Ever had to fade a LED? Were you satisfied with 8bit resolution PWM available in boards like Arduino? Thought so.. No! TLC5940 is a nice powerful chip - it provides 16 12bit PWM channels with current capabilities up to 120mA each. This board is basically a break out board for this chip with added convenience - screw terminals, standoffs, Arduino socket and an optional RS485 transceiver. There is a nice Arduino library available also.
This board is Open Source Hardware under Apache Licence v2.0.
I work with artists from time to time. The first time I've used TLC5940 was during this build of local artist Urtė Milda. Then we began the build of custom overengineered LED lights for our hackerspace - Technarium in Vilnius Lithuania. We decided to make each light electronically controllable to save on DC wiring, the choice was obvious for control electronics - TLC5940!
One of the members bought and donated a handfull of chips in... TSSOP28 package... Well, as long as I was already ordering some boards from my PCB vendor, I've set to build a break out board for it. One thing led to another - why not add screw terminals to the breakout? What about Arduino Nano socket? What about regulator for Arduino? What if somebody wants to connect to it from outside - RS485 transceiver goes in. Then I was holding the finished board - hey it's a nice device potentially usable for a lot of LED lighting applications! Here is a thing I have made with one - a dmx controllable stage animation lightning.
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I've beed a web-based software developer for 10+ years, but now I'm an engineering ronin doing mostly digital electronics projects.