Glen Akins' Latest PoE Build Saves Costs, BOM with a Silvertel Ag5300 Module

A clever bit of circuit design and some smart software turns an RGB LED floodlight into a PoE powerhouse — complete with tablet control.

Gareth Halfacree
a month agoHardware 101

Glen Akins is back with yet another Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) project — but this time he's using a Silvertel Ag5300 PoE+ with integrated DC/DC converter, which can offer "big cost savings and help to reduce the overall parts count."

Akins is no stranger to adding Power-over-Ethernet to some interesting devices: Late last year he created a 802.3at Christmas tree, and earlier this year built a tube-based vacuum fluorescent display (VFD) clock that pulled both time data and power down a single Ethernet cable.

Usually, Akins builds his projects around a TI TPS2378 PoE+ classification IC — "the lowest cost solution, [but] requires quite a few other components to operate" — or a Molex Ethernet jack with built-in magnetics and PoE+ support — "the highest cost solution but requires very few external components to operate."

On this occasion, Akins opted for a Silvertel Ag5300 PoE+ module, which "sits somewhere in the middle," requiring a jack, magnetics, two bridge rectifiers, and a transient suppressor, but including an isolated 12V or 24V DC/DC converter — perfect for powering an off-the-shelf Color Kinetics ColorBurst 4 RGB floodlight, once combined with a Microchip PIC18F67J60 microcontroller on a custom PCB.

"These lights are normally powered and controlled using a Color Kinetics power data supply like the PDS-150e," Akins explains. "I’m going to replace the PDS-150e with a small power/control board that can directly power and control a single 10 watt ColorBurst 4 fixture from any 802.3at/PoE+ capable switch and an industry-standard Art-Net controller sitting anywhere on the network. I’ll use Synthe-FX’s Luminair 3 software running on an iPad Mini to send Art-Net packets to the board and control the light.

"A possible future iteration of this project might be to build my own RGB LED fixture, integrate the PoE+ power supply and Art-Net control circuitry in to the fixture, and design an enclosure to hold and cool everything. The enclosure would need to have a means for aiming it and securing it in position, a transparent or frosted window for the light, and an Ethernet jack on the back or bottom for powering and controlling the light."

Akins' full write-up can be found on his website, though at the time of writing the design files had not yet been uploaded to his GitHub repository.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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