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Universe assignments

Started by Laser Falcon, November 08, 2023, 12:14:24 PM

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Laser Falcon

I have viewed lots of videos and read many posts about universe management. It appears there are lots of ideas on the "best" way to do things. I have adopted a new strategy this year that is working for me and I am about to make another change that, in my mind, will help me even more. I would appreciate feedback on whether or not there are any negative consequences to what I have already done and what I am about to do pending feedback from expert advice.
I have already reassigned universes so that each prop has its own universe. To me, this is helpful because each prop will always start on channel 1 in it's respective universe.
I am considering taking this one step farther and assigning groups of universes by controller. Specifically, Controller 1 will use universes starting with 101, Controller 2 will use universes starting with 201, Controller 3 will start with 301, Controller 4 will start with 401, and Controller 5 will start with 501. I will only assign as many universes as I need for each controller. In other words, I won't assign all 100 universes to each of the five controllers.
Is this an acceptable strategy?  Am I compromising performance? I am being stupid?
Thanks for your thoughts and suggestions.

JonD

#1
The official recommendation is to let xlights manage all your controllers, and to use DDP if at all possible.  This seems like a reasonable suggestion if you are new, and have a small display.

I switched over to DDP this year and frankly regret it.  A single prop change requires that you upload all new controller information to every single controller, you have to recompile all your sequences.  I cringe having to move a prop now, because I know it is going to take several hours to get everything updated with the new configs.

500+ universes seems like too many though.  The system has to fill all the universes not used with empty data, and that will cause your sequences to be very large, and possibly create data bandwidth issues.  When I was using E1.31 universes, I would assign 20 universes to each 16 port controller.  Every port started at channel 1, but my empty gaps were minimal.  You would probably be fine assigning a universe to each port, but maybe you should not have 80 empty universes between each controller.


dkulp

Quote from: JonD on November 08, 2023, 12:53:08 PMI switched over to DDP this year and frankly regret it.  A single prop change requires that you upload all new controller information to every single controller, you have to recompile all your sequences.  I cringe having to move a prop now, because I know it is going to take several hours to get everything updated with the new configs.

I just want to point out that all of those issues are NOT specific to DDP and can/will occur with e1.31 as well.    If you set the controller to be "Auto Layout" and "Auto Size", then the same issue happens with e1.31.      For my own setup, I generally use the "Auto Layout", but I don't use the Auto Size and instead give each DDP controller a "large enough" block of channels to cover the props I expect to put on there along with a nice size block of extras.   Thus, if I re-arrange props on the one controller or add a prop there or similar, I just have to upload the config and sequences (still need to batch-render all due to AutoLayout) for that one controller.    
Daniel Kulp - https://kulplights.com

Laser Falcon

Thanks JonD. Just to follow up and clarify.  You said "500+ universes seems like too many".  As I mentioned, I am not assigning that many universes; rather, I am just using those numbering blocks. My actual number of universes is: Controller 1 – 35, Controller 2 – 76, Controller 3 – 84, Controller 4 – 42, Controller 5 – 64.  The total number of universes used then is 301. Would that still be considered excessive? Also, am I correct in assuming that the "total number of universes" is only the ones named/assigned/used, and has nothing to do with how they are numbered?
Lastly, I currently have 510 channels assigned to each used universe. Even though that is the easiest thing to do, since I have assigned one universe per prop, if I changed the number of channels per universe to match each prop (or perhaps add a few extra as a "buffer"), would that resolve the bandwidth and sequence issues you referenced?
I am not trying to convince myself, or anybody else, that my proposed method is the right thing to do. I know it is a little radical but for whatever reason my proposed method "feels" like it would be easiest to make changes in and remember what goes where.  I have moved to a new house and am in the process of setting everything up again from scratch to be the most versatile, and am simply trying to settle on a new design that makes sense to me and works best for me. By getting some of these questions answered it helps me to reach a decision. You have already been a big help.

k6ccc

Quote from: JonD on November 08, 2023, 12:53:08 PMI switched over to DDP this year and frankly regret it.  A single prop change requires that you upload all new controller information to every single controller, you have to recompile all your sequences.  I cringe having to move a prop now, because I know it is going to take several hours to get everything updated with the new configs.

I sequence in LOR so the xLights having xLights do it all automatically is obviously not an option for me.  I also have some controllers that have no clue how that would work (SanDevices).  However, that paragraph makes me think "Thank GOD, I'm not trying to do that".  Besides I want to know what's going on.

Quote from: JonD on November 08, 2023, 12:53:08 PMThe system has to fill all the universes not used with empty data, and that will cause your sequences to be very large, and possibly create data bandwidth issues.

Really?  That's insane - especially if it's trying to transmit that empty data...
Using LOR (mostly SuperStar) for all sequencing - using FPP only to drive P5 and P10 panels.
My show website:  http://newburghlights.org

Jim

JonD

#5
It has been a while and not 100% certain, but was thinking any empty universe was going to require the system to use filler data.  I would start with a low universe number, and keep the total number as low as possible.  You can most likely get away with pushing the limits, but don't completely disregard them.

JonD

Quote from: dkulp on November 08, 2023, 01:22:33 PMI don't use the Auto Size and instead give each DDP controller a "large enough" block of channels to cover the props I expect to put on there along with a nice size block of extras.
That would make it better than the current process.  Forcing myself to use it, but presently missing E1.31. 

Laser Falcon

After doing some additional review I think I am correct that only named universes are "seen" by any component, be it xLights, Controller, or FPP.  For example, if my first universe number is 101 and my last universe is 110. The system only recognizes the 10 universes I am using and ignores the unused universe numbers 1-100.  Does anybody disagree? Is there any inefficiency involved with assigning universe numbers like this?
Also, if anybody can definitively answer the question regarding unused channels in a universe it would be appreciated. Specifically, does the system send empty, filler data to unused channels in a universe? If so, I can see where it would be advantageous from an efficiency perspective to minimize the number of unused channels and minimize universes that only have a small number of channels used. If filler data is sent to unused channels, I would be curious to know why this is necessary.
Thanks for all the great feedback and discussion.

Poporacer

Quote from: Laser Falcon on November 08, 2023, 12:14:24 PMI have already reassigned universes so that each prop has its own universe
This is generally not recommended, some controllers have a limitation on the number of universes it can use and you will probably be overloading your network.

Quote from: Laser Falcon on November 08, 2023, 12:14:24 PMSpecifically, Controller 1 will use universes starting with 101, Controller 2 will use universes starting with 201, Controller 3
That is actually a very common practice.

Quote from: Laser Falcon on November 08, 2023, 02:20:56 PMif I changed the number of channels per universe to match each prop (or perhaps add a few extra as a "buffer"), would that resolve the bandwidth and sequence issues you referenced?
You are creating a TON of work for yourself here in an effort to make it "easy"?? You are also creating a the potential for a lot of problems. Why not let xLights manage all of this for you? you will be surprised how easy it really is.

Quote from: Laser Falcon on November 08, 2023, 05:22:57 PMAlso, if anybody can definitively answer the question regarding unused channels in a universe it would be appreciated. Specifically, does the system send empty, filler data to unused channels in a universe?
Yes it does.




If to err is human, I am more human than most people.

tbone321

You can assign the universe numbers to anything that you want.  They are just used for identification.  As long as you don't define the unused universe numbers, the controllers will only see the universes assigned to them and FPP will only output the ones defined for output so in your case, if everything is defined properly, the system will only work with 10 universes. 

As for unused channels, FPP has no choice but to output the full defined universe because it has no idea if you are using all of the channels or not and since all of the channels in a universe are sequential, they must all be output incase the last one is being used.  If you have a universe that is only using a few channels and they are at the beginning of the universe, then you can define the universe to the number of channels being used and that's what FPP will output. 

Laser Falcon

Thanks for all the great information. I now have a good grasp on the pluses and minuses of my method.  Based on your input I have decided on a hybrid method.  I am sticking with my plan to have one universe per prop when the prop takes a majority of the channels in the universe. For those cases where the prop uses very few channels, or where props using lots of channels spill over into the next universe by a small number of channels, I am adding more than one prop per universe.  Also, I am using the block assignments of universes by controller (i.e., 100's for universe 1, 200's for universe 2, etc.). I implemented all of this last night and it worked out great.

Laser Falcon

Correction to last post.  I meant, 100s for CONTROLLER 1, not UNIVERSE 1. Same for Controller 2, etc.

jnealand

I'm another person who does not use the DDP, but I am all wireless and all FPP remotes (12 of them)  And the first thing I do is turn off all the auto stuff in xlights.  I start out assuming I will get all my props up and finished before my first show start, but never seem to accomplish that.  I prefer to leave unused space in my network for future prop adds or in some cases during my actual setup I have physically moved props between controllers and that would cause great havoc in my configurations if using "auto". 

Keeping everything with no unused space (pixel packing) is something I consider a waste of time worse than many other things I could be doing.  Frankly I could care less about efficiency of my network.  Even though I am now approaching 100k channels I doubt I will ever seen a network issue due to "filler" space.  Consider that with remotes FPP connect now uploads only the channel data needed for any remote, uploads are significantly faster and with sync packets used with FPP to manage the shows there is no "stress" on a network.  If there was truly stress on a network you would not see any of us being told that we do not need a show network and can just our home network.

IF YOU ARE a newbie and not using FPP master remote or wifi I would ignore what I have said above.
Jim Nealand
Kennesaw, GA all Falcon controllers, all 12v Master Remote Multisync with Pi and BBB P10 and P5

Poporacer

Quote from: Laser Falcon on November 09, 2023, 11:44:52 AMI am sticking with my plan to have one universe per prop when the prop takes a majority of the channels in the universe
That still isn't the recommended method and will cause you a lot of grief and time..

If you want, I can walk you through a MUCH easier way and I have a feeling you will find it a LOT less work as well!.
If to err is human, I am more human than most people.

Poporacer

Quote from: jnealand on November 09, 2023, 04:53:00 PMEven though I am now approaching 100k channels I doubt I will ever seen a network issue due to "filler" space.
When you use MultiSync, none of that even matters. The network traffic is extremely small and will use the same amount of traffic for one million pixels as it does for one pixel!!
If to err is human, I am more human than most people.

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