Author Topic: 16+ striing RGB controller comparison  (Read 8956 times)

Offline smeighan

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16+ striing RGB controller comparison
« on: March 09, 2015, 12:08:40 PM »
I have been asked many times by users about the differences between the different 16 string RGB controllers. I currently use DLA and falcon hardware.
What about E1.31, Artnet, Pixelnet? (To my knowledge there are no renard 16 string RGB controllers)
I have pulled data from multiple places to build a comparison  table.

So what is the best controller? They all drive our lights. Every one of the controllers have a user base that is happy with what they picked.
I think the most important feature (that we dont measure) is how much time you have invested learning your controller, how to configure it, how to use it.
When there is a table comparison, be careful of the rows.

Example: Do you care about the number of status LEDs? Some people do, some dont. Some rows may be very important others are just information.


So with those caveats, here is the comparison table showing 16+ string RGB controllers
http://nutcracker123.com/nutcracker/rgb_controllers/

If there are some rows that should be added or for errors in the content (I copied from multiple places) please send corrections to xlights@meighan.net

Does someone know where i can find info on the j1sys P12s board?

I am sure i have some mistakes as i filled in over 500 cells on this page. I'll update them as corrections are sent to me.

Any corrections to this table can be sent to xlights@meighan.net
sean
Sean
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Offline dkulp

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Re: 16+ striing RGB controller comparison
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2015, 12:19:34 PM »
Technically, the P12R and P12S are only 12 string controllers, not 16.    :-)

Dan Kulp

Offline Steve Gase

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Re: 16+ striing RGB controller comparison
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2015, 12:24:05 PM »
I agree with everything you said...

A few more factors based on the community -- not a technical consideration:

  • the size of the community using the controllers -- will there be resale value if you change your setup to something different?
  • the people in the forums using the controllers -- are the other users helpful and do they visit the forum frequently?
  • local community -- will you get help from others in your area?  what do they use? can they help with last minute spare parts or troubleshooting with your selection?
  • availability -- if you want to grow the size of your show do you need to wait for a COOP?  are there enough people using the controller to buy their extras?
  • compatibility -- how difficult is it to add controllers from other vendors, dongles, foggers, animitronics, and other pieces to your show as your interests expand?
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Offline smeighan

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Re: 16+ striing RGB controller comparison
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2015, 12:26:00 PM »
Technically, the P12R and P12S are only 12 string controllers, not 16.    :-)

well yeah, that is true. but people always talk about e682 or p12r so i decided to include them.

Offline mararunr

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Re: 16+ striing RGB controller comparison
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2015, 12:36:43 PM »
This is great info.  Thanks for sharing Sean!  As this is my second year in the hobby I was just going to buy more PixLite boards but seeing this comparison really helps me and I'm going to wait until the new Falcon board is out before deciding.  Thanks again!
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 This is just my opinion/suggestion/viewpoint.  Others with other viewpoints/experiences may have different advice.  I am a hobbyist with a couple years real world experience, not an expert.

Offline bajadahl

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Re: 16+ striing RGB controller comparison
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2015, 08:41:08 PM »
Very Thorough right up Sean.

I just wanted to offer a couple of corrections for the San Devices E682
Max pixels is 2040
Max pixels per output is: 500 (practical limit due to refresh rate limitations according to Jim)  The outputs are not limited by Universe boundaries.

I do believe a spreadsheet like this will be very helpful to those getting into the hobby.  Thanks for putting it together in a user friendly spreadsheet.


Regards,
Alan

Offline Gary

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Re: 16+ striing RGB controller comparison
« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2015, 12:39:35 AM »
Wow. Thorough.

For Input: Pixelnet (RS485), the Falcon16-Beagle shows No (1 Pixelnet Universe). What does that mean? Only 1 Pixelnet universe? Seems lacking... I thought it was supposed to be one of the most "powerful" controllers available? Which leads to...

For E.131/sACN Unicast/Multicast (Ethernet), the Falcon 16-Beagle supports 100 universes. Sometimes I think I understand the difference between E1.31 and Pixelnet, and sometimes I don't. I have it in my head that a [Windows] computer [running XLights or Vixen3] sends Pixelnet data using E1.31 protocols from the Ethernet Port-> to optional network switches or hubs in your home's LAN -> a DLA EtherDongle or Falcon Dongle or Falcon Pi Player in Bridge Mode -> converted to Pixelnet (not Ethernet anymore) with 12V power -> DLA SmartString Hub or Falcon16 Hub (with SSC/uSC) ...OR... DLA Zeus or Falcon-16 with 12V power (no need for SSC/uSC) -> blinky RGB lights.

So, in one place, the Falcon 16-Beagle barely supports Pixelnet input, but it supports input of many universes of E1.31... which are pretty well the same thing?  ???  Am I missing something?

Under the Input category, you may want to add Falcon Player software as well... or will that convolute the issue more?

Offline tbone321

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Re: 16+ striing RGB controller comparison
« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2015, 01:33:34 AM »
E1.31 is a DMX over Ethernet protocol and a DMX universe contains 512 channels.  A PixelNet universe contains 4096 channels and is sorta based on DMX.  In a way, it is a concentrated version of DMX and increases the number of channels by eliminating most of the timing DMX uses to indicate the start and end of the data stream and uses that extra time to send more channels.  In order to send 1 universe of PixelNet in E1.31, the device would need to send 8 E1.31 universes because it takes the contents of 8 DMX universes to equal 1 PixelNet universe.

Offline Gary

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Re: 16+ striing RGB controller comparison
« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2015, 02:12:09 AM »
E1.31 is a DMX over Ethernet protocol and a DMX universe contains 512 channels.  A PixelNet universe contains 4096 channels and is sorta based on DMX.  In a way, it is a concentrated version of DMX and increases the number of channels by eliminating most of the timing DMX uses to indicate the start and end of the data stream and uses that extra time to send more channels.  In order to send 1 universe of PixelNet in E1.31, the device would need to send 8 E1.31 universes because it takes the contents of 8 DMX universes to equal 1 PixelNet universe.

The differences/similarities between DMX and Pixelnet I do understand. What I don't understand is the difference between input from 1 universe of Pixelnet or a hundred universes over E1.31.

Offline David Pitts

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Re: 16+ striing RGB controller comparison
« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2015, 02:25:26 AM »
Like tbone stated DMX and Pixelnet are a RS-485 signal not an Ethernet signal like E131. E131 is sent over a network to the controller. E131 is sent in packets of up to 512 channels, a DMX universe. You can think of it as DMX data sent over a network connection. But Pixelnet is a RS-485 signal that consist of 4096 channels which is equivalent to 8 DMX universes of channels.

So with that is mind I will answer your original question regarding the F16-B. The F16-B was never intended to receive a large channel count of Pixelnet (RS-485). We may do one single universe via an RS-485 FTDI dongle though in the future. That is just because the Captain may include this functionality into the core of FPP as another bridge type mode.

The power of the F16-B is not it's Pixelnet receiving capability but it's ability to play from SD card or receive through network (E131) 48 strings of 500 pixels of data and put it out on possibly 48 fused channels for about 200.00 with a Beagle Bone Black. If you need high Pixelnet input look to the F16v1, F16v2 or the Zeus.

The F16-B does however have the ability to send out 8 universes of DMX/Pixelnet so it would be a great tool to use as the first controller and then use the outputs to drive other Pixelnet receiving devices such as Pixelnet hubs. 
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Offline Gary

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Re: 16+ striing RGB controller comparison
« Reply #10 on: March 10, 2015, 03:41:55 AM »
So with that is mind I will answer your original question regarding the F16-B. The F16-B was never intended to receive a large channel count of Pixelnet (RS-485). We may do one single universe via an RS-485 FTDI dongle though in the future. That is just because the Captain may include this functionality into the core of FPP as another bridge type mode.

The power of the F16-B is not it's Pixelnet receiving capability but it's ability to play from SD card or receive through network (E131) 48 strings of 500 pixels of data and put it out on possibly 48 fused channels for about 200.00 with a Beagle Bone Black. If you need high Pixelnet input look to the F16v1, F16v2 or the Zeus.

The F16-B does however have the ability to send out 8 universes of DMX/Pixelnet so it would be a great tool to use as the first controller and then use the outputs to drive other Pixelnet receiving devices such as Pixelnet hubs.

Okay, makes sense. I was eyeing--no, drooling over--the F-16B controller for its ability to send a signal to the first pixel about 50 or so feet away from the controller. Will the F16v2 have this capability? Perhaps it's something Sean can add to his comparison table?

I was looking at the estimated prices, and it seems a bit counter-intuitive that the main controller with arguably more more ability overall is cheaper than an F16 v2.

P.S. Do you sleep? My excuse for being up is that I'm holding a restless 2-week-old baby with one hand, and typing with the other.   ::)

Offline smeighan

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Re: 16+ striing RGB controller comparison
« Reply #11 on: March 10, 2015, 08:06:20 AM »
The v2 is prob one of the most advanced controllers in our industry
Nearly every string protocol is supported
Up to 32 strings, every string can have a different protocol
3 or 4 wire strings
Can have an optional FPP attached to it so it becomes a player

The beagle bone controller
Only runs 3 wire lights
Only does one protocol (2811,tm18xx). This protocol does probably 70-80% of the user base
Must have the beagle bone sbc, that is the brains for the board.

So if you have ws28xx or tm18xx or ink1003 lights, I would use the beagle bone. Want to mix up other light types, the v2.

Pretty amazing that Dave decides to make two boards in last year.

In the last year he also
1) created the whole house software in xl 3.6
2) converted xl 3.6 to opengl. This allowed huge performance improvements in the preview window.
3) modified preview in XL 3.6 so you could click and drag, resize all objects in preview.
The above 3 item happened from oct 20-nov 20 last year. 1 month!

4) dec/jan 2015. Dave solely designed xl 4.0. After a few months Dan kulp and Gil jones become active developers and carried xl 4.0 forward. Feb/mar Dave mostly goes back to his two boards.

The kicker? He plans on releasing pcb layout and firmware as open source so that his boards form an open source light controller.

He sells his stuff at his cost. I am trying to get him to sell them for $10-20 more. He has taken losses (that he never mentions). He has designed boards, ordered them and then found a new technology that required a complete redesign. In a normal company, these are the R&D costs that you factor in. The company in this case is Dave.

We. Are lucky to have him in our industry. We would not have had the FPP, whole house model, XL 4.0, falcon16-v2, falcon16-B without him.

It is only March, I wonder what else will come out this year?


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Offline Steve Gase

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Re: 16+ striing RGB controller comparison
« Reply #12 on: March 10, 2015, 08:59:49 AM »
David is simply amazing!

David is open to ideas, and is not afraid to see his "children" adopted by others -- FPP is a perfect example.

the contrast to how other people have attempted to tackle these problems is also hard to describe. 
I've rarely found someone who is as easy to work with!

Offline Gary

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Re: 16+ striing RGB controller comparison
« Reply #13 on: March 10, 2015, 09:09:09 AM »
Yeah, but the biggie for me is whether the F16-v2 can send a pixel signal 5 feet! My purchasing plans hinge on whether or not this is possible.

Offline smeighan

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Re: 16+ striing RGB controller comparison
« Reply #14 on: March 10, 2015, 09:18:07 AM »
i think dave has picked the same drivers as the v1 for his v2. i use the falcon16-v1 with 20' lengths to my first tm1809 flex strips, it has worked fine the last two years.

 

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