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February 29, 2012
about 3 years ago
I ordered the El-Sequencer a few weeks ago and have been playing with it. It took replacing my board once and trying a few different things to get it working properly (mostly my own lack of understanding), so here are my experiences and recommendations.
You can find a more detailed document with pictures and my source code in my Git repository:
I branched off the El_Escudo code, which supports fading, and also have included the code from Diana Eng’s Fashion Blog which I had the most luck with. I’ve added cross-fading support and an example, and various #define options. Have been running the cross-fading code for about a day on eight strands.
I recommend soldering a wire to connect HVGND to VCC, rather than to GND as mentioned in the Bildr tutorial. I found this mentioned in a couple comments from people who seemed to know more about it than me, so tried it out and it works great. I refer to this as “inverted mode”, because it means you need to drive the output pins low to trigger the triacs. The original project source drives them high, so you will need to modify it, or use my source code and change the #define option in El_Escudo.h.
It ended up being easier for me, in a couple ways, to use two separate battery/power sources (one for the sequencer, one for the inverter).
- You can switch back and forth from 3V to 12V inverters as you see fit.
- You can leave the FTDI connected to both power the board with the system running and re-program, while doing your development. If you use one power supply for both, you must unplug the inverter before re-connecting the FTDI to re-program, which can get tiring and give you more opportunities to hook the FTDI up backwards.
The downside is that you end up with a lot of AA batteries to lug around. I suspect it’s worth getting some LiPo batteries for a finished project.
Note: Do not plug your FTDI basic on backwards. It’s easy to do this - my son did this while I wasn’t looking and fried the board, or at least the part that talks to the FTDI, and I had to order another. I recommend putting a sticker on the sequencer and the FTDI basic that matches up, or some way to make it foolproof.
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