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MBI5030 starter board

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By: madworm

Layout files (KiCad) / Code

As the title says, it is a small ‘dev-board’ that will get you started with the Macroblock MBI5030. Macroblock is a Taiwanese manufacturer whose product line includes a wide variety of very affordable and quite capable LED driver chips. They’re available at kingelectronics, a US based distributor for them.

The MBI5030 is a 16-channel constant current LED driver with 16/12-bit PWM. You send your data just once, feed the chip with a constant high frequency ‘grayscale clock’ and it takes care of the rest. Many AVR chips can be programmed (FUSE setting) to output their system-clock on a certain pin. That option is quite suitable to drive the ‘grayscale clock’.

The main idea for this board came when I was trying to write some code for that chip. I simply didn’t want to breadboard all of those LEDs, too many wires, wouldn’t easily survive transportation in a bag… With 16 onboard LEDs, all you need to wire is power and the SPI interface and you’ll get visual feedback instantly. When satisfied, pull the jumper, add high(er)-power LEDs and an external power supply to test the real thing.

I have found these chips quite valuable if you frequently deal with LED projects and have to keep the cost down. Chips from other major manufacturers (TI…) are nice too, but for a similar set of features they make you pay a lot, especially for small quantieties. It may be worth to have a look at the MBI chips, maybe even build a small stash of them. That saves shipping costs in the long run.

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Bill of Materials

Qty Part # Description Schematic ID Source
1 MBI5030 PWM LED-driver, 16-ch, SPI interface. IC1 Source
4 56183462ae65b5bba4f6b9515e047c83f7c2c126 EXB-34V102JV Res Thick Film Array 1K Ohm 5% ?200ppm/?C ISOL Molded 4-Pin 0606(2 X 0603) Convex SMD Punched Carrier T/R Source
1 7e2a9fc4b7aa19a7c9371b6ba323a9c9d43b5363 08055C104KAT2A CAPACITOR, 0805, 0.1UF, 50V Source
1 GRM21BR61C475KA88L CAPACITOR, 0805, X5R, 16V, 4.7UF Source
1 896f6319d1aceda8e49ad1617f5993a44dffdc59 TC33X-2-202E TRIMMER, 2K, 3MM Source
16 8138c78083aa57ca9e71b8cdcb0e07599323f443 SML-310MTT86 SML-310 Series Green 0603 16 mcd Tinted Clear 2.2 V LED Surface Mount Source
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1. Blank circuit board

Get yourself a 'copy' or have it made.


2. A close look at SMD LEDs

These are really tiny and so easy to misplace.


3. The back-side holds the key information

There should be markings... some kind of symbol. Don't assume anything, measure which way they should be placed. Then make the connection with the symbol.


4. Starting with hand soldering

Place one bead of solder. Use flux.

The LEDs are tiny, so you do need a small pointed tip to get inbetween them.


5. Inspect

Make it nice and tidy.


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3 - More descriptive project description.
2 - Added a link to tindie.
1 - Initial project release
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