Falcon Christmas

Falcon Christmas => Falcon F-16 Pixelnet Controller => Topic started by: IamNick on April 06, 2015, 05:23:59 PM

Title: Solved! Thanks for your help.
Post by: IamNick on April 06, 2015, 05:23:59 PM
I got the F16 just over a year ago, where it has since been sitting on a shelf collecting dust. Before I get into this I want to say that the board, power supplies, and lights are all working, it's probably just a simple error on my part. I've never been very tech-savvy. No matter what i've done, I can't seem to get any signal through to the board via a USB RS485 converter. The setup goes Computer -> USB -> Converter -> Cat5 -> Falcon, and I have also tried Pi -> Usb -> Converter -> Cat5 -> Falcon. Is this where the problem lies? The pixelnet LED on the falcon never lights up, so is it a problem in my converter? I have tried everything I can think of to fix this to no avail. It's most likely a problem in my pixelnet output.

I do have another converter that was suggested in a different topic arriving tomorrow which is USB Converter -> [Wires] -> Falcon. If this solves the problem, How would I wire it up? [Here is the link : http://www.amazon.com/Vktech-Interface-Double-Function-Protection/dp/B00MEBCE6Q/ref=sr_1_15?ie=UTF8&qid=1428362473&sr=8-15&keywords=usb+to+rs+485 ]

Sorry if none of this makes sense, I'm about to head out, and will check in later. Thanks!


Edit:
Here's a picture if it helps:
(http://i.imgur.com/qV2sVoo.jpg?1)
Title: Re: Help! Most likely a stupid question with a simple answer
Post by: rdebolt on April 07, 2015, 08:34:56 AM
We need a lot more information. Does the converter work with other pixelnet devices? Exactly what converter is it? Have you flashed and programed the F16. When power is first applied to the F16 does the pixelnet led light, blink or anything?


Roger
Title: Re: Help! Most likely a stupid question with a simple answer
Post by: IamNick on April 07, 2015, 10:41:16 AM
Sorry,

Converter: LOR Usb-RS485 CAT5 converter.
I don't have any other devices.

The falcon is flashed and programmed

The led never changes.

Also, the new converter should be coming in today which light fix the problem
Title: Re: Help! Most likely a stupid question with a simple answer
Post by: David Pitts on April 07, 2015, 10:43:51 AM
Nick,

Looking at your picture I am concerned that the heat sync may short the board out. If you do not have a bolt in heat sync make sure it will not slip down and bridge across pins of regulator.
Title: Re: Help! Most likely a stupid question with a simple answer
Post by: JonB256 on April 07, 2015, 11:24:11 AM
Sorry,

Converter: LOR Usb-RS485 CAT5 converter.
I don't have any other devices.

The falcon is flashed and programmed

The led never changes.

Also, the new converter should be coming in today which light fix the problem

Ok - the LOR USB-RS485 dongle has two problems for use with a Falcon 16.
First - I don't think it can output Pixelnet. It can put out DMX and many have used if for that.
Second - it outputs on Pins 4 and 5 of the CAT5 connector. If you have your F16 setup for universe 1 and 2 (pretty normal), then it is listening to wires 1 and 2 (Universe 1) and wires 3 and 6 (universe 2).

Try changing the F16 input to Universe 3 and see if you get any indications. (Universe 3 uses the Blue pair of wires - 4 and 5)
Title: Re: Help! Most likely a stupid question with a simple answer
Post by: IamNick on April 07, 2015, 11:30:40 AM
Nick,

Looking at your picture I am concerned that the heat sync may short the board out. If you do not have a bolt in heat sync make sure it will not slip down and bridge across pins of regulator.

Good to know, I'll fix that asap!

Sorry,

Converter: LOR Usb-RS485 CAT5 converter.
I don't have any other devices.

The falcon is flashed and programmed

The led never changes.

Also, the new converter should be coming in today which light fix the problem

Ok - the LOR USB-RS485 dongle has two problems for use with a Falcon 16.
First - I don't think it can output Pixelnet. It can put out DMX and many have used if for that.
Second - it outputs on Pins 4 and 5 of the CAT5 connector. If you have your F16 setup for universe 1 and 2 (pretty normal), then it is listening to wires 1 and 2 (Universe 1) and wires 3 and 6 (universe 2).

Try changing the F16 input to Universe 3 and see if you get any indications. (Universe 3 uses the Blue pair of wires - 4 and 5)

Thanks! I'll do that as soon as I get home and report my findings
Title: Re: Help! Most likely a stupid question with a simple answer
Post by: CaptainMurdoch on April 07, 2015, 01:04:40 PM
Converter: LOR Usb-RS485 CAT5 converter.

I am not sure what chipset the LOR convert has, but if it is not FTDI, then it may not work with PixelNet with FPP v1.0 and prior.  PixelNet requires setting the speed to 1Mbit and with some converters they either don't support this rate or the driver in Linux doesn't support custom rates.  In the master code branch for FPP, I recently committed a change which allows some other USB dongles to work for PixelNet as well but not for DMX.  I have tested a USB dongle with a CH341 chipset and it will work with FPP for PixelNet after the recent change.

The FTDI dongle you ordered should work.  If your Cat-5 cable has the white/orange wire on the first pin then you will use the following connections:  White/Orange wire goes to 'A' connection and the Orange wire goes to the 'B' connection.  If your Cat-5 has Orange first then White/Orange reverse the A/B.   For safety, don't put that dongle in a Windows machine unless you have confirmed you don't have the intentionally-broken FTDI driver version which could brick the dongle if it has a counterfeit FTDI chip in it.
Title: Re: Help! Most likely a stupid question with a simple answer
Post by: rdebolt on April 07, 2015, 05:32:15 PM
^^^^^What they say, but after you fix David's request the "Pixelnet" led should flash rapidly on applying power. It will NOT blink again until channels are programed using the Falcon Utility and a working pixelnet dongle.


Roger

Title: Re: Help! Most likely a stupid question with a simple answer
Post by: IamNick on April 07, 2015, 05:36:23 PM
It does not blink, could this be a problem with the LED or a more serious problem? I have already fixed the heatsink

Edit: Apparently my last comment did not post. After wiring it upm I looked more into the new converter, and realized that it is a CH340T chip type, does this mean I need to get the one with FTDI chip? Or will the CH340T work?

Edit 2: I also only have one power supply hooked up because I read the first one powers Channels 1-8 and the circuitry, and Power Supply #2 supplies power to Channels 9-16, should I hook up the second one?

Edit 3: I went through and completely programmed everything, and now the led flashes, give me a few minutes to test the lights and I'll see what I can do. If this works, I'm going to feel like a super-idiot. :p
Title: Re: Help! Most likely a stupid question with a simple answer
Post by: JonB256 on April 07, 2015, 07:07:23 PM
Looking at your picture, I'm wondering about your wiring in PT1.

I was thinking that Red was +, Green was - and usually Blue was Data.  If I'm correct, then you have green and blue swapped.

Double check your strings (because they definitely aren't all the same)
Title: Re: Help! Most likely a stupid question with a simple answer
Post by: IamNick on April 07, 2015, 07:28:19 PM
Lights have been working in test mode, but I can swap it and see what happens.

Edit: Nope. It's GBR for me.

How would I program it if it's going through an RS-485 converter?
Title: Re: Help! Most likely a stupid question with a simple answer
Post by: CaptainMurdoch on April 07, 2015, 07:55:28 PM
The vktech dongle you linked to is FTDI compatible so it will work with FPP v1.0.   FPP v1.5 should support the ch340 chipset for PixelNet also I believe, that was the change I put in the master code branch the other day, it used a different method to set the 1Mbit speed.  The previous method didn't work with the ch34x chipset dongles.  I tested with a ch341 but I think the 340 will work as well since I believe they use the same kern module in Linux.
Title: Re: Help! Most likely a stupid question with a simple answer
Post by: IamNick on April 07, 2015, 08:15:41 PM
Sounds good, How would I program the serial converter?
Title: Re: Help! Most likely a stupid question with a simple answer
Post by: JonB256 on April 07, 2015, 08:17:17 PM
Sorry,

Converter: LOR Usb-RS485 CAT5 converter.
I don't have any other devices.

The falcon is flashed and programmed

The led never changes.

Also, the new converter should be coming in today which light fix the problem

Lights have been working in test mode, but I can swap it and see what happens.

Edit: Nope. It's GBR for me.

How would I program it if it's going through an RS-485 converter?
Had not seen that it worked in test mode. Good deal.
Title: Re: Help! Most likely a stupid question with a simple answer
Post by: IamNick on April 07, 2015, 08:54:08 PM
When using the "Falcon Controller Software" to set up the board, I believe i have everything entered in correctly, however when I hit "Program" a popup appears that says "Comport Error Occurred" with no other details. Is there a simple way to diagnose the problem?
Title: Re: Help! Most likely a stupid question with a simple answer
Post by: David Pitts on April 07, 2015, 09:19:47 PM
Not sure about the error but unless you are using the dla pdongle with pixelnet firmware it will not work. The etherdondle and pdongle will add the needed header that is required by controller. A simple usb dongle will not. I think fpp sends this header too but not the falcon software. I only supported the pdongle.
Title: Re: Help! Most likely a stupid question with a simple answer
Post by: JonB256 on April 08, 2015, 12:16:18 PM
Looking at your picture, I'm wondering about your wiring in PT1.

I was thinking that Red was +, Green was - and usually Blue was Data.  If I'm correct, then you have green and blue swapped.

Double check your strings (because they definitely aren't all the same)

I know that you said that it "works in test mode" but ALL my Ray Wu strings (TM1809 and TM1804) use BLUE for data, not green. I looked at several strings that I've used with my Falcon 16s.

Now, if the wires you are showing in the picture are from a waterproof 3-wire connector, then you'll have to go back down the line, all the way to the string input (first pixel).

There was an earlier post about having them connected with Data and Ground swapped and that it will not harm the pixels, but they also won't work right. (personal experience)
Title: Re: Help! Most likely a stupid question with a simple answer
Post by: IamNick on April 08, 2015, 04:17:52 PM
It does work in test mode. The strip flashes B-R-G-W then out if i disconnect the test mode pin. When I do any other order, I get "ghosting" pixels on the strip, whereas GBR doesn't yield any weird actions. If it makes any difference, they're WS2811's, but that's not my problem. The problem is I'm getting no pixelnet signal from either the Pi or my PC, and as David stated, serial converters are not supported on the pc, so the problem lies either in the pi, converter, or port on the falcon.
Title: Re: Help! Most likely a stupid question with a simple answer
Post by: CaptainMurdoch on April 08, 2015, 04:28:52 PM
Are you trying to play a sequence in the Pi or use bridge mode and play something on the PC?
Title: Re: Help! Most likely a stupid question with a simple answer
Post by: IamNick on April 08, 2015, 05:55:37 PM
I am trying to output any signal I can to the falcon from the Pi via a Usb-RS485 converter. I don't care how it gets done, I just want to control some lights :). I just can't seem to get any signal through to the falcon via the pi, that's my problem.
Title: Re: Help! Most likely a stupid question with a simple answer
Post by: CaptainMurdoch on April 08, 2015, 08:39:55 PM
Do you have the FTDI adapter yet?  The ch340 will not work with FPP v1.0, you would have to switch to the 'master' code branch or use the FTDI dongle to get PixelNet output.
Title: Re: Help! Most likely a stupid question with a simple answer
Post by: IamNick on April 08, 2015, 09:18:39 PM
What do you think I should do? I am willing to do whatever will get me working lights in the fastest time. If that means buying a FTDI chip instead, so be it.
Also, thank you all for your help so much. It's been so useful in solving my problem, thanks!
Title: Re: Help! Most likely a stupid question with a simple answer
Post by: CaptainMurdoch on April 08, 2015, 10:25:40 PM
In the first post, you included a link to a vktech USB dongle. That picture is identical to the FTDI dongle that several of us are using with FPP.  Did you get this dongle yet?  If it is the one in the picture, then it should work fine with FPP.
Title: Re: Help! Most likely a stupid question with a simple answer
Post by: JonB256 on April 09, 2015, 04:52:39 AM
Can someone who is successfully using this dongle take a picture of their wiring? (i.e. - where the orange and orange/white wires go)

There will still remain the problem of configuring the F16 for the channel setup.
Title: Re: Help! Most likely a stupid question with a simple answer
Post by: David Pitts on April 09, 2015, 05:22:32 AM
Until the controller is programmed the LED light may not blink when receiving Pixelnet. The Falcon Control Panel software will only program the controller with  PDongle, EtherDongle or FPD via FPP. If you are not using one of these three methods I believe you will not get it working.

Those three are your only options at this time.

These could be possible solutions in the future.
1) Program with FPP using an FTDI dongle.
2) Program with Falcon Controller software using FTDI dongle.

 
Title: Re: Help! Most likely a stupid question with a simple answer
Post by: IamNick on April 09, 2015, 07:35:47 AM
This is the dongle I purchased:http://www.amazon.com/Baitaihem-USB-485-Adapter-Converter-WindowsXP/dp/B00LNTN0H2

Saw the prime shipping and saw that it was a Rs485 converter and went ahead an bought it. Oops. Next time I'll do some more research.

(Also sorry for any spelling or grammar issues,  I'm on my phone)
Title: Re: Help! Most likely a stupid question with a simple answer
Post by: CaptainMurdoch on April 09, 2015, 08:20:13 AM
David, FPP shouldn't care whether the device is on PixelNet connected to FPD, pdongle, or FTDI dongle.  All three should be sending out proper PixelNet frames so FPP should be able to bridge from E1.31 to any of the three with the same result unless you are doing something with these programming PixelNet packets inside the FPD that I don't know about.

Are you saying there is no default config in the firmware that would let the controller work or at least indicate it is receiving data until you program it?
Title: Re: Help! Most likely a stupid question with a simple answer
Post by: CaptainMurdoch on April 09, 2015, 08:28:04 AM

This is the dongle I purchased:http://www.amazon.com/Baitaihem-USB-485-Adapter-Converter-WindowsXP/dp/B00LNTN0H2

Ok so that is not the dongle you indicated you purchased in the first post.  That explains it a little more.  Yes, that dongle should only work with FPP's master code branch, not with FPP v1.0 or prior.  The dongle you linked to in the first post would work with FPP v1.0 for both PixelNet and DMX.  The ch340 will only work for PixelNet with the latest development code, it will stil not work for DMX and probably never will.

Depending on David's answer to my previous post, we can give instructions on what it takes to get you blinking.
Title: Re: Help! Most likely a stupid question with a simple answer
Post by: jnealand on April 09, 2015, 09:06:03 AM
David's answer was in regarding to using the config utility on the F16 and not on using the dongle to run a show via FPP.  That is the info he has passed on previously in other forums.
Title: Re: Help! Most likely a stupid question with a simple answer
Post by: JonB256 on April 09, 2015, 09:20:02 AM
I'm sending Nick a spare PDongle. That should help tremendously.
Title: Re: Help! Most likely a stupid question with a simple answer
Post by: David Pitts on April 09, 2015, 10:58:22 AM
There are only the three methods from Falcon Control panel to configure the f16. I mentioned them on my previous post. I have seen the led sometimes will not blink until you have programmed it once with software.
Title: Re: Help! Most likely a stupid question with a simple answer
Post by: David Pitts on April 09, 2015, 11:05:14 AM
Now to get more into the specifics. The software can send network command to fpp to have fpp bridge to fpd to configure f16. This is done using a special port. The software does not at this time send config commands to fpp to bridge to ftdi dongles.
Title: Re: Help! Most likely a stupid question with a simple answer
Post by: IamNick on April 09, 2015, 11:39:18 AM
Thank you all so very much,  as Jon said, he his sending me a pdongle, which should solve my problems. It looks like my problem lies in the converter I was using (no ftdi chip)  but I also solved some problems along the way. Again,  thank you all so very much,  I appreciate your help.