PoE-Powered RGB LED Floodlight

Philip Color Kinetics ColorBurst 4 10 watt RGB LED flood light controlled and powered over the network.

Philip Color Kinetics ColorBurst 4 10 watt RGB LED flood light controlled and powered over the network.

Time for another PoE project! This project uses a Silvertel 802.3at Ag5300 PoE+ module with a built-in isolated 24 V DC/DC converter to power  a 10 W ColorKinetics ColorBurst 4 RGB LED floodlight. The Ethernet cable and light plug into a small power / control board and PoE+ powers the floodlight and Art-Net UDP packets control the light. If this were a real product, the power / control board would be integrated into the fixture and the Ethernet cable would then plug directly into the back of the light.

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on PoE-Powered RGB LED Floodlight

Fort Collins Connexion FTTH Construction – Part Three

After four years of hard work, hundreds of hours of volunteer time, and taking on and winning against one of the largest and most powerful corporations in the world, Colin got his Fort Collins Connexion gigabit fiber service installed today! Congratulations, Colin!

After four years of hard work, hundreds of hours of volunteer time, and taking on and winning against one of the largest and most powerful corporations in the world, Colin got his Fort Collins Connexion gigabit fiber service installed today! Congratulations, Colin!

Note: if you missed my first two posts on the Connexion construction process, here are links to part one and part two. Things have been pretty quiet in my neighborhood this past month and a half. The only activity since fiber was pulled in late December has been a few technicians digging around in vaults. In northeast Fort Collins neighborhoods, however, service is going live. Let’s take a closer look at having service installed.

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Fort Collins Connexion FTTH Construction – Part Three

PoE-Powered VFD Tube Clock

The completed and assembled PoE-powered vintage VFD tube clock.

The completed and assembled PoE-powered vintage VFD tube clock.

This is a vintage VFD tube clock that uses Ethernet for both power and data. The power is provided using 802.3at PoE+ and a Molex PD Jack that contains both integrated magnetics and a PoE Type 2 PD controller. The IP stack runs on a Microchip PIC18F67J60 microcontroller that has an integrated Ethernet MAC and PHY. The IP stack includes DHCP, DNS, NTP, and LLDP functionality.

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on PoE-Powered VFD Tube Clock

It’s an Ethernet-Powered Christmas Tree!


The lighted tree in the video above gets both the power and data for its RGB LED pixels using a single Ethernet cable. Power for the pixels is supplied from an Ethernet switch using the 802.3at PoE+ standard. Data for the pixels comes from software running on a PC that generates Art-Net packets at 40 Hz. Each Art-Net packet contains the RGB levels for all the pixels on the tree. Let’s take a closer look at the technical details and how this tree came into existence.

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on It’s an Ethernet-Powered Christmas Tree!

An Enclosure for the Dalibor Farny R|Z568M Nixie Tube

The finished project.

The finished project.

In the first post in this series, we designed a socket and driver board for a Dalibor Farny R|Z568M Nixie tube. In the the second post in this series, we designed a power supply and controller board for the Nixie tube. In the third and final post in this series, we’re going to design an enclosure to hold both boards and the Nixie tube.

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on An Enclosure for the Dalibor Farny R|Z568M Nixie Tube

A Controller for a Dalibor Farny R|Z568M Nixie Tube

power-data-works

The Nixie tube connected to the socket / driver board and the socket / driver board connected to the upside down power / controller board.

The first in this series of posts described building a socket and driver board for a Dalibor Farny R|Z568M Nixie tube and driving the tube using a power supply and Particle Photon from another Nixie project. This post covers building a power supply and controller board that mounts underneath the socket and driver board to power the Nixie tube and control the displayed digits.

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on A Controller for a Dalibor Farny R|Z568M Nixie Tube

A Socket for a Dalibor Farny R|Z568M Nixie Tube

I recently ordered one of Dalibor Farny’s R|Z568M Nixie tubes. I wanted to get the tube powered up and displaying digits so I designed a small circuit board to act as a socket and switch the anode and digit cathodes on and off. This board will connect later to another board containing a 170 volt power supply and a microcontroller via some headers. Read on to find out more about the design of the socket and switch board.

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on A Socket for a Dalibor Farny R|Z568M Nixie Tube

Reverse Engineering the iColor Flex Protocol

Hanging a bunch of iColor Flex LMX string lights on the house for Halloween.

Hanging a bunch of iColor Flex LMX string lights on the house for Halloween. These are quite visible even though it’s still daylight out!

Back in the early 2000’s–at least a decade before there were Neopixels or WS2812b LEDs–Color Kinetics introduced flexible color changing LED string lights. Each string contained fifty RGB color changing nodes. Each node contained an RGB LED and a custom ASIC. The nodes were strung along at either 4″ or 12″ spacing along a three conductor cable. The cable connected back to a power data supply that powered the nodes and translated the light level data from either DMX-512 or Ethernet UDP packets into the proprietary protocol used by the nodes. Today we’re going to reverse engineer that proprietary protocol.

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Reverse Engineering the iColor Flex Protocol

PIC16F1459 USB Volume Knob

The completed USB volume knob project. It uses an off-the-shelf knob and a PIC16F1459 microcontroller. The enclosure is 3D printed.

The completed USB volume knob. The 3D printed enclosure houses a custom board design, a PIC16F1459 microcontroller, and an optical encoder. The knob itself is an aluminum off-the-shelf component from TE Connectivity.

The PIC16F1459 is proving to be quite the versatile part when it comes to building USB devices. Previously, I’ve used it to upgrade my giant keyboard, various flavors of one-key keyboards, a USB-controlled industrial stack light, and an annoying CAPS LOCK warning buzzer.  In this project, I’m going to use the PIC16F1459 to build a USB volume knob that works similarly to the volume keys on some USB keyboards. Read on to find out more about the design of the USB volume knob.

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on PIC16F1459 USB Volume Knob

Updates to the Annoying CAPS LOCK Warning Buzzer

Some minor updates to the annoying caps lock warning buzzer.

Some new additions to the annoying caps lock warning buzzer (circled in green).

In my first post on the Annoying CAPS LOCK Warning Buzzer, I concluded with a list of future improvements to make to the project. Those updates are now implemented and the Annoying CAPS LOCK Warning Buzzer is more robust than ever. Read on to find out more about the improvements.

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Updates to the Annoying CAPS LOCK Warning Buzzer