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Thread: Helix Ether-Node Controller

  1. #1
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    Default Helix Ether-Node Controller

    I've attached the first draft of my new Helix node designed to control RGB pixel controllers like the E68x series. I'm calling it the Helix Ether-Node. The board is 3.9" x 6.9". The target number of DMX universes it will be able to put out is 48. I'm still working on the firmware but I can't really test it without this board and an E68x board. But the initial work looks good to making that goal.

    Please take a look at the board and let me know if you have any comments or concerns. The Helix Ether-Node v1 PCB.pdf file has three sheets. The first sheet is the silkscreen layer, the second sheet is the top layer traces and the third sheet is the bottom layer traces (as if looking through the board). The Helix Ether-Node v1 Schematic.pdf file has the four sheets that represent the schematic.

    If no one sees/has any problems I plan to order this board next weekend. It still looks like the price for the PCB will be <$15 in small quantities. I haven't worked up the BOM yet. I plan to start on that in the next day or so.
    Last edited by gmbartlett; 12-01-2013 at 09:59 AM. Reason: Updated the PCB
    Greg

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Helix Ether-Node Controller

    Greg,

    This will be a huge gain for your Helix system. To be honest, I wasn't expecting this to happen this year, but I LOVE to be proved wrong. (Except with the UCONN Women tonight, I hope I'm right. )

    I haven't purchased pixels or dumb RGB lights yet, but it looks like I'll need to start looking at pixels even harder now.

    Wish I lived closer for the OKC Area Mini.

    I'll refresh the offer, if you need some pixels to help test, I will order some and ship them to you for testing.

    Very exciting indeed.

    Bryan

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Helix Ether-Node Controller

    Quote Originally Posted by blantrip View Post
    ...I'll refresh the offer, if you need some pixels to help test, I will order some and ship them to you for testing...
    Thank you for the offer but I've got another user that is going to loan his E862 and some pixel strings to me for testing.
    Greg

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Helix Ether-Node Controller

    Color me excited. If you are looking for interest to do a buy, I'm in.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Helix Ether-Node Controller

    To help price down u can put me in for a board when ready
    Harvey from Michigan

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Helix Ether-Node Controller

    Looks great Greg... Have you figured out a final cost per board built yet ????
    This is the year for my Mom.She passed away Feb 12 2012 and this year is dedicated to her and her memory.I will finally have it all finished and set to music all for her as I promised.Heres to you Mom (Dec 10,1944 - Feb 12,2012.I love you...

    Now on the web [URL="http://kraftchekchristmaslights.webs.com/"]http://kraftchekchristmaslights.webs.com/[/URL]

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Helix Ether-Node Controller

    Quote Originally Posted by Warlock View Post
    Looks great Greg... Have you figured out a final cost per board built yet ????
    The parts cost looks like it will be about $65 for the wired option and $100 for the wireless option. So with a PCB cost of about $15.00 the total build cost would be about $80 - $115.
    Greg

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Helix Ether-Node Controller

    Any updates on the Ether-Node Greg? I'm waiting on a successful test before I pull the trigger and get order some pixels.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Helix Ether-Node Controller

    Quote Originally Posted by mlevings View Post
    Any updates on the Ether-Node Greg? I'm waiting on a successful test before I pull the trigger and get order some pixels.
    I've ordered the PCB and new microSD card sockets. However, they are on a slow boat from China. I don't expect to receive them for a few more weeks. So I won't have any results for a month or more.
    Greg

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Helix Ether-Node Controller (Progress Finally!)

    I'm finally making some headway on the Ether-Node firmware. I just completed a test with a 50 ms event period pushing out three DMX universes (510 ch each) and driving the equivalent of four 127 pixel strings. Everything worked great.

    I still need to test it further, both with 25 ms event periods and up to 48 DMX universes. But that is going to require some additional sequencing work and more room to set up. Unfortunately I don't have 64-127 pixel strings nor do I have four e682 boards.

    What I do have is two e682 boards and four 50 pixel strings. So I plan to setup one of the boards as the first board and the other one as the fourth board. I will then connect up one of the pixel strings to the first output on the first board and a second on the last output on the first board. I will then repeat the same with the "fourth" board. My plan is to drive the stings as if they were 127 pixel strings and put the same output to all of them. That way I can see if they stay in synch with each other. If all four strands respond as expected then that would be a good indicator that everything in between is working also since all of the DMX universes (1 to 48) had to be sent out.

    I'm much more comfortable with letting this out in the wild. The firmware this year probably won't have all of the bells and whistles but it will be functional. If anyone is still interested in getting a Helix Ether-Node this year please send a message to me at orders "at" helixlightcontroller "dot" com and let me know how many boards you would like and your ZIP Code or country (if outside US).

    The price for each board is $15.00 ($12.00 for the PCB, $2.00 for the microSD socket and $1.00 for the EEPROM) plus PayPal and Shipping. I have a limited quantity (10) available this year.

    I really appreciate everyone's patience with me on this. It has taken A LOT longer than I expected and my time this year was taken up but other forces outside of my control.
    Greg

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