Author Topic: Using F16v3 without ethernet?  (Read 355 times)

Offline catman

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Join Date: Jan 2019
  • Location:
  • Posts: 5
  • Kudos: 0
Using F16v3 without ethernet?
« on: January 19, 2019, 05:18:35 AM »

First time using pixels...

So I have just received all my stuff in the last week. Very hyped about next year.
I bought an F16, mounting plate, CG-1500, boscoyo strips, 2x350w PSU's and 800 lights with cables/pigtails from Ray.

Now I am at the fun part of putting everything together.

It seems almost everyone is using RasbPi with FPP to control their lights, do I absolutely need this? I suck at networking in general and see this at a major frustration point for me.

I see in the specs that the F16 has WiFi integrated, can I use this instead?
Or even better, there is a MicroSD slot, can I use that and put my vixen created sequence on and just have it run standalone?

Am I to assume I will still need to connect this controller to the PC somehow to do the initial setup?

I still have a little while before I use the controller to build all the light stings I need and enclosure wiring but just wanted to know if I needed to buy anything now so I will have it when I need it. Just looking for the simplest way of doing this...

Thank you!!






Offline JonB256

  • Supporting Member
  • ******
  • Join Date: Mar 2013
  • Location: Granbury, Texas
  • Posts: 5,296
  • Kudos: 126
    • Granbury Christmas Lights
Re: Using F16v3 without ethernet?
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2019, 05:41:13 AM »
Currently, the F16v3 ships with firmware version 2.01

That version is super solid BUT it doesn't enable the features you would need in your description.

So, yes, you will probably need to connect the F16v3 to a PC to do some of its configuration.

Now, that said, the Firmware upgrade you need to enable the Wireless access and the Standalone capabilities are done by uSD card insertion.

Steps would be:
1.  copy new Bootloader file to a freshly formatted (FAT32) uSD card
2.  with power disconnected, put card in that slot, apply power and wait. Watch the OLED screen for any prompts
3.  disconnect power when prompted, remove uSD card
4.  power back up and it will finish that install, then cycle power again

Now, repeat that process with the new Firmware file on the uSD card. (i.e., delete the bootloader file, replace with the firmware file.

Here is where you will probably need to connect to the board from a PC. To get Wireless working, you need to access the F16v3's web interface to set the parameters. I'm not sure that you can set it up completely from the OLED screen and buttons. (haven't tried) I upgraded to the new firmware before Christmas so I don't have a "new" board to check with.

Files are located:  https://github.com/dpitts/f16v3_issues
There is a detailed set of steps at: https://github.com/dpitts/f16v3_issues/blob/master/f16v3/How%20to%20upgrade%20bootloader%20and%20load%20firmware.txt

If the above makes you extremely nervous, you may want to wait until someone (probably not me) makes a video performing those steps.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2019, 05:54:57 AM by JonB256 »

Offline catman

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Join Date: Jan 2019
  • Location:
  • Posts: 5
  • Kudos: 0
Re: Using F16v3 without ethernet?
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2019, 06:47:35 AM »
Thank you for your quick reply! All the steps mentioned seems pretty straightforward.

I'm just not too sure I really thought this through.
If I connect with the integrated WiFi, then I would need to run vixen on my PC 24/7...
If I use the onboard MicroSD card, will I even have the option to set a start and stop time??
I'm starting to think that there is an actual reason everyone uses a RPi

Offline Poporacer

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Join Date: Dec 2017
  • Location: Meridian Idaho
  • Posts: 640
  • Kudos: 9
Re: Using F16v3 without ethernet?
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2019, 09:28:02 AM »
If you upgrade the firmware on the F16, you can use it as a player and start and stop your show from the F16. The downside of the WiFi on the F16 is that is doesn't support transferring files to the uSD card so if you make any changes/additions you have to remove the uSD card and load the files from your computer.
If to err is human, I am more human than most people.

Offline catman

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Join Date: Jan 2019
  • Location:
  • Posts: 5
  • Kudos: 0
Re: Using F16v3 without ethernet?
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2019, 10:40:21 AM »
Ok, thank you. I wasn't too sure where the start/stop time was ever entered. I just figured the RPI did this for most people. The friendly users on the Christmas light forums basically just told me to spend time doing my sequencing and after that worry about the hardware side of things, so that's what I did. Spent a good 30 hours to make an 8 minute show. Never really thought about what was in the settings for the F16...  I just hope it wont be too complicated to associate what I did in Vixen to work with my lights.


I'm now confused as to why people say uSD. Isn't this just a normal MicroSD card? uSD doesn't seem to exist on newegg or amazon...


Offline Xmas!

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Join Date: Dec 2018
  • Location: Cocoa, FL
  • Posts: 164
  • Kudos: 2
Re: Using F16v3 without ethernet?
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2019, 10:45:39 AM »
The symbol for micro IS u, so uSD means microSD. Its actually a funky little symbol that looks like this: μ
My name is Steve and I'm just getting started. but I think this will become a huge hobby!!

Offline JonB256

  • Supporting Member
  • ******
  • Join Date: Mar 2013
  • Location: Granbury, Texas
  • Posts: 5,296
  • Kudos: 126
    • Granbury Christmas Lights
Re: Using F16v3 without ethernet?
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2019, 12:12:23 PM »
If you run an updated F16v3 (or F48 or F4v3) in Standalone mode, and you have the Wireless connecting to your home network, then you have FULL CONTROL of it from any device also connected to that network. You just need to know the IP address.

That means you can create Playlists, create Schedules, check and set the onboard clock
(it drifts if running without an Internet connection). per D.Pitts, he may add a clock calibrate feature. I was losing about 1 minute per week.

As mentioned above, the bandwidth for Wireless is low so the ability to Add FSEQ files to the uSD (microSD) card is not an option.
It isn't even an option if connecting via an Ethernet cable.

You kill power to the controller. Bring the uSD card to a computer. Transfer your files to it (Vixen FSEQ or xLights FSEQ). Then reinsert into the board and power back up. If you need to alter the playlists, you can then do that.

The new "compressed" version of FSEQ files will certainly not play now and probably never possible with the onboard processing power.
Just for FYI - the "power" of the F16v2, v3, F48 and F4v3 comes from the FPGA chip (the bigger chip). It is what allows a single controller board to handle 96 Universes of output. The onboard PIC couldn't handle it alone.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2019, 01:34:27 PM by JonB256 »

Offline tbone321

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Join Date: Oct 2014
  • Location:
  • Posts: 1,589
  • Kudos: 50
Re: Using F16v3 without ethernet?
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2019, 04:32:45 PM »
I would go with FPP as the show player on either the PI or BBB.  The networking is not really all that difficult and once set up, it is easy to add to that show network.  FPP offers much more flexibility and features than the F16V3 can in standalone mode, especially in the beginning when you may need to do a lot of testing and changes to both the layout and sequences and starting off with FPP is a bit easier than relearning a new way to do things, especially when time gets short.
 

 

Back to top