Falcon Christmas

Welcome => Learning Center => Topic started by: gilv58 on January 24, 2017, 11:49:00 AM

Title: Zero to Lights in 60 Days - I hope
Post by: gilv58 on January 24, 2017, 11:49:00 AM
Hi all
First a brief background. As some may know I did the animated Christmas lights thing back in 2005 & 2006 small shows with -dare I say- Animated Lighting equipment. I quickly became frustrated with it and in 2009 I moved to a SanDevice  E682 controller. Had limited success with it.  But I did nothing with it and this passion lay dormant for years.


This year I decided to get back into an activity that brought me so much joy in the past. Remembering my experience with AL I decided to give LOR a try. I had just started buying their controllers (a CMB-24D) when I stumbled on FPP and Falcon controllers and simply fell in love with the design and overall concept.


So I have decided to give it a go again and this year. For a change I am starting on time - now!


So this is where I am at:
I wish to start kinda small this year I want my display to have:
Ok enough background so please what's next?


I am an Agile coach and would like to generate a prioritized do-to list of possible so I can build a Scrum board I can use to guide me through this project


Thanks in advance for your advice.


Gil V.
Title: Re: Zero to Lights in 60 Days - I hope
Post by: gilv58 on January 27, 2017, 06:38:01 AM
We have lights !!!


Ok thanks to a member here I got a hold of a Falcon PiCap. I had already set up a RaPi3 with FPP and was able to drive two 50 pixel strips with the PiCap and FPP. I was even crated a simple sequence in xLight, import the sequence and run it.


Progress.


Video of lights flashing - sorry not my best video and audio is from an other Youtube video of a demo of how to get it done.


https://youtu.be/VRKKPnR2uk0


I am still not sure I totally understand how to properly set up channels in xLights and in FPP. Hopefully the bulb will turn on before this gets a bit more complex.







Title: Re: Zero to Lights in 60 Days - I hope
Post by: gilv58 on January 27, 2017, 01:42:41 PM
Does this layout look correct?



Title: Re: Zero to Lights in 60 Days - I hope
Post by: rlemery on January 27, 2017, 03:33:16 PM
Layout looks good. If you have wifi working the pi3 with the pi hat can be wireless.

Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Zero to Lights in 60 Days - I hope
Post by: gilv58 on January 27, 2017, 08:11:41 PM
rlemery


Thanks


Right now I have the one RaPi3's WiFi working ok, I had intend to make that the Master. The WiFi on the RaPi3 that has the PiCap attached is not longer "communicating" I can ping the wlan0 IP but the FPP browser will not "find that IP.


 
Title: Re: Zero to Lights in 60 Days - I hope
Post by: gilv58 on February 02, 2017, 06:33:40 AM
Ok I have made some progress but now I am hitting a small wall.


This is what I have done so far:
I have one Pi3 with a PiCap and an XLights sequence. I set up the channels in FPP, uploaded the sequence file, created a schedule and lights operate as expected. The sequence starts and stops as scheduled. Hurray. Baby step #1 ... checked


Now I wish to have another Pi3 as my Master (see my topology above) and the Pi with the PiCap, which will drive my leaping arches, as the slave.


I have both PIs hard wired to a switch. When setting up my master Pi it discovers it's own wired IP and the slave's wired IP so far so good- I think. I synced the files. but the schedule nor the sequence work.


I do not have the PiCap channels defined on the master Pi.


What am I missing? what am I doing wrong?

***** never mind I figured it out, master/slave is working well now ********


Gil V.
Title: Re: Zero to Lights in 60 Days - I hope
Post by: gilv58 on February 02, 2017, 06:36:29 AM
Layout looks good. If you have wifi working the pi3 with the pi hat can be wireless.

Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk


rlemery


The reason I wish to do thing through the switch is the show will not be deployed near my house. I am setting this up to run in my restaurant and I need it to work independent of a wireless network.


Thanks


Gil V.
Title: Re: Zero to Lights in 60 Days - I hope
Post by: gilv58 on February 02, 2017, 08:22:51 AM
So now I have a master/slave Pi3 working. the second Pi3 has a PiCap and is correctly driving two strings of pixels.


Now I have to wait for my F16V2-R to arrive.


I'll spend some time developing a more complex sequence that includes the future channels of the F16V2. Agggg the wait!


I have six mini trees with dumb pixels and a CMB24-D controller leftover from my previous efforts. Not sure if I should re-do the mini trees with smart pixels and drive everything with the upcoming F16 V2 or leave the trees as they are and connect the CMB24-D to the PiCap. The down side of re-doing the trees is having to wait until the F16 gets here. Versus having something to play with now if I keep the CMB24-D and dumb pixel trees.


Suggestions?


Gil V.
Title: Re: Zero to Lights in 60 Days - I hope
Post by: Dabil on February 02, 2017, 04:49:18 PM
I'd keep the dumb pixels, but turn them into singing face Christmas tree's. Then redo the mini trees in smart pixels.

Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Zero to Lights in 60 Days - I hope
Post by: gilv58 on February 03, 2017, 12:15:16 PM
Dabil


What an excellent idea.  How do I control the signing light bulb? Will each lip gesture take up a connection on the F16? If I have three signing light bulbs, each will consume 7 connections that is 21 connections?!?
Title: Re: Zero to Lights in 60 Days - I hope
Post by: gilv58 on February 03, 2017, 12:25:45 PM
Well its the old "two step forward one step back". I got my small 2 RaPi network going with one Pi3 as Master end the other Pi - the one with the PiCap installed - being the Slave working. But now I have a set back.

Wanting to expand the network a bit, I connected a working CMB24-D controller to the PiCap's RJ45. The controller status light was on I connected a string of lights to it but they did not respond at all. Furthermore, now the RaPi with the PiCap is not responding either. Can't get the FPP page to load up. I tried re-installing all the software on the RaPi and nothing. I don't wish to mess with the one Pi that is working so I am waiting delivery of a couple of replacement RaPi - thank God for Amazon same day delivery!!!


So I am done with the CM24-D.  Hopefully I will get a F16V2R soon.


Back to working with xLights while controllers arrive.   A bit of a bummer ...


Maybe I'll do some work on the props. If the pixels and light strips arrive this weekend. One can only hope.


Gil V.
Title: Re: Zero to Lights in 60 Days - I hope
Post by: lwillisjr on February 03, 2017, 03:35:41 PM
I'm sure the experts will chime in. But I don't believe the RJ45 jack on the CMB24D board is not a standard ethernet connection. It expects DMX protocol which is not E1.31
Title: Re: Zero to Lights in 60 Days - I hope
Post by: rlemery on February 03, 2017, 03:50:20 PM
To use a cmb24 you need a crossover cable unless the picap has a jumper that can be set to lor mode. All lor units use a different set of pins on the rj45 connection. I have ran the cmb24 with several different controller's over the last few years without problems with crossover cables. You also must set the dip switches to the proper dmx starting channel.

Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Zero to Lights in 60 Days - I hope
Post by: gilv58 on February 03, 2017, 05:32:28 PM
rlemery


The PiCap does have bot a LOR and DMX set of jumper settings. I assumed that if I placed the jumpers on both the PiCap and the CMB24-D to DMX I could use a standard cat 5 and did not need a crossover cable.


See video link bellow.

But I could be wrong?


lwillisjr
You are correct, the RJ-45 on the PiCap is not E1.31 but neither is the CMB24-D. The CMB24-D can be set to receive LOR or standard DMX via jumpers on the board. So I should be able to connect the PiCap's RJ-45 port to a DMX controller like the CMB24-D when its set to DMX.


See this video.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1KLZF2EWTSk (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1KLZF2EWTSk)


Still I must be doing something wrong. Could be channel address mis-match.


And to add insult to injury now my Pi3/PiCap is not connecting to my network....aggggg


Gil V.
Title: Re: Zero to Lights in 60 Days - I hope
Post by: K-State Fan on February 04, 2017, 06:12:40 AM
Set the jumpers on the piCap to DMX and set the jumpers on the CMB24D to DMX also.  No need for a crossover cable.
Title: Re: Zero to Lights in 60 Days - I hope
Post by: gilv58 on February 04, 2017, 02:41:30 PM
Ken


thanks


That is what I thought.  It's maybe a channel address issue. I watched a video of a gentleman setting the PiCap to address nodes in a DMX controller. In the video the gentleman sets the DMX controller's address to 1. But he also has two strings of pixels connected to the PiCap, with string 1 starting at channel 1. I have pretty much the same set-up as the guy on the video and already had channels 1-300 "occupied" by those two strings so I set the CMB24-D to address 301. I set the start channel on FPP to 301 as well.


I am not sure I want to still seek to use the CMB24-D and some dumb RBGs - which I have now wrapped to 6 mini-trees.


Someone suggested I use the dumb strings to do some singing tress but after looking at a video on how to do it I think I like to do the signing tress (or light bulbs) using pixels instead of dumb nodes.


So I still don't know if I wish to pursue using the CMB24-D at all.


One thing for sure I need to get a better understanding of the channel and universe thing. Trying to keep things as simple as possible. And only taking one step at time making sure I understand what is going on before moving to the next step.
Title: Re: Zero to Lights in 60 Days - I hope
Post by: jnealand on February 04, 2017, 03:26:29 PM
One thing for sure I need to get a better understanding of the channel and universe thing. Trying to keep things as simple as possible. And only taking one step at time making sure I understand what is going on before moving to the next step.

It seems to me that the folks who like universes are the ones that have migrated to Falcon from SanDevices or Renards.  For those of us that came from a pixelnet (Lynx) controller background just dealing in channels seems to be easiest.  I just deal in channels since I use all Falcon equipment and it supports doing that.  Falcons handle absolute addressing just fine.  No need to think about universes.  If you did not learn by using universes I would just avoid it.
Title: Re: Zero to Lights in 60 Days - I hope
Post by: gilv58 on February 04, 2017, 07:17:34 PM
Thanks jnealand


BTW love your avatar. I will follow you advice and try not not worry about Universes. I am still having a hard time setting channels up in xLights. My set-up in FPP/PiCap seems to be ok. I can light up all 600 channels (2 strings of 300 channels each) running the FPP test mode.


But for some reason xLights seems to stop half way up the second arch (450 channels ??? )


Again this channel stuff is a bit though for me to grasp


Title: Re: Zero to Lights in 60 Days - I hope
Post by: jnealand on February 04, 2017, 07:21:17 PM
Progress is like chocolate chip cookies.  They are all good, but some are better than the others.  LOL  Just keep moving forward.
Title: Re: Zero to Lights in 60 Days - I hope
Post by: gilv58 on February 04, 2017, 07:56:08 PM
I am still having channel assignment issues (I think) between xLights and FPP


Hopefully someone can tell me what I am doing wrong.





Title: Re: Zero to Lights in 60 Days - I hope
Post by: jnealand on February 05, 2017, 01:25:27 PM
The only thing I would change is to use 512 channels per universe in xlights network setup.  I have 48 universes of 512 for my show.  510 is for controllers that need universe and channel within universe designation like a San Device controller and others that cannot go straight thru with 512 channels.  Falcon does not have that problem.  Those universe numbers mean nothing to my show.  The only thing that matters is that I have enough total channels to cover all my props.  Also I leave gaps in my channel assignments in lots of places for future use and because it make my assignments "feel" better in terms of arrangement.  I reserve the first 512 channels for DMX props and start my pixels at 513 because it is easier to figure out and less problematic to keep the first 512 as dedicated to DMX AC props.  I've also learned that for testing with FPP is is best if your 3rd channel number is evenly divisible by 3.  That is because when FPP was first written and you wanted to turn on all Red the program started with red as channel 1, green as channel 2 and blue as channel 3 and then just incremented by 3s.  So channel 300 in a color test will always be blue (this is FPP testing not controller testing).
Title: Re: Zero to Lights in 60 Days - I hope
Post by: gilv58 on February 05, 2017, 09:01:21 PM
I have set the CMB24-D aside for now.


While waiting for the Chinese New Year to be over and the subsequent arrival of my F16-V2R I am getting to learn both xLights and the nebulous world of channel setting.
With two pixel strips attached to a PiCap. I installed two 100 pixel node strings to each output port on the PiCap. First string has 300 channels (1-300), and the second string channels 301 - 600. Running the test mode I can get all the pixels on both strings to light up. I can get control all 600 channels very well...in the FPP test mode.
Next I wrote a simple sequence in xLights. I created two models each with 100 nodes.  Arch 1 has channels 1-300 and  Arch 2 channels 301-600.


At best I can drive the first string and part of the second string. It looks like xLights can not drive pixels on channels 513 - 600.


I have followed the advice of nor worring about universes, but I still can seem to have xLights drive channels above 512.


Any ideas?
Title: Re: Zero to Lights in 60 Days - I hope
Post by: K-State Fan on February 06, 2017, 05:42:04 AM
Are you using xLights to run this program or are you transferring it to the FPP?
Title: Re: Zero to Lights in 60 Days - I hope
Post by: gilv58 on February 06, 2017, 06:55:10 AM
K-State

I am running the sequence using FPP.

I save the xLights sequence file on the Mac. Then I upload the file into the Pi using FPP file upload, in FPPs File Maintenance tab. In FPP, I created a playlist which includes that sequence and I schedule the playlist.  The playlist plays as scheduled.  And like I said using FPP's test, I can set all 600 channels to what ever color I wish, run the test chases, etc. Of course I can also play the sequence in the test section of FPP. I just wanted to learn how to do a play list and schedule in FPP. FFPP seems to be working fine.


BTW these are the lights I have connected to my PiCap.  I donpt think they are the problems as I can drive them in FPP test mode.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1BAeLA_-gQE (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1BAeLA_-gQE)




I am almost certain the issue lays with the way I have defined the channels in xLights or in FPP.

The video I used to help be set my PiCap up does not cover this as the gentleman only has some 73 pixels -219 channels. Again I believe my troubles are due to me wanting to address more than 512 (or 510 not sure) channels with my set up.

One more thing there is a strange behavior. I set up a slow leaping arch chase in xLights. The chase goes from one string to the other - starts on channel 1 goes to channel 600 than back to channel 1. As the chase moves up the second string, it "stops" 3/2 of the way up (up to channel 512 my guess) but instead of the chase bouncing back immediate there is a slight delay as if it was "trying" to drive channels 512 to 600 and 600 back down to 1. So the chase goes out for a few seconds then it resumes is way back down the second string and down the first string.

Any ideas?
Title: Re: Zero to Lights in 60 Days - I hope
Post by: jnealand on February 06, 2017, 09:30:57 AM
My first thought is to delete the fseq file in xlights and then open the xml and save the file to create a new fseq.  You must do the delete when the file is not open.  I'm just guessing that there may be some artifacts in the seq from earlier learning with xlights.  Deleting the file makes xlights recreate it.
Title: Re: Zero to Lights in 60 Days - I hope
Post by: gilv58 on February 06, 2017, 01:35:45 PM
jnealand


Thanks and please allow me to show my ignorance.... xml file? what xml file? I see there is an xml file with the same name as the sequence (fseq) but I do nothing with that file. Am I supposed to upload the file to FPP as well?


The plot thickens




Thanks for your help


 
Title: Re: Zero to Lights in 60 Days - I hope
Post by: JonB256 on February 06, 2017, 02:02:12 PM
The named "xml" file is the most important sequence file and is backed up easily using the F10 function key.

The FSEQ file is what actually plays a sequence but it is purely digital data and can't be edited by normal humans.

So, don't delete the xml file because you can't get it back except from a copy.
The FSEQ file will get recreated every time you Save your xLights sequence. Delete it, it comes right back.
Title: Re: Zero to Lights in 60 Days - I hope
Post by: jnealand on February 06, 2017, 02:48:24 PM
When you open a sequence in xlights you are really opening the xml file, not the fseq file.  XML is the blueprint  / plans for your sequence.  Fseq is the final built product that does not get "edited" or "changed", at least for all practical purposes, but the xlights can update parts and can sometimes leave parts that were done a long time ago that you thought had been erased, hence the term artifacts.  You should install a program on your computer called notepad++.  With this program you can open the xml file and look at it and as sometimes directed you can also make changes directly using notepad++, but don't do that if you don't understand it.  Notepad++ is free and can be found doing a web search.  You will also see other xml files in your show folder.  xlight_rgbeffects.xml is your layout and models,  xlights_networks.xml is your network configuration and there are other xml files.  Feel free to open them and look at them, just never save them when you exit the program and nothing will get changed.   You might learn some more interesting stuff.
Title: Re: Zero to Lights in 60 Days - I hope
Post by: gilv58 on February 06, 2017, 06:29:51 PM
jnealand


You seem to be correct. I tried what you suggested but I still can't get channels past 512 to light up. After messing with the models a bit I created two arches but I simply turned the lights on to a solid color - blue. Well some of the pixels in start channels light up red for a while then they turn solid blue. And still no channels above 512 light up.


In xLights when I see the models while selecting the second model - channels 301 - 600, the image shows just part of the arch light. Pretty much corresponding to the part of the actual light string that lights up. The model of the first arch  channels 1- 300


Here is a video of the sequence


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2aqea60314U


and pics of models in xLight


So I am still lost but now I guess we can point at xLights.


These chocolate chip cookies are getting plentiful. Good thing I have a few months to figure this out.

Title: Re: Zero to Lights in 60 Days - I hope
Post by: gilv58 on February 06, 2017, 06:31:24 PM
jnealand


You seem to be correct. I tried what you suggested but I still can't get channels past 512 to light up. After messing with the models a bit I created two arches but I simply turned the lights on to a solid color - blue. Well some of the pixels in start channels light up red for a while then they turn solid blue. And still no channels above 512 light up.


In xLights when I see the models while selecting the second model - channels 301 - 600, the image shows just part of the arch light. Pretty much corresponding to the part of the actual light string that lights up. The model of the first arch  channels 1- 300. Furthermore the house image shows a strange image of both arches


Here is a video of the sequence


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2aqea60314U (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2aqea60314U)


and pics of models in xLight


So I am still lost but now I guess we can point at xLights.


These chocolate chip cookies are getting plentiful. Good thing I have a few months to figure this out.
Title: Re: Zero to Lights in 60 Days - I hope
Post by: gilv58 on February 06, 2017, 07:11:23 PM
Problem solved!!!!!!!


jnealand your hint was spot on. A bit of a background, after spending most of my PC life in the Windows world I converted to MAC a while back. One thong that was and continues to be not very clear is how MAC manages its file system.
Bottom line I was telling xLights to save the xml file in one directory while saving the fseq fie to a different directory. The only reason I discovered this is by looking at the xml as jnealand suggested. While looking for this file I noticed I had two copies, one with a single color pallette assigned to both models and tother with two color pallets assigned to one of the models. Conclusion this xml file was causing the lights to go from red to blue.


One I got both synced. I had to recreate the xml file with two E1.31 sets one channel 1-512 the other with channels 513- 1024 and re-define the models. After uploading the new sequence, and re-establishing the play list. all is fine. I can drive all 600 channels now.


Wow what a learning curve.


Thank you very much all how helped and in particular jnealand
Title: Re: Zero to Lights in 60 Days - I hope
Post by: gilv58 on February 27, 2017, 09:21:39 PM
Wonderful advancements but now I am hitting anther problem


I just received an F16V2-R. I have a RaPi set as master connected to a hub and I connected the F16V2 to the same hub


IP settings are:
FPP
ETH0
Static IP: 192.168.3.100
Netmask: 255.255.255.0
Gateway:
Primary DNS: 192.168.1.1

Secondary DNS: 192.168.1.1

WLAN0
Static IP: 192.168.1.235
Netmask: 255.255.255.0
Gateway: 192.168.1.1

Enable routing between network interfaces is turned on.

F16V2:
Static IP: 192.168.3.101
Gateway: 192.168.3.100
Subnet mask: 255.255.255.0
Primary DNS: 192.168.1.1
Secondary DNS: 192.168.1.1
 
Is this correct?


Now what?
How can I  control the F16V2 from the Pi/FPP?
Title: Re: Zero to Lights in 60 Days - I hope
Post by: jnealand on February 28, 2017, 07:49:07 AM
Looks correct to me.  Now from a computer connected to the .1 network all you need is a route command which you need to run from an administrative command prompt.  In win 10 you can right click on the start button and you will see "command prompt (admin)", click it and then in the window type

route add -p 192.168.3.0 mask 255.255.255.0 192.168.1.235

I keep that command in a batch file so I can use from other computers on my home network without having to retype the whole line.  Although it is possible to copy and paste it as well if you know how to use the command prompt.
Title: Re: Zero to Lights in 60 Days - I hope
Post by: gilv58 on February 28, 2017, 10:09:57 AM
Jim


Ok so last night I set a PC's network connection to the 192.168.1 network. I now connected the F16V2 directly to the PC. I launched the browser on the PC and set it to the F16V2's IP and boala I get FPP(?) to show up. I can set things on the F16V2 while its connected to the PC.So far so good  :)


Now next step is to un-theader the F16V2 from the PC and connect it to the lights network (see my schematic on page 1 of this thread) . I would think all I need to do is to connect the F16V2 to the router and that is it. All Pi/FPP on this network are in the 192.168.1 network. My master Pi/FPP can "see"my other two Pi/FPP devices.
So I connected the F16V2 to the router. I would anticipate I would "see" the F16V2 from the master Pi/FPP but I don't.


Also do I need to complete set channels up while connected to the PC or will I bw able to re-set those while the F16 is connected to the "network"?


Thanks for your help
Title: Re: Zero to Lights in 60 Days - I hope
Post by: gilv58 on February 28, 2017, 10:30:27 AM
Jim


I re-read your post. I tried your command got an "OK" message but then nothing!!! I still can't "see" the F16V2 from the master Pi/FPP
Title: Re: Zero to Lights in 60 Days - I hope
Post by: JonB256 on February 28, 2017, 12:41:47 PM
If you are expecting to see it in the Multisync list, that isn't available yet. It is coming with F16v3
Title: Re: Zero to Lights in 60 Days - I hope
Post by: gilv58 on February 28, 2017, 03:45:20 PM
If you are expecting to see it in the Multisync list, that isn't available yet. It is coming with F16v3


Jon


Yes I guess I was expeting to see something in the master Pi/FPP on the F16V2.  I guess that is not to be. So if I just bring in a sequence that addresses the F16V2 channels it will "play"???
Title: Re: Zero to Lights in 60 Days - I hope
Post by: JonB256 on February 28, 2017, 04:38:46 PM
Yes. Worked for me. Plus, I could access the F16v2 through the Pi using Chrome (if the routing Jim gave you is set).

I even upgraded firmware on the F16v2Red through the Pi while it was under my megatree.
Title: Re: Zero to Lights in 60 Days - I hope
Post by: gilv58 on February 28, 2017, 05:21:20 PM
I set the routing as Jim suggested. I got I looked like a positive message from the console.
Then I connected the F16V2 to the hub and tried hitting it with the browser but no joy


Title: Re: Zero to Lights in 60 Days - I hope
Post by: gilv58 on February 28, 2017, 06:31:31 PM
Got it working now


Thanks Jim and Jon