Author Topic: Introducing the Starburst Hub system  (Read 1184 times)

Offline lrhorer

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Re: Introducing the Starburst Hub system
« Reply #15 on: August 08, 2018, 02:35:04 PM »
Am I understanding this correctly that to use with 3 wire pixels all I would need is to have a single return wire going from the end of the spoke back to the hub?
   Correct, or wherever the last pixel resides.  For example, I have one set of displays (candy canes) where the last pixel physically sits right next to the first pixel.  I use a 4 wire waterproof connector, attaching three wires to one pixel, and one wire to the other.
What size input power wire will this except?
    The Main connector accepts 28-12AWG, and is rated for 15A continuous current.  For obvious reasons, I cannot recommend running at currents higher than that, but since 2 of the 4 connectors do not carry any significant current, and since the board substrate can readily carry away a lot of heat, I frequently push currents much higher than that, especially for short bursts.  Running 15A at 12V is 180 Watts.  I personally push up to 480 Watts in bursts.  Using 60ma pixels, that is 250 pixels at 15 A, or over 660 pixels at 480W / 40A.  Exceed 15A at your own risk.   The String connectors are rated at 8A or 133 pixels at 60ma each.  See above.  My Starbursts have 15 pixels per arm, but some of my displays have up to 288 pixels per string.

What amps is the board rated for?  I'm trying to figure out if this would be useful in any way for me.
   The board can carry much more current than the supplied Main connector can handle.  It should easily support more than 60A continuous current.  Although I know of a way to do it, I definitely do not recommend attempting to deliver continuous currents that high.  The current carrying capacity of 12AWG wire is 20A.

Offline algerdes

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Re: Introducing the Starburst Hub system
« Reply #16 on: August 08, 2018, 07:57:46 PM »
I was thinking it would be a natural to be in the commonly unused "clock" spot of those connectors.  In any case, this looks like a great idea.  Now, can I get everything I need and put together before next week? Hmmmm..... ???

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Offline sjhendee

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Re: Introducing the Starburst Hub system
« Reply #17 on: October 07, 2018, 05:31:07 PM »
PM Sent.

Offline lrhorer

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Re: Introducing the Starburst Hub system
« Reply #18 on: October 17, 2018, 12:37:13 AM »
Apparently the way I laid out the pages has caused some confusion.  I apologize, and I made a couple of small changes.  In addition, it occurs to me there might be some interest in the StarBurst fixtures without the Hub attached.  It is not the way I would handle it, but this would separate the 8 arms into individual strings to be handled outside the fixture in whatever fashion the user desires.
Essentially, the full system is made of the bare fixture with a modified stand-alone hub attached, with a big hole in the middle to allow the wiring to pass from the fixture to the hub.  If there is anyone interested, I can also produce a bare StarBurst fixture with no hole in it.  This would save about $20.

Offline lrhorer

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Re: Introducing the Starburst Hub system
« Reply #19 on: November 02, 2018, 12:36:53 PM »
There has been some interest in the full system, but at this point prices remain quite high.  Enough interest for a group buy would be fantastic, but even five or six units would help drop the cost significantly for the buyers who are currently interested.  Would anyone else like to buy two or three, or even just one, of the full StarBurst systems right now?

Offline Bwinter

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Re: Introducing the Starburst Hub system
« Reply #20 on: November 02, 2018, 12:49:55 PM »
What nodes are you using?  It appears that these nodes have the "data-return" already part of the strand?

Offline lrhorer

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Re: Introducing the Starburst Hub system
« Reply #21 on: November 03, 2018, 01:41:55 AM »
That is correct.  Among the new pixels being sold by Ray Wu are ones that have an additional pair of pads on the circuit board which pass through from the input side to the output side of the board, but are not attached to anything else on the board.  With 4 conductors attached to both sides of the board, this means there is an unused path from the last pixel back to the first pixel.  Simply attach the output from the last pixel to the unused path, and the data shows right up at the first pixel.  Essentially, these are the same pixels he uses for his icicle strings.

Offline Bwinter

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Re: Introducing the Starburst Hub system
« Reply #22 on: November 03, 2018, 08:39:43 AM »
So we can use this without having to buy these special bullets (simply run the data-return back from the last pixel).

That being said, the V+\G terminals arent labeled (dont appear to be) on the PCB, and the wiring on these bullets (G, V, DO, DI) doesnt follow the standard configuration (G, DO, V).  Can you update this?

Also, you mentioned something about a modification to the hardware for mounting the entire starburstdo you have a picture of that?

Offline Bwinter

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Re: Introducing the Starburst Hub system
« Reply #23 on: November 03, 2018, 08:44:12 AM »
Also, the main port isnt labeled, so I would assume that the 4th pin is for DO (to daisy-chain to the next model). Wouldnt you also need to pass Ground along with that data?  And if so, is the expectation to have two wires in the single Ground pin?  That seems problematic.

Offline lrhorer

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Re: Introducing the Starburst Hub system
« Reply #24 on: November 03, 2018, 11:54:58 AM »
Also, the main port isnt labeled
The Main port is labeled.  It just isn't labeled on the front of the board, since the Main connector sits on the back of the board.  The labels are on  the back.
so I would assume that the 4th pin is for DO (to daisy-chain to the next model).
Correct.
 
Wouldnt you also need to pass Ground along with that data?  And if so, is the expectation to have two wires in the single Ground pin?  That seems problematic.
Why would one create a 5th pin just to duplicate a line already present on the connector?  Adding a 5th pin would substantially increase the size, cost, and complexity of the fixture to no particular advantage whatsoever.  If one is employing the daisy-chain port, then without argument the next fixture in the display must be supplied with power.  That power may be from the same source as the first fixture, or a separate one, but either way it must be supplied with a ground reference equivalent t that of the first display.  Attempting to do so from the first display *WOULD* be problematic, as the ground potential at the fixture is not the same as that of the power supply itself.  It can easily be a significant fraction of a volt higher than the ground potential of the power supply.  After chaining a handful of fixtures, the ground potential of a fixture at the end of the chain could easily be several volts higher than the ground potential of the supplies, causing the signal capture of the pixels to fail completely.  What's worse, the potential at the fixture is going to fluctuate with the amount of current drawn by the fixture at any given moment.  The ground potential of each fixture is going to be rife with cross-talk from each and every pixel in the fixture, unless a fairly large filter capacitor is placed across the power leads at the input to the fixture.  While hopefully not problematical for a single fixture provided the power leads are not too small nor too excessively long, daisy-chaining the ground as well as the data would produce disastrous results in very short order, causing rampant instability for not only subsequent fixtures but even for the first fixture in the chain.  Such a topology would also be extremely susceptible to ground loop issues, which are damnably hard to pinpoint and eliminate.

So no, failing to daisy-chain the ground is not problematic.  If multiple power supplies are used to feed the local data realm, then they must all have a stable common ground reference in any case, eliminating the need for inter-fixture grounding.  If only a single supply feeds all the fixtures in the local data realm, then there is no mutual grounding issue in the first place.  If the distances between two fixtures is too large to allow for stable daisy-chained communication, then a uAmp or fAmp will need to be inserted into the data path, drawing its power from just about anywhere one wishes.

Offline Bwinter

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Re: Introducing the Starburst Hub system
« Reply #25 on: November 03, 2018, 12:12:02 PM »
If separate elements are powered by different power sources (which is quite possible) and the data passed from one element to the next, all elements need to share a common ground.  This is standard "power-injection/separate-power supply but passing data" practice.  You always run ground when you run data.  This board doesn't allow that to easily occur (unless you put two G wires in the single pin).


So overall, I like the concept.  This version is still a bit problematic for me.

Offline Bwinter

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Re: Introducing the Starburst Hub system
« Reply #26 on: November 03, 2018, 12:13:17 PM »
Also, in the pictures you provided, I can see the back side (from both angles) and I don't see the labelling.

Offline lrhorer

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Re: Introducing the Starburst Hub system
« Reply #27 on: November 03, 2018, 12:23:46 PM »
So we can use this without having to buy these special bullets (simply run the data-return back from the last pixel).
Absolutely.  Note the 4 wire pixels are no more expensive than the older 3 wire pixels, so if one is buying the strings new, then there is no reason not to go with the 4 wire pixels.  It saves the hobbyist a significant amount of time and trouble.  If one is using pixels that are already purchased, or that do not have a 4 wire version, then it is certainly not difficult to simply run a wire from the last pixel back to the hub.  In fact, if the fixture has rather a "loop" topology, where the last pixel sits fairly close to the hub, then running a short wire from the last pixel back to the hub might actually be a bit preferable to running the data all the way back around the loop.  If the pixel chain is long enough, it might even be mandatory.

That being said, the V+\G terminals arent labeled (dont appear to be)
That  is because it does not matter which one is employed for V+ and which for ground.  The hub doesn't care.  All of the features on the hubs are completely passive.  They don't care what the relative potential might be.  Use whichever you like for V+ and ground.  The data patch do matter, but only because the pixels themselves are directonal, so the output of an earlier pixel must feed the input of a latter pixel.  Swapping DI and DO won't work.
 
on the PCB, and the wiring on these bullets (G, V, DO, DI) doesnt follow the standard configuration (G, DO, V).  Can you update this?
To my knowledge, there is no standard for pixel pin assignments.  Indeed, many pixels and controllers do not have the data line adjacent to both power lines.  I have already spoken to another forum member in the thread concerning this issue, and I am taking it under advisement, but I have a quantity of these boards already printed, and I am not going to simply discard them.

Also, you mentioned something about a modification to the hardware for mounting the entire starburstdo you have a picture of that?
No, I don't recall any mention of modifying the fixture for mounting.  What I did mention is the hub used with the full StarBurst is a little different than the Stand-Alone hub.  The PC Board is the same, but the housing used with the StarBurst fixture has a large hole in it to accommodate the wiring from the arms.  It is also a bit longer because the wires are much bulkier than those in the Stand-Alone hub.  Finally, the Stand-Alone hub has the two small ports you can see for egress of the fixture wiring, while egress of the fixture wiring on the full StarBurst is from the back of the hub, so the side ports are missing on the full StarBurst hub.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2018, 01:29:21 PM by lrhorer »

Offline Bwinter

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Re: Introducing the Starburst Hub system
« Reply #28 on: November 03, 2018, 12:42:42 PM »
    The second version of the housing is designed to attach to a Starburst fixture which accomodates eight 1/2"  PVC arms and one 1/2" PVC mounting mast.  The arms and mast attach to the fixture with 8-32 screws, and the cables route through the interior of the fixture to the Starburst Hub PC board.


This is what I am asking about.  Do you have a picture of this second version with the "mounting mast"?

Offline lrhorer

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Re: Introducing the Starburst Hub system
« Reply #29 on: November 03, 2018, 01:47:06 PM »
It is not an additional version, and it has nothing to do with the mast.

This is the Stand-Alone hub:




Note the cut-outs in the sides for the pixel string leads, and the fact the bottom has no hole in it.  One may choose to drill a hole in the hub itself for the main leads, or one may drill the hole in the PVC cap (purchased separately).

This is the hub for the StarBurst fixture:



Note the absence of the side ports and the presence of a big, gaping hole in the bottom.  This allows for the leads to come in from the arms straight from the main body.  It is also a bit deeper than the Stand-Alone hub, because there needs to be extra room for the input leads.

 

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