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Arduino LED controller shield makes complex RGB LED lighting apps a snap

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Arduino LED controller shield makes complex RGB LED lighting apps a snapInfineon's RGB LED Lighting Shield is one two of Arduino-based evaluation boards created to showcase the capabilities of its ARM-based XMC1000 MCUs in lighting and motor control applications. Unlike previous semi makers, such as Microchip and STMicro who initially focused on producing Arduino MCU boards which used their own MCUs as alternatives to the Atmel AVR, Infineon has chosen to create plug-in shields which make it easier for developers to more fully explore the processors' capabilities. Both shields are designed to plug directly into any Arduino Uno R3 board. It is also directly compatible with the Boot Kit for Infineon's XMC1000 series 32-bit microcontroller family, which is based on the ARM Cortex-M0 processor. 

Arduino LED controller shield makes complex RGB LED lighting apps a snap

The Arduino-compatible lighting RGB LED lighting shield reviewed here was designed to give designers a low-cost easy-to-use open-source platform for fast prototyping and inexpensive evaluation of multiple LED light engines. It is based on a XMC1202 MCU which integrates an ARM Cortex-M0 processor and a dedicated Brightness & Color Control Unit (BCCU) core. The BCCU contains 3 independent dimming engines with 9 independent Pulse Density Modulated (PDM) channels. Due to space limitations on the PCB, the shield only provides access to 1 dimming engine and 6 channels. The shield includes an I2C bus which the MCU uses to communicate with a host controller. The shield's reference firmware supports 10 basic sets of commands which can be used alone or in combination to produce a wide range of lighting effects.

Infineon says that the BCCU automated hardware engine provides a cost-effective, flexible tool for creating flexible high-quality LED lighting applications. The Shield is designed to be easily modified and expanded as required by a particular application. For example, the MCU's I/O can be configured to support a DMX lighting control bus and the shield's scratchpad area makes it easy to add additional hardware, such as a 24GHz radar sensor, commonly used for motion detection.

I hope Infineon's choice to use Arduino-based development tools signals the beginning of the company's intent to align itself with the open-source/Maker communities. Embracing Arduino or another open-source platform that's commonly-accepted among DIY-ers, Maker-oriented startups, and traditional developers will help Infineon products to a much wider user base. And, in the process, the resources it makes available could also enrich the communities it seeks to reach.

Until end of January 2015, both the RGB Lighting Shield with XMC1202 for Arduino and the DC Motor Control Shield with BTN8982TA for Arduino, are available for purchase from Farnell element14 and Newark element14  After this period of exclusivity, the shield and companion MCU board will also from Infineon and its distributors.


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