DIY Entertainment Technology

The Console.

Note: please see this amendment with regard to the price comparison mentioned on HaD.

Hi All,

I’ve designed a 36(+) channel lighting controller with the ability to record to preset faders. If you’re familiar with lighting consoles, think along the lines of an LSC MaXiM L.

This design uses:

  • An X86 PC running the application logic
  • 6 fader panels, each of which includes:
    • 12 standard or motorised faders (3 motorised panels, 3 non-motorised)
    • 12 capacitive touch “flash” buttons
    • 12 indicator LEDs
    • 2 Motor-control chips (i2c to 6x ADC + 6x PWM + 6x GPIO)
    • 1 i2c to 12x GPIO IC
    • 1 i2c to 12x Capacitive touch sensor IC
    • 1 Master microcontroller – translates higher-level instructions to lower-level instructions for the 4 slave ICs and participates in an i2c multi-master network with the other fader modules and the X86 PC.
  • A menu / control row at the top of the console including:
    • 2x 7-segment displays to indicate the “page” of each bank of faders
    • 1x 16×2 LCD display to display the menu system
    • 17x capacitive touch buttons for menu navigation / console control
  • DMX output from X86 PC (view + controller)

This is implemented using:

  • The guts of an old IBM dual-core Pentium ThinkCentre
  • 3x ATX power supplies (to provide enought current for the motors)
  • 20x Atmel 328Ps with Arduino bootloader, as:
    • 6 fader panel controller ICs
    • 12 i2c to 6xPWM+6xGPIO+6xADC chips (because they are the cheapest chip I could find to function as such, without learning a new PIC system)
    • 1 menu system controller (running 2x 7-segment 1-digit displays, 1x 16×2 LCD display and up to 24 capacitive touch buttons)
    • 1 RS232->i2C bridge for communication between the X86 PC and the multi-master network
  • 8x Sparkfun i2c capacitive touch ICs (these)
  • 8x MCP23017 i2c-to-GPIO ICs for the LEDs.
  • 36x ALPS RSA0N11M9A07 100mm motorised faders (these)
  • 36x non-motorised faders.
  • A DIY enlosure made from 3mm black acrylic with a wooden internal frame (with the help of a CNC router).
  • ENTTEC DMX USB Pro widget, internalised

To explain the setup graphically, here‘s a Gliffy diagram I prepared earlier.

This is what I have constructed and am now in the process of documenting it. I may set up a Google Code page for the code powering this console.

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Comments on: "The Console." (2)

  1. [...] reader [Michael] wrote in to share the build details of an impressive lighting console he has been working on for some time. He says that the 36+ channel console is on par with lighting [...]

  2. [...] reader [Michael] wrote in to share the build details of an impressive lighting console he has been working on for some time. He says that the 36+ channel console is on par with lighting [...]

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