PILED Kit View full size


The PILED Development System is an MSP430 based development board kit (you solder on DIP components) designed for controlling a high current RGB LED fixture using a variety of sensors.

Kits are now available!

More details


DIY? I thought this was a lamp...:

The PILED system is available solely as a DIY kit, which includes an etched PCB , components, and self-adhesive RGB LED tape. We presolder the surface mount processor – everything else is through-hole. This is designed as an educational kit - No prior experience is necessary. For those who do already know how to solder, and have a background in electronics, the PILED board leaves plenty of room for enhancements. With 13 free I/O lines, the PILED board is designed to easily incorporate custom sensors and interfaces, such as ultrasonic rangefinders, or PIR motion detectors. Although the PILED board comes with a preprogrammed chip, we encourage you to create your own unique lighting routines. The PILED board can be easily programmed using Energia (A port of Arduino's IDE) or TI's Code Composer Studio.

Designed for creativity:
Every on board device (literally every pin on the microcontroller, actually) can be selectively disconnected, and replaced with custom devices/circuits by simply removing a shorting block! Female headers are provided for all microcontroller pins, as well as for 12V,5V, and 3.3V. This allows the board to be used for things besides (or in addition to) driving LEDs.

LED Tape is great:The LED tape is self adhesive, can be cut every 3 LEDs, and has a 5050 smd RGB LED every ~0.66in (100 per 5.5ft strip). We suggest making an array of 81 or 225 LEDs (9x9; 15x15) for use as a DJ-style lighting fixture, or using the RGB LED Tape to trim a desk, or inside a computer case . To make a cool energy efficient mood light, take a rice paper lamp, and build a "bulb" using LED tape and a cardboard tube or small box.

The PILED board kit consists of the following:

  • Etched PILED PCB (Roughly 2.5"x4")
  • MSP430 processor, preprogrammed and presoldered to the PCB
  • All components (resistors, capacitors, op-amp, microphone, faders, bluetooth module, etc)
  • A short strip of 9 RGB LEDS

Technical Hardware Features:

  • Texas Instruments MSP430G2553 Microprocessor – 16MHz;
  • 16-Bit RISC Architecture;
  • USCI with auto-baudrate UART,I2C, IrDA, and SPI;
  • 8ch 10-Bit 200-ksps ADC;
  • On-chip comparators;
  • Internal temperature sensor;
  • 24 GPIO with integrated capacitive touch functionality;
  • 16KB Flash (program memory);
  • 512 bytes SRAM;
  • Two pushbuttons for selecting modes, entering data, etc. 
  • Three linear slide potentiometers allow precise and easy entry of analog data. (Why three? – for the perfect RGB mixer! With a simple program, each of these faders can be set up to correspond to a color of light) 
  • Electret microphone, with amplifier and hardware envelope filter (this allows the MSP430 to read the ‘level’ of sound, rather than the waveform). Use the microphone to make the LEDs change color with music, turn on and off with a clap, etc… 
  • 3.3V and 5V voltage regulators provide 1A of current each, for powering DIY circuits and external sensors 
  • Screw terminals allow for easy connection of input power, output LEDs, and communication lines.

Why is this better than that other RGB LED controller?
The PILED board is designed as a high end lighting controller - while many would consider the CPU overkill, it enables more accurate color depiction. To better approximate the sensitivity of the human eyes, a given color component (which is 8 bits, from 0 - 255) is scaled through a nonlinear function to 12 bits. This is then output via PWM at around 16000Hz. This is high enough that it is virtually impossible to detect any flickering. This extremely high frequency is accomplished through the use of outputs directly coupled to timers in the MSP430. Rather than run an interrupt service routine, that would then turn the output on or off, the timer directly changes the output, in a single cycle (saving a few cycles, which enables significantly higher PWM frequencies without any CPU load). The PILED board is also much more than just a lighting controller - it's extensibility and wide set of features make it a great learning platform for embedded programming, as well as a unique but very usable device.

Information For Kickstarter Backers:
Some of the documentation here refers only to the PILED board; the kits with diffusers were a Kickstarter-only product. The only difference in the Kickstarter kits and the ones now available here is the inclusion of a diffuser/standoffs/backing panel.