Author Topic: Intro to the F8-B  (Read 826 times)

Offline dkulp

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Intro to the F8-B
« on: January 16, 2019, 09:37:52 AM »
The F8-B was designed to leverage the power of a BeagleBone to drive ws2811 pixels. 

F8-B Capabilities:
  • 8 fused and buffered outputs for driving strings of ws281x pixels.   Each string can have 750 pixels (for 40fps)(power injection required) or even more pixels at slower frame rates.   
  • 3 differential RJ45 ports that are compatible with the Falcon differential receivers.  The first port is dedicated to ws281x strings.  The other two ports can either be used as additional ws281x strings OR they can be configured to output DMX universes or PixelNet universes.   Each twisted pair in the port provides a full DMX/PixelNet universe.
  • 40 pin expansion header that is compatible with the Falcon F16v3 expansion boards.  This can be used to add an additional 16 ports of ws281x strings.
  • v2.1 of the board will add an on board Real Time Clock, a temperature sensor, and a 4 pin I2C header for adding an OLED status display.
  • SD card with the latest FPP image.  The image can be flashed to the eMMC on the BBB and run from there.
  • 1.x and 2.x versions of the F8-B use a completely different pinout.  You need to make sure the proper version is set on the "BBB Strings" page in FPP
  • Initial (1.x versions) of the board only supported 5v and 12V input power.  With 2.0 and later, a 0ohm resistor was added (R17) near the voltage select jumper that can be removed to allow using 24V if you set the jumper to 12V.  Removing the resistor disables the Fuse indicator LED's which would be fried if 24V is applied.
  • The expansion port is compatible with the Falcon F16v3 expansion board (white) and will work as is.  To work with F16v2 expansion boards (red), wire 4 of the ribbon cable needs to be cut.
  • The 40pin expansion port on the 1.x boards has a bug where port 13 will not work.
Supported BeagleBones:
  • All versions support the BeagleBone Black, BeagleBone Black Wireless, BeagleBone Green
  • The  gigabit adapter on the SanCloud BeagleBone Enhanced consumes pin P8-10 so that port will not work.  On the 1.x boards, that is Port 2.  On the 2.x boards, that is the 4th port on the expansion header.
  • The BeagleBone Green Wireless WIFI adapter consumes a bunch of pins.  With the 1.x board, ports 3 and 4 will not work along with DMX 3-6.   With the 2.x board, DMX 3-6 still don't work along with port 14-16 on the expansion header.  That said, the board does not physically fit on the BBGW due to the double USB stack interfering with the expansion header.   Placing it on the BBGW would likely short out some pins on the header, so take care to insulate (electric tape?) the top of the USB sockets.
Supported FPP Versions:
F8-B support was added to FPP in 2.0.  All versions of FPP since then support all capabilities of the F8-B

The F8-B is available from
« Last Edit: May 17, 2019, 01:26:07 PM by dkulp »


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