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Angel of Rust

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Posts: 270
Reply with quote  #181 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Insaniac99
You have amazing timing, I was thinking about trying to build controls and if you make kits available I'd gladly do that rather than re-invent the wheel.


I am looking forward to getting some kits ready to go in the next month or so. I am adding a post today outlining what I have in mind. Hopefully, people here will find it useful and do some amazing things.

Angel of Rust

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Posts: 270
Reply with quote  #182 
UPDATE:

PCBs for the controller boards arrived yesterday. Assembly went very smoothly and the initial testing was a breeze. I took the DMX-reading / panel communications code from the Block III main controller and stripped out the keypad and lights stuff. After plugging it in with the other panels, everything worked just like before. Therefore, the master control functionality checks out. The last steps will be to verify control panel functionality and design a proper housing.

PHOTOS:

common control board on a cast iron skillet, ready to cook (re-flow):
20190202_185422 - Copy.jpg 
fully-cooked:
20190202_190052 - Copy.jpg 
through-hole parts added:
20190202_210546 - Copy.jpg 
20190202_211522 - Copy.jpg

Plugged in for testing with Artemis (green LEDs from top to bottom: power, transmit to control panels, DMX receive from Artemis):
20190203_000839 - Copy.jpg 
comparison with prototype Block III control board and slightly-less-prototype-but-could-use-some-refinement Block III control board:
20190202_211833 - Copy.jpg 

Angel of Rust

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Posts: 270
Reply with quote  #183 
ideas for kits:

Here is what I have in mind for the ACP3 control panel kits. The kits will come in three levels:

Level I: wiring schematics, PCB design files, Arduino code, and data tables -- this level is for bridge builders who want to build everything from scratch, but would like some guidance on some of the electronics details that I worked out on this project. Everything will be provided either here or in another online repository. No cost to the bridge builder.

Level II: control boards and panel developer boards -- this level is for bridge builders who would like the ease-of-use of the centralized controllers, but want to implement their own button layouts and designs. The hardware for these kits will include a built controller board, ribbon cables with  connectors, and three panel boards (see shift register photo below). There is a nominal cost to cover parts, assembly, and shipping. The boards from this level are essentially the starting point to how I built the Block III panels featured in earlier posts.

Level III: control boards and control panel kits -- this level is for bridge builders who want to drop in functional controls in the least amount of time possible. The kits will include a built controller board and housing, ribbon cables with connectors, control panel boards, and faceplate parts. For back-lit panels, the bridge builder will need to paint the pre-cut acrylic faceplate and mount the edge LEDs. All electronic parts are provided. Acrylic housings and faceplates are provided. Paint, furniture, and any other design decisions outside of the functional buttons fall to the bridge builder. Cost will cover parts, board assembly, and shipping. Paint and final assembly labor are not included.

Photos:

Control board (Level II):
20190202_211522 - Copy.jpg 

panel development board (Level II):
20180310_100603 - Copy.jpg 
Example of a panel development board mounted in a custom-built control panel (Engineering preset control):
20180310_194612 - Copy.jpg

Insaniac99

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Posts: 3
Reply with quote  #184 
That's really cool.  If you PM me when you are ready to sell Level IIIs, I'd gladly be one of your first customers.  The time savings of it would be great and I'd happily help spread the word to other groups.
e4mafia

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Posts: 199
Reply with quote  #185 
Angel you continue to amaze!!! What are you using for your ribbon cables? Are you crimping your own connectors or do you have an easy source for them otherwise?

Also, are the shift registers a workaround to the limited inputs of the teensy?

Angel of Rust

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Posts: 270
Reply with quote  #186 
Quote:
Originally Posted by e4mafia
Angel you continue to amaze!!!



Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by e4mafia

What are you using for your ribbon cables? Are you crimping your own connectors or do you have an easy source for them otherwise?



I get the connectors from here: https://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/on-shore-technology-inc/101-106/ED10500-ND/2794212

This way, I can make them whatever length I want. Also, the parts are cheaper than assembled cables. It is part of the equation for hobbyists versus businesses. For most businesses in the US, saving labor is the priority, so pre-assembled cables probably make more sense. For hobbyists, saving material cost is the priority, so buying the parts makes more sense. Because these kits are a hobby for me rather than a business, I have a freer hand to do a combination of things that makes my job easier while still economizing materials.


Quote:
Originally Posted by e4mafia

Also, are the shift registers a workaround to the limited inputs of the teensy?



Yes and no. Having the shift registers greatly increases the number of lights and buttons I can control using the Teensy-LC. For example, with 6 pins (SRCLK, RCLK, OE, SER, read pin 1, read pin 2) I can control 64 LEDs and 16 buttons using my shift register boards. 3 of those pins are shared between panels, so it's really only 3 pins. Theoretically, the number of LEDs is endless, given a fast enough clock speed. However, my other motivation for having shift registers was to have modular control panels that had a relatively small number of wires to connect them to the common control board. Taken together, these two factors dramatically reduce the material cost over other commercially-available microcontrollers while limiting the number of wires between panels.





e4mafia

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Posts: 199
Reply with quote  #187 
Do you have a link to the male side of those connectors? I'm thinking they'll make a big difference on my design as well.

Angel of Rust

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Posts: 270
Reply with quote  #188 
Quote:
Originally Posted by e4mafia
Do you have a link to the male side of those connectors? I'm thinking they'll make a big difference on my design as well.



Here are some useful product links:
shrouded pin header:
https://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/on-shore-technology-inc/302-S101/ED1543-ND/2178422

socket connector:
https://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/on-shore-technology-inc/101-106/ED10500-ND/2794212

header connector (no socket - used to mount cables directly on board)
https://www.digikey.com/products/en?mpart=3040-10-00&v=1175

ribbon cable:
https://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/3m/3365-10-300/3M157815-100-ND/9478295

Make sure to check out the links at the bottom of each product page to find compatible parts and also different lengths of cable. I am buying the ribbons 100' at a time since I am planning to outfit a number of panels. Shorter lengths may be more appropriate for others. Since the ribbons are essentially using "in-the-case" logic signals, they are only good for very short lengths anyway.


Angel of Rust

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Posts: 270
Reply with quote  #189 
UPDATE:

Completed testing of the controller today. Everything checks out. The new controller is able to function as both the control panel processor and as the "master controller" (DMX interface/RS485 token manager), thereby reducing by 17% the number of controllers needed to outfit a bridge. Next steps are to design, build, and test the new control panels. I have the first of the new PCBs on order - it is a new navigation keypad for Helm. Should have it up and running in a week or so.

photos:

testing new controller using Helm panels:
20190208_215334 - Copy.jpg 
view of Block III Helm panels plugged into  ACP3 controller (new ribbon connections will be cleaner):
20190208_215735 - Copy.jpg 
build-out of first three ACP3 controllers -- with DMX interface on top, basic configuration on bottom:
20190209_172701 - Copy.jpg

e4mafia

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Posts: 199
Reply with quote  #190 
Quote:
Thanks everyone for the kind words. I had a great time hanging out with all of you! Definitely looking forward to doing it again. Also, if any of you are planning to go to GenCon, please let me know. It would be fun to get together for a bit and, who knows, even play a few rounds.


Wish I'd known you'd be there. I'm at gencon every year! My crew played a little Artemis too, over in LucasOil stadium. For a couple of them it was not only their first Gencon, but their first Artemis too. They loved it.
You (or anybody else on the boards for that matter) planning on going this year? I'll be there with one of my daughters. 


Angel of Rust

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Posts: 270
Reply with quote  #191 
Quote:
Originally Posted by e4mafia


Wish I'd known you'd be there. I'm at gencon every year! My crew played a little Artemis too, over in LucasOil stadium. For a couple of them it was not only their first Gencon, but their first Artemis too. They loved it.
You (or anybody else on the boards for that matter) planning on going this year? I'll be there with one of my daughters. 




I'm probably not going this year due to other commitments. It is definitely a good time. Looks like Director Krennic will need to build starship parts with someone else this year [frown]

IMAG1293 - Copy.jpg

Angel of Rust

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Posts: 270
Reply with quote  #192 
UPDATE:

The faceplate and PCB for the new navigation panel arrived, so I was able to assemble them and test my new ideas. I picked the nav panel to test because it has several features common to the new panels, but on a smaller scale. Also, I want to replace the old one with something a little more intuitive.

Lessons learned from this panel:
1. the holes for the buttons need to be a little bigger
2. the holes for the buttons need to be painted so they aren't illuminated when off
3. diffuse LEDs will likely work better than the narrow illumination LEDs I used in the first test.
4. laser etched, edge-lit acrylic will work for the faceplate, cutting to 1/3 the number of layers needed to assemble the face plate compared to previous iterations
5. squishy light-up buttons are working as advertised. They are less expensive and look better than the clicky buttons for this project.

Photos below:

faceplates as they arrived, ready for painting:
20190214_183030 - Copy.jpg 
painted the back of the faceplate using craft acrylic paint and a small foam roller:
20190214_235940 - Copy.jpg 
assembled PCB:
20190216_123232 - Copy.jpg 
view of back:
20190216_112407 - Copy.jpg 
faceplate with edge lights and buttons:
20190216_143829 - Copy.jpg 
panel assembled:
20190216_124259 - Copy.jpg 
plugged in, showing course program 4 (heading 270):
20190216_180250 - Copy.jpg 
distance 55:
20190216_180324 - Copy.jpg 
entering new course:
20190216_180458 - Copy.jpg

Angel of Rust

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Posts: 270
Reply with quote  #193 
UPDATE:

Housing design for controller boards is now complete. Assembly steps shown below.

no paint/clear housing and painted black housing:
20190309_192216 - Copy.jpg 
first step - get parts together. Clear acrylic pieces are painted black on the back side using craft acrylic paint and a foam roller:
20190309_191252 - Copy.jpg 
screw standoffs to bottom plate using screws:
20190309_191356 - Copy.jpg 
20190309_191403 - Copy.jpg 
insert bottom tabs of back plate into base plate and position PCB over standoffs, sticking RJ45 jacks through opening. Note: bumps on edges of PCB may need to be cut off using a hobby knife so that the housing will fit.
20190309_191455 - Copy.jpg 
20190309_191503 - Copy.jpg   
screw PCB to standoffs to secure board in-place: 
20190309_191959 - Copy.jpg 
insert bottom tabs of front plate and side plates, making sure to position side plate cut-outs towards the back:
20190309_192039 - Copy.jpg 
place top plate over side plates, adjusting as necessary to allow all top tabs to slide through top openings:
20190309_192119 - Copy.jpg 
slide side plates towards back to lock in-place. Clear tape can be used to secure side plates if loose:
20190309_192150 - Copy.jpg

Angel of Rust

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Posts: 270
Reply with quote  #194 
UPDATE:

Some of the parts arrived for the engineering preset key pad. Still waiting for new edge light assemblies.

20190309_222346 - Copy.jpg 
20190309_222249 - Copy.jpg

e4mafia

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Posts: 199
Reply with quote  #195 
I know I keep asking you a ton of questions, but where did you source the switches and buttons for the early versions of these panels? (Like back on page 1 of this thread?

Nevermind - found it back in post #29.

-bob
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