Saturday, September 10, 2011

Colors revised

Just got the new MCU (Chipkit Max32) to function correctly with my display.
I had a lot of trouble getting it to work, even contacted the developers and we confirmed I was doing right (programming wise). But the problem was the lower operating voltage of the Chipkit.

It only took a logic level 3.3V <-> 5V converter and a whole lot of patience to get it working!

No pictures yet, but the difference is spectacular: 16+1 colors and no flickering!
The 4X CPU speed of the Chipkit really shines here, and as an additional bonus, it seems I'm able to update the columns at 20 MHz speed instead of 5MHz, another speed increase of 400% right out of the box! I'm using regular digitalWrites with hardware SPI, so I figure I could push the refreshrate up a notch if needed.

Now I can focus on getting the display system back on track, continue on the serial communication, SD card reading, etc...

But I'd still say -
Chipkit, you sure were worth the trouble!


  1. very cool project, can't wait to see it progress... I am planning on making my own pin so I will be watching your work closely :)

    although I am pretty sure I am going to do a retheme with all new electronics so I don't have to figure out the physics so much

  2. Thanks!

    It's possible to download "schematics" of pinball tables and copy the shot-layout of the tables you like best. After all, it's not like the locations have changed a whole lot since the 70's anyway... :)

    I'd say go for it! Looking forward to see your project take shape as well!

  3. what voltage converter did u use for 3.3-5 ?

  4. I used a small board called ET MINI Logic level shifter. It gives 8 inputs/outputs, from 3.3V -> 5V or 3.3V -> 5V. Very cheap, available from Futurlec.

    1. I've been searching for a level shifter like that, but I cant find it on Futurlec :-/

    2. Disregard, I found it :) Thanks!