This project is a small DMX-512 controlled, color-changing RGB LED light. The light can be controlled via the DMX512 protocol or it can run a number of built-in programs depending on how the software is configured. The light incorporates an advanced 16-bit PIC24 microcontroller with PWM capabilities, a 3D printed enclosure, a laser cut acrylic lid, a custom switching power supply, and a MEMS oscillator. The light measures roughly 2.25″ square by 1.25″ high. This light is the evolution of my RGB LED light designs that span back over a decade.
(This next section is long. If you want to skip the history of how this design came to be and go directly to a description of the design instead, click here.)
Early RGB LED Light Designs
The biggest influence on these RGB LED light designs has been the introduction of low-cost PCB manufacturers that cater to hobbyists and the introduction of affordable 3D printing.
Mechanical Form Factors
Early low-cost PCB manufacturing services such as those from ExpressPCB offered a fixed-sized board with two layers and no solder masks for a low cost. As a result, the board designs used through-hole components, were limited to the sizes made available by the board house unless you wanted to pay a ton extra, and you were lucky to find an interesting enclosure that would hold your board. The free PCB layout tools of the time were a bit limited too but they worked well enough for simple boards.
The photo below shows one of my designs from the early 2000s. The board is about 3″ by 2″, has through-hole components only, uses a PIC16F688 microcontroller, and uses a linear regulator to step 24V down to 5V for the microcontroller. The linear regulator is not very efficient and runs hot to the touch. The ice cube enclosure is an Ikea lamp they sold in the early 2000s. I made a ton of these as gifts for family and friends.
Read more: HOMEBREW DMX-CONTROLLED RGB LED LIGHT