Author Topic: Has anyone set up their entire display with just PiHats?  (Read 308 times)

Offline Turtledove

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Has anyone set up their entire display with just PiHats?
« on: November 13, 2017, 08:57:10 AM »


Hi all!


After 11 years with LOR, multiple AC, DMX and various pieces and parts of a system I am looking to wipe the slate clean.


I am thinking of a 100% PiHat system and would like to get some feedback/comments going.


I am also new to xlights, but have been playing around even have played around with a few sample sequences, put them on the Pi and run lights with them.


Looking at 7 Ras Pi's


-1 pi with no hat, this would be my master pi, playlist, schedule, and run audio (I understand that the headphone jack is disabled with a hat)
-6 pi's with pi-hat, running 100% rgb 2811 pixels from ray wu, I have tested with 800 pixels per pi-hat string output for a total of 1600 pixels per hat, working great
-multiple D Pitts Power distribution boards, 1 distribution board per string, 2 per hat (one for each string).  Tested and working great.


At this point I feel very comfortable running lights using the PiHats and xlights with the exception of networking.


I haven't attempted networking just yet and looking for advise:


Is the above set up possible, 1 master/6 slaves?


I am thinking but not sure on all of the following:
-assign static IP addresses on all pi's
-I am planning on hardwiring all Pi's and 1 laptop to a seperate network (seperate router & switch from home network), no internet connection. (no wifi, I have enough challenges right now)
-when I configure the setup in xlights I am creating a lot of e1.31 universes, but these are just to get channel numbers
-load my sequences to all Pi's (slaves and master)
-other than getting channel numbers my thinking is that I don't really care about e1.31 or universes, all data will run locally on each pi, no e1.31 communication will be going on
-configure each Pi to run the relevant channels for that Pi, assuming it would just ignore all the other channels not related to that particular Pi
-use the master pi to configure playlist and scheduler (no need to create playlist or schedule on slave Pi's)


Is any of my thinking flawed? Am I on the right track? Is this even possible?

Offline jnealand

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Re: Has anyone set up their entire display with just PiHats?
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2017, 09:18:55 AM »
Anything is possible.  I ran 5 remotes last Christmas and 5 remotes this past Halloween.  I may be at 12 remotes for Christmas, if I get all the props up and ready.  I have no data cables running around my yard.  Every controller has a Pi attached.  I have F16v1, F8, F16v2(s), F16v3, PiCap(2), PiHat(s), P10, P5.  No reason you cannot do what you are proposing but some props like a big mega tree or density of props in one location may may be more practial with an F16 as they may require more nodes that you can run with a single Cap.  Also there is much more flexibility with an F16v3 for things like setting brightness right at the controller, using virtual strings, even more expandability.  Just have fun doing it.
Jim Nealand
Kennesaw, GA
Lynx, Falcon, XL, FPP

Online taybrynn

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Re: Has anyone set up their entire display with just PiHats?
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2017, 09:36:55 AM »
I'm thinking sure, you certainly could ... however, I suspect your not really saving very much (if at all) ... and perhaps its pretty limited in some ways, not super expandable by comparison to use F4(s) or F16(s) instead.

If you look at the the pi + pihat ... you basically get two (potentially overloaded) channels of 800-100 pixels each ... but I personally like the F4v3 more ... and its 4 channels is expandable by 12 with a inexpensive expansion board... for maybe 20-30% more $$

It seems for the slight increase in cost, you can have a much more capable system of F4v3(s) ... and F16v3(s) make even more sense, price per channel ... in a larger show, IMHO.

I used to have around 30 controllers in my show ... but after converting most to F16v2(s) and a couple expansion boards  ... its 5 controllers now and a lot simpler, and a lot better / easier / configurable.
I run it all from a single pi running FPP.    What I can do with a F16v3 + expansion is incredible for the $$.  I can't see pihats scaling to that and being price effective, unless you situation is highly unique.


I certainly agree the pi+pihat is a versatile test controller for the office, or as a single display item controller if in a bind, but I would't design an entire show with them unless working with a small show.    Obviously you can do what you want, and you may love these (or feel comfortable with these) so much that that overrides all other considerations.

Offline Bwinter

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Re: Has anyone set up their entire display with just PiHats?
« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2017, 10:43:50 AM »
My display has MULTIPLE PiHats scattered around--I think it's a great solution for rooflines, and random scattered elements.  You only need to supply POWER to the Pi/PiHat, and not have to worry about long-distance data-runs.  I find them much simpler to set-up, and much smaller (so the enclosure is more manageable).


However, I do prefer to use a controller with more outputs (x16) in the center of a cluster of props.  If I need to control 10+ and arches (that are all close together), it's much easier to have one port-per-prop, and the larger controller definitely is easier in this situation.

Online taybrynn

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Re: Has anyone set up their entire display with just PiHats?
« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2017, 12:05:01 PM »
With 6 Pi + PiCap(s) ... this sounds like an expensive way to get 12 channels ... vs. say a single F16V3 with 2 differential board expansions and receivers for 32 channels total,
16 local (30-50') and 16 dispersed to differential boards.    You can also add another 16 channels using a 3rd diff expansion and 4 diff rcvrs for only another $108, for 48 channels total.
If you ever have a big megatree, the F16v3 can live there and the differential channels can serve all the remote places.

The diff rcvrs also could have small enclosures ....

$200 f16v3  + $17 x 4 diff rcvrs + $40 x 1 diff exp ... $308 for 36 channels, 5 power supplies
$200 f16v3  + $17 x 8 diff rcvrs + $40 x 2 diff exp ... $416 for 48 channels, 9 power supplies[size=78%]

vs.

[/size]$65 ($30 pi + $35 picap) x 6 =  $390  ... for 12 channels, 6 power supplies

Offline Bwinter

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Re: Has anyone set up their entire display with just PiHats?
« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2017, 12:31:13 PM »
There's a lot of different ways to skin a cat.

Offline zwiller

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Re: Has anyone set up their entire display with just PiHats?
« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2017, 12:46:43 PM »
+1  Do what makes sense to you.  The pi just doesn't click for me but it may for you.  Money is only a part of the equation.  I just don't see how less controllers with props all strung together is simpler.  I continue to push things in the "prop per port" direction.  Latest development is an arduino uno with some other off the shelf stuff accepting E1.31 and running 4 ports up to 128 PIXELS per port. 

Jim, with all those pis.  Timing is good?  No artifacts or delays? 
« Last Edit: November 13, 2017, 01:19:02 PM by zwiller »
Sam

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Offline Bwinter

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Re: Has anyone set up their entire display with just PiHats?
« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2017, 12:48:49 PM »
Latest development is an arduino uno with some other off the shelf stuff accepting E1.31 and running 4 ports up to 128 channels per port. 



128 channels per port.  As in 42 nodes?

Offline zwiller

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Re: Has anyone set up their entire display with just PiHats?
« Reply #8 on: November 13, 2017, 01:20:04 PM »
Pixels, my bad!  Basically, the max without any power injection on 12v. 

Offline Bwinter

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Re: Has anyone set up their entire display with just PiHats?
« Reply #9 on: November 13, 2017, 01:24:23 PM »
Pixels, my bad!  Basically, the max without any power injection on 12v.


128 pixels/port. Okay, that definitely makes it more interesting!

Offline jnealand

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Re: Has anyone set up their entire display with just PiHats?
« Reply #10 on: November 13, 2017, 06:52:37 PM »
+1  Do what makes sense to you.  The pi just doesn't click for me but it may for you.  Money is only a part of the equation.  I just don't see how less controllers with props all strung together is simpler.  I continue to push things in the "prop per port" direction.  Latest development is an arduino uno with some other off the shelf stuff accepting E1.31 and running 4 ports up to 128 PIXELS per port. 

Jim, with all those pis.  Timing is good?  No artifacts or delays?

Not sure why you might think there would be lag.  Each Pi is running independently but kept in sync by the short sync packets the master puts out.  I've never seen anything but good from running multiple pis.  But YMMV.  I am a proponent like you of simpler connections.  Cannot say prop per port, because my mega trees take at least 9 ports.  But I do keep my controllers as close to the props as I can and do not mind if I do not use all the ports.  And other than my new window matrices I have never put more than 128 nodes on a single port nor do I use expansion boards on any of my four F16v2/3 although I do own one.  I don't have enough strings to connect in one location and I do not wish to be pulling long data wires all over my yard.  The only long wires are 120v extension cords.

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Re: Has anyone set up their entire display with just PiHats?
« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2017, 09:15:29 AM »
There is no right or wrong as mentioned above ...


I personally prefer the 1 channel/1 prop as well ... I believe in smaller failures ... no injection ideally. 


I also adhere to the old 128 nodes per channel limit, from my DLA roots.  I might exceed it a bit if
using falcon and it still works without injection or by reducing intensity till it works.



Offline zwiller

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Re: Has anyone set up their entire display with just PiHats?
« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2017, 10:16:52 AM »
+1  Do what makes sense to you.  The pi just doesn't click for me but it may for you.  Money is only a part of the equation.  I just don't see how less controllers with props all strung together is simpler.  I continue to push things in the "prop per port" direction.  Latest development is an arduino uno with some other off the shelf stuff accepting E1.31 and running 4 ports up to 128 PIXELS per port. 

Jim, with all those pis.  Timing is good?  No artifacts or delays?

Not sure why you might think there would be lag.  Each Pi is running independently but kept in sync by the short sync packets the master puts out.  I've never seen anything but good from running multiple pis.  But YMMV.  I am a proponent like you of simpler connections.  Cannot say prop per port, because my mega trees take at least 9 ports.  But I do keep my controllers as close to the props as I can and do not mind if I do not use all the ports.  And other than my new window matrices I have never put more than 128 nodes on a single port nor do I use expansion boards on any of my four F16v2/3 although I do own one.  I don't have enough strings to connect in one location and I do not wish to be pulling long data wires all over my yard.  The only long wires are 120v extension cords.

Thanks Jim.  I am still afraid to cut the wire but my confidence is growing!  Now, if there was PiCap 4 or 8 port...  pi can run more than 2 pins right?  Not sure if all can be used or what pins...  Still learning.   

Offline jnealand

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Re: Has anyone set up their entire display with just PiHats?
« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2017, 12:34:17 PM »
Sam, it is not that much money to try one and see if you like it.  I have a picap for each of my window matrices.  Port 1 controls 60 WS2811s for the matrix and Port 2 controls just the window frame of 70 TM1804s.

Here is my veterans day display  https://youtu.be/XiFHpJd4UQU
Two picaps controlling the far right and left windows, Everything else on the front of the house is an active hub and 14 SSCs.  The arches are just 2 ports on an F16v2b that will be moved to the side yard now.  Minitrees are connected to a F16v1.  The P10s are run by a BBB.  Still have more controllers to put out for the Christmas show.

Offline JonB256

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Re: Has anyone set up their entire display with just PiHats?
« Reply #14 on: November 14, 2017, 05:47:45 PM »
Now, if there was PiCap 4 or 8 port...  pi can run more than 2 pins right?  Not sure if all can be used or what pins...  Still learning.   

There are several Beaglebone 4 port, 8 port (and 16) options. I recently got two of Dan Kulps new 8 port design that also outputs to DMX, Pixelnet or 4-port Differential receivers. The option combinations are crazy. Enough so that I sold my two older F4-B boards.

Don't limit yourself to just Raspberry Pi. The BBB and BBG (and the new BBBwireless) are all supported.

 

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