Here you see an Arduino Duemilanove, an Ethernet shield and a DMX shield. Well to be honest, the top shield is 1 day old; the rest has been on the shelf for more than a year. I wanted to start using some of the stuff I bought in the past but never used, so with the need for a DMX encoder to control 6 RGB LED spotlights, I decided to do it this way.
It was a bit annoying that I had to deal with how the Arduino platform works with shields and that you have to find out whether you can stack more than 1 of them on top of the Arduino and not have pin conflicts between the shields you want to use; this can happen so it’s always good to have a look at the pins all the shields use and see if there are any conflicts. In my opinion, the JeeNode concept is much smarter and easier in this perspective – and documentation is much better too!
Now back on topic again… as I said, this combination of boards is going to be used as an Ethernet enabled DMX encoder with integrated web server. Sounds difficult? It’s not, actually…
The DMX shield (from the Arduino store, made by Tinker.it) uses the DMXSimple library and indeed, it’s very simple. All the hard work is hidden and all you have to do is use 2 or 3 simple functions to get DMX encoding working.
The same goes for the Web server part; the Ethernet library makes it as simple as it possibly can.
So all I had to do was write some code to parse the values I wanted to send to this DMX encoder (R-, G- and B-values and some time values to soften color changes); and now I’m waiting for the LED spotlights to arrive, cause I’m ready for it! Yep, that’s the other side of the story; you can build cool stuff in a matter of minutes, add your own code for some extras and it works!