Author Topic: Falcon equivalents to SSC  (Read 4524 times)

Offline lonewolf41

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Falcon equivalents to SSC
« on: January 08, 2017, 09:16:59 PM »
I use hubs with SSC's to get to items far apart in my yard (40-50 feet apart).  What is the equivalent way to do that with falcon equipment?  Do you run long wires from the falcon 16?  It seems that the F16 is equivalent to a Zeus which is designed for high concentrations of pixels/controllers like a mega tree.  Can the F16 handle those distances?  With the apparent abandonment of DLA, I am trying to figure out hardware for future expansion. 

TIA,
-Keith

Offline plaberge

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Re: Falcon equivalents to SSC
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2017, 10:02:05 PM »
Falcon F16V2-R http://falconchristmas.com/forum/index.php/board,52.0.html by itself may meet your needs. 50 to 60 feet is possible with using Cat5, 30 to 40 feet is possible using 18 gauge 3-wire. If you add differential expansion boards, you can drive pixels 100's of feet away http://falconchristmas.com/forum/index.php/topic,4143.0.htm
Paul.
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Offline bcstuff

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Re: Falcon equivalents to SSC
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2017, 11:01:11 PM »
Keith,

There is Falcon firmware for the SSCs, it allows addressable programming in place and on SSC v4 it allows a test mode with the program jumper. I have run the Falcon firmware the last 2 years for SSC v4 (and on some older v1, but no test mode) without any problems.

The Falcon 16 port hub is like the Active Hub with some different features
(don't know if they will come back due to the new controllers)

There is also a uSC from Corey, the Falcon version of a SSC, with some different added features.

-Brian
------------- 2017 - Complete makeover, let's just say it's gonna be a few pixels.  2016 - Grad School Stinks :( 2015 - 16' Megatree, 8' MidiTrees, 8' MegaWreath, 6' Snowflake Spinners, Zwilluminaries  Our Display Videos: http://vimeo.com/brianandheather

Offline zwiller

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Re: Falcon equivalents to SSC
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2017, 09:09:46 AM »
At this point I am tending to encourage DLA users to "forget" the way we approached pixels.  I think it really works against you since the concepts here (and elsewhere) are now so different.  Hard to beat a web page based pixel programming with a 50' to first node distance with the capability to output tons more channels if wanted.  That said, many are happy with the DLA concept and to that regard I suspect there will always be SSC/uSC and hubs floating around since many will upgrade.  I have already confirmed you can use this gear on the channels beyond 16k.  Its just a matter of doing the "universe offset".  In the end, use whatever clicks since it all works, and have fun! 

I plan to spend time testing long distance to first node.  There is some variation to what really works but the consensus is that it is night and day from DLA.  I am not saying Paul is wrong (18g to 30-40') but IIRC 18g is the best wire to be using and there are guys getting 75-100' with it.  The worst apparently is the China 3 wire.  It is barely 20g, maybe even 22g, but worst of it is aluminum.  I am really happy I didn't rush to update since I planned to use this wire.  I plan to shoot out a few things since I am basically redoing my entire house outline. 
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Offline jnealand

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Re: Falcon equivalents to SSC
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2017, 09:32:37 AM »
Falcon firmware for SSCs is great.  I converted all my SSCs to v3 and installed the Falcon Firmware two years ago.  In addition to 3 F16v2s this year I had a DLA Hub with 14 SSCs all connected to a slave FPP using a $3 usb2rs485 dongle.  I also put up a display in my side yard this last season, on the other side of my driveway, by using a slave FPP.  Distance issues and data cable running all over are no longer an issue using master slave configurations.
Jim Nealand
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Offline zwiller

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Re: Falcon equivalents to SSC
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2017, 11:01:21 AM »
Jim,
How is the usb dongle configured?  I assume jumper off rx and power since 5v.  This thing could run 5v pixels powered by usb port right?  Pretty cool.  I assume A is data.  So then A/data and GND go to first pair of RJ45 wires in PN wiring scheme?  Am I close? 

I am getting an idea for a small board with various hook up points dedicated to testing.         

Offline jnealand

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Re: Falcon equivalents to SSC
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2017, 01:13:57 PM »
Zwiller, Do not move any jumpers just use the O and O/W wires of the ethernet cable per the attached picture.  Your channel outputs are set in the FPP config so do not confuse wire pair / colors with pixelnet universe.

Offline plaberge

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Re: Falcon equivalents to SSC
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2017, 11:17:33 PM »
I am not saying Paul is wrong (18g to 30-40') but IIRC 18g is the best wire to be using and there are guys getting 75-100' with it. 


Oh but I am wrong! I should have said that's as far as I've tested it. And I agree with you Sam, while I like the DLA stuff, I've been switching out perfectly good DLA hubs and SSCs for Falcon gear as it is easier to work configure, easier to debug if things aren't working quite as I imagined they should, and easier to fix - ah, the fuses on the active and passive hubs...

Offline arw01

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Re: Falcon equivalents to SSC
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2017, 12:34:05 AM »
I am not saying Paul is wrong (18g to 30-40') but IIRC 18g is the best wire to be using and there are guys getting 75-100' with it. 


Oh but I am wrong! I should have said that's as far as I've tested it. And I agree with you Sam, while I like the DLA stuff, I've been switching out perfectly good DLA hubs and SSCs for Falcon gear as it is easier to work configure, easier to debug if things aren't working quite as I imagined they should, and easier to fix - ah, the fuses on the active and passive hubs...


+1  It is painful to shelve hundreds of dollars of perfectly good gear, but the ease of redoing a channel, changing pixels, the extra range, the testing from your phone is a good trade off.

Would love to be able to update the firmware to have more functionality, even it meant buying new larger memory capacity pics.

Offline zwiller

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Re: Falcon equivalents to SSC
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2017, 08:21:32 AM »
Thanks Jim!  As of now I will be using with XL and the PC for bench testing.  Might fool with the FPP later. 

I think it is just progress or evolution.  We went from 100 channels being a big show to 100k in a few years...  I hope someone finally crowns David the King of Controllers or Channel War Champion (I think he already is from F16v2) so he goes back and minor updates to some the legacy gear like Alan says.  IE F16v1 support for channels beyond 16k without need for "universe offset".  One thing some might be forgetting about is how handy the shelved DLA gear will be if for some reason Mother Nature unleashes havoc on your Falcon stuff.   

Offline lonewolf41

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Re: Falcon equivalents to SSC
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2017, 08:30:18 AM »
Thanks for all the feedback.  I was not aware of the differential expansion boards...but it looks like you also have to have a receiver board to go with it.  Why would you use the expansion/receiver setup vs. just running wire to your element from the F16 or an expanded F16?  I think those are the kinds of questions I have as that setup seems redundant/more complicated.  Why not just run a cable from the F16 instead of adding 2 additional boards to the setup? 

What I like about the DLA gear is I can have a cheap high amp power supply centrally located and then run cheap Cat 5 cable to my elements.  I already have some SSC's that are un-built so I have no (additional) cost there.  It looks like (unless I am missing something) that with the F16, you have to run more expensive wire (18ga, 3-conductor?) out to the elements from the board.  And while it will handle the distance I need (~50'), it would seem to be a more expensive installation overall.  Again, maybe I am missing something. 

I should mention that I have been running the falcon firmware on most, if not all, of my SSC's and my Zeus (test mode is awesome!!) for a couple years so I have dipped my toe into the falcon pool.  I test from my phone using FPP so I am covered there, but I also understand the ability to be able to configure easily...although I have yet to have a real need for that...and other features it adds are nice to have and if I was starting from scratch, would start with falcon gear.  I guess it boils down to I have gear that I can use so I am OK for now.  I was just trying to think/plan for a couple years from now when I run out of it and can't get it anymore.  Or maybe there was something mind blowing that I was missing that would make my life cheaper (did I mention I am cheap???) and/or much easier.

Also, is there a falcon equivalent to the Dumb string controller?  I really like those.  Also, are people using computer PSU's to power the falcon gear?  If so, how?

Thanks again for helping me understand,
-Keith

Offline bcstuff

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Re: Falcon equivalents to SSC
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2017, 10:12:12 AM »
At one time there were ATX Power boards. They are no longer listed in the store.
http://falconchristmas.com/forum/index.php/topic,763.msg6744.html#msg6744

Not aware of any Dumb string controllers and I don't think David will create any since the price of pixels is so close to dumb RGB.

Offline zwiller

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Re: Falcon equivalents to SSC
« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2017, 01:24:14 PM »
These are questions I think most of us asked ourselves when we started over here.  I will give you my take.  First off, RJ holds the crown of cheapest pixelware.  I don't think there is any argument.  The question is whether the additional cost is worth it?  I remember when I got my first F16v1 and it was like $110, I was skeptical.  I mean it was easily cost 2x the ZeusV2 (3x the Zeus v1) but as fate would have it I was really pulling my hair out in frustration of the DLA concept.  (Replacing hub fuses galore/getting on a ladder to pull a SSCs/reprogramming it inside only to mount it again and channel order was off...)  So I gave it a shot and for some reason the Falcon concept just really clicked for me.  I had an epiphany using test mode.  Later, I am tweaking channels and color order in the comfort of my house...  Then I tried the Falcon hub  Far superior to DLA in every way.  Keith, there are 2 in for sale area.  Buy them now.  Trust me. 

Fast forward to today and now the F16v2 and v3 are $200.  While I think there are worth it, I am not confident I need to replace all my controllers with them but the V2 and V3 are E1.31 controllers and E1.31 is now the standard and pixelnet is old school.  A summary, pixelnet is good for 16k, but E1.31 is good to 63k.  You could do universe offsets and use pixelnet to beyond 100k but I think it might be a PITA.  You, may not  Also, for some reason (cost?) most guys prefer running tons of channels from a single controller instead of my preference to run a port per prop.  Thats just the way it is but thats not gonna be cheap to do.  In the end, I am gonna mix things up and add a few new controllers but will mostly be F16v1.  My SSC pigtails are failing and no way I am gonna resolder them.   

I have 2 extra Falcon ATX kits but IIRC you can buy these at other places.  Generally Dave does a feeler post for interest and if there is enough he runs it again.  I am moving away from the battery box and ATX and all but my last hubs are CG1500 with power supply inside.  Works well. 

I have some interesting developments regarding dumb stuff.  Ive been try to get David or Corey on board with dumb stuff for some time but theyre just not buying it.  As fate would have it, I think I found something even better than I was originally asking for.  How about a 2811 pixel based controller for dumb stuff? 
http://www.hansonelectronics.com.au/product/2811dc15/

This thing has been around since 2013  Developer is Alan Hanson (AAH handle here) and is well known genius in the DIY Aussie Christmas Lighting community and is the Southern Hemisphere version of David Pitts if you ask me.  I have actually approached him to consider doing a group buy for the above since we could save a ton on shipping and he is agreeable.  We are working out some the detail now but I hope to create an interest thread and if we hit a decent amount well do it.  I think theres a good chance it will.  I never heard of it so I trying to pass the word.  I plan to run it with some floods, spots, and other stuff and basically eliminate my dmx stuff.  If anyone is remotely interested give me sign.  Alan has only sold one in the US (to me!) but these are extremely popular in AUS (he sold hundreds).     

Offline twooly

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Re: Falcon equivalents to SSC
« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2017, 02:16:26 PM »
I have dumb string firmware I wrote that works like the falcon ssc firmware.  I was just waiting for David to add another button into the programmer so we could release it.  I've been using it a couple years now.

Offline David Pitts

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Re: Falcon equivalents to SSC
« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2017, 02:31:57 PM »
Yeah. He has been waiting for two years or longer. Sorry.
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