Neltner Labs

Fun Projects and Art

Review of Teensy 3.1 for LED Light Control

Here’s a report on using the Teensy 3.1. Consider it an enthusiastic 5 star review. First, a video showing what I got running in 2.2 hours.

First, the ask for help – if anyone has personally gotten a teensy 3.1 to receive DMX, please send me a note, I’d love some help. I’ve found some web forums but if someone’s already done it I’d love about any trouble you had rather than reinvent the wheel. In a perfect world it would even be DMX/RDM compatible, since that would be awesome, but a hack solution would be okay for the time being.

Also happily accepting comments on design improvements, as long as I’m doing this I should make it as general purpose utility as possible in case others might want to use it. Maybe additional outputs for colorstrips or something? It’s pretty cheap to add additional connectors, and I’d be excited to spend some time making extras if they’ll find a good home.

As a report back, I was stunned that it took me less than 2.2 hours to get this attached to replace the Arduino, and to rewrite my entire codebase to work with HSI-based 16-bit PWM at 732Hz PWM frequency and some nice PID controlled hue and saturation random walk effects.

My code is even about 3x shorter because it was so much easier to set up the high-resolution PWM. I’m now 100% sure I can port all of the code from the Saiko project to use this chip, other than the DMX which looks sketchy still.

If anyone hasn’t tried switching to this, I’m going to throw in a huge vote of “do it”. The libraries and examples were a huge surprise, the company that made this thing really went all out to make it easy to figure out the advanced stuff. Way more complete and professional than the Arduino stuff.

They even had on-board audio generation and filtering and all kinds of stuff I definitely did not expect, since it has an on-board decent DAC.Even ARTnet stuff to support the Neopixel and OctoWS. Just look at all these libraries!

Github for the code is here in case anyone wants to give it a shot on your own RGBW LEDs! I think I have a few more of my high current output dongles if someone has an idea for a project they want to do. Happy to give them out at cost to a good cause.

I think given how teensy the teensy is, I might just extend the power regulator board a few inches to provide a slot to plug in the teensy directly. That way I can keep using the cute and cheap heat sink for both, throw on a 3.3V switching regulator, and DMX connector.

Brian NeltnerComment