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Thread: EasyLights Pix16 - Cloud based WIFI - 3 Port Ethernet Switch Pixel Controller

  1. #1
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    Default EasyLights Pix16 - Cloud based WIFI - 3 Port Ethernet Switch Pixel Controller

    I am pleased to present a new Pixel Controller offered exclusively thru HolidayCoro:

    EasyLights Pix16 and its supporting Web Site – EasyLights.com for total system integration.

    The board measures 7.9 inches wide by 6.6 inches tall – which is taller than most pixel controller boards. The added height has allowed us to provide a better user experience as will be described below.

    The Power board is a four layer, two ounce copper PCB, and the CPU board is four layer, 1 ounce copper PCB.

    Power Board features:

    The board is capable of driving 65 universes of pixel illumination data at 40 frames/sec – or a frame timing of 25 msec . That’s a total of 10,880 pixels plus 512 DMX channels

    That capability converts into 16 ports at 4 universes per port – or 680 pixels per port.

    The board contains four 32 bit ARM microprocessors that contain custom SPI hardware NOT found on most microcontrollers. Pixel data is not generated via bit-banging as is done in most micros but is accomplished by high-speed 32 bit shift registers designed to operate as if implemented in a FPGA. This implementation provides rock-solid high-speed pixel communication, achieving performance levels previously possible only with an FPGA.

    Each port is protected by a 5 amp mini fuse.

    Each port has a “Blown Fuse” indicator LED. Unlike other implementations of blown fuse indicators, EasyLights Pix16 board only illuminate the LED when the fuse is blown. (Normally OFF; ON indicates Failure). Another capability of the board is that it can detect a “Blown Fuse” condition and send an alert to the EasyLights cloud infrastructure, which can then alert the user via email, text message or other configurable means.

    Each port has replaceable line termination and driver chips – we also provide a spare driver chip.

    The ports use EURO style plug connectors to connect your pixel strings to the board.

    The board was made taller for the following reasons:

    1. Spacing between EURO plug connectors was increased so it is very easy to un-plug the connectors using just your fingers – no tools required.

    2. The fuses and “Blown Fuse” indicator LEDs are positioned above the EURO connectors. This makes them very easy to access and their view is NOT blocked by the pixel string wiring.

    Board Power and Ground wiring is connected to the board via a screw-down terminal block. Our testing found that the use of a EURO style connector for Power did not meet our design criteria for strength, contact resistance, and thermal stress. The power terminal block easily accepts a 10-gauge wire securely screwed into place.

    Power to the 16 ports is provided by two banks of power and ground block terminals. The two banks are identified as A and B where A feeds pixel outputs 1 thru 8 and B feeds pixel outputs 9 thru 16. Power to the CPU daughter board and all power board electronics is derived from Bank A – so Bank A must always be powered in order for the CPU board to receive power. Each Power Bank can handle a maximum of 32 amps at 13.5 volts. Input Voltage should not be allowed to droop below 4.6 volts.

    Bank A feeds power to the various voltage regulators used throughout the system. The power path to these regulators has reverse battery protection so the electronics are protected if you accidently switch the PLUS and GND connections to Bank A.

    NOTE: Reverse battery protection is NOT provided to your pixel strings. We designed and built an earlier prototype that DID have that capability – BUT – even using very low milliohm FETS – they glowed very HOT when driving the board at full capability of 64 amps (32 amps each bank). As a result of our testing and cost to performance analysis the feature was removed.

    The board monitors total current flowing in from each of the Power Banks via on-board current sensors. The current readings have a resolution of .25 amps based on part tolerances. The board constantly monitors current and reports to the EasyLights cloud infrastructure (which can send an email, text or other notification to the user) upon an over current condition. The board also takes dynamic action in the event of an over-current condition by progressively reducing all pixel illumination in 10% increments until the over-current condition is resolved. This action provides protection to the board and pixels when the event occurs.

    The board provides two possible DMX connections: A vertical mounted CAT 5 style connector and a EURO style connector – only one may be used at a time.

    The board utilizes five “Tall Hat” switches that can be easily be pressed even in the cold with gloves on.

    The board utilizes LEDs to convey to the user the state of illumination data going into and out of the board. This allows the user to monitor data coming from the CPU daughter board and SPI data being sent to the pixels.

    Each of the 16 pixel outputs can have different types of pixel strings attached, except when using TLS3001 pixels. With TLS3001 pixels, all four pixel outputs in the group (1-4, 5-8, 9-12 or 13-16) must be set to the TLS3001 signaling protocol.

    Each pixel output can drive up to 680 pixels. The pixels can be set up as a single string or can be divided into multiple segment strings. Each pixel output can support up to 9 segments.

    Each string/segment is defined as follows:

    1. Starting channel number
    2. Number of pixels in string or segment.
    3. String Type (if segmented – all segments must use compatible types) – i.e WS2811, WS2812B, TLS3001, etc,
    4. Group Count – information for a SINGLE pixel can drive multiple pixels.
    5. Direction – is pixel data associated with the first to last or last to first
    6. RGB configuration – map the three lighting channels to properly display Red, Green, Blue.
    7. Null Pixels – the number of Pixels at the start of the string/segment that will be driven black.
    8. Zig Zag – is the string/segment linear or does it Zig Zag back and forth – meaning does the Direction change.
    9. Zig Zag Count – how many pixels in one leg of the Zig Zag
    10. Brightness. You can drive your pixels from 100% down to 10% illumination intensity. Great way to control your Power Injection requirements. The board over-rides this control when an Over-Current situation takes place thereby lowering drive current.
    11. Gamma profiles – pick a Gamma Curve to map your lighting values to the perceived illumination you wish to achieve.

    The board has an “External Trigger” input. The trigger can be configured to indicate an event with a HI or LO input signal. Input signal HI can range from 5 volts to 12 volts.

    Upon a trigger activation, the possible actions the board can take are:

    1. Send a UDP message to some external device or to a web site.
    2. Play a sequence file if in Standalone mode.
    3. Start or Stop a schedule if in Standalone mode.
    4. Stop a sequence that is playing if in Standalone mode.


    CPU Board features.

    The CPU board is a daughter board mounted to the Power board.

    The combined board set can be operated in one of two modes:

    1. Standalone Audio-Sequence play mode.

    2. E131 Slave mode.

    In E131 Slave mode, the board accepts E131 data (up to 65 universes at 40 fps) via the CAT 5 Ethernet network ports. If the wired Ethernet network is private (does not have access to the internet) it is possible and recommended that the WiFi be enabled as well, and connected to an access point with Internet access. By doing so, you can operate on a private network for sequence data and still have the benefits of monitoring and firmware updates via a WiFi connection to the Internet.

    WiFi is NOT used to deliver E131 data.

    In Standalone mode, no other hardware is required; no Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone or PC to purchase or to program. The EasyLights Pix16 board is totally integrated with EasyLights.com to provide an easy, non-technical, way of animating lights to music. Completely, ready-to-use sequences can be purchased, and existing sequences can also be uploaded, both at EasyLights.com, which are then automatically downloaded to the board along with the user’s Play Schedule and Play lists. The board communicates directly with EasyLights.com using the CAT 5 Ethernet network cable or the on-board WiFi. Super EASY!

    The CPU Board provides two vertical RJ-45 Ethernet style connectors connected with an onboard 100 Mbps network switch. Boards can be easily daisy-chained together by using these switch connectors. It is not necessary to “home run” network cabling back to a central router or switch.

    The CPU board utilizes an onboard WiFi device to communicate with EasyLights.com in the event the user wishes to use the Ethernet network as a private network not connected to the Internet.

    When more than one EasyLights Pix16 board is used in a display (in Standalone mode) – you can identify one board as the master and the remainder as slaves. All boards communicate with each other and are in sync via the Wired network or via WIFI.

    The CPU board utilizes an RTC (Real Time Clock) which is updated automatically upon each startup when communication with EasyLights.com takes place. The RTC is backed up by a Super Capacitor which enables the board to keep time even if powered off for 45 days or longer. The RTC provides accurate time-of-day information when playing schedules in Standalone Mode.

    The CPU board provides access to a 32 GB micro SD card. The SD card is used to hold Standalone Sequence files, schedules, and Play Lists.

    The CPU board provides multiple LEDS which are used to convey operational events to the user.

    The CPU board has two buttons: A RESET button and a MFG button.

    The CPU board provides a 4 line, 16 characters per line, OLED display.

    The CPU board provides an external cable connector to the EasyLights FM-Audio board.

    The CPU board provides automatic checking and downloading of updated firmware. If the CAT 5 network or the WIFI is connected to EasyLights.com, firmware is automatically checked and optionally (user has the option to disable) updated as required. No special tools or technical knowledge is required. Super Easy!!!


    FM-Audio Board features:

    EasyLights’ Custom FM-Audio board is connected to the CPU board via a ribbon cable.

    The board provides the following capabilities:

    1. Stereo Audio LINE out (1v P-P) capable of driving any audio device with a line-in port.

    2. On board 700 mw audio amp and small speaker. This speaker is intended to aid the user in hearing the audio during Standalone mode Setup. It is NOT loud!!! The volume level is controllable via EasyLights.com and can be heard up to about 2 to 3 feet distance.

    3. FM Transmitter. The FM-Audio Board will have completed FCC certification testing by the end of September. The transmit power meets FCC regulations so DO NOT EXPECT to transmit more than 200. The FM board can perform an FM band scan and report signal strength back to EasyLights.com where the user can view the local FM spectrum and select the best FM station to transmit on. FM channel selection is accomplished via EasyLights.com.


    EasyLights.com features:

    I will provide an overview of our web site’s capabilities. Please note that not all of the capabilities may be available at initial launch but will come on-line soon afterwards.

    One location to manage all of the EasyLights boards that make up your display – from one board to many.

    Provides a web store of pre-designed sequences – music and lighting for Standalone operation.

    Provides the capability to upload your personal LOR or Xlights sequences and audio and convert them to the format required for Standalone playback on the EasyLights Pix16.

    Provides a drag-and-drop playlist and schedule editor to manage showtimes and content of shows. Automatically pushes purchased or uploaded sequences (lighting and audio data) to all of your connected boards.

    Provides monitoring and reporting of critical operational conditions: Over/Under Voltage, Over-Current conditions, and Blown Fuse situations. Immediate event reporting to the user via email or text messaging.

    Provides the capability of managing an EasyLights Pix16 board’s E131 and Pixel Output configurations. Save the boards configuration online and replace it with a previously saved configuration – save time - super easy – super fast.

    Provides a way of editing E131 and Pixel Output configurations for the EasyLights Pix16 board. This capability will be released late 2017. Until then, the website provided directly from the board’s onboard web server is used to define and edit those configurations.

    HolidayCoro’s New Enclosure – Larger than a CG-1500 enclosure

    Enclosure easy accepts two power supplies, an EasyLights Pix 16 board, and a FM-Audio board. All boards have holes that match attachment bosses.

    Hint – the EasyLights Pix16 is too tall to fit into a CG-1500 with a power supply. Our commercial customers prefer the new enclosure OR use two enclosures that are sized to fit their needs – one for the controller and one for the power supply. This combination allows for better heat management and easier power supply replacement in case of failure.


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    Link to my DownLoad Site: [B][COLOR=#ff0000][URL]http://www.joehinkle.com/HLS[/URL]

    [/COLOR][/B][IMG]http://joehinkle.com/HLS/HLS%20Logo%20Small.jpg[/IMG]

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: EasyLights Pix16 - Cloud based WIFI - 3 Port Ethernet Switch Pixel Controller

    Looks awesome Joe! What is the price point?

  4. #3
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    Default Re: EasyLights Pix16 - Cloud based WIFI - 3 Port Ethernet Switch Pixel Controller

    I think I pulled the trigger on posting a day too early. I was suppose to wait until HolidayCoro had it posted on their site. I saw their product post but it turns out its not public yet.

    HolidayCoro has the EasyLights Pix16 priced at $209.
    Link to my DownLoad Site: [B][COLOR=#ff0000][URL]http://www.joehinkle.com/HLS[/URL]

    [/COLOR][/B][IMG]http://joehinkle.com/HLS/HLS%20Logo%20Small.jpg[/IMG]

  5. #4
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    Default Re: EasyLights Pix16 - Cloud based WIFI - 3 Port Ethernet Switch Pixel Controller

    and US$90 for the FM transmitter board - http://www.holidaycoro.com/EasyLight...oard-p/931.htm

  6. #5
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    Default Re: EasyLights Pix16 - Cloud based WIFI - 3 Port Ethernet Switch Pixel Controller

    80 Amps at 12v? That 960 watts !

    Did you guys actually pull 5amps through each output at once?

  7. #6
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    Default Re: EasyLights Pix16 - Cloud based WIFI - 3 Port Ethernet Switch Pixel Controller

    Quote Originally Posted by ukewarrior View Post
    80 Amps at 12v? That 960 watts !

    Did you guys actually pull 5amps through each output at once?
    Sorry - I don't understand 80 amps. Are you referring to the 5 amp fuse associated with each port?

    Fuses only protect shorts on the ports V+ pin.

    We did test to 64 amps plus - I purchased 100 watt - 3 ohm power resistors and wired them to each of the ports V+ pins. this gave use 4 amps per port or a total of 64 amps per board.

    I was surprised that 100+ pixels per port - all at white - can easily go above 38 amps per bank - close to 80 amps per board - with no power injection.

    Board is designed for 32 amps per bank (64 amps per board) - we have run them for hours that way. The HinksPix had Euro connectors as the power connectors. Even though those connectors were rated at 40+ amps they had minimal contact area. If you had applied solder to the wires to keep wire strands together, you can have an even smaller contact area. Our testing indicated that Euro power connectors did not meet our design criteria because of the high contact resistance that can occur and then the associated very high temperatures - hot enough to melt the Euro connector. That's why we went with the screw down terminal block - much better contact resistance and thermal design.



    Joe
    Last edited by JHinkle; 09-25-2017 at 01:27 PM.
    Link to my DownLoad Site: [B][COLOR=#ff0000][URL]http://www.joehinkle.com/HLS[/URL]

    [/COLOR][/B][IMG]http://joehinkle.com/HLS/HLS%20Logo%20Small.jpg[/IMG]

  8. #7
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    Default Re: EasyLights Pix16 - Cloud based WIFI - 3 Port Ethernet Switch Pixel Controller

    EasyLights.com appears to be just a parking page?

  9. #8
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    Default Re: EasyLights Pix16 - Cloud based WIFI - 3 Port Ethernet Switch Pixel Controller

    Quote Originally Posted by Utimgr View Post
    EasyLights.com appears to be just a parking page?
    We are finalizing on the site's design now and doing extensive testing between the site and the EasyLights boards.

    The site will be on line before the end of October.

    Joe
    Link to my DownLoad Site: [B][COLOR=#ff0000][URL]http://www.joehinkle.com/HLS[/URL]

    [/COLOR][/B][IMG]http://joehinkle.com/HLS/HLS%20Logo%20Small.jpg[/IMG]

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  11. #9
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    Default Re: EasyLights Pix16 - Cloud based WIFI - 3 Port Ethernet Switch Pixel Controller

    This is excellent news Joe .

    I am really pleased that you are providing FCC rules conforming audio .

    This will provide more than just peace of mind .

    With the rules and regulations here where I live now a days , it is like we are living under a microscope .




    Fiction for humour only >>

    Dogs for example will soon need to be fitted with diapers prior to daily walks .

    Life Insurance Companies are considering zone taxes based on air quality readings in areas where a client lives .

    We are also starting to see lawyers with their hands in their own pockets for a change !

    Lmao .

    Looking forward to Easylights.Com up and running

  12. #10
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    Default Re: EasyLights Pix16 - Cloud based WIFI - 3 Port Ethernet Switch Pixel Controller

    since the time I expect it lol, on the contrary pity that it has only 65 universe

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