This instructable serves two purposes relative to assembly and use of an Animation Control Board (or PCB). The PCB is a spin off from my project to create an N-Scale Drawbridge that is functional and driven by an Arduino paired with an Easy Driver. This instructable is one of three covering the assembly of that drawbridge and documents the electronics aspects of the project. The other two cover assembly of the bridge and moving parts portions of the drawbridge.
The Printed Circuit Board (PCB) that I created for the drawbridge is, however, designed to be generic and applicable to other projects. As such, this instructable also documents how the PCB can be used in projects other than the drawbridge from whence it was born. The PCB is for sale on eBay here.
The PCB measures 100x70mm and can be mounted on a 3D Print that is available here. My goal was to have it host the Arduino paired with an Easy Driver while exposing a number of other Arduino pins for various supporting purposes. The rest of this instructable will present the functionality of the PCB, followed by its assembly, and concluding with its integration into the drawbridge project.
Even though I seem to be doing so...please do not support knock off's of the Easy Driver. I did not know the story behind the Easy Driver until I had bought a couple, and soldered one to the PCB, but I do now and here it is:
I have since purchased one of the "real things" and will use it in my next project. Same thing in regards to the Arduino Nano. The beauty of the open world is that you can buy things really cheap but there are times when you may not want to just because you can!
The two active components driving the Animation Control Board are a micro controller (Arduino Nano) and a stepper driver (Easy Driver). I chose the Nano because it is small and cheap. I chose the Easy Driver it supports micro-stepping. I do not actually need micro-stepping for the drawbridge but wanted the capability for future projects.
With micro stepping enabled a full rotation of a stepper motor can take eight times as many steps (8 micro steps per normal step). This means that a small and cheap micro stepping driver that normally only does 20 steps per rotation will do 160. This makes a big difference in how an animation will look!