Small project #2 — MBI5030 starter board


Want one? Check out

Macroblock MBI5030, 16-ch constant current LED driver with PWM, SPI-like interface, requires external grayscale clock. Known-good source: Kingelectronics, latest datasheets.

The problem: you need the chip to figure out if your code actually works. And you also need the LEDs to see what’s going on – if at all. You could use a logic analyzer, but that is overkill. Just looking at the LEDs is a much more suitable way. Your code might have insidious bugs, or the datasheet might simply be crap / outdated / obsolete – of course without your knowledge. BUT you surely don’t want to fight wires, at least not during the coding / debugging phase. All you need is the chip + onboard LEDs as indicators.

Later, if everything works, you may want to (should actually!) test the chip with the real things. And this board allows for that as well. Pull a jumper and you can connect external LEDs with a supply voltage higher than VCC – without blowing up the onboard LEDs (reverse biased in that case).



If you wish, you can get the design-files [1],[2].

The latest circuit boards (blue) were ordered at hackvana.

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2 Responses to Small project #2 — MBI5030 starter board

  1. ben says:

    I’d like to play with constant current drivers for high powered leds.. cree, Lumileds, bridgelux, Lamina Ceramics, etc, etc

    How much current can this drive.. or do you have recommendation for a beefier source?

    • robert says:

      This one can drive 90mA per channel, up to 17V. So it would be OK for chains of low-to-mid power LEDs.

      If you’re thinking about high power ones, say 1W or 3W “stars”, then you really need something else. You can find pre-made driver boards for these cheaply on ebay or dealextreme for example. Some time ago I had a project with an IC that is quite commonly used in these switch-mode drivers (PT4115).

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