Author Topic: Brainstorming 2017 - What do we need?  (Read 4447 times)

Offline corey872

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Brainstorming 2017 - What do we need?
« on: January 02, 2017, 11:48:44 AM »
Thought I'd take a moment to ask for any brainstorming ideas- What do we need for 2017? 

Noticed the last post in this section was July... perhaps a good thing as Dave has been keeping us busy with an avalanche of new Falcon hardware.  uSC and Afterburner have sort of run their course as newer hardware reduces the need for the older stuff.  uAmp is still a versatile and solid performer for boosting data signals where ever needed.  Obviously the full blown hubs, massive channel chunks of hardware, etc are the realm of Dave and Co.  so this is mainly looking for small boards, accessories we can make in large quantities, and/or 'bits of kit' to help with the show.

A strobe controller was mentioned last year.  In researching, it seems like one of those 'easy to say', 'hard to execute well' projects.  For best performance, it really needs to be a complete package where all components have specified parameters and work together.

I've been experimenting with a 'test data injector' which would inductively couple to a data line and generate a data signal from that point forward.  Thinking you could inject data at each node to help identify a bad one (ie data before "node X" does not work, but data after "node x" does work, so "node X" must be bad.)

IoT devices are becoming big - do we dump wires all together?

We've been fighting voltage drop in long wire runs for many years now... do we look into AC power for long runs and convert to DC right at the string?

Not that any of these ideas are feasible for a 'production' scenario, but feel free to discuss / add your own thoughts.  If we hit some 'spark' of a great idea, it might make a 2017 production run.
Corey
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Offline taybrynn

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Re: Brainstorming 2017 - What do we need?
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2017, 12:26:57 PM »
I feel that the DLA active hub still has a useful place, esp. using usc ssc programmer and firmware ... even among the latest Falcon lineup because I can still use a centralized power supply and just "plug in a regular unmodified cat5" into ANY port ... and then connect a remote SSC ... and 100' plus range seems reliable and probably even more.   I like that I don't have to run a bunch of power supplies or injection and the use or regular cat5(s) seems cheaper than using 3 pin cords, or even modified cat5(s).


It would be nice to have in a Falcon version, like a 16 port power injected hub expansion board ... where you could reprogram up to 16 SSC(s) from the F16v2 web interface, but essentially its different than the Falcon differential + differential receivers .... because you can still centralize the power like you would on a normal expansion board ... but just plug in cat5(s) to the injected expansion board and run them to SSC(s) with regular cat5(s).   But the big bonus would be the ability to reprogram from the same F16v2/v3 web interface.   


I do think wifi use could be very innovative also.   Like a device the you plug a cheap $10 edimax USB wifi adaptor into ... and its then able to communicate to say an expansion board in place of using wires.

Offline arw01

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Re: Brainstorming 2017 - What do we need?
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2017, 03:19:56 PM »
It saddens me too that the uSSC, DIYLA SSC are languishing.  Being able to reprogram them from a web interface so you didn't have to remember what start channel was what etc would be killer.  It was a pretty efficient model.


Could the Falcon firmware for the SSCv4 and uSSC be open sourced so we can see what we could push with a larger pic in it?


It's 4 wire to the uSSC so rs485 would certainly be adequate for communications.

Offline vttinman

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Re: Brainstorming 2017 - What do we need?
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2017, 10:36:52 PM »
I had a random thought...what about a pair of small form factor boards that would convert a data signal to RS485 and then back to data.  They would pass the power through like the uAMP does but would allow a much greater distance between the pairs.  That would allow someone to use a single port from any pixel controller and run a prop at a distance with a single wire (cat5 or 4-core) run.  Reminiscent of the DLA design sans PixelNet.

Offline JonB256

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Re: Brainstorming 2017 - What do we need?
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2017, 07:21:42 AM »
...what about a pair of small form factor boards that would convert a data signal to RS485 and then back to data.

exactly what the Falcon Differential boards do. SPI to RS485 and back to SPI, so definitely possible.

Offline Steve Gase

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Re: Brainstorming 2017 - What do we need?
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2017, 09:11:01 AM »
I continue to use uSC and DLA smart hubs in conjunction with F16 and F8 controllers.
(While I have F16v2 and newer gear -- the old still works painlessly.)

Some things I wish I had this year...

1) 5v version of a DLA smart hub  (I have a lot of 5v strips connected to uSCs that I place all around the place.
2) Pixelnet-to-DMX breakout...  (I had a couple DLA 16-port hubs -- each with power supplies out in the yard that had the sole purpose of giving me a DMX universe.)
http://WinterLightShow.com  |  110K channels, 50K lights  |  Nutcracker, Falcon, DLA, HolidayCoro

Offline twooly

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Re: Brainstorming 2017 - What do we need?
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2017, 09:52:38 AM »
Better management of the SSC/uSC would be killer for me, that was my biggest pain compared to the F16v2.  Webpage to configure vs going back to a programmer and I actually had a hickup with something causing my ETD to go nuts and had to pull my spare out.  Color order vs the options in the programmer and adding my DSC firmware as an option to program vs the way I do it now :)

Strobe controller I like.

Pixel data back to pixelnet.  I love the one cable of the receiver boards (f16v2) but only 4 ports on the board is limiting and I would take being able to piggy back that receiver back to pixelnet.

Offline twooly

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Re: Brainstorming 2017 - What do we need?
« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2017, 09:55:57 AM »

2) Pixelnet-to-DMX breakout...  (I had a couple DLA 16-port hubs -- each with power supplies out in the yard that had the sole purpose of giving me a DMX universe.)

Sadly someone did create a board and nothing came from it on DLA.  I actually have one of the testing boards, worked great.  Not sure why the person didn't follow through with it.  If Corey wants to look at it I'm glad to send it his way since I only have a couple DMX stuff left.  Need to find a replacement for my MR16 to control a couple Dumb LED spots and Dumb RGB models (I know the ray 27 could but I want avoid DMX if possible).

Offline zwiller

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Re: Brainstorming 2017 - What do we need?
« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2017, 10:42:14 AM »
I have been asking about a strobe board for like 5 years so I kinda figured it was harder to pull off than I thought.  Trust me tho, once I get mine going EVERYONE is going to want them.   ;D 

You guys still liking the DLA hub, you really need to check out the Falcon Hub.  It's insanely flexible.  5v or 12v or both.  Not 1 or 2, but THREE dmx outs too.  Oh, and the fuses...  THE FUSES!

I like the test device idea.  Anything that helps diagnose failed nodes or helps troubleshooting is a good idea to me.   Something like a little red gun shaped device that connects to the string and when trigger is depressed it fixes bad nodes would be good too...  I can dream right? ::)

I think there could be a need of some crossover type stuff.  Maybe take Steve's PN to DMX breakout but to another level so you can run anything dmx from a F16 port.  IE send pixelnet channel 32,356 (via utility) to this but it outputs power and dmx.  A PN to DMX channel converter.  In other words, every DMX device out in the yard is set to channel 1 but is being controlled via PN channel via the port/utility.  Alot of the cheaper dmx stuff has funky addressing gear etc or all channels must be run consecutively.  Happy to see I am not the only looking to rid myself of DMX. 

Also I still think the uDSC or a way to run a dumb things from a port would be cool.  I would be happy to pay extra (more per channel than the dmx 27ch) so I could run dumb floods/multiple single color spots/from a port.  It would allow very convenient placement and eliminates the case/PS/hookup/cabling of the dumb controller.  I could probably live without it with a DMX converter like above tho. 
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Offline taybrynn

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Re: Brainstorming 2017 - What do we need?
« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2017, 01:14:07 PM »



That is kind of where the differential boards and receivers seem like they would fall a bit short for me.  I'd have to place 3-4 of them on each roof and then
power each one with some kind of small power supply.   Lots of failure points.  However, I do like the shorter cord lengths.


The simplicity of an unmodified cat5 going long distances (with power and data) has huge appeal to me for that reason.


Keeping the power supply and controllers on the ground has big appeal after spending a couple years with broken ones on the roof and limited ability to fix / replace them.


I actually never knew there was a Falcon hub.   Very cool.





« Last Edit: January 03, 2017, 01:23:33 PM by taybrynn »

Offline bassmants

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Re: Brainstorming 2017 - What do we need?
« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2017, 03:26:16 PM »
I continue to use uSC and DLA smart hubs in conjunction with F16 and F8 controllers.
(While I have F16v2 and newer gear -- the old still works painlessly.)

Some things I wish I had this year...

1) 5v version of a DLA smart hub  (I have a lot of 5v strips connected to uSCs that I place all around the place.
2) Pixelnet-to-DMX breakout...  (I had a couple DLA 16-port hubs -- each with power supplies out in the yard that had the sole purpose of giving me a DMX universe.)

I too used two DLA active hubs for the sole purpose of DMX outputs.

Offline JonB256

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Re: Brainstorming 2017 - What do we need?
« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2017, 03:31:57 PM »
I still own one of Dave Pitts older boards that has a Pixelnet input and output but extracts 5 DMX universes of your choice. Ran on 5vdc.

Programming was simple and sure beat using an entire smart hub just to output DMX.

Offline Ebuechner

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Re: Brainstorming 2017 - What do we need?
« Reply #12 on: January 03, 2017, 03:57:49 PM »
I'm new to this forum and not completely familiar with all the stuff available here. At one time I was looking for a small board that used a 2811 chip to Drive dumb RGB so I could run a bunch of stars that were mixed with smart strips in the same area. Possibly incorporating the uAmp so that the distances between the items wouldn't be as much of an issue. A board like this would allow me to eliminate a couple of universes and a lot of extra wire.
I'd like to add that I was thinking of a board that was small enough to use in a single element but yet you could stack it so you could make it take place of a 27 Channel controller
« Last Edit: January 03, 2017, 04:21:45 PM by Ebuechner »

Offline zwiller

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Re: Brainstorming 2017 - What do we need?
« Reply #13 on: January 04, 2017, 06:58:28 AM »
I actually never knew there was a Falcon hub.   Very cool.

I want them in the worst way but do not need them.  There are 2 for sale area.  http://falconchristmas.com/forum/index.php/topic,6824.0.html

Offline deplanche

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Re: Brainstorming 2017 - What do we need?
« Reply #14 on: January 04, 2017, 07:59:26 AM »
I'd like to see either a PiHat (or another board on top of that), that has several buttons to trigger events on the pi.  That way you could plug things in for testing without having to use the web interface.  Just set the events for those buttons for whatever type of test sequence you want to use.  I'd find it handy to have for sure.

 

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