Evil Genius Labs’ New Trinket Pro RGB LED Race Gate Controller
The people over at Evil Genius Labs are known for their intricate LED displays, along with LED controllers and shifter boards, which are designed to make life easier when building LED projects. Their latest board, the Trinket Pro RGB LED Race Gate Controller, is a great little PCB that acts as a shield/breakout board for the Adafruit Pro Trinket 5V, which packs an ATmega328P microcontroller. EGL states that the board makes it easy to control addressable LEDs, such as NeoPixels (WS2811, Ws2812), SK6812, and more.
According to Evil Genius Labs, no level shifter is needed since the Trinket Pro outputs the same 5V logic level as the LEDs, and only one digital output pin is run through a data line resistor (recommended by Adafruit’s NeoPixel Best Practices). They also state the large 5V trace and GND should be rated for up to 2A, or enough to power 33 LEDs at max output. For larger loads, they recommend power be connected directly to the LEDs, or dim their brightness using software.
The Race Gate Controller requires additional electronics you have to solder yourself, including 330 Ohm resistors, and tactile button switches. You’re going to need some JST SM connectors as well to patch the LEDs into the board. If you plan on building the race gates, EGL used white PEX pipe, and 3D-printed the fittings, although you can buy them in 5-packs from Home Depot.
Evil Genius Labs provides a complete walkthrough on how to build the Trinket Pro RGB LED Race Gate Controller, along with the code needed to get it up and running on their website. They also sell the control board direct from Tindie, for those looking to get their hands on one.