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LRE 4x1 breakable RGB LED-Ring/Rotary-Encoder PCB bulk order


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  • 3 weeks later...
Ok guys, was away for a bit on family duties, here’s the final update before I put in the order within the next 2 days!
  • I had @FantomXR change the LED Ring design to 32 instead of the prototypes 36 LEDs. That’s what I originally had planned too, for three reasons: 1. easier mathematical mapping of n^2 values 2. Better usage for rhythmic/timing use, ie. a 32 step circular sequencer (think Euclidean Circles module) 3. More space between the LEDs for possible masking solutions. The diameter of the ring will remain the same at 33mm. At the classic 80% perimeter encoder use (as shown in the demo videos with the bottom 5 LEDs blacked out), you will now have a 27 LED resolution instead of 31 on the prototype.
  • The LED cross bleed which I was worried about for a while should be no issue with this updated version. Even without any masking or light pipes it is not that bad as you can see on all the demo videos. With the new LED distance it is quite easy to mill or print a little plastic masking ring if you want. And simple light pipes, even just hand cut from optical fibre, improve the quality a lot too. I will post pictures and videos of my results soon, but probably not in time before the order.
  • Added SMD solder point for an optional power supply capacitor at the power supply pins of each LED board.
  • Using WS2812C 2020 LEDs for much lower power consumption than the B variant.
  • Added some extra pinouts on the encoder board for more efficient use of the 74HC165: on the prototype each 165 was filled with the 6 pins of two switchable encoders, wasting the 2 remaining pins. Now all 8 pins of the 165 have unique TH-solder points so empty pins of the 165 can easily be used for additional buttons. Eg. You can now connect 2 switch-less encoders and 4 pushbuttons to the same 165, or 1 switchable encoder and 5 pushbuttons, twice that per encoder PCB.
  • Added a TH-solder point for the 165 Clock Enable pins so the boards can be used with bitbanging protocols instead of SPI only.
  • Unfortunately due to some family emergencies over the last weeks I was not able to finalize the design in time for the afore mentioned manufacturer discount. I still managed to get a decent offer, and so far group orders including my own demand are at around 160 sets. That gives the following prices:
    • Net manufacturing cost per fully assembled PCB set: 19-21 EUR (depending on the final numbers)
    • Import taxes (VAT of 19% for EU, tbd for US and other countries) around 4 EUR per set
    • Individual shipping to you (tbc, but probably 5-10 EUR per shipment, depending on destination country what shipping insurance etc you want)
    • That equals to a roughly estimated overall sum of 30 EUR for 1 set, 50 EUR for 2 sets, 90 EUR for 4 sets, 170 EUR for 8 sets. plus/minus 5% i guess.
  • This isn’t cheap but I am 100% sure it still is really good value for what you get. It's around the same price you pay for one single ALPS rotary encoder with a single color LED ring.
  • The price is for a set of two PCBs, one with 4 RGB LED rings, and one for 4 rotary encoders. All SMD parts and the assembly is included, the actual rotary encoders and any through-hole solder pins are not included. Might be able to supply standard Bourns PEC11L if needed.
  • I personally pay about 7 EUR more than this for every set, in my personal development/protoyping costs. So if you feel generous and support the cause, the net price per board would be 25-26 instead of 19-21 if I distributed the dev costs equally.
  • Order will be put in this week, production and shipping will take approx 2-3 weeks, and then another week for testing and further shipping on my side. Expect it in your mailbox end of july.
  • Also I am talking to a very popular US based modular DIY supplier who will eventually stock some boards in his webshop. Will confirm asap, pricing tbd.
And a summation of what I think is important information:
  • This is a non commercial group buy of a pcb board. You buy the pcb board with all the SMD parts and assembly and nothing more. Of course I will take full personal responsibility in case something is fundamentally wrong or not working at all with the final product, based on a design mistake on my end. But other than that that’s all you get. No official support, no guarantees etc etc.
  • That being said: I designed these for the MIDIbox platform originally and I also successfully tested and use them on Arduino boards and the Axoloti platform. They work perfectly. I will write basic functions and objects for all these platforms over the course of the next weeks and of course I will share all these with everybody. Also basic general control for ws2812 LEDs and 74HC165 rotary encoders is readily available for all platforms already. I’ll also throw together some basic quick start guides and assist with connection set-up problems, but I expect anybody getting in on this order to be able to set up their own serial communication on the right pins of their respective controller boards. Expect a hardware protocol limit of around 500 LEDs (3-4 4xLED boards) per serial line if you want to maintain a 60Hz refresh rate, as with any WS2812 application. Also the obviously the more 74HC165 you chain in series, the higher the latency will get.
  • Both those programming libraries and the PCB design will be open sourced at some point. I don’t know when because I don’t want to do a half assed job on that and proper cleaning/optimizing and documentation might take a while.
  • You will have to buy and solder your own rotary encoders. The boards are designed for and tested with the Bourns PEC11 and PEC16 range, I personally recommend PEC11L low profile encoders. The optional LED board SMD power input cap would have to be self supplied and hand soldered too but in most cases will not be necessary.
So yeah that’s about it. If I didn’t scare you away by now, please RSVP as soon as possible. Either here via a private message or via email at rgbledring at gmail dot com, then we can exchange personals and discuss details.
Also, in extremely exciting midibox news, a very special someone decided to start redesigning and expanding the WS2812 drivers. I will post updates as soon as we did some testing!
Edited by weasel
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Alright, everybobdy stop whatever you are doing right now and gather to see what granddaddy Klose blessed us with: a little tease of the all new extended and improved WS2812 midibox driver:

Gaze at currently 432 WS2812 controlled by a single J4 serial pin!


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  • 2 months later...

Ok so here’s a summary:

  • Production run arrived and is working perfectly fine. Looks amazing too.
  • Breakable LED PCB with 4x32 ws2812 2020 LEDs, 3 pin connectors
  • Encoder PCBs with 2x 74HC595 and 4 encoder slots
  • Additional test points on the encoder board for 4-8 remaining 74HC595 channels, for use with additional buttons etc. 4 or 8 depends on whether you use encoder with ir without switches.
  • Net price per set (1 LED PCB, one ENC PCB, you need to buy & solder encoders and connectors everything else is assembled) 22 EUR
  • Add shipping cost to that. I am shipping from Europe. Within EU, around 4 EUR uninsured, 7 EUR insured. US shipping tbd. I could ship them from the US end of october.
  • If you need a business invoice, add 19% VAT.
  • I will reach out to everybody who showed interest. I have a small amount of extras so hit me up on this forum via DM or via mail rgbledring at gmail

I’ll post some more pics and details on my experiences and mounting options asap. As I described in earlier posts, these are supposed to work with all major embedded platforms, specifically Arduino, axoloti and midibox. But you are only buying the hardware from me, no guarantees, no software support etc etc etc. The Encoder boards were originally designed for the midibox platform so they come with a 10pin IDC connector slot. I will provide pinout and schematics to buyers of course.

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  • 3 months later...
  • 2 weeks later...

hey @sunnygobo yeah i have some left you can send me a message!


sorry for the absence guys, real life took control for a second. i'll try edit this post with some updates tonight or tomorrow.


and thanks again thorsten, looking forward to trying the fixed driver - not that i noticed anything wrong haha..

Edited by weasel
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  • 2 months later...

Hiya Weasel

I send you a PM a couple of weeks ago, but hadn't heard anything, so thought I'd give this a try. I'm quite interested in a board or two, if there are any at all left. Couldja please let me know?


ps - I know that many/most people are ensconced indoors right now, and that shipping may be a challenge. I also appreciate that many people are battling the coronavirus, or are working in essential services, or are dealing with friends and/or family affected by the disease. My best wished go out to all. Stay well, and stay safe

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

hey guys i think i replied to all open DMs and emails, anybody still waiting for an answer please write to rgbledring located at g mail dot com

i still have a few left


sorry for being worthless at communication..

Edited by weasel
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  • 7 months later...


at the end, what is the performance of this RGB-Ledrings - in sence of RAM, CPU, and so on...

I imagine a simple midi-controller app, will do fine, BUT:

i am asking, since most my applications are on the limits on the Microcontroller (mostly ram, sometimes CPU, > sequencers, synths), is this done by CCRAM now, is it the same perfomance like using H595 Registers and some single Color LEDs, some kind of background task? or is this heavy load, and i should forget the last 3 Pages i read...? If i have already  a APP that uses 90% or more RAM (for example) will force that to NOT boot anymore?  (i have read the last 3 pages)

thx for sharing your experiance

Edited by Phatline
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  • 7 months later...
On 4/28/2019 at 2:12 AM, weasel said:
Hey there,
As announced in the other thread I had the need for a 4x1 LED-ring/rotary encoder board. The incredibly talented @FantomXR helped me realize the design and together we came up with some pretty cool improvements on @Fairlightiii's (RIP) classic:
- two layer sandwich PCB to get the SMD LEDs on surface level
- encoder-slots compatible with both 11mm and 16mm encoders, with or without switch
- two 74HC165 per encoder-board for direct connection to the core board, convenient midibox 10-pin IDC connectors
- breakable design allowing to easily get 3x1, 2x1, 1x1 board configurations, partially leaving both broken parts usable/connectable/chainable.
- Full ring of 36 WS2812c RGB LEDs in 2020 size, diameter of 27mm. The full ring allows for vertical or horizontal application as opposed to the classic 80% perimeter LED ring. 36 LEDs make up for the lost resolution.
- additional power supply inlets for the hungry LED rings
- distance between encoders is 33mm in the prototype, might change to 35mm for production, allowing for bigger knobs. Not a fan of the current micro-encoders.
- option for whoever needs it to design a compatible OLED-overlay-board to use instead of the LED-Ring board and thereby achieve something similar to @Antichambre's great OLRE board.
The design is not fully tested yet and we might make some adjustments but I wanted to put this bulk order up already so everybody gets a chance to see it before we order. Which will be as soon as the prototype has proven itself, hopefully in about 2-3 weeks. There is a number of questions to be addressed when the prototype arrived, ie maximum number of WS2812 on a single core board, overall power consumption etc. Obvisouly i am very happy about any ideas or constructive criticism regarding the design.
Here is a price overview that we calculated from an offer we got on a slightly older design, so it might vary depending on the total order amount and possible design changes, plus a tiny shipping&handling fee. I will personally order around 50 each so would make it to the middle price bracket probably.
Encoder board:
50pc --> 10€ / pc.
100pc --> 7€ / pc.
200pc --> 6€ / pc.
LED-Ring board
50pc => 28€ / pc.
100pc => 23€ / pc.
200pc. => 20€ / pc.
Yes these are pretty expensive compared to your usual diy pcb board, but we ruled out any self-assembly pretty early, given the amount of parts and also the sheer number of boards I personally need. So we will order these boards with all SMD parts fully assembled, if anybody is interested we could obviously also get some plain pcb boards made on the side.

So yeah please send me a DM or post in this thread if you are interested in ordering some of these.

Here are some nice renderings courtesy of the genius @FantomXR who might also chime in with schematics or if anybody has more specific technical questions.

i know there are no hi-res (ie 24+) LED rings on a 2020 base, allowing for usable diameters.

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