Author Topic: Specifications and questions on F16V3  (Read 759 times)

Offline Poporacer

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Specifications and questions on F16V3
« on: January 10, 2018, 11:17:19 PM »
I am starting on setting up my first Xmas show. I purchased an F16V3 controller and have read and lurked the forums, but I want to make sure I understand.

1. You have to connect your computer to the controller through a router or switch? Why can't you just connect the computer to the controller?
2. The specifications indicate that you can control 1024 pixels from one port. So you can essentially run 2 170 pixel Universes on one port (inject power as needed)? For a total of 2720 pixels.
3. If you install an expansion board, you really are not adding any more ability for Pixels because they share the pixel count? You can operate more individual strings but the same amount of total Pixels? Why would you need an expansion board then with the exception of the smaller string counts?
4. If you need more Pixel count, then you need to add a Differential Expansion Board and Receiver. And with 2 expansion boards and 8 receivers, you can control a total of 48,960 pixels?
5. Can a Universe span more than one port? Set up the universe on the first port something like Universe 1 start 1 end 510 and then on the other port have universe 1 start 511?

I am going to start off small but want to understand the limits as I expand. So if I have a mega tree with 32 "strands" of 50 pixels. I could have 2 510 pixel universes on one port and then one 510 Pixel universe and one 70 pixel universe on another port? That probably isn't the best method. Can you share how you recommend setting up my Mega Tree
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Offline deplanche

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Re: Specifications and questions on F16V3
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2018, 06:14:31 AM »
Before I answer your questions, just wanted to point you to the manual for the F16v3, where many of these questions can be answered.  It's a long read, but an excellent reference.  https://docs.google.com/document/d/1S67ZVLgQRYsdqPhgfPkQucnFXvu1FmQAME9qnK5RixU/edit?usp=sharing

Now to your questions.

1. I have not connected the F16v3 directly to a computer, but I believe that can be done.  Hopefully someone else can chime in on how to do that.

2. I am a bit confused by your question.  The F16v3 can run up to 1024 pixels per output port.  That is the equivalent of 3072 channels per port, or 6 universes of 512 channels.

3. Correct, the F16v3 can output a maximum of 16,384 pixels.  If you just use the main board, off of those channels are off of the main board.  If you add expansion boards, they are shared between all of the boards, with sliders that can adjust how many channels go to each board.  The expansion boards, especially the differential expansion boards and receivers, are useful if you want to spread things out and not have all your items in a single location.  Also, I don't think it is common for people to run the full 1024 pixels per port.

4. Again, the maximum number of pixels the output by the F16v3 is 16,384.  That is regardless of if it is the main board only or the main board with expansions.  You can not increase that number, you only spread it out over a larger number of output ports.

5. Yes, each port can send either full or partial universes.  You can set that all up on the string port page. 


If you wanted to minimize the number of ports you are using for a megatree in order to allow for future expansion, you would take the total number of pixels (32 strings of 50 pixels = 1600 pixels), and divide it by the maximum number of pixels per output (1024), and you'd need at least 2 output ports for that.  So Port one would have 1024 pixels and Port 2 would have 576 pixels.  That gives you the most room for future expansion, however I would not do it that way.

For the 1600 pixels, I would probably use 4 ports with 400 pixels on each.  That still would give you 12 ports for future expansion and not push one port to the maximum for no reason.  The 400 pixels per port, or 1200 channels per port means that you would need at least 3 universes for each of those ports.  Personally, I would make a total of 12 universes of 400 channels to do that. Port 1 would then start on Universe 1, channel 1 and go thru the end of universe 3 (which would be channel 400).  Port 2 would start on Universe 4, channel 1 and so on. 



Offline jnealand

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Re: Specifications and questions on F16V3
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2018, 09:50:37 AM »
I suspect that you see to connect the F16v2/3 to a router is that there are way to many questions from folks who have no idea on how to set a fixed ip in their computer, which would be required for direct computer to controller connection.  In addition if you do direct connect you are either limiting or complicating your network issues if you are going to go beyone a single controller.  Using a router just makes it easier for a networking novice to do a setup, IMHO.
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Offline tbone321

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Re: Specifications and questions on F16V3
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2018, 12:29:27 PM »
I am starting on setting up my first Xmas show. I purchased an F16V3 controller and have read and lurked the forums, but I want to make sure I understand.

1. You have to connect your computer to the controller through a router or switch? Why can't you just connect the computer to the controller?

You can just connect the computer to the controller directly but that requires a bit more configuration.  You will need to set the IP address for both devices and they will need to be different than you home network.  You will also need to enable network sharing on the PC you are connecting to the F16 and set its gateway and DNS properly so that it can access the internet if needed. So sure, you can connect the PC directly to the F16 but it is much easier to connect it to a switch that has access to your router to allow DHCP to take care of all that.
 
3. If you install an expansion board, you really are not adding any more ability for Pixels because they share the pixel count? You can operate more individual strings but the same amount of total Pixels? Why would you need an expansion board then with the exception of the smaller string counts?

The more ports you have, the less demand on each port as well as the added flexibility in prop placement.  If each prop has its own connection to the controller, it is easier to place them and if a prop fails, it is the only prop that does.  Nodes are serial devices and each node depends on the one in front of it for its data so if a mode fails (and they can and do), every node behind it also stops working because they are no longer getting data.  If you have 10 props all connected together on the same port and a node on the 5th one fails, then 6 thru 10 also stop working.  If each is on its own port, then a node failure in prop 5 only affects prop 5.

5. Can a Universe span more than one port? Set up the universe on the first port something like Universe 1 start 1 end 510 and then on the other port have universe 1 start 511?

Span is probably not the correct term but the controller can be configured to have a port begin looking for data at the end of a universe and the same universe can be configured for multiple ports.  I would be cautious on doing this as it can make things confusing and of you switch to a controller that can't do that, you will be making a lot of changes to your show.

Offline Poporacer

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Re: Specifications and questions on F16V3
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2018, 10:35:17 PM »
@deplanche 
Thanks for the input. I have read the manual and wanted to make sure I understood how it worked. In the manual it talks about the sharing of the pixels in each output for expansion boards, but when it comes to the differential expansion boards, it really doesn't explain that those share ports as well. So if you have 2 differential boards and 8 differential receivers with 32 ports, you have to configure the sharing of 3 ports for 1024 pixel count max. I just didn't see that in the manual. I know this is going to be in the future, but how do people accomplish like 154,000 pixels. Probably more than one F16V3 somehow linked together? And thanks a million on your advice for the Mega Tree. I will try it as you suggested.

@jnealand
Thanks, that explains it.

@tbone321
Thanks for your explanation. I am seeing things clearer now!

Can you use a dedicated router to connect to? Or does the router have to be connected to the internet?


Offline CarterM

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Re: Specifications and questions on F16V3
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2018, 05:27:30 AM »
You can use a dedicated router, so long as all the right parts are on the same network!  It's suggested to keep the 'show' network away from the network you normally use for web surfing and the like.  But that's a more advanced topic for many, and the rabbit holes really start popping up when you begin those discussions.


What I mean by 'all the right parts are on the same network' - you have to have either your computer and/or something like a Raspberry Pi running FPP on the same network segment to make the show go.  And of course you have to be able to access the Falcon's web interface as well in order to configure it.

Offline deplanche

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Re: Specifications and questions on F16V3
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2018, 05:38:51 AM »
@deplanche 
Thanks for the input. I have read the manual and wanted to make sure I understood how it worked. In the manual it talks about the sharing of the pixels in each output for expansion boards, but when it comes to the differential expansion boards, it really doesn't explain that those share ports as well. So if you have 2 differential boards and 8 differential receivers with 32 ports, you have to configure the sharing of 3 ports for 1024 pixel count max. I just didn't see that in the manual. I know this is going to be in the future, but how do people accomplish like 154,000 pixels. Probably more than one F16V3 somehow linked together? And thanks a million on your advice for the Mega Tree. I will try it as you suggested.

The F16v3 basically only has 3 settings for the number of boards being used
1. Main Board only.  In this case each port on the main board has a max of 1024 pixels that can be connected to it.

2. Main board with one expansion. The expansion can be the 16 port expansion OR a differential expansion with 4 differential receiver boards.  Either way you get 16 additional ports that are not physically on the F16v3.  The slider that appears controls how many pixels per port are on the main board versus how many pixels per port are on the expansion boards.  The sum adds up to 1024.  The slider doesn't have anything to do with how many ports you are using on any of the differential expansion boards.

3. Main board with two expansions.  Similar to above, but the expansions can be 2- 16 board expansion boards, 2 - differential expansions with up to 8 differential receivers, OR 1-16 port expansion with 1-differentail expansion with up to 4 differential receivers.  Again, the sliders will control how many pixels per port are on the main and each set of expansion boards.

Hopefully that cleared things up a little more for you.

If you are running more than 16,384 pixels, then you need more than 1 F16v3 to run that.  So if you wanted to run a show of 154,000 pixels you are going to need 10 F16v3s to run that.  And even them that is going to be pretty maxed out.

Offline jnealand

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Re: Specifications and questions on F16V3
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2018, 12:38:43 PM »
I suspect that many of those big pixel count shows have P10 matrices.  I have a single P10 matrix ~2ftx4ft that has over 24k pixels alone but runs off a single BBB.  No F16 involved.

Offline JonB256

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Re: Specifications and questions on F16V3
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2018, 12:59:30 PM »
True - 75% of my channel count is from P10 panels.

Offline Poporacer

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Re: Specifications and questions on F16V3
« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2018, 08:01:17 PM »
Thanks for all the info. Just out of curiosity, how do you use more than one Falcon controller? Just connect them together vie the Ethernet connections?

@JonB256 So how do you accomplish your high pixel count? What hardware are you using?

Offline jnealand

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Re: Specifications and questions on F16V3
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2018, 09:08:22 AM »
Each of my 5 Falcon F16s has a dedicated Pi3 attached to it.  1 v1, 3 v2s, 1 v3.  I do not like having data cable lay all over my yard so I use an FPP remote attached to every controller.

Offline Poporacer

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Re: Specifications and questions on F16V3
« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2018, 06:59:35 PM »
How do you synch each controller? Do you have a FPP that communicates wirelessly to each one? Does Xlights have the ability to address all the different controllers?

Offline jnealand

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Re: Specifications and questions on F16V3
« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2018, 09:05:49 AM »
FPP has a master / remote mode of operation.  The sequences, but not the audio, must be copied to each remote.  In operation the master sends short sync pulses to each remote to tell them where they should be in the sequence.  The sync pulses do not contain data and use significantly less bandwidth on the wifi network.  If you wish to run from xlights you do not use master remote.

Offline Emuney18

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Re: Specifications and questions on F16V3
« Reply #13 on: January 17, 2018, 03:36:26 PM »
You can also run cat5 from your computer or Pi to a network switch that then is connected to each controller.  You can then connect as many controllers as your switch can handle.  You can also use xlights and xschedule to play your sequences from your computer


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Offline Poporacer

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Re: Specifications and questions on F16V3
« Reply #14 on: January 22, 2018, 11:10:21 AM »
Let me see if I am understanding.
You can have a Raspberry Pi running FPP connected to one Falcon Controller (and control whatever amount of Pixels it is capable of) and then have the first Raspberry communicate with another Raspberry(s) via WiFi that is connected to another Falcon Controller and then you get the additional number of Pixels based on that controller's ability?
 
And when you set these up, each controller will have a separate IP address. In XLights you could use absolute addressing or Universe addressing and because you have unique universes, XLights will send the appropriate data stream?

How far can the Master Raspberry communicate with one of the slaves? How far can cat5 go from the router/switch?

 

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