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F16V2 (red) connecting to F4 Differential amplifier (not smart)

Started by phlpyro, March 04, 2021, 03:53:29 AM

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phlpyro

Hi
Apologies if I have posted this in the incorrect forum?
Digging out some old kit, I want use my old F16V2 (R) to control my whole mega tree 12 strings x 92 pixels (folded) and my star consisting of 4 x models. At present the star is on my F16V3 connected to an F4 Diff amp (not smart) and works well. The tree is on 2  ports, failures this year has shown up my error and each string should have its own port to avoid loosing areas of tree when pixels fail.
If I can do this it means I can free up 3 ports on the F6V3, and place my F16V2R in the base of the tree. This would only then need one power line and one LAN connection between the house and tree.
Many thanks
Paul

jnealand

I have run an F16v2r(red) multiple times with a single diff receiver.  Even did it last year and ran 8 arches and 8 snowflakes hanging under the arches from a that receiver.  Strange thing is I now use only 7 ports of the F16 for my mega tree and star so I have 9 ports free.  I to run two strands per port for my tree, but after I replaced my lights I round that I could easily run 4 strands per port with no power injection.

If you tell the f16 that you have an expansion board, even though you physically do not, it will set up the internal tables so that you can actually have 20 ports in use from the F16.  I run my receiver as ports 17-20.
Jim Nealand
Kennesaw, GA all Falcon controllers, all 12v Master Remote Multisync with Pi and BBB P10 and P5

phlpyro

Hi Jim
Many thanks for taking an interest in my post.
Good that I can use my diff amp on my F16V2 (red).

1. So do I set up a four virtual strings say on port 1?
2. Which output socket do I use. DMX 1 (the bottom one of the three right hand side)?
3. What and where and how do I configure this port?

Being a bit cautious, when setting up my F16V3 & Diff amp last year I accidentally connected the diff amp to the show network and destroyed it.
Many thanks Jim


Paul (UK)

jnealand

I use only the original dumb receivers.  They have 4 ports on them.  There are no virtual strings involved.  You must

1. Tell the F16 that you have an expansion board - see attached
2. Use DMX port 1
3. Configure the serial ports tab for the ports you wish to use.  Normally I use 17-20, but in the attached screenshot I used 29-32 for some reason I do not recall.  Serial ports screenshot attached.

While I have lots of ports available on the F16 I chose to use the receiver because I do not like to have a lot of data cables, if any in my yard, the distance seemed a little far to me which gave me concerns about power, and because I had the receiver ready to go.  this F16 sits right at the base of the megatree.
Jim Nealand
Kennesaw, GA all Falcon controllers, all 12v Master Remote Multisync with Pi and BBB P10 and P5

phlpyro

Hi Jim
I cant thank you enough for the comprehensive information and help you have given me. I will report back in a few days when I have finished building the new control box and tested it.

At present my 20ft tree and 5ft star (minus the lights) is still standing in my front garden, because the crew who help me rig cannot travel to me to de-rig due our UK lockdown due to Covid.
Many thanks and be in touch soon.
Paul (UK)

phlpyro

Hi Jim
Very disappointed after you sent me instructions and spending Sunday rebuilding my control box for my old F16 V2(R) controller I am getting nothing on the star. Tried to attach a PDF that shows what I  have done but its to big for this server so have attached the link to my website. If you could find time to have a look and show me where I have gone wrong I would appreciate it.
Do let me know if this link does not work?

Link to V2 pages

Many thanks

Paul (UK)

Many thanks

Paul (UK)

phlpyro

Hi Jim
It appears the link does not work although will if copied and pasted into a browser!

If not go to my website My website and scroll down to the button marked Falcon V2 settings.

Paul

jnealand

I wish I had the magic answer for you.  Nothing leaps out to me as being wrong in the setup which leads me to the question - are you sure your connections to the receiver are good?  And are you sure you have power at the star?  You should be getting a link light at the cable at the F16 at the very least. 

One thing I learned in my 14 seasons of animated lights is never put a controller where you can not get to it.  I understand the rationale for doing that but inevitably the one that is the hardest to get to is the one that has the problem.  Been there done that.

Also I finally learned that it is simpler to not have every port start with a new universe.  Now I only start every controller at a new universe.

This is such a fun hobby, but also can be very frustrating.  Every year at the end of the season, I think maybe that was my last season, and then the next thing you know I am ordering new lights or new props.  sigh.  At 78 it is a good thing I have a grandson who willingly helps put things up because I can't do it anymore.
Jim Nealand
Kennesaw, GA all Falcon controllers, all 12v Master Remote Multisync with Pi and BBB P10 and P5

k6ccc

Quote from: jnealand on March 09, 2021, 02:59:36 PMOne thing I learned in my 14 seasons of animated lights is never put a controller where you can not get to it.  I understand the rationale for doing that but inevitably the one that is the hardest to get to is the one that has the problem.  Been there done that.

Sound advice.  I do have one that is 15 feet or so up (on the back of the pixel star at the top of my pixel tree).  I have to get out the 12 foot step ladder to get to that one.



Quote from: jnealand on March 09, 2021, 02:59:36 PMAlso I finally learned that it is simpler to not have every port start with a new universe.  Now I only start every controller at a new universe.


I have done that both ways.  Like everything, there are advantages and disadvantages to each.  When I was using SanDevices E1.31 controllers, compacting universes was pretty much a requirement for fairly well loaded controllers because they were limited to 12 universes for each controller - so that's what I grew up with.  Now with Falcon controllers, that's no longer a limitation, but the data efficiency IT guy in me hates to waste large portions of universes, so I still at least somewhat use universes conservatively.
Using LOR (mostly SuperStar) for all sequencing - using FPP only to drive P5 and P10 panels.
My show website:  http://newburghlights.org

Jim

phlpyro

Dear Jim
Many thanks for your reply, well you beat me by 5yrs. I am 73 and still learning.

To answer your points (and apologies or long post):
  • Yes I normally try not to start each port on a universe. But on this occasion I tried everything.
  • I have been caught out by the failure of star in 2019 when it was 4 models consecutively connected to one port via a power/data cable. I element failed at the start of a model and I lost 75% of star on day one for the whole Christmas period.
  • The answer after much research seemed to be a diff amp which I sited on back of star to eliminate  multiple cables.
  • The star ran from 1st December right thru till 31st Jan 08:00 – 11:00 & 15:00 till 22:00 daily with no problem and looked wonderful cheering up the road during these strange times.
  • I suffered a couple of failures on the strings of the tree as they were connected to only 2 ports of an F16V3.
  • More research and knowledge showed that I really should dedicate a port to each string.
  • Found my old F16V2 (R) so I could now use 14 ports for the 14 x 92 pixel strings. Leaving 4 x ports for the star.
  • Question can I connect a F4 diff amp (not a smart amp). Yes came the answer from Jim.
  • Reason said that as the diff amp had worked all the extended Christmas (and is still erected in my front garden) I could connect this all up to 16V2 (R) and it should work.
  • It didn't and I now think I know why (will know when my crew can travel to help me de-rig the tree). The box at the top is sealed and my guess is that condensation built up during the very wet season we have had. Whilst it was running twice a day the small amount of warmth generated probably kept the condescend at bay? But its now been off for 1 month.

Sorry this post is so long but my thoughts are (and a lot of people don't do this) that it's important to give the outcome to all the positive advice freely given.

So finally thank you Jim and K6ccc or your input.
Will now wait to see if my theory is correct and then decide as to whether to continue with diff amp on back of the star or run 4 x 3 core cables up to the star. Will post when I have the answers.

One final question if I need to replace my F4 diff amp (not smart) will a smart diff amp work on my F16V2 (R) as these are the only ones available at present? Quesion answered yes smart diff amps can be used in non smart mode on F16V2(R)

Best wishes to you all and stay safe
Paul (UK).

k6ccc

You gave perfect examples of why I am not a big fan of really long strings.  A single pixel failure can cause a far larger part of the prop or show to go dark - or worse full white.

BTW, one of the things often not considered when people are running a prop at a substantially reduced level in the controller.  If you have a pixel failure that results in everything downstream going full white, that is 100% full white - NOT full white at the reduced level.  That can substantially affect power supply and fusing.  This is a larger issue with long strings.
Using LOR (mostly SuperStar) for all sequencing - using FPP only to drive P5 and P10 panels.
My show website:  http://newburghlights.org

Jim

jnealand

I bought dumb differential receivers last year from jboards (https://jboards.ecwid.com/) and they worked fine.  He is currently not showing them on his website but he has been out of stock on a lot of things for awhile and does have a lot of stuff on order with board houses so another option to consider.  I realize that you are over the pond, but sometimes you do what you have to do.  I do not like a lot of cables all over my yard so I tend to have more controllers than I could get by with so no plans to get into F48 or smart receivers, but to each their own.
Jim Nealand
Kennesaw, GA all Falcon controllers, all 12v Master Remote Multisync with Pi and BBB P10 and P5

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