Club Light Controller
           By: Alex Cerruti and Chris Wherry
               EE476 -- Spring 2002

Next Time  

1.  Add User Controls                 

If we had more time, we would have like to add more user control functionality.  For instance, the user would be able to select which colors (out of the 9 colors) they want to use as well as program the sequence they will flash in.  We were thinking that we could interface the keypad with the MCU so the user could set these features as desired.  Better yet, we could add DMX controls!   

DMX is a lighting industry standard way of controlling lighting equipment. It allows for one controller to control many lights. DMX is used for controlling mainly the brightness of lights, and can be used for controlling moving lights, smoke machines, strobe lights and so on. It basically consists of one 8-bit (on or off) signal for each light which sets the brightness level of the light to one of 256 levels.  

Electrically, DMX is a bus where there is one transmitter and multiple receivers.  DMX wiring uses 5-pin XLR connectors with 120 ohm shielded twisted pair wiring.  The protocol used in DMX-512 bus is similar to normal serial communications (like RS-232 with 8 data bits + 1 stop bit) and operates at 250 kbps (arguably difficult using a microprocessor, but it can be done!).

2.   Improve Color Wheel Speed

It would be nice if the stepper motor allowed us to change the colors more quickly.  We tried increasing the voltage to the motor, but this does not appear to make the motor spin more quickly.  Additionally, reducing the delay after each pulse is applied only causes the motor to vibrate in position for values less than 5 milliseconds.  Perhaps one could make the stepper motor rotate faster by starting the rotation using all four of the control lines, then once momentum was established, one could reduce the rotation time by using only every other control line.