Macroblock MBI5030 starter board

Posted on Thursday, February 21st, 2013 in Chips, LEDs by DP


Macroblock MBI5030, is a 16 channel constant current LED driver with PWM output, and a SPI-like interface, it requires external grayscale clock though.

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 Your code might have insidious bugs, or the datasheet might simply be crap / outdated / obsolete – of course without your knowledge.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.

This entry was posted on Thursday, February 21st, 2013 at 1:00 pm and is filed under Chips, LEDs. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

4 Responses to “Macroblock MBI5030 starter board”

  1. It looks like a higher current clone of the TLC5940… will the same libraries work with it?

  2. Drone says:

    At first-glance I don’t get this.

    The Author says, “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.”

    How does this help you sort out bad communications with the chip? Hit-and-miss? Likely not IMO.

    • robert says:


      The author was trying to make this point:

      When you need all your time, mental capacity, enthusiasm… whatever you want to call it, for the coding, you will find it advantageous not having to also deal with the LEDs as well. For you it might just be 16 additional parts with wires, but some people (including the author) have spent enough precious time with these obnoxious things.

      Everything is in one small package, no parts can get lost, all essential parts are present all the time.


      The chip is similar feature-wise, but not a 1:1 clone. Not code compatible. But fear not, you can get a basic library here. Use it as inspiration.

  3. robert says:

    Oh, BTW. There’s a fundraiser for this board on tindie.

Leave a Reply

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.

Recent Comments

  • Edward Mallon: A visiting researcher dropped by our humble basement workshop with questions about the physical skill level students would need if they added one of our...
  • KH: And that looks really expensive... Only browsed the vid though, I'm an dinosaur so I had the sound off too. Nice of him to open-source...
  • Anton: I really need bus pirate!! Thanks
  • Crawford: Happy Father’s Day!
  • Fred Fish: me