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How to Program Channels on an F16-V1

Started by Gary, September 23, 2020, 11:43:45 PM

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I have several F16-V1 controllers that I've had for several years now and am happy with them after they're programmed and running. The price is right, and they fit my needs with nice long runs to my first pixel without needing to deal with signal re-amplification. However, for some reason, the past few years have caused me grief when a re-programming the channels on each output.

This is how it's supposed to work, I have an F16-B (running Pixelnet) with a BeagleBone Black running FPP. I hook up a signal cable between the F16-B's output and and the F16-V1's input, I put FPP in Bridge Mode, open up the Falcon Controller Software, specify the IP of the Falcon Player on my F16-B, set up the channels for the controller I want, and click the Program button. I know it was successful when the pixel strings hooked up to it flash for a second or two.

In 2018 and 2019, I was having a bear of a time getting the process to work properly, and between CAT5 cables that had some inadequately terminated ends, and a F16-V1 board which had some missing solder joints from the factory on a RJ45 connector (i.e. I was setting up more than the one universe used the prior year), I eventually worked through those issues.

It's now 2020, and I'm running into problems again.  ::)  Here's what's going on:

I can have an F16-V1 controller working quite happily with the old channel layouts; that is, when I plug in a signal cable into it from my F16-B, and run a test sequence on my Falcon Player in Standalone Player mode or xLights via Bridge Mode, I get the blue Pixelnet light flashing. However, when I program the controller with the Falcon Controller Software using the steps above, it doesn't recognize a Pixelnet signal afterwards (i.e. I don't get a the flashing blue Pixelnet light, and I can't control any pixel strings hooked up to the controller). Thinking that it was just bad luck with one controller, I tried programming another, and now it's unresponsive as well.

I've reached out in the past by posting to this forum and sending PM messages to various people. Not too many people use Pixelnet anymore, and using the Bridge Mode on the Falcon Player was even more unfamiliar to them; I was told that they've used an Etherdongle to program their F16-V1 controllers with the Falcon Controller Software.

But lo and behold, this year I was able to get my hands on an Etherdongle. After hitting a brick wall with using FPP's Bridge Mode, I tried using the Etherdongle. I plugged it directly into my laptop's Ethernet port, it got a 169.254.x.x IP address, chose it in the Falcon Player Software, clicked the Program button, but nada, nothing. If I go into xLights and set up a controller with the Etherdongle's 169.254.x.x address, set it as Multicast, click the Output to lights button, and hook up a "known good" F16-V1 controller, the blue Pixelnet light flashes happily. If I move the data signal cable from the good controller to a non-responsive one, no blue Pixelnet light. The Etherdongle is working.

Any ideas? Is there something obvious that I'm missing?


Wish I could remember all those steps, but I remember the same frustrations.  That is why I finally switched over to the F16v2 and v3.  It is so much easier to configure and saved my sanity.  Something to consider.  I still have some Lynx stuff around that will probably never get used again, but it was so good years ago I hate to just throw it in the trash.
Jim Nealand
Kennesaw, GA all Falcon controllers, all 12v Master Remote Multisync with Pi and BBB P10 and P5


Quote from: jnealand on September 24, 2020, 08:04:58 AMWish I could remember all those steps, but I remember the same frustrations.  That is why I finally switched over to the F16v2 and v3.  It is so much easier to configure and saved my sanity.  Something to consider.

What's weird is that I don't remember so much hassle the first year programming the controllers in 2016 using Bridge Mode on the Falcon Player. The next phase of expansion was when I added my pixel mega/mini trees in 2017, and 2019 was my soffit strip lighting... those two years being problematic, and this year it's a pixel Holdman Star and HDPE arches. After this, I don't plan to add any more pixels to my display (I can resist the urge, haha), but instead I'm going to be researching projection which I imagine will be a multi-year process.

P.S. Sadly, I wish you weren't the one who replied first with that answer. I was secretly thinking of PMing you if I didn't get a solution. 🙁 It's hard for me to justify spending $1600+ Canadian on new controllers to replace controllers that light up Pixels to my satisfaction (once they're configured), without any plans to add more channels in the foreseeable future.

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