Page 1 of 6 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 55

Thread: Flex Tech LightShow: How do we hack and contrlling with LOR?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    45
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Flex Tech LightShow: How do we hack and contrlling with LOR?

    I've been asked to make a separate thread on this subject. This is my first thread here in the DIY forums, I typically hang out in the PC forums and have been active with animated incandescent and LED displays for the past 5 years.

    Many of you have seen the Flex Tech LightShow strips by Gemmy. I found many of them unsold after Christmas and was able to haggle the store managers down to a price of $10-$12 per box. I have picked up roughly 30 boxes of clear and multi color stips. My initial intent was to just make a plug-&-play mega tree at both my mom's house and my display for 2013. But, some people decided to post a video (below) and put an idea into my head that these could be hacked, allowing LOR/DMX to control each pixel even though they are not true RGB strings. I've invested a nice chunk of cash into them and after discussion on various threads and with different people, I'd like to pull the information together. I don't know if anyone else is interested in this here, but I'm a novice when it comes to RGB lighting/hook-up/programming/sequencing. I appreciate any information you are willing to share.

    I'll start with the video that another member (Laggstorm) posted here and in the PC forums that really got me thinking about "hacking" these strips. It would sure make some great arches and use less of my LOR channels.


    So here is what has been shared already(that I'm aware of):

    The Flex Tech strips can be hacked.
    Quote Originally Posted by randyn View Post
    The Flex Tech can be used with the e68x controller from Sandevices. So far i've tested with the white strips.

    As long as it's running the latest firmware it will support the 9816 chip in the strip. If you don't change the length of your strips then you can plug 16 of them in one controller. With this setup you wouldn't need any other software except LOR S3 and i'm pretty sure it can talk to e1.31 devices so this would be the simplest solution.

    Randy
    Now I was confused as to how this controller (e68x card @ $180+s/h) is connected to the computer and receives commands from LOR.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zeph View Post
    For the e68x, you use ethernet over cat 5 or cat 6 cables to connect from your computer to the controller - (that is, real 100 Mbps ethernet, not just the Cat5/6 cables which are used for many other things in the DIY Christmas world). You can connect the controller to an ethernet switch.

    People with large displays (using eg: multiple e68x's) may run separate networks from their normal home network to keep the bandwidth used by/needed by the display from affecting or being affected by normal network traffic. But you probably don't need to worry about that yet.
    As far as power goes, the included power cord can power the string, eliminating the need for purchasing additional power supplies.

    Knowing that the card can just be connected to the my network switch, do I need any type of dongle? Or does the card have the conversion to DMX loaded into it? Once the card is powered, then the computer will become aware of the E68X card after it is plugged into the switch? Do I install a driver or will it be an automatic download?

    Once the card is connected and can communicate with the E68X card, then it's just a matter of assigning the 108 channels for the Flex Tech strip into my channel configuration in LOR S3 software.

    The next question is how do I know what wire is the common positive and the separate RGB-like neutrals that I need to wire my Cat 5/Ethernet cable?

    Randy N, can you take a pic/video of how you did this or walk us through what needs to be done? It would be immensely helpful!

    Clyde

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    San Jose, CA
    Posts
    8,982
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Flex Tech LightShow: How do we hack and contrlling with LOR?

    Quote Originally Posted by Clyde L View Post
    Knowing that the card can just be connected to the my network switch, do I need any type of dongle? Or does the card have the conversion to DMX loaded into it? Once the card is powered, then the computer will become aware of the E68X card after it is plugged into the switch? Do I install a driver or will it be an automatic download?

    Once the card is connected and can communicate with the E68X card, then it's just a matter of assigning the 108 channels for the Flex Tech strip into my channel configuration in LOR S3 software.

    The next question is how do I know what wire is the common positive and the separate RGB-like neutrals that I need to wire my Cat 5/Ethernet cable?

    Randy N, can you take a pic/video of how you did this or walk us through what needs to be done? It would be immensely helpful!

    Clyde
    No - there is no dongle - your show PC has a LAN port that plugs into the switch, the E68x plugs into the switch - done. You configure your sequencer - I guess LOR in your case, to match the settings on the E68x controller (universe number, number of channels on universe, etc) and sequence as you always have. The outputs on the E68x talk to your strips - you must figure out the wiring before connecting them - but that should already be figured out since someone already has them running.
    Brian

    Christmas in San Jose! - WEB - FB - VIDEOS
    Halloween in San Jose! - FB
    2014 Halloween Show - Homemade tombstones, Grave Crawler, 2x 3-axis skulls, 4x 1-axis skulls, Video Projection (more)
    2014 Christmas Show - 5x E681-12, 3x Ren48LSD, 32x42 TLS3001 pixel MT/Star, 4x Rainbow Floods, 12x DIYC Floods, SuperPixelStar, PixaBulb House outline

    Ignorance is Temporary - Stupidity is Forever...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    45
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Flex Tech LightShow: How do we hack and contrlling with LOR?

    Quote Originally Posted by budude View Post
    No - there is no dongle - your show PC has a LAN port that plugs into the switch, the E68x plugs into the switch - done. ~~ The outputs on the E68x talk to your strips - you must figure out the wiring before connecting them~~
    Thank You Brian!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    867
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Flex Tech LightShow: How do we hack and contrlling with LOR?

    Following up on that - there is no physical DMX involved in this setup (no RS-485 connection at 250 KBps) and thus no dongle either.

    However the e1.31 protocol used to communicate with the e68x over ethernet is essential a type of virtual DMX-over-IP (and thus over ethernet, since that's what's carryig your IP = Internet Protocol). e1.31 allows you to send multiple virtual DMX channels over a single ethernet connection (and potentially to more than one controller).

    So within the context of sequencer software, it might LOOK like the data is being sent out via DMX (depending on what the sequencer and it's drivers show or hide).
    Last edited by Zeph; 01-09-2013 at 02:47 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    867
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Flex Tech LightShow: How do we hack and contrlling with LOR?

    Oh, and it might be good to look at the e68x documentation at sandevices.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    145
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Flex Tech LightShow: How do we hack and contrlling with LOR?

    +1 this topic! :-)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
    Posts
    111
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Flex Tech LightShow: How do we hack and contrlling with LOR?

    Here's a picture of what lines are wires are used on the Flextech strip

    The connector on the left has to bigger wires. They serve no purpose other that to bring 120V to the end connector to plug another strip.
    The wiring is the following
    1- 120V
    2- +5v (coming from the power supply included with the strip)
    3- Clock
    4- Data
    5- 120V

    If you use the power supply then you only need 3 wires connected to the e68x. Clock, Data, and Ground. To test the strip I cut the data and clock lines and only striped the insulation from the ground line to use a jumper to the e68x. If I was using the strip in the display, then the connections would be a bit better than what you see in the picture.

    IMG_0560-1.JPG

    the 4 smaller wires on the end of the strip follow the legend that is on the strips.

    gemmy strip 006-1.jpg

    As mentioned in other posts, the e68x controllers connect to your PC using a standard network cable. If you have more than 1 e1.31 device then you use a network switch to connect everything together. For LOR users, you still use your USB dongle to connect your LOR controllers, and also use the network jack for the pixel stuff. I think you need to use the advanced version of S3 as it is 1.31 aware.

    The video of the strip is here. The quality isn't great but it will give you an idea of what it can do.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHZMR...ature=youtu.be

    There is an excellent tutorial on the ACL website created by FastEddy.
    http://auschristmaslighting.com/foru...ic,1889.0.html


    Randy
    Last edited by randyn; 01-09-2013 at 09:59 AM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Eagan, Mn.
    Posts
    2,188
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Flex Tech LightShow: How do we hack and contrlling with LOR?

    Clyde L Welcome to DIYC! I hope you enjoy yourself here.

    Brian
    2009 - 48 channel MegaTree 4800 lights
    plus 3200 lights static display.
    2010 - 6 Snowflakes on heavy equipment stored in front yard :-(
    2011 - 72 channel Megatree 7520 lights,
    120 channel total about 10k lights total

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    45
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Flex Tech LightShow: How do we hack and contrlling with LOR?

    Quote Originally Posted by randyn View Post
    Here's a picture of what lines are wires are used on the Flextech strip

    The connector on the left has to bigger wires. They serve no purpose other that to bring 120V to the end connector to plug another strip.
    The wiring is the following
    1- 120V
    2- +5v (coming from the power supply included with the strip)
    3- Clock
    4- Data
    5- 120V

    If you use the power supply then you only need 3 wires connected to the e68x. Clock, Data, and Ground. To test the strip I cut the data and clock lines and only striped the insulation from the ground line to use a jumper to the e68x. If I was using the strip in the display, then the connections would be a bit better than what you see in the picture.

    IMG_0560-1.JPG

    the 4 smaller wires on the end of the strip follow the legend that is on the strips.

    gemmy strip 006-1.jpg

    As mentioned in other posts, the e68x controllers connect to your PC using a standard network cable. If you have more than 1 e1.31 device then you use a network switch to connect everything together. For LOR users, you still use your USB dongle to connect your LOR controllers, and also use the network jack for the pixel stuff. I think you need to use the advanced version of S3 as it is 1.31 aware.

    The video of the strip is here. The quality isn't great but it will give you an idea of what it can do.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHZMR...ature=youtu.be

    There is an excellent tutorial on the ACL website created by FastEddy.
    http://auschristmaslighting.com/foru...ic,1889.0.html


    Randy
    Randy N, You are THE LightShow Hero!!!!

    I'll be diving into this PDF to gain a better understanding of RGB. There is much to understand. I also have thank Robert B for pointing out and sharing information!

    I understand I'll be using my network switch to connect more than one of these to the show computer. I have the Advanced S3 version but haven't upgraded to 3.9 yet. I've been wanting to add the SuperStar sequencer to my LOR license. With that purchase, I'll get the upgrade to S3 V3.9.

    The video looks good. I'll be excited to have pixel control of the multi color strip. I may not have full RGB control and change colors along the whole strip... But each strip has 4 colors (red, blue, green, yellow) and with the individual addressing of those pixels, I can still use them with my super strings of LED's.

    So, once I get a controller or 2, I can begin to play with them.

    Is there ever a group buy or sale on these controllers?

    Now that Randy has cracked the code, I'm wondering if the Gemmy icicle lights or the C9 LightShow Select RGB's can be individually addressed. I wouldn't know the first thing about testing them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Skunberg View Post
    Clyde L Welcome to DIYC! I hope you enjoy yourself here.

    Brian
    Thanks Brian.
    Don't worry, I will. I like to ask questions and enjoy joining in on discussions.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
    Posts
    111
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Flex Tech LightShow: How do we hack and contrlling with LOR?

    Thanks Clyde,

    There wasn't really a code to crack with this one. Once I knew what chip was on these strips and that the Sandevices controller could control them, it was easy. Noticing the wiring legend on a strip at Lowes confirmed that I was looking at a strip that could be controlled.

    gemmy strip 006-1.jpg

    As for your version of S3 Advanced, I seem to remember that e1.31 was included starting with version 3.5.0

    Keep an eye open for the e68x group buy later this year.

Page 1 of 6 123 ... LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •