Author Topic: Changing Equipment / Going Beyond 16384  (Read 737 times)

Offline Tindivall

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Changing Equipment / Going Beyond 16384
« on: December 20, 2016, 08:14:55 PM »
I started this hobby with an etherdongle and some active hub / ssc from DLA. The following year I added on a couple Zues 16... Then along came David with his Falcon boards.  I added a matrix to my show and used a F16v1 for that. I started updating the SSCs with uSCs.


Anyways that intro to say here I am planning for next year and I will finally break 16384 channels. I knew this day would come and with the Etherdongle I knew how to do that with the slave etc...   However I am wanting to get away from the DLA equipment. If some of you wouldn't mind me picking your brains for a bit:

  • What Falcon piece of equipment would replace the etherdongle? And with that said how do then expand beyond the 16384?  I know there is the FPP, not sure if that is what I am needing? I am not looking to run the show wireless or off sd card.  (Still doing old school, cat5 from show computer to etherdongle to 1st hub)
  • I also learned this year that you can't daisy chain from 1 F16v1 pixelnet out to another F16v1 input.   I have read somewhere / something about being to run these on the same network. Does this mean I could run into something like a netgear/linksys hub and then 2 cables out (1 to each Falcon board?).... Or would it be smarter to get a F16v2 and then get a F16v2 Expansion board with ribbon cable?


Offline jnealand

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Re: Changing Equipment / Going Beyond 16384
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2016, 09:20:08 PM »
I am using channels in 6 pixelnet universes.  With the f16v2 you just tell it the channel number and it works.  I still have two pixelnet controllers, 1 Lynx Active hub and 1 Falcon F16v1.  For all my controllers I have a Pi3 in the box with them and run them as slaves.  For f16v2s that is easy - a short ethernet cable from the Pi to the F16v2.  For the Active Hub and the F16v1 I use a $3 USB2RS485 adapter between the Pi and the pixelnet controller.  The Pi can output one pixelnet universe.  All you need to do is to tell the Pi what the start channel is and how many channels.  Pretty simple.  Takes about 6 weeks to get the adapters from China so order early and order a couple of extras - at $3 each I could afford extras for more controllers or for backups.

Search ebay for this search term "USB to RS485 TTL Serial Converter Adapter FTDI interface"  The vendor I used does not have any more stock but there are lots of other vendors with the same product.  You may find a US vendor with some, but they will be more like $10 each than $3 each.
Jim Nealand
Kennesaw, GA
Lynx, Falcon, XL, FPP

Offline Tindivall

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Re: Changing Equipment / Going Beyond 16384
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2016, 11:00:39 AM »
So let me see if I am understanding you and picturing this in my head correctly:


I would output from computer / fpp to my network switch... off that switch I would have an ethernet cable running to each enclosure....


1 runs to my hub enclosure and in there connects to a slave pi, that then connects to that adapter, that then connects to the actual hub... which I then run ethernet out to the SSC/uSC and good to go.

1 runs to my F16v2 enclosure connecting to a slave pi, then from there to the f16 board

1 runs to my F16v1 enclosure connecting to a slave pi, then to the adapter, then to the f16 board

And with this I can span past 16384 (4 pixelnet universes) as long as I tell the PI what number to start with and keep each board to 1 universe?  If can only do 1 universe why do boards like the F16v1 & 2 allow for multiple universes?

Offline Tindivall

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Re: Changing Equipment / Going Beyond 16384
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2016, 11:05:22 AM »
And just now read the post about interest in f16v1 etc...  looks like pixelnet is going away for the most part so may need to rethink everything.




So new question, what replaces the hub to ssc/usc for long runs to individual strings now?
« Last Edit: December 21, 2016, 11:41:32 AM by Tindivall »

Offline jnealand

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Re: Changing Equipment / Going Beyond 16384
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2016, 12:37:08 PM »
You are almost there.  I have no ethernet switch in my yard.  Every Pi (remote) is connected to a show wifi network as is the master.  All remotes are Pi3s with embedded wifi.  All sequences are loaded on all pis.  The master also has the audio files and the FM transmitter - no audio files on remotes.  The master coordinates the show for each remote by sending short sync messages that tells each remote where in the sequence time they should be.

Attached is a photo of an F16v1 with usb adapter and Pi3 mounted in a battery box with 2 power supplies underneath.  The USB cable is missing from the photo as I only had a 6ft cable when I took the photo late last summer.  Now I have 6" usb cables.  Also a photo of the adapter with a short ethernet cable I used when I was testing things last spring.

Offline Tindivall

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Re: Changing Equipment / Going Beyond 16384
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2016, 01:02:28 PM »
Interesting, I like the idea of the wifi and not having all the extra cat5 everywhere.


Quick side note I see you are in Kennesaw I have family and friends that live there, do you have a facebook/youtube/vimeo page I can share with them to tell them to about your show?




Ok back to the matter at hand....   So Pi player on the wifi network...with thumbdrive of show sequences loaded and plugged in... then a usb out from the pi to the adapter, cat5 out from adapter to board? ... this all being just for the pixelnet stuff (hub / f16v1)

If / When I get a f16v2 I could just go cat5 straight from pi to f16v2?  However if the Pi only handles 1 universe doesn't that then limit the f16v2 which can do multiple?

Offline David Pitts

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Re: Changing Equipment / Going Beyond 16384
« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2016, 04:18:02 PM »
You send the F16V2 E131 data just like you are sending it to EtherDongle. It then outputs 4 universes of Pixelnet to your Pixelnet stuff. You can send if 32K worth of channels it can use 16K to drive pixels and send the other 16K out Pixelnet port.
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Offline CaptainMurdoch

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Re: Changing Equipment / Going Beyond 16384
« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2016, 11:37:49 PM »
One correction on the initial post also.  You can daisy-chain F16v1's.  I'm doing it right now.  You may have run into issues due to cable length, but you can certainly connect the Pixelnet in on one F16v1 to the Pixelnet Out on another F16v1.
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Offline Tindivall

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Re: Changing Equipment / Going Beyond 16384
« Reply #8 on: December 22, 2016, 07:00:08 AM »
One correction on the initial post also.  You can daisy-chain F16v1's.  I'm doing it right now.  You may have run into issues due to cable length, but you can certainly connect the Pixelnet in on one F16v1 to the Pixelnet Out on another F16v1.


I thought the same thing too, however I was having issues with them and when I posted in the facebook group someone told me they couldn't... so I sent 2 cables over 1 from each hub and they worked fine so I assumed the person on FB knew what they were talking about.

Offline taybrynn

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Re: Changing Equipment / Going Beyond 16384
« Reply #9 on: December 22, 2016, 07:05:43 AM »
I have a single FPP setup this year.   FPP in standalone mode.     

 
I have a 5 port switch indoors that the FPP is plugged into.   That indoor 5 port hub is attached to second network interface (NIC) card on my PC ... so the show network is isolated on the 192.168.1.x space ... and my home network remains on the 192.168.0.x space.   That same indoor "show network" switch has a cat5 plugged into it which goes out to a 8 port switch in the yard (enclosed).  Then run a cat5 from that switch to each of (5) F16v2 controllers.   Each of those F16v2 controllers can receive 'up to'  32k E1.31 channels and output 'up to' (4) Pixelnet universes ... or a combination of pixelnet + DMX (or other supported).   The pixelnet output is configured how you want it using the serial outputs on each F16v2 web page.


So in a nutshell, each F16v2 can replace a single etherdongle ... with its ability to output 'up to' (4) 4k pixelnet universes on the serial output.   So it's really pretty sweet, because you can decide which channels received on the F16v2 are going to output to pixelnet.


In my case, (2) of my F16v2 (s) our outputting pixelnet ... so each feeds a DLA active hub that is jumpered to receive the appropriate universe (1-4) being sent from the F16v2.   This has worked well for the longer distances on my roof ... since the DLA hubs can go 100' from the hub to each SSC using cat5.  I did recently switch some of my SSC(s) to using Falcon Firmware which is WAY NICER than using the DLA channel utility, because they can be reprogrammed (remotely) without removal now, if needed.  I thankfully didn't sell my DLA DMX dongle (flashed to be a pixelnet don


[size=78%]Each F16v2 could feed say a dla active/passive hub ... then daisy chain to 'up to' 3 other dla hubs ... each assigned to its own pixelnet universe.[/size]


The forthcoming F16v3 will be able to receive even more universes, I think like 64k instead of 32k ... and has wireless ... making it even more capable and suitable for a FPP on each board if you want.

Offline Tindivall

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Re: Changing Equipment / Going Beyond 16384
« Reply #10 on: December 22, 2016, 07:25:53 AM »
Until David's post I didn't realize the capability of the 16v2 I was thinking it was like the v1 only with the capability of expansion board etc.   The v2 is essentially a whole different beast than the v1 and now I understand the cost difference and why I should have bought v2 instead of v1 last year :P




I really do appreciate everyones help.


My last thing I am curious about.  If uSC / SSC  and the Hubs that power them are starting to go away is there something that is better or replaces them?   I love the hub/uSC setup I have and in my mind had planned on just getting more of those to power new one off decorations throughout the yard.   However I am concerned after hearing that the last uSC coop was hard to even get interest.

Offline tbone321

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Re: Changing Equipment / Going Beyond 16384
« Reply #11 on: December 22, 2016, 08:20:45 AM »
My last thing I am curious about.  If uSC / SSC  and the Hubs that power them are starting to go away is there something that is better or replaces them?   I love the hub/uSC setup I have and in my mind had planned on just getting more of those to power new one off decorations throughout the yard.   However I am concerned after hearing that the last uSC coop was hard to even get interest.

I think that would be a real step backwards if this happens.  There is both room and need both types of controllers. 

Offline zwiller

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Re: Changing Equipment / Going Beyond 16384
« Reply #12 on: December 22, 2016, 09:44:59 AM »
Add me to the F16v1 successfully daisy chaining.  I am using 4.  Can we go back a step so I can confirm?  FPP can only do 1 PN universe (16k) but CAN send 32K as e1.31 right, so this effectively can be 2 PN universes.  You just have to get a little creative to access the 2nd PN universe.  I have confirmed the lowly V1 (still my fave) can in fact be used for the 2nd PN universe.  You could use the V2 serial to do this.  You could also just use a remote FPP/piCap/or maybe also using the $3 USB dongle ( I think).  It's just a matter of setting the 2nd universes up in FPP/V2 correctly but do the "universe offset" trick for the V1 utility.  IE- Channel 16,385 would be Channel 1 Universe 1 is the V1 utility.  I have made a request so that maybe that can update this feature in off season.  So, in the end this would also mean that you could use the V1 on even higher channels like 100k+.  Feel free to correct me or expound. 

RE: uSC.  I think now that the "afterburner" circuit has been incorporated into the F16v2 and beyond (and also can be added to V1) the distance to first node is pretty much a non issue.  I think most would agree that we're basically good to around 50'.  I am not sure the newer DLA converts realize this.  There are exceptions but this really reduces the need for a uSC.  Then add the V2 receiver concept in to the mix...  Tindall, not sure if you have one or not but the Falcon hub is insanely cool.  NEVER selling mine.  So you can tell I am a huge advocate of keeping the "vintage" gear around.   ;D  I think Dave will be practical and try and keep the stuff around provided there is interest.  I plan to suggest to him just stocking the boards of the old stuff.   I also think RJ should keep running some of this boards too.  4 port hub comes to mind.  In a perfect world, RJ could stock the old Falcon boards, run COOPS, and continue building his DIY legacy that I was immensely happy to be a part of.  I think many new to the hobby need some basics and would enjoy soldering stuff.


Sam

Last year's video: https://vimeo.com/150560653

Offline taybrynn

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Re: Changing Equipment / Going Beyond 16384
« Reply #13 on: December 22, 2016, 10:08:23 AM »
Using the wonderful F16v2 this year ... the 50' range was my expectation, based on comments like the one above ... however, my reality (using 3 pin cable) more like 20' and sometimes 25' max ... and perhaps 40-50+' with a modified (+ and - wires combined, single data wire) cat5 cable.  Apparently coax range is incredible, but honestly I can't see many going with coax.


While I wish I could have bought the F16v2 differential expansion and receivers ... I did find that using the DLA active hub to be a good use for the roof lines, that require many elements > 30' each and some closer to 75' ... I which work great using cat5 from DLA active/pass hub to the DLA SSC(s) ... which seem to have around 100' range (?) even without a uSC added.  It's also been handy that the DLA active hub has a DMX512 out on it ... so older DMX stuff still works that way (getting its pixelnet from a nearby F16v2 serial out).


One mistake I made was NOT using the Falcon uSC/SSC V4 firmware + programming software earlier ... as it seems to be a nice "upgrade" over the DLA SSC programmer ... in that you can store the names of the SSC and change channels in the field (so not programming pin required, it is removed ... and no taking it off the roof to reprogram it, should the need arise).   The Falcon hardware and software is just amazing.   Can't say enough good things about what Falcon has done.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2016, 10:15:12 AM by taybrynn »

Offline Tindivall

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Re: Changing Equipment / Going Beyond 16384
« Reply #14 on: December 22, 2016, 10:52:20 AM »
Yes the Falcon Software for the uSC / SSC blows the DLA away.  I love that I don't have to unplug from hub, go get off roof etc... I can just make changes on the fly while plugged in!!   Couple that with the long runs and uSC / SSC are majority of my show  (i have 1 f16 for my matrix and borrowed 2 for my mega tree) but everything else is hub to SC.   Hence why I would hate to see them go to the way side but if they do would love to know what the replacement is.

 

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