As discussed earlier, Like A G35 should arrive soon from OSH Park. Even though it’s not here yet, I already know I blew it with the board design. The board will still work, but it could be so much better.
In addition to the G35 protocol that I know and love, this board was supposed to support the WS2801 protocol. It turns out that WS2801 happens to work really well with hardware SPI, as do lots of other chips, such as the SM16716 and LPD8806, all of which are supported by the FastSPI project. Unfortunately, since I hadn’t played with any of these lights until this weekend, I didn’t know this, so I wasted the Arduino’s hardware SPI on my 1.0 shield design. The shield will handle short strands of WS2801 and friends, but it won’t be as fast as a hardware solution.
I’m probably going to wait for 1.0 to arrive so that I can get my home G35 lights going in time for Halloween (I’m thinking spooky orange and green inchworms), but after that I’ll revise the board to do proper WS2801 support over the Arduino’s pins 11 and 13. This will actually free up a lot of board space, as I’ve since figured out that there isn’t a real benefit to multiple WS2801 outputs. Shifting all WS2801 lights on a single output is just as much work as shifting on multiple outputs, whereas the G35 protocol needs multiple outputs because one output can’t handle more than 63 lights.