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View Full Version : Beagle Bone Vs sending/receiving cards for P10?



brichi
01-09-2018, 09:38 AM
Hey guys, I am new to the whole P10 matrix thing and am loving it, I have a BBB with an Octoscroller on a few panels as a test, running from LOR and Xlights just for testing, I have 60 panels total and plan on doing about 90 panels for December 2018 display on top of my 9 LOR Pixie controller i use now

My question is, Is BBB/Octo or Pi the best way to run these for DMX from Xlights/LOR? I see other things on the market like send cards and such but am not familiar with all that and what i would need. One guy from a website i lookd into said to use these from LOR or Xlights I need the 5A-75B reviving card along with a colorlight sending card S2 and a video processor LVP605S but that seems like a lot to just run the matrix from my computer

Any info you can share I would love to hear. The BBB is working but i see a little lag and issues i am trying to work out and am thinking this may not be the best way to run this project, thats why I'm starting it all now and not in November, lol.

thanks!!

Wichita
01-09-2018, 03:44 PM
I am using Pi3 with Ron's Adapter loaded with FPP for my 12 panels. I can run the panels either straight from the Pi or run it in bridge mode and use Vixen3 or Xlights from my PC. The options I know of are from the Falcon Christmas forum and they are Beagle Bone with Octoscroller, Rasberry Pi with an adapter, or Rasberry Pi with a sender card. The sender card option is still in beta as far as I can tell. But they all use FPP ( Falcon Pi Player).

jchuchla
01-09-2018, 06:05 PM
There's a few concepts here to understand, and some of these components can be used in different ways. So it's easy for a newcomer to be confused.

The send/receive cards are the industry standard means to drive these things. They work very well and are used in store signs, billboards and stadium video boards around the world. These systems are designed to take a video signal (DVI, HDMI, etc) and display it on a large array of the LED matrix panels. The receive cards are designed to be daisy chained. One sender can send to a series of receive cards. Each receive card will drive a section of a larger overall matrix display. The signal sent out on the wire is the whole picture, and each receive card is configured to use a section of that larger picture.

Some of the receive cards can also receive data via gigabit Ethernet. In this mode, things other than the sending card can send data to it. This is how the FPP output module is sending to the linsn/colorlight boards. It is not using a video signal, it's instead using sequence data and stuffing it into the buffer transmitted to the receive cards. So it's well suited for matrices that are not driven by traditional video, but rather whose content originated in a light sequencer.
The Pi to receiver configuration is advantageous because the task of driving the matrix panels in handled in the dedicated receive card hardware and is done very well. Refresh rates for the actual LED arrays are very high making for beautiful flicker free images. A receive card also generally costs less than a pi (with required peripherals)

The matrix panels can also be driven directly from a Pi/BBB running FPP. It's usually done with a cape or breakout board of some sort to facilitate the electrical buffering and physical connections. This is suitable for smaller arrays. (compared to a billboard) Historically, this was an option that was invented out of DIY spirit and desire to do it cheaper. But that's back when receive cards were over $100, and couldn't be driven directly over Ethernet. (or if it did, nobody knew about it). Personally, i don't know why you'd choose this method any longer.

brichi
01-09-2018, 06:14 PM
wow thanks for the info!

I have the BBB now with Octoscroller but was curious on send and receive so thanks for the break down. Are there certain send and receive cards that work with LOR/Vixen/Xlights and so on? I'm not exactly sure what to buy based on running a 48 panel P10 screen for movies over my windows. I'm doing 2 screens so i would need to send out to 96 panels as 2 screens

jchuchla
01-09-2018, 07:04 PM
if you're using a sending card with a receive card, you're using video signals to drive your display. It's not a lighting output. It really has nothing to do with vixen/xlights/LOR. That doesn't mean you can't use it this way in your show. But rather that it's unrelated to the sequence creation. Creating and playing the video content would be an independent parallel process using video production software. You can use FPP to play the video files via it's HDMI port to the sending card.

If you're using just the receiving card from the FPP sender, it's mapping an array of channel values to the output. So any sequencing software that will create channel data for a matrix will work. For this, you need a card that the FPP can drive. This is currently either the Colorlight 5A/75B, or Linsn RV8xx or RV9xx series receiver boards.

brichi
01-09-2018, 07:10 PM
does falcon player run on the 5A/75B or is the 75B more like an octoscroller thats receiving the dat from BBB and then pushing it out in pieces to the panels? in other words all i would need is the 75B, install FPP on it and run ethernet from laptop to 75B t config and run? sorry for all the questions, like you said, theres so many ways to do this and i don't want to waste the money if i don't need to. Right now the BBB with the octoscroller and FPP is working good, i just want to see if theres another way. thanks!

jchuchla
01-09-2018, 08:30 PM
does falcon player run on the 5A/75B or is the 75B more like an octoscroller thats receiving the dat from BBB and then pushing it out in pieces to the panels? in other words all i would need is the 75B, install FPP on it and run ethernet from laptop to 75B t config and run?

No. It certainly does not run FPP. It's just a panel driving card, nothing else. It's not a computer like the Pi or BBB is. In this regard it's lot like a falcon F16V3 or a sandevices e682. It receives a stream of data in one [simpler] form and rearranges it to output it in another [more complex or sensitive] form.

brichi
01-09-2018, 08:32 PM
gotcha, thank you, so i guess still us a BBB and that can output to the 75B? or is there a better way?

jchuchla
01-09-2018, 08:47 PM
You'd need to think about the bigger picture of your whole show. Generally you'd be doing other lighting stuff besides just driving a matrix. So that device would be what's running FPP. That same FPP can output to lights, and to the colorlight card, and be playing the audio. It could be a pi or BBB. (i forgot if the BBB plays audio or not) Or you can be doing a master/slave FPP system with multiple Pi/BBBs with one as the show master and other slave units each doing part of the show.

brichi
01-09-2018, 08:51 PM
right now my show all runs all off LOR pixie controllers (8 of them) so the BBB to the matrix is just to add cool graphic and video along with the existing show

jchuchla
01-09-2018, 09:58 PM
FPP's main job is to be the show player. So you'd use it instead of the LOR show computer to play your show. It's a ton more flexible than LOR anyhow.

I'm not terribly familiar with the pixie controllers, but i know that they're driven with serial lines based on the LOR protocol. In the grand scheme of things, they're a bit of an oddball pixel controller. I don't know if the FPP can drive them or not.

If you're going to add a P10 matrix and plan on driving it with sequence data from LOR, you're going to need to send it out of LOR via sACN/e1.31. So you're going to need a solution that can receive sACN and output either directly to panels, or convert it to the protocol that can be sent to the receiving card. FPP can be configured in bridge mode. In this mode, it will receive sACN data and can do a number of different things with it. It can drive panels directly, or output it via the receiver card protocol. But if you choose the latter, you'll need separate Ethernet interfaces for the incoming sACN and the outgoing line to the receiver cards.

brichi
01-09-2018, 10:02 PM
yes, i have that setup now, separate ethernet to a router then to the BBB in bridge mode so LOR can control the panels using DMX universes and the LOR pixie controllers run off the LOR dongle using up com ports, not ethernet E1.31

Rooster519
01-16-2018, 08:23 AM
So glad I came across this thread. I'm planning on adding a small matrix for a tune to sign in 2018 and was curious about using a receiving card. My tune to sign will let less than ten feet from my main Fpp master so the thought of adding another pi seemed like a bit of over kill. Glad to hear that receiving card is an option.

brichi
01-16-2018, 09:26 AM
So glad I came across this thread. I'm planning on adding a small matrix for a tune to sign in 2018 and was curious about using a receiving card. My tune to sign will let less than ten feet from my main Fpp master so the thought of adding another pi seemed like a bit of over kill. Glad to hear that receiving card is an option.

what are you using to send the signal, software and card wise?

scootchu
01-16-2018, 10:06 AM
I am using Pi3 with Ron's Adapter loaded with FPP for my 12 panels. I can run the panels either straight from the Pi or run it in bridge mode and use Vixen3 or Xlights from my PC. The options I know of are from the Falcon Christmas forum and they are Beagle Bone with Octoscroller, Rasberry Pi with an adapter, or Rasberry Pi with a sender card. The sender card option is still in beta as far as I can tell. But they all use FPP ( Falcon Pi Player).

Where is Ron's adapter available?

Rooster519
01-16-2018, 10:16 AM
what are you using to send the signal, software and card wise?

Currently I'm running dual e682's with a Pi 3 running FPP. Pi plugs into a network switch and signal is disbursed from there. My plan will be to get one of the receiving cards and basically play with it to see how I can set it up to run through the router (hopefully someone has done this and has a walk through). Since my P10 matrix will be simple and small, it doesn't necessarily need to tie into the Vixen software but it could be fun if it did. This is why I'm trying to start so early this year, I have big plans for 2018!!

brichi
01-16-2018, 10:29 AM
same here, I have a lot of ideas with P10's, i just built a 54 panel display and heading to do another for both my second story windows to do video in LOR along with my sequences i already programmed. right now i have a BBB with an octoscroller to control it

DrNeutron
01-16-2018, 10:48 AM
The guys over on the AUS forum use a small card for a tune to sign and P10 panels:
http://www.smartaleclights.com/shop/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=71
Here's a quick video on using them:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lTZ7gfnlyvI&feature=youtu.be
Here's a discussion thread on the controllers and using with various panels:
https://auschristmaslighting.com/threads/panel-controller-all-types.9172/
Smartalec over on AUS forums sells them, but they can be purchased on Aliexpress as well.

Rooster519
01-16-2018, 11:19 AM
The guys over on the AUS forum use a small card for a tune to sign and P10 panels:
http://www.smartaleclights.com/shop/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=71
Here's a quick video on using them:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lTZ7gfnlyvI&feature=youtu.be
Here's a discussion thread on the controllers and using with various panels:
https://auschristmaslighting.com/threads/panel-controller-all-types.9172/
Smartalec over on AUS forums sells them, but they can be purchased on Aliexpress as well.

I have seen that video and it looks simple enough. My thought with it was price seems to be right in line with a Pi Zero and an adapter. So for the price I would go with the later option. While quickly searching this morning, I was able to find a simple receiver card, I believe the colorlight 5a-75b for about $20 including shipping. It all just depends on how everything is able to be controlled and what I want to be able to do. I understand that $35 is a small price to pay for things in this hobby and I'm probably splitting hairs over something that can be accomplished many different ways, but I'll always try to save a couple of bucks whenever I can.

For me, one of the main features I'm looking for is something I can control remotely, say from inside my house. I already us my main pi in bridge mode to reach my e682's, so being able to reach my small matrix would be very convenient if possible and simple. I'm not completely oblivious to the fact that once the show is running I should never need to touch my matrix unless there is a major issue, but I guess I'm a bit of a control freak in this regard and some times just like to "look in" on everything to make sure things are ok.

Edit: Sorry I just double checked the price for the AUS controller is only $30 plus shipping.

Edit #2: After actually paying attention to currency and the exchange rate we can drop to $23, SMH. That's an impressive little machine for that price. Probably the route I will go now. Thank you!

CaptainMurdoch
01-16-2018, 11:28 PM
Edit #2: After actually paying attention to currency and the exchange rate we can drop to $23, SMH. That's an impressive little machine for that price. Probably the route I will go now. Thank you!

It all depends on what you want to do with the matrix. If you want a "static" display that you rarely change (even if it is animated), then there are several options for driving the panels. If you want to be able to sequence what you put on the panels and change that every so often or put the song title and artist on the panels or the display time or a Christmas countdown, then having the ability to play a fseq or send data over E1.31 is a bonus.

If you do go the ColorLight route, you will need a Gig-E USB network interface on the Pi since the receiver cards won't link up at 100Mbit. Right now, this might be my main driving factor in having a SD image for a platform other than the Pi, so we could have a platform with built in Gig-E for this and potential other reasons.

EdK
01-22-2018, 01:25 AM
FPP's main job is to be the show player. So you'd use it instead of the LOR show computer to play your show. It's a ton more flexible than LOR anyhow.

I'm not terribly familiar with the pixie controllers, but i know that they're driven with serial lines based on the LOR protocol. In the grand scheme of things, they're a bit of an oddball pixel controller. I don't know if the FPP can drive them or not.

If you're going to add a P10 matrix and plan on driving it with sequence data from LOR, you're going to need to send it out of LOR via sACN/e1.31. So you're going to need a solution that can receive sACN and output either directly to panels, or convert it to the protocol that can be sent to the receiving card. FPP can be configured in bridge mode. In this mode, it will receive sACN data and can do a number of different things with it. It can drive panels directly, or output it via the receiver card protocol. But if you choose the latter, you'll need separate Ethernet interfaces for the incoming sACN and the outgoing line to the receiver cards.

I use LOR, and I don't use LOR's network to run my E1.31 controllers. LOR also easily drives E1.31 controllers through your PC's Ethernet port, over Cat 5 cables (i.e., completely separate from LOR's network. To summarize: from a single dedicated show PC, I run: (1) LOR CCRs through my USB port through the LOR converter to daisy chained LOR controllers for some of my props, and (2) several E1.31 controllers (AlphaPix 4s and SanDevices e6804s) through my PC's Ethernet port over Cat 5 cable for the remaining props. Seamlessly, with no "cross-over" cables, dongles, or special wiring.

brichi
01-22-2018, 08:31 AM
problem is LOR does not "easily" drive a lot of DMX universes, I added 324 DMX universes and now LOR crawls and is barley usable on a good pc thats all up to date. Last year i ran all LOR stuff through the high speed red converter and added an alphapix later for a tune to off ethernet and it all ran smooth but now adding all this DMX is killing the software

EdK
01-23-2018, 01:08 AM
problem is LOR does not "easily" drive a lot of DMX universes, I added 324 DMX universes and now LOR crawls and is barley usable on a good pc thats all up to date. Last year i ran all LOR stuff through the high speed red converter and added an alphapix later for a tune to off ethernet and it all ran smooth but now adding all this DMX is killing the software

So far, I've had zero performance issues with LOR, running on a dedicated HP desktop, an Intel i5 processor clocked at 3.10 GHZ, 16GB of RAM, and a 256GB hard drive. I guess if I ever approached needing 324 DMX universes, I'd probably first run into a shortage of space to store my props.

dowdybrown
01-23-2018, 01:28 AM
problem is LOR does not "easily" drive a lot of DMX universes, I added 324 DMX universes and now LOR crawls and is barley usable on a good pc thats all up to date. Last year i ran all LOR stuff through the high speed red converter and added an alphapix later for a tune to off ethernet and it all ran smooth but now adding all this DMX is killing the software

You need to be more clear about "killing the software". The limitation isn't in the Show Player portion of the LOR software (which has been tested with more than 700 DMX universes), it is with the Effects Generator. This will be addressed shortly in the next S5 beta release.

Matt Brown
Light-O-Rama

brichi
01-23-2018, 08:22 AM
So far, I've had zero performance issues with LOR, running on a dedicated HP desktop, an Intel i5 processor clocked at 3.10 GHZ, 16GB of RAM, and a 256GB hard drive. I guess if I ever approached needing 324 DMX universes, I'd probably first run into a shortage of space to store my props.

300+ universes is very easy to hit and takes up minimal prop room if you get into P10 panels, Im doing 2-54 panel matrix screens and each panel uses 3 universes


You need to be more clear about "killing the software". The limitation isn't in the Show Player portion of the LOR software (which has been tested with more than 700 DMX universes), it is with the Effects Generator. This will be addressed shortly in the next S5 beta release.

Matt Brown
Light-O-Rama

thank you Matt, Yes it is in the Effects Generator but also now now takes aery long time to open sequences and every little change i make in the sequence now takes a very long time to complete before i can play it

EdK
01-23-2018, 08:54 PM
You need to be more clear about "killing the software". The limitation isn't in the Show Player portion of the LOR software (which has been tested with more than 700 DMX universes), it is with the Effects Generator. This will be addressed shortly in the next S5 beta release.

Matt Brown
Light-O-Rama

Looking forward to S5!