The completed music server remote track/artist/album display.
I use Pandora and Spotify a lot–typically from 7 in the morning until 11 at night. I got frustrated with the Spotify and Pandora apps on my Pixel 2 and their inability to find and control my Chromecast Audio players reliably. I also wanted a quick way to identify new songs or artists I heard without having to find my phone and open an app.
To solve these problems, I moved my music playing ecosystem to Linux and installed a wired Dante digital audio network for audio distribution. Finally I built a retro 14-segment, scrolling, always-on LED display that I could quickly glance at to discover what song was playing without having to find my phone and open an app.
The completed RS-422 / RS-485 shield for the Automation Direct P1AM-100 open source PLC.
The RS-422 / RS-485 shield is an open source shield designed to add RS-422 and RS-485 communication capabilities to the ProductivityOpen family of open-source programmable logic controllers (PLC’s) from Automation Direct. It’s loosely based on the Arduino MKR RS-485 shield but updated to use an ADM2582E 3.3 V isolated RS-485 transceiver from Analog Devices. The completed shield fits inside the P1AM-PROTO prototyping enclosure.
Inside my first add-on module for the P1AM-100 open source PLC. Two optically-isolated inputs, two relay outputs, a display, a half-duplex RS-485 transceiver, and a serial EEROM with a MAC address for the Ethernet module. The enclosure and headers are included in the P1AM-PROTO prototyping module. Not shown is the lid of the enclosure.
In January 2020, Automation Direct launched their ProductivityOpen family of open-source programmable logic controllers (PLC’s). The first controller in the series, the P1AM-100, is based on the Microchip ATSAMD21 microcontroller and programmed using the Arduino development environment. To encourage development, they launched a prototyping module alongside the controller. The prototyping module consists of a piece of perfboard, the required connectors, and a housing.
I was already familiar with Automation Direct and their PLC and pneumatic products after building my crate beast and zombie containment unit Halloween props a few years ago. I was intrigued by this new controller from a familiar company, the CPU selection, and the possibility of building my own modules that could tie in to the controller for future projects. I set out to build a couple of add-on modules but first needed to take a closer look at the controller and its available add-ons.
A 24-count, gel-filled fiber cable is terminated inside this small splice enclosure. The splice enclosure is then placed inside the underground vault to await connections to drop fibers to people’s homes.
Welcome to part four of my blog post on the construction and installation of the Fort Collins Connexion municipal broadband fiber network. In part three, we looked at the installation of service at my friend Collin’s house. In part four, we’re returning to my neighborhood and documenting the final construction steps before service goes live on my street.
Playing around with the DMX FeatherWing, a Particle Ethernet FeatherWing, an Adafruit Feather M0 Basic Proto, the official Nanoleaf DMX interface, and a Nanoleaf Aurora tile. The GUI on the iPad tells the Feather M0 which light program to run. The program output is sent via DMX-512 to the Nanoleaf setup.
This project uses an Adafruit Feather M0 Basic Proto board to control a group of Color Kinetics or other RGB light fixtures using the DMX-512 protocol. We’ll build a DMX-512 interface FeatherWing then connect it to the Feather M0 using a Particle Ethernet FeatherWing. Once the hardware is built and assembled, we’ll write software with a web-based GUI to generate RGB lighting effects and control the attached RGB lights using the DMX protocol. By modifying the software on the Feather M0, different effects can be generated and added to the web-based GUI.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.