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Thread: New Layout 2013

  1. #11
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    Default Re: New Layout 2013

    Got home late last night, had insomnia, and decided to snake a cat5 cable from the server rack in the basement and the outside front of the house, to make the serial connection between the Vixen PC and the first Renard closest to the house.

    That went smoothly and I punched the cat5 on one of the patch panels in the server rack, and put a box/jack outside, punching that down as well. I hacked off the male end of a RS232 extension cable and found 10 white wires ha ha. I toned them out and marked them with dots (1) and dashes (5) that get summed up to equate the pin number on the DB9 on the other end. I shoved three wires into an RJ45, crimped, and it was done. The Vixen PC inside now controls the lights outside. Truly wonderful.

    While putting the PC in the server rack made sense at the time because that's where computer stuff goes, I didn't really think about the FM transmitter which is powered off a USB port and connects to the audio out jack on the PC. I hoped to get lucky and walked outside with an old walkman, nothing. Basement is mostly below ground, filled concrete block walls, and of course the server rack is located on the other side of the house (no signal outside the back of the house either - not shocking).

    I debated drilling another hole and running stereo audio cable from the PC and put the FM transmitter outside, but it's cheap plastic and not even remotely waterproof. Audio jacks would be a pain too, and the whole idea (at 2am) didn't appeal to me.

    Then it hit me - pins 7/8 on the Renard SS24's are connected together and passed through to the next renard over the cat5 between them (rs485). That's brown/brown-white.

    I stripped and tinned the "antenna wire" coming out of the FM transmitter and soldered on a banana jack I had laying around, then soldered a wire to a banana plug and punched the other end down on pins 7/8 on the patch panel.

    Viola. FM on the lawn, through the cat5 from the house to the first renard and through to the big grey box with four renards in it. Testing with a little FM radio, the signal is crystal clear to about 80' from the big grey carlton box and gets truly awful as you walk past that radius. At 120 feet, I could barely hear the music and at 150 feet, all I got was fuzz.

    I think I'm going to come up with another solution, but for 20 minutes of watching lights blink to music heard on an FM radio, that was pretty cool and it didn't seem the bother the renards in any way either, which kind of surprised me actually.

  2. #12
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    Default Re: New Layout 2013

    Nifty use of those pass through pins. I never thought of using them for FM. They were actually first intended for 5v.
    James Family Christmas - 1600 channels of SS Renard channels
    Website - http://jamesfamilychristmas.com/ <<broken
    Facebook - James Family Christmas


  3. #13
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    Default Re: New Layout 2013

    29.jpg

    Above is the vixen PC. It's an HP GT7720 thin client that started off with an AMD Turion X2 Ultra ZM-84 x64 processor, 2GB Ram, 2gb flash module, audio in/out, six USB ports, and so on, tortured by Windows CE and the usual Citrix client found on these things.

    I upgraded the memory to 4gb, replaced the 2GB flash drive with an ordinary 44-pin laptop hard drive (120gb), and installed windows 7. Using rdesktop, I can access the screen/keyboard remotely from upstairs and also I made a share of the vixen data file directory tree that I can copy to after editing on my main desktop upstairs as well.

    Thought you might find this interesting.

  4. #14
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    Default Re: New Layout 2013

    Thanks!

    What I was worried about is the FM transmission through those pins interfering with either the serial data between the renards or possibly with the PIC chip's oscillator and things like that. Seems to work though.

    I like this solution much better than drilling more holes through brick to run audio outside, and putting the FM transmitter outside in a ziplock

  5. #15
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    Default Re: New Layout 2013

    If screwy things start happening, that would be the first thing to disable, as that is new waters you are swimming in with that.
    James Family Christmas - 1600 channels of SS Renard channels
    Website - http://jamesfamilychristmas.com/ <<broken
    Facebook - James Family Christmas


  6. Thanks ggibson793 thanked for this post
  7. #16
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    Default Re: New Layout 2013

    That's pretty nifty there! Using the extra pins as a temporary antenna. I am also surprised it didn't cause any problems with the Renard. Before this were you just using the test antenna?

    You should build an antenna(here is a guide for an easy dipole) if you attach it to the ceiling in the basement or just hang it from the ceiling, you should get a good signal outside.(if you can get the antenna outside it should be even better) Make sure the antenna wire is a short as it can comfortably be.

    What is your transmitter?

    That thin client is pretty cool!
    DIYC Links:
    [URL="http://doityourselfchristmas.com/wiki/index.php"]Christmas Wiki[/URL] | [URL="http://doityourselfchristmas.com/forums/addonchat.php"]Chat[/URL]

    Ricky, Jrd

    "With great power comes great electricity bill." - Unknown Electricity Consumer
    "Your significance in life is not what you do, but how and why you do something." - Unknown Minister
    [COLOR="SeaGreen"]2012
    City float for Parade of Lights with:
    Fm-02 + Wall Wart Tamer
    2 Ren4Flood + DIYCFlood + Ren-W in 500 Watt enclosure
    2 Simple Renard 32
    15 SSROZ
    2 24 Channel RBW LED Ropelight Midi Trees out of artificial Christmas trees.

    <a href="#" onclick="return(showhide(this));">Click here to show/hide my past display details ...</a>
    <script language="javascript">function showhide(anc){ //
    // traverse forward from anchor to find hidable div:
    for(; ; ){ if(!anc.nextSibling) break; if(anc.nextSibling.nodeName == "DIV") break; anc = anc.nextSibling; }//
    var Y='block', N='none', det=anc.nextSibling; //
    //fall-back plan: use named div:
    if (!det) det=document.getElementById('details'); //
    //toggle visibility:
    det.style.display=(det.style.display!=N)?N:Y; //
    //prevent page refresh:
    return false;}</script><div id="details" style="display:none;">2011
    Renard 24 v3.3 100%
    FM-02 with antenna 100%
    16' 8 channel Multi-color + Clear Megatree 100%</div>[/COLOR]

  8. #17
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    Default Re: New Layout 2013

    I'm surprised too, but pleased as it solves a problem, at least so far.

    Before running the antenna through pins 7/8 I only had the antenna wire (which is about 5 inches long) dangling off the transmitter. The problem is the way my house is constructed - filled block basement walls, 70 y/o plaster smeared over wire mesh that's probably grounded by every metal electrical box poking through, slate roof, things like that. 1941 construction isn't conclusive to radio signals and I had the same problem with wifi - years ago I put two commercial wifi access points in the attic and the upstairs of the house had about 2/3 signal, the first floor had almost none, and outside there's no signal at all so I should have expected the same results with the much less powerful FM transmitter.

    This is the transmitter I have:

    Whole-House-FM-Transmitter-2.jpginside-1.jpginside-2.jpg

    There's no antenna jack, just a flimsy piece of insulated wire sticking out. I can probably solder on a small jack and tap ground for the shell of the jack and just solder that flimsy wire to the center pin of the same jack.

    Then I could build a dipole as you suggested or quite possibly, attach it to the TV antenna that's on my roof, which serves no purpose whatsoever. It's there only because I didn't want to walk on the 1941 brittle slate roof to take it down, risking damaging the very old and thin slates.

    The thin client is pretty cool, and I have five of them from a lot off ebay a while back to play with linux clustering so I just recycled one to be a vixen PC. Everything else in the rack runs CentOS linux and Vixen wanted windows so this was the path of least resistance.

  9. #18
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    Default Re: New Layout 2013

    Ahh, the Whole House FM Transmitter. I would suggest upgrading to the FM02 (wiki) it's only $36 and is designed to use a real antenna, it is also widely used here.
    DIYC Links:
    [URL="http://doityourselfchristmas.com/wiki/index.php"]Christmas Wiki[/URL] | [URL="http://doityourselfchristmas.com/forums/addonchat.php"]Chat[/URL]

    Ricky, Jrd

    "With great power comes great electricity bill." - Unknown Electricity Consumer
    "Your significance in life is not what you do, but how and why you do something." - Unknown Minister
    [COLOR="SeaGreen"]2012
    City float for Parade of Lights with:
    Fm-02 + Wall Wart Tamer
    2 Ren4Flood + DIYCFlood + Ren-W in 500 Watt enclosure
    2 Simple Renard 32
    15 SSROZ
    2 24 Channel RBW LED Ropelight Midi Trees out of artificial Christmas trees.

    <a href="#" onclick="return(showhide(this));">Click here to show/hide my past display details ...</a>
    <script language="javascript">function showhide(anc){ //
    // traverse forward from anchor to find hidable div:
    for(; ; ){ if(!anc.nextSibling) break; if(anc.nextSibling.nodeName == "DIV") break; anc = anc.nextSibling; }//
    var Y='block', N='none', det=anc.nextSibling; //
    //fall-back plan: use named div:
    if (!det) det=document.getElementById('details'); //
    //toggle visibility:
    det.style.display=(det.style.display!=N)?N:Y; //
    //prevent page refresh:
    return false;}</script><div id="details" style="display:none;">2011
    Renard 24 v3.3 100%
    FM-02 with antenna 100%
    16' 8 channel Multi-color + Clear Megatree 100%</div>[/COLOR]

  10. #19
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    Dec 2012
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    New Jersey, USA
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    Default Re: New Layout 2013

    I just realized a huge mistake I made with my quad-renard box.

    I mounted the renards on standoffs ON THE LID, rather than on the inside of the box. Doh! So, when I remove the lid, out comes the renards and all the wires that are fed through the hole in the bottom.

    I guess tomorrow I'll pick up another carlton box and make it right. The lid should be removable by itself with no weight on it. I can't believe I got that backwards!!!!!
    Last edited by frederic; 11-06-2013 at 09:44 PM.

  11. #20
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    Default Re: New Layout 2013

    I thought you did that on purpose so you would have access to all of the boards when lifted out.
    James Family Christmas - 1600 channels of SS Renard channels
    Website - http://jamesfamilychristmas.com/ <<broken
    Facebook - James Family Christmas


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