Thursday, April 8, 2010

The InterSceptre is almost ready!

It has been a busy period the last few weeks and I did not have the time to update this blog. Although it is still a rather busy time, I decided to write something anyway because I started working on the prototype of the InterSceptre.

Click for a better view. Notice the valid data on the LCD.

I received the PCB and the parts last Tuesday and I assembled the board. Even though the board is not very complicated, there are a lot of things to test. The first tests are promising. The power supply is fine and the board runs from 3V3 or 5V. There are three different 5V entry points (2x USB & one external power supply) and switch over between these inputs works without resetting the Sceptre board (or the PC).

Also working is the I2C port with discrete level shifter. It is discrete because I tried to avoid SMD parts on this board and through-hole integrated level shifters are hard to find. To test it I use the Pocket Terminal which is part of Elektor project 080253 Running-in bench. This terminal is supposed to run from 5V, but the Sceptre runs from 3V3, so I2C communication is incompatible. The level shifter fixes this and the fact that I can write to the terminal and read its keys means that all is working fine.

The four multiplexed DAC outputs are working, which is cool. I can control them with the rotary encoder on the terminal.

Not tested yet are the RS232 & RS485/DMX512 ports, the MIDI interface, the JTAG port, the SPI port and the digital I/O. The SPI port is particularly interesting as the board has space for a WIZnet WIZ812MJ internet module (not mounted for the photo, it should go next to the power connector). The digital I/O is hanging from the I2C bus and some direct from the processor. This is also true for the ADC inputs, so I suppose they will work.

As you can see from the photo, the InterSceptre was designed to fit a standard box from Teko. I did this because this way you can use the Sceptre-InterSceptre combination as a nice stand-alone device. You could only mount the interfaces you need and away you go.

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