Friday, January 30, 2015

The DMX Experience (Part 4 - new design)

I've spent the past few days designing a new PCB for the USB DMX interface. It's been an interesting experience working with Eagle again after some time, but after a few iterations and improvements I believe that I have found a pretty good design that fits all the hardware functions onto a rather compact form factor.

Current DMX board design

I've used A and B Series Neutrik XLR connectors that take up very little space, and I also managed to introduce galvanic isolation into the design (however I am not really sure whether or not the physical component spacing is sufficient to deflect an actual surge).

As you can see, the board incorporates an ICSP programming header; I included this for emergency use. The ATMega32u4 comes preprogrammed with a bootloader that allows flashing the firmware directly over USB. But since I don't have any experience with the process, I wanted to make sure that I can at least still test the rest of the circuit if problems come up.

Right now I'm waiting for all the parts to be delivered, so I can confirm the sizes of some of the components I had to build from scratch (are those optocouplers really that huge?).

Size testing the components.

Looks good, huh? If everything works out alright, I might finish this within the next week. Stay tuned!

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