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lbro
05-06-2009, 04:33 PM
Let's start this thread so we can all help walk each other through the build. Let's try to keep all questions and answers in one place....

g2ktcf
05-06-2009, 04:34 PM
Great Idea Lou!

51fordf2
05-06-2009, 04:41 PM
Watch out on the resistors - the 750 Ω is very similar to the 150 Ω, and easy to switch, as they are 1/4 watt, and very small. I recommend, when you lay out your resistors, meter them.

R

lbro
05-06-2009, 04:47 PM
If you open the field bag, I believe you can tell the difference by the amount, there are more of one than the other...

51fordf2
05-06-2009, 04:52 PM
I also talked with David (Firegod), about the resistors required, on the SSROz'. If you use the LED's, on the Field Modules, you have to use 510 Ω resistors on the SSR's, for the triac gate, due to the voltage drop across the LED's. I was NOT looking forward to changing out a bunch of resistors, nor was I happy with having two different SSR's, one with 510 Ω, the other with 750 Ω. David suggested using a 6 volt regulator, instead of a 5 volt, and I wouldn't have to change out the resistors. I have several on order, and will be using them. This is the Mouser page for the ones he told me to use:

6 Volt regulator (http://mouser.com/Search/ProductDetail.aspx?qs=sGAEpiMZZMtUqDgmOWBjgFMGuATc bJe59DsSm6eJXHE%3d)

R

51fordf2
05-06-2009, 04:59 PM
If you open the field bag, I believe you can tell the difference by the amount, there are more of one than the other...

There are 4 of the 150 Ω and one of the 750 Ω. I'm just saying that they are very small, and the color code for 750 and 150, is very close, violet-green-brown, and brown-green-brown. It's hard to distinguish between the violet and brown, due to size. You don't have to meter out the brown-red-red's, they are very apparent. Just meter out the 5 until you hit the one 750...

R

51fordf2
05-06-2009, 08:54 PM
OK, PC Interfaces done...here's the order I found works great...YMMV, as everyone has their preferences, but for somebody who doesn't...I am taking pictures as I go, each step, in the hopes of making, or somebody making a Wiki for the FireGod, if there's interest.


Resistors - all
Zener Diode
Diodes
Sockets
Caps C1-4, C6
Cap C7
DB Connector
Power Jack (same time as DB Connector)
RJ45 Jacks
Cap C5
Voltage Regulator and Heat Sink

Greg in Canby
05-06-2009, 09:07 PM
I am taking pictures as I go, each step, in the hopes of making, or somebody making a Wiki for the FireGod, if there's interest.
I'm interested and . . . pictures are good.

g2ktcf
05-07-2009, 02:45 AM
OK, PC Interfaces done...here's the order I found works great...YMMV, as everyone has their preferences, but for somebody who doesn't...I am taking pictures as I go, each step, in the hopes of making, or somebody making a Wiki for the FireGod, if there's interest.


Resistors - all
Zener Diode
Diodes
Sockets
Caps C1-4, C6
Cap C7
DB Connector
Power Jack (same time as DB Connector)
RJ45 Jacks
Cap C5
Voltage Regulator and Heat Sink



hehehehe

Looks like getting to build mine later will be a GOOD THING! :lol:

51fordf2
05-07-2009, 02:58 AM
David suggested putting C7 in after mounting the voltage regulator and heatsink, so you can get to the screw easier, but I always mount the regulator to the heatsink first, tighten it, then mount it as a unit. Easier for me, but personal choice. I'll give both in the construction article. I have both interfaces done, and 4 field modules done. I should be ready to look at getting the PICs programmed soon. Need to start from scratch, on those. Oh goody, something new to learn (and buy!!).

More to follow...

R

lbro
05-07-2009, 09:12 AM
can I send mine to you?:-)

51fordf2
05-07-2009, 11:21 PM
Sure, Lou - I could use another 256 channels! :)

I've got all 10 boards soldered up. Off to order a PickitII...and I'm waiting on the 6 volt regulators. Hopefully, won't be long before I shift from build-mode to test-mode.

Two days to build - not too bad!

Hopefully there will be smart people at the Ohio mini that I can brain-pick on the programming.

Enjoy, folks. Fun project!

R


can I send mine to you?:-)

FireGod
05-08-2009, 01:46 AM
Programming:
This is about the cheapest way to go. You must have a hardware serial port, a usb adaptor will not work.

http://doityourselfchristmas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=501


Here is an updated link:

http://cgi.ebay.com/Super-JDM-PIC-Programmer-Free-12F629-Ship-From-USA_W0QQitemZ310122471364QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_Def aultDomain_0?hash=item4834bd5fc4&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=72%3A1205%7C66%3A2%7C65%3A12%7C39%3A1%7C 240%3A1318%7C301%3A1%7C293%3A1%7C294%3A50

FireGod
05-08-2009, 03:18 AM
Hard Coded address HEX files:

http://doityourselfchristmas.com/forums/showthread.php?p=65640#post65640

51fordf2
05-08-2009, 11:34 AM
JDM ordered - thanks, David.

Now, as this is my first experience with PIC's, what would be a good recommended "extras" to buy, in case I mess one up, or have trouble over Christmas? I figure I could flash them, and have them sitting in waiting...I'd rather have them, and not need them, than need them, and not have them.

Regulators didn't get here today - grrrr! No biggie, as I don't have programmed chips yet, anyway.

Thanks,

Roger

51fordf2
05-08-2009, 11:51 AM
Figured since I was sitting around, waiting, I'd build some of the "fake" SSR's for testing. Had to dig pretty hard to find the info, so figured I'd post it again, here, in case you need it.

From David:
I also made myself a set of “fake” SSRs for one field module just for testing. You take a short piece of cable and four resistors (820 ohm). Connect each resistor to a channel (Orange, Blue, Green, Brown) and connect the other ends of the resistors to 5VDC (Orange/White) for sinking applications. A bit of electrical tape to insulate the resistors and crimp a RJ-45 plug on the other end. Make 8 of them and this will allow the addressing to work and will light up the LEDs for testing.

I've also made up some quick boards, for anyone that wants some. They'll come in a sheet of 8, if you have a way of cutting them apart. If you need them cut apart, I'll do that, as well. They will come drilled. You need 8 RJ45 Jacks, and 64 810 Ω resistors. You'll also need a short cat5 cable, or, you can hard-wire a short piece to the board, using the RJ45 jack holes.

Let me know if you would like a set. I can do a set of 8 6" Cat5 cables as well, but would have to charge a little bit for shipping, and don't want to step on any toes, calling it a "group buy" or anything like that. If you'd like a set of cables, PM me, and we'll go from there. I like etching, and I buy my Cat5 ends by the 1000, more than I'll EVER use in my lifetime! Pay it forward, I always say...

EDIT: Someone asked about shipping - no charge for a board of 8 (or 8 cut apart), if you want the cables, I would send them in a $4.95 flat rate box. The nice thing about not cutting the board, is you can just plug 8 cables into one board...

R

FireGod
05-08-2009, 11:07 PM
JDM ordered - thanks, David.

Now, as this is my first experience with PIC's, what would be a good recommended "extras" to buy, in case I mess one up, or have trouble over Christmas? I figure I could flash them, and have them sitting in waiting...I'd rather have them, and not need them, than need them, and not have them.

Regulators didn't get here today - grrrr! No biggie, as I don't have programmed chips yet, anyway.

Thanks,

Roger

I would reccommend at least one but two would be better. I have had one bad PIC from the factory. I blew up channel number one once. I plugged in the PIC wrong (pin two into pin one socket) and destroyed the PIC. Stuff happens.

FireGod
05-09-2009, 01:29 AM
Where does the power LED go on the PC Interface?

My bad

http://doityourselfchristmas.com/forums/showthread.php?p=65705#post65705

51fordf2
05-09-2009, 12:42 PM
The first "fake" SSR boards are done - here's what they look like. I have two people from the group buy, that want them, so far.

http://crbest.com/firegod/fakessr02.jpg

http://crbest.com/firegod/fakessr01.jpg

I've seen worse...

R

WildWillie
05-09-2009, 06:33 PM
Looks like a million bucks to me!! :D

Keep up the good work.

Bill


The first "fake" SSR boards are done - here's what they look like. I have two people from the group buy, that want them, so far.

http://crbest.com/firegod/fakessr02.jpg

I've seen worse...

R

51fordf2
05-13-2009, 09:35 PM
No joy...did some testing, and apparently the PIC is booting up, as MOST of the leds come on, then go out. But, I can't get any control out of Vixen, and the voltage regulator heatsink is getting uncomfortably warm, on both controllers. I am using the fake SSR board, and I'm getting nothing out to them. I did have an SSR hooked up, and was getting the 5 volt out to it and the light strings lighting on boot up, but doesn't seem to be getting it now.

On bootup, should ALL the led's light?

I've rechecked and rechecked everything - parts are in right positions, and checked all the solder joints. I would think/hope ONE of them would work, but no, not yet.

Oh well, I'm going to step back for a few days, and hit it again. Have the Light Up Ohio this weekend, so I'll concentrate on that...

No schematic makes it a little tough to troubleshoot, as that helps me understand what all is going on. Plus, it would be nice to know test points, and what I should be reading. The heatsink getting overly warm bothers me a lot, though. And, it's on both controllers...

R

leroylee13
05-14-2009, 09:50 PM
I have very little understanding of what the code in the PIC is doing, but I can tell you what I experienced. My regulator got uncomfortably hot and I put a larger heatsink but still warmer than I like. I am going to try a regulator with a higher current rating hoping for less heat.
Not all lights come on at power up. Mine seem to come up with a random pattern for a few seconds then go out. Maybe the lights that were on when it got turned off??
I got the few seconds of lights then no control but found that I could not control the module address with the jumpers reliably. I was able to get a code for PIC hard coded the specific module number and then it worked. I found that it was an addressing problem by using the test in Vixen with all 128 channels and it worked - then turned off channels till I could determine which channel in Vixen controlled that bank of lights.
I hope this helps.

FireGod
05-17-2009, 08:27 AM
The voltage regulator does get hot and that is the reson for the big heat sink. I have not lost a voltage regulator yet.

Upon boot up, four of the channels are made to be analog inputs for module selection purposes. The balance of the pins may be on or off, it is random and and normal. Once the PIC reads the four analog input pins, it then makes these four pins outputs and enters the program loop where it turn off all the channels and waits for data. This is why the random channels go off after 8 seconds.

Each time the PIC looses power, it must enter this voltage reading 8 second period. Using the hard coded address HEX files, this 8 seconds will be eliminated and the three shunts can be removed.

I am not sure why this is occuring in the sinking system. Some people have no trouble where others have the trouble. I use my own SSRs and I source the current from the PIC. I have no problems but my system works in reverse to yours and my PIC code is also reverersed.

Use the hard coded HEX files if you are having trouble addressing field modules and that will fix that problem.

51fordf2
05-20-2009, 01:23 PM
With my heart-felt thanks to Lou, David, LeRoy, Bill, and anyone I possibly overlooked, I'm proud to say I am now the owner of TWO almost completely operational FireGod systems!

Got them both working today - I had to get a transformer, as one of the wall-warts was bad, out of the box. While testing, the 2nd wall wart burned out, also. I'm not sure what caused that, as it was on the other controller, than I tried the first one on. I haven't put an ammeter in line yet, but will. I want to find out if I am pulling close to an amp, for some reason (I have difficulty believing that is possible), or whether the wall-warts are very low quality to begin with (evidenced by not working when I got it?). They are rated 1000 mA, so shouldn't be a problem at all, and the transformer I am using is a 25 vac, 2 amp, VCT, so I'm using 12 volts at 1 amp, and it's not even getting warm at all. The wall wart was very warm, when it "*-poofed-*".

But, just wanted to let everyone know, SUCCESS!!

I will try to work on a Wiki on assembly, this week, as I am on vacation.

Oh yeah, I've narrowed all my problems down, to not having enough SSR's hooked up. David wrote the following to me, when I was first having trouble:


The 8 second boot up time is normal and since the lights turn off after 8 seconds, that means the PIC program is running.

Try to configure Vixen for FM #2, #3, or #4 and see what happens.

Try turning on all 128 channels at once.

You MUST plugin the first three SSRs or fake SSRs to enable the FM to find the address.

Plug in your eight fake SSRs and see what happens.

I didn't have enough 820 ohm resistors, so only had 4 SSR's hooked up, and assumed I had the "first three". but now I know I didn't. As you look at the FM, with the RJ45 at the top, the bottom right corner is 1-4, and it goes in a counter-clockwise rotation from there.

I still have several channels, that aren't working - channels 2-6 on FM1, and different ones on the other module, so I will be looking at poor solder joints. I'm not sure what else could be causing it. I'll get it, though...


Thanks again, to ALL!!!

R

51fordf2
05-20-2009, 06:12 PM
Just a quick update -

Lesson one - don't do the FG at the same time as doing your LEDTricks! After 768 LED's on the LT, and the 256 on the FG, I managed to get a few backwards. Funny, there were only a few wrong on two boards, but they were in a row. Over 1000 leds in just a few days....whew!

Also, be VERY careful with the oscillator. The pins are almost exactly the same size, as the holes. I had to push them in pretty stoutly, to get them to seat. If you have the capability, I would drill them out bigger, as I was getting one board that was sporadic, and traced it down to the oscillator. One of the leads had folded, and I think was touching the case. I took it out, but managed to lose one pin, number 4 (the ground), and the pad on the board, for pin 1, that's not connected, trying to get it back out. I drilled out the holes to .030, and found a cutoff from a resistor, and soldered it well to the pin 4, and put it all back together. Got lucky, because the case is ground, so as long as I got a good solder joint, it would be okay, and the pad I lost, isn't necessary, as that pin isn't used. Works like a champ, and I "stressed" the oscillator and no more glitches. But again, I would definitely re-drill the holes for the oscillator, if you can. I should have caught it, because that lead would have had to be just a bit shorter, before I cut them. But, I didn't. I do have two extra oscillators on order, one for backup, one to replace this one. I trust the solder, but since you can't see under it, I don't feel like chancing it.

I now have 256 channels, but I did have a few little issues with the addressing - I'm going to go ahead, and use the "dedicated" programming, for each module, because...well, just because!

Thanks again, all. I can now add "dimmable" to my vocabulary!

edit - Oh yeah, I did put the 6 volt regulators back in, and it fires my SSR's with 750 ohm resistors, just fine!

R

FireGod
05-20-2009, 11:13 PM
With my heart-felt thanks to Lou, David, LeRoy, Bill, and anyone I possibly overlooked, I'm proud to say I am now the owner of TWO almost completely operational FireGod systems!

Got them both working today - I had to get a transformer, as one of the wall-warts was bad, out of the box. While testing, the 2nd wall wart burned out, also. I'm not sure what caused that, as it was on the other controller, than I tried the first one on. I haven't put an ammeter in line yet, but will. I want to find out if I am pulling close to an amp, for some reason (I have difficulty believing that is possible), or whether the wall-warts are very low quality to begin with (evidenced by not working when I got it?). They are rated 1000 mA, so shouldn't be a problem at all, and the transformer I am using is a 25 vac, 2 amp, VCT, so I'm using 12 volts at 1 amp, and it's not even getting warm at all. The wall wart was very warm, when it "*-poofed-*".

But, just wanted to let everyone know, SUCCESS!!

I will try to work on a Wiki on assembly, this week, as I am on vacation.

Oh yeah, I've narrowed all my problems down, to not having enough SSR's hooked up. David wrote the following to me, when I was first having trouble:



I didn't have enough 820 ohm resistors, so only had 4 SSR's hooked up, and assumed I had the "first three". but now I know I didn't. As you look at the FM, with the RJ45 at the top, the bottom right corner is 1-4, and it goes in a counter-clockwise rotation from there.

I still have several channels, that aren't working - channels 2-6 on FM1, and different ones on the other module, so I will be looking at poor solder joints. I'm not sure what else could be causing it. I'll get it, though...


Thanks again, to ALL!!!

R

This may help: The LED acts as a diagnostic tool. When the channel is turned ON and the LED does NOT light up, the 5 VDC loop is not complete or the LED is installed backwards.

Good luck!!

kipk12
09-01-2009, 01:32 PM
Did I miss something or does the Wiki for Firegod (http://www.doityourselfchristmas.com/wiki/index.php?title=Firegod) have a broken link for the BOM (http://web.olpdsl.net/firegod/Lights/BOM.xls)?

I was hoping to take a look at before I start assembling my Firegod boards.(I know, I still haven't started....)

51fordf2
09-01-2009, 01:59 PM
Yes, it's missing in the Wiki...you can find it in this post, at the bottom, along with other pertinent info:

Firegod info (http://www.doityourselfchristmas.com/forums/showpost.php?p=320&postcount=1)

Roger

Macrosill
09-09-2009, 07:04 PM
Link fixed

mwo040
10-04-2009, 06:54 PM
I am finally building my Firegod controllers and dont find anywhere that they tell me what way to put the shunts on the field modules.

kipk12
10-04-2009, 07:07 PM
I believe as long as you don't duplicate you can set them as you like. If you are using all four modules, you will of course, need to use all four addresses. Contrary to common many jumper settings, you need to install a jumper for every position except the address desired. i.e. for field module 3 you would put jumpers in 1,2 and 4.

I am currently trying to program the pics myself, and can't get the SW to detect the device. Using a JDM programmer, WinPic800 and a real com port, but still no luck.

mwo040
10-05-2009, 07:35 AM
Gotcha now I understand why they are there. By using the jumpers you determine what board address that board is 1,2,3,or 4. Thanks

Sparkey
04-10-2010, 10:10 AM
Where can I get just the PCBs already made (etched not full cards), I've tried to do etching and I'm just down right rotten at it. Thanks.

dirknerkle
04-10-2010, 10:44 AM
Where can I get just the PCBs already made (etched not full cards), I've tried to do etching and I'm just down right rotten at it. Thanks.

Go to the Christmas Wiki, select Beginners area and find the "comparison of boards" All the info you need is there.

Sparkey
04-10-2010, 08:30 PM
Sorry, but I cant find anything here: http://www.doityourselfchristmas.com/wiki/index.php?title=Comparison_of_DIY_Boards. You sure this is the area you want me to look at?

dirknerkle
04-10-2010, 08:58 PM
Yes, the comparison list tells you who sells the boards (2nd from last column on the right).

If you're looking for FireGod's boards, contact him directly. It's a proprietary system and he may or may not have any boards available.

Sparkey
04-11-2010, 10:18 AM
I'll look again. Big thanks.

smartalec
04-12-2010, 01:58 AM
Where can I get just the PCBs already made (etched not full cards), I've tried to do etching and I'm just down right rotten at it. Thanks.

there's been a thread i started ages ago about different places to get boards made, i think there was about 3 of them off hand.

51fordf2
04-12-2010, 12:12 PM
You might check with Lou - lbro - as he ran the last coop buy for 20 sets. That's where I got mine. Here's a link:

Firegod Coop (http://doityourselfchristmas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=5987&highlight=firegod)

The Firegod system IS proprietary, and David (Firegod) has the files. Lou "might" have the files, from the coop, don't know. David didn't even have a schematic, for the boards, he "winged it"!

I used two Firegod systems last year, and was VERY happy with it. During testing, seemed like the 100 steps of dimming, was very obvious, on 4 or 5 strings for testing, but was not visible in ANY way, during the show...maybe it has to do with fluorescent lighting throughout the house? Anyway, I heartily recommend the Firegod. I'll be using the Helix next year, as I have 512 channels of Helix, and only 256 of Firegod.

Again, get in touch with Lou or David, as I would like to see another coop of the FG system.


R

Stgtech
10-20-2010, 11:41 PM
I ordered all the parts from the BOM and had PCB express make my boards but I'm having trouble on where the caps go on the PC interface. The BOM lists C1-C4 (1uf) which I assume correspond to C3 on the silkscreen however the BOM (and my order) has only 4 of those and there are 5 on the actual circuit board. I assume C2 is the 2200uf and C4 is the 100uf. So that leaves me wondering about C1 on the board and the 5th C3 on the board?

Thanks for any help

Aaron

FireGod
10-21-2010, 09:51 PM
I ordered all the parts from the BOM and had PCB express make my boards but I'm having trouble on where the caps go on the PC interface. The BOM lists C1-C4 (1uf) which I assume correspond to C3 on the silkscreen however the BOM (and my order) has only 4 of those and there are 5 on the actual circuit board. I assume C2 is the 2200uf and C4 is the 100uf. So that leaves me wondering about C1 on the board and the 5th C3 on the board?

Thanks for any help

Aaron

You can leave off the C3 indicated in the attached picture. It is just for 5VDC smoothing.

Good luck and let me know if I can help further!!

FireGod
10-21-2010, 09:55 PM
You can leave off the C3 indicated in the attached picture. It is just for 5VDC smoothing.

Good luck and let me know if I can help further!!

It would be nice to have C1 but not required. You could leave that one off also.

Stgtech
12-18-2010, 09:55 AM
Somehow I am short and have to rob a 1uF cap from the PC interface. Am I better off taking C1 or C3? Since C3 is 5vd smoothing I assume C1 is the power input smoothing? Which one is less important? Also, If I remove one- does a bridge need to be installed between those two pads?

Thanks, Aaron

FireGod
12-19-2010, 04:23 PM
I ordered all the parts from the BOM and had PCB express make my boards but I'm having trouble on where the caps go on the PC interface. The BOM lists C1-C4 (1uf) which I assume correspond to C3 on the silkscreen however the BOM (and my order) has only 4 of those and there are 5 on the actual circuit board. I assume C2 is the 2200uf and C4 is the 100uf. So that leaves me wondering about C1 on the board and the 5th C3 on the board?

Thanks for any help

Aaron

Use C2. All the caps on the MAX232 IC are required, the others can be left off if needed.

Glad to hear your working on something. Sorry for the late reply, I travel a great deal and answer when i get the first chance.

ov10fac
12-25-2011, 01:52 PM
I am brand new today. Found this forum by accident while searching for Linux Light Controllers. After I downloaded the python code and started reading the documentation I found references to controller boards that are needed.

I have looked around and can't seem to find the basic wiring diagram to build the necessary hardware.

I found the BOM for the FireGod, but can't find a "HowTo" to actually wire up the boards.

Where might that be? I tried the Library, but got a 404 error.

Many thanks in advance.

phillikl
12-28-2011, 10:47 AM
I am brand new today. Found this forum by accident while searching for Linux Light Controllers. After I downloaded the python code and started reading the documentation I found references to controller boards that are needed.

I have looked around and can't seem to find the basic wiring diagram to build the necessary hardware.

I found the BOM for the FireGod, but can't find a "HowTo" to actually wire up the boards.

Where might that be? I tried the Library, but got a 404 error.

Many thanks in advance.


Just finished up a set; and if you have the manufactured boards, the BOM and photo's on the start of the thread is all you need. Having not picked up an iron in a decade, took me around 6 hours to complete a full set. Hopefully the second set will go MUCH faster! Just remember start with the shortest components first and work your way up.

Best of Luck

~Kendall