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Request: string-level control over intensity

Started by Steve Gase, December 03, 2013, 07:17:03 PM

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Steve Gase

I don't know if you've been following the Technicolor discussions in the other forums, but there are a lot of problems with the strings.  Part of the issue is due to overheating in the new form factor, and another part is due to the new LEDs in the WS2811 version (maybe the TM1804 as well) running brighter and using more power.

In an attempt to avoid the issue, some people will be reducing intensity.

Sean has discussed how effects can be controlled with intensity, and that is good -- but I fear that it is not enough.  You need to be very careful in creating effects that you don't miss that setting.  Also, importing sequences will bypass this control.

I'm asking if Falcon firmware and software can be altered to supply a dampening or max intensity control for each port (string).  If I ran mine at 50% then I might avoid power injection needs as well as the issues being reported regarding the strings -- and not have to worry about accidentally sending a "full-white" to the strings.
http://WinterLightShow.com  |  110K channels, 50K lights  |  Nutcracker, Falcon, DLA, HolidayCoro

David Pitts

I am game if it is to address a problem. I would be a bit concerned if I had strings that could not be driven with the value of 255 though. I think the majority of this years problems with bad nodes is more related to bad design or manufacturing.

PixelController, LLC
PixelController.com

Steve Gase

Quote from: David Pitts on December 03, 2013, 09:47:16 PM
I am game if it is to address a problem. I would be a bit concerned if I had strings that could not be driven with the value of 255 though. I think the majority of this years problems with bad nodes is more related to bad design or manufacturing.

I just read through much of the discussion on DIYC.  There is an attempt to develop a new design, but any attempt to get replacements with that new design will definitely not happen this year... with my custom spacing, it could optimistically take 3mo.

Not being an electronics guy, i'll ask a different question -- since I use ATX power supplies, is there a circuit that could be employed to ramp down the output voltage from 12v to 7v (or 8v) ?  If reduced voltage was delivered to falcon, what would that do to the falcon16 operations?  (would I need instead to step down the voltage coming out of each of the 16 ports?)


would reducing voltage by 50% have the same impact as adjusting DMX channel intensity by 50% ?
http://WinterLightShow.com  |  110K channels, 50K lights  |  Nutcracker, Falcon, DLA, HolidayCoro

David Pitts

It would be easier to buy another power supply. Roger had same question and he went and bought a 12V power supply that had some voltage adjustment. He lowered the voltage some do not know by how much. I think down to 10V or less. He still had the problems with TechniColor pixels.

The Falcon will run from 8 volts but the fuse LEDS most likely will not light. Reducing voltage to 7-8 volts is not the same as setting the color output at a reduced amount.
PixelController, LLC
PixelController.com

CaptainMurdoch

I'm doing everything I can to try to use the 8 strands I have, or else I probably won't put out a tree this year.  My fingers can't handle zip-tying another 400+ nodes to conduit.  :(  I have covers on them so that should help any water intrusion into the top.  I am squirting dabs of silicon around the 'top' side (up when mounted on EMT) where the cable enters.

Tonight, I was looking online for adjustable power supplies and remembered that I have some LM2596 buck converters left over, so I am going to test one in the middle of two 3-core pigtails.  They're rated for 2-3A max, but I don't plan on running all white anyway and these are only 46-count strands after I cut them to fit the conduit.  The buck converter will let me dial the voltage coming out of my SSC down to 7-8 volts if I want to try that low.  Combine that with mainly R/G/B individual colors and maybe I'll be OK.

If the reports are true that the boards in some pixels is literally burnt from the heat then it may not help to get a lower-output power supply after the damage is done.  That's why I want to try something now, before mine are live and possibly start showing symptoms.
-
Chris

Steve Gase

http://WinterLightShow.com  |  110K channels, 50K lights  |  Nutcracker, Falcon, DLA, HolidayCoro

Steve Gase

As. I slept on this, I'm thinking that intensity adjustments might have no impact on the TC problems.  Wouldn't the 12v going down the string be a problem even if the lights were powered, but off (intensity=0)?
http://WinterLightShow.com  |  110K channels, 50K lights  |  Nutcracker, Falcon, DLA, HolidayCoro


Steve Gase

Back to the original request about adjusting string intensity...

Even if it doesn't fix the TC issue, it might have value in other areas. 

I have older 3led square pixels that are mixed with ray's newer 4led square pixels.  I'd like to match them better.

If it doesn't fix TC issues, it certainly has less urgency for this year.
http://WinterLightShow.com  |  110K channels, 50K lights  |  Nutcracker, Falcon, DLA, HolidayCoro

Steve Gase

http://WinterLightShow.com  |  110K channels, 50K lights  |  Nutcracker, Falcon, DLA, HolidayCoro

JonB256

Quote from: CaptainMurdoch on December 04, 2013, 02:58:38 AM
Tonight, I was looking online for adjustable power supplies and remembered that I have some LM2596 buck converters left over, so I am going to test one in the middle of two 3-core pigtails.  They're rated for 2-3A max, but I don't plan on running all white anyway and these are only 46-count strands after I cut them to fit the conduit.  The buck converter will let me dial the voltage coming out of my SSC down to 7-8 volts if I want to try that low.  Combine that with mainly R/G/B individual colors and maybe I'll be OK.

I looked at the LM2596 Buck converters (http://www.elechouse.com/elechouse/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=785) and they are not very expensive or large. While it would be a PITA, it would be an easy way to dial down the voltage/current to a string but not affect the Falcon or SSC operating voltage.
Long time Falcon, FPP and xLights user

CaptainMurdoch

Quote from: JonB256 on December 04, 2013, 07:38:15 AM
I looked at the LM2596 Buck converters (http://www.elechouse.com/elechouse/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=785) and they are not very expensive or large. While it would be a PITA, it would be an easy way to dial down the voltage/current to a string but not affect the Falcon or SSC operating voltage.

So I don't go further off-topic, I'll just reply "eBay". :)  That's where I picked up mine for half that from a U.S. supplier and half of that from a supplier in China.

Now back to your regularly scheduled topic.  I can see benefit in being able to restrict the intensity at this level to work around limitations imposed by other hardware whether it's power, wiring, or pixels.  If you do limit though, do you just put in a hard limit or do you try to make the hardware scale incoming values which would be a lot more CPU intensive.  Scaling seems like the better thing to do and is essentially just a custom lighting curve.
-
Chris

Steve Gase

scaling is what I had in mind.  sorry that i wasn't clear. 

with the intrinsic way that LEDs ramp up, scaling may not be perfect... but its something that can be user-adjusted.
http://WinterLightShow.com  |  110K channels, 50K lights  |  Nutcracker, Falcon, DLA, HolidayCoro

Roger DeBolt

Steve correct me if I am wrong, but aren't yours 1804s? If so there is NO regulator in your strings so I don't think dialing down the voltage is going to help on those. I dialed mine down and it had no affect at all! My belief is that he got a way bad batch of 1804 chips. I do not know that for a fact, but setting my voltage as low as I could (around 10.4 was the lowest the power supplies that I purchased would go) made no changes at all. I never got past a test cycle on the roof. RGBW for about 1-2 seconds each.




As you know Ray is going to replace mine with no argument at all, so I believe that he knew there was an issue all along.

David Pitts

I also thought on DIYC, Steven010 thought it was not the regulators either, but static electricity frying the chip because there were no resistors on the data input. The number one recommendation I have read is to not hot swap the strings.     
PixelController, LLC
PixelController.com

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