you make a few, whatever the final design.
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Old 07-12-2012, 05:33 AM   #8
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I'm thinking that I'll probably keep this driver/ controller combo fairly simple or "modular" for some important reasons-Mainly, reliability and serviceability . The driver could simply be replaced in the event of a failure, rather than having to take down the entire "Tank Controller" and it's associated sub systems. I think It would be best thing to do as the more complicated tasks should be handled by a dedicated controller. This driver could just be configured as a "slave" to the dedicated controller. It would carry it's own programming and be made to function autonomously, and merely "report back" to the "master controller" via the "2 wire" I2C communication protocol. The "Master Controller" could then be made with all the "Bells and Whistles"and either be made from scratch or from a existing Arduino UNO and appropriate "shields".

I'm going to redesign the PCB to include what will amount to an ARDUINO PRO MINI + an DS1307 RTC on the board. All the pins on the Atmega 328 will be accessible, so that the end user will be able to go either "mild or wild" with additional connections and complexity. I'm not very good at writing code, so I'm not much help there, but I'll make sure the hardware connections are available for the coding "experts" to take advantage of.
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Old 07-14-2012, 07:06 PM   #9
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So, I took my original design back to the drawing board, made a few changes, and came up with this- ( the board measures 80mm x 100mm)






I think this design has all the the elements needed to go from "mild to wild" with an LED build. Too many many features to list, but here's a partial rundown:

16 MHz ATMEGA 328P-AU micro-controller on board w/ ALL pins "Broken out for connections"

DS1307 "Real Time Clock" w/ back-up battery.

Standard "FTD1 Connection" on board (for programming purposes)

I2C connection ( for "2 wire communication" with other I2C enabled devices )

12 volt, 1.5 amp Voltage regulator ( for powering cooling fans ect..)

5 volt, 1.5 amp Voltage regulator ( provides power to Atmega 328 and CAT4101 led drivers.)

6 OnSemi CAT4101 led Constant current Regulators w/ up to 1000ma output.( will drive 6 - 8 leds per string, provided total led Vf does not exceed 25 volts.)

Analog current control for each CAT4101 ( 50ma - 1000ma adjustable )

Independent PWM dimming capability on a 6 CAT4101's.


I'm going to order a batch of these, build a few for myself, and retrofit them into my existing LED lighting system. I'll let you guys know how they perform.
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Old 07-14-2012, 07:48 PM   #10
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Wow great design looks like this may be your masterpiece. You have really progressed past the early designs on RC. Independent led string control, relay control for stuff like Co2, Temp, and expandability. All the hardware is in place. I'm sure the sketches are already there that could be modified and cobbled together. Great job! I'm looking forward to the build. Subscribed.
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Old 07-14-2012, 08:13 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pickled_Herring View Post
Wow great design looks like this may be your masterpiece. You have really progressed past the early designs on RC. Independent led string control, relay control for stuff like Co2, Temp, and expandability. All the hardware is in place. I'm sure the sketches are already there that could be modified and cobbled together. Great job! I'm looking forward to the build. Subscribed.

Hey thanks for the compliments! This is the biggest PCB that the "Free-ware" version of EAGLE will allow. I had a lot of "fun" trying to cram all of the needed components into that space. I went with 6 CAT4101's since that is the maximum number of PWM outputs available on the ATMEGA 328. The CAT's may require additional heat sinking, but that's an easy fix, as I already have a few CPU coolers laying around. I'm sure there's plenty of Arduino "Sketches" already available that can make this driver to some really cool things, so I'll be searching for that while I wait for the PCB's to arrive.
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Old 07-15-2012, 01:35 AM   #12
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I really look forward to seeing one in action from what you told me this is insanely promising
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Old 07-16-2012, 06:25 AM   #13
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That's excellent - this will allow for so much control! Much better than having a stand cluttered with jiggered-up gizmos. Also having the analog option is very convenient. That way you can use whichever dimmable driver you prefer with this. My issue with the Inventronics driver was that it was analog control. The only controller I could find was the DIM4 on LEDgroupbuy - a great unit but expensive. Great work!
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Old 07-16-2012, 05:41 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theblondskeleton View Post
That's excellent - this will allow for so much control! Much better than having a stand cluttered with jiggered-up gizmos. Also having the analog option is very convenient. That way you can use whichever dimmable driver you prefer with this. My issue with the Inventronics driver was that it was analog control. The only controller I could find was the DIM4 on LEDgroupbuy - a great unit but expensive. Great work!

I think there may be misunderstanding with regards to how the "Analog Dimming" works with this driver. The CAT4101 IC normally uses a "Sense resistor" ( labeled RSense in the chips spec) to set it's upper current limit. The Chip can output up to 1000ma maximum, and that is set by installing a 549ohm resistor between the "RSense" pin and ground. This is how the driver is normally set up. If one wished to run the chip at 700ma instead of 1000ma, they'd have to install a 768ohm resistor instead of the 549ohm unit. I found this method of setting the current very cumbersome, so I installed a 10k trimmer pot inline with a 549 ohm resistor. This makes the output current fully adjustable ( 50 - 1000ma ) and there's no further need to desolder/solder resistors to change the output current. With 6 CAT4101's on board, this driver will be able to handle up to 150 watts worth of leds, that's 6 - 8 3W leds per channel or 36 -48 3W leds per driver board. The beautiful part of this driver is, once the maximum current per channel is set, (using the Analog current Pots) Each of the six channels can be programmed to dim via PWM signals provided by the on board Arduino microcontroller.
I put in the order for the PCB's and they're already in production,so I should have them in my hands in a week or so. I'm going to build 3 of them for my own use and then maybe pass out a few to people with coding experience, that will hopefully be able to show us all - How to take full advantage of this design. I'm a total NOOB with coding so I could use the additional help. ( This is code speak- for getting "SINK" to chime in )
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Old 07-16-2012, 05:53 PM   #15
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O2 have you posted the Eagles anywhere yet?
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