LEDCtl (WS2812b LED Controller)
At the moment this document is a work in progress. I'll add to it as I go along designing the device, jotting down design decisions as I go along.
LED strips and panels based on some form of the WS2812 RGB LEDs have gained an enormous popularity the past couple of years with the price of the individual LEDs dropping well below 10 cent each. These LEDS contain 3 individual LEDs: one red, one green and one blue and the intensity of each of these can be set at 256 different levels.
Overall Design Parameters
The "device" should be able to drive 2-4 strings of up to 1000 leds on each string and the length and type of each string should be configurable.
The "device" will offer multiple ways of controlling LEDS:
- USB/CDC (emulated Serial over USB)
- Serial rx/tx lines
Hardware Design and Implementation
Picking the CPU
The "limiting" factor of this choice is the available memory. The STM32F103 has got 20 kB of RAM. Our "device" will need a "buffer" holding the RGB values of each LED. So with 1 string of 1000 LEDS we will need around 3k of RAM for this purpose alone. With 2 strings that value doubles to 6k (which might still be doable) but if we want to support 1000 LEDs on 4 strings each that will require more than half the RAM, most likely leaving too little for the software to run.
The design of the schematics is largely based on the Green Pill with a few changes.
The primary changes are:
Using a 16 MHz crystal rather than the 8 MHz one used on the Green Pill. The 16 MHz crystal is in fact cheaper and more importantly takes less space (the 8 MHz crystal was used on the Green Pill to remain compatible with Blue Pill boards).
Only relevant GPIO pins are pulled out to the header.
Two issues were identified with rev. a:
- Floating Boot0 pin
- Pull up resistor too weak
Hayes Like Serial Interface
To control the attached LEDs a simple serial interface is used.
rrr=3 digit value
|Set a specific led on a specific string to a specific value
|y = value
|Set register to a certain value. Example will set register 0 to a value of 64
|LEDs on string 0
|LEDs on string 1
|"Width" of a zero (percentage)
|"Width of a one (percentage)