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Thread: First year show, 160 houses, it's been quite a year!

  1. #21
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
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    Default Re: First year show, 160 houses, it's been quite a year!

    Drove through tonight. Pretty crazy to see a whole neighborhood blinking in unison. Really amazing you can connect through the internet and still keep everything synced up. Nice job!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
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    Charlotte
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    Default Re: First year show, 160 houses, it's been quite a year!

    Awesome videos. You did an amazing job.
    Rocky

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    SF Bay Area
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    Default Re: First year show, 160 houses, it's been quite a year!

    Nice work. Prompts many questions...

    I'm surprised that using public networking doesn't cause latency that is visible (even UDP). Did you measure this before building, if so what is it (and did you have to play any "tricks" to reduce/mitigate delay (other than UDP))?

    Did you consider having each "slave" controller download the sequence data only for itself (maybe checking each day before the show for updates) and then just send sync signals to each (I don't own one, but I believe this is how the FPP works in master/slave mode). Maybe that bumps the build cost to add enough memory, even cheap SD cards...

    Now the human factors: Who did the sequencing? One person (you?) - each home individually? Did you specify channel ordering (e.g. 1-6 corresponds to right-to-left) and have each home figure out how they would place/connect the lights?

    This is impressive work. It could mark a new trend (and method) of community decorating.

  4. #24
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    Nov 2017
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    Columbus, Oh
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    10
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    Default Re: First year show, 160 houses, it's been quite a year!

    Quote Originally Posted by ags0000 View Post
    Nice work. Prompts many questions...

    I'm surprised that using public networking doesn't cause latency that is visible (even UDP). Did you measure this before building, if so what is it (and did you have to play any "tricks" to reduce/mitigate delay (other than UDP))?

    Did you consider having each "slave" controller download the sequence data only for itself (maybe checking each day before the show for updates) and then just send sync signals to each (I don't own one, but I believe this is how the FPP works in master/slave mode). Maybe that bumps the build cost to add enough memory, even cheap SD cards...

    Now the human factors: Who did the sequencing? One person (you?) - each home individually? Did you specify channel ordering (e.g. 1-6 corresponds to right-to-left) and have each home figure out how they would place/connect the lights?

    This is impressive work. It could mark a new trend (and method) of community decorating.
    Thank you!
    Before I dropped the cash on the parts and boards I did some extensive testing. I wrote the back end pieces and then wrote a controller simulator to test the load and latency. That's when I found that my internet connection, which is still 100/10, would start failing at about 100 controllers, hence running that piece in AWS.
    Along with that, I had two demo controllers, I hooked one up to my wifi, then ran 100 simulated controllers, then hooked another up to my cell phone for the highest possible delay between the two, and I couldn't tell the difference.

    For the tricks, unfortunately I had to use TCP so any router would open a connection for data to stream back to the client. I may look into a UPnP library for the arduino board to get things flowing on UDP. Unfortunately not everything will work with UPnP, so I'll still have to have TCP as a fallback option. Using TCP isn't perfect, at least for what I'm using it for. You can see at times when a packet drops and a house will stutter for a moment while the packets catch back up, but for the most part, it works great.

    Along side of the UPnP, I may look to modifying the TCP stack for the arduino and set it to automatically ACK when any packet is received, then just discard the older packets. That way it will behave like UDP. Since I don't care about old data, might as well just ACK it so we don't worry about receiving it in order, or at all.

    For the slave controller idea, I didn't look into that. I wanted to keep the remotes as dumb as possible, so upon sequencing a new song, or making a change of some sort, I don't need to go reflash them all. The arduino I used doesn't have an SD card slot, but there are some that do. It just seemed to add a whole lot of complexity and, to a lesser extent, cost.

    If people start wanting pixels, however, I'm definitely going to have to go the route of caching it locally to the controller. I'm pushing 5 universes at the moment, which is fine for my internet, but with one megatree being 6+ universes, that just won't scale.

    For the sequencing, I did a bunch, my wife did 6, a neighbor did a few, and my brother even did one. That's given us an interesting mix of music
    For the channels, people plug whatever they want into 1-6, because everyone has different stuff in different shaped houses, so i didn't even try to coordinate that.
    The street trees, i was very particular on that one. We went through and counted for each house how many they had and built boxes with one for each tree. Then they were instructed to cable them from north to south, or east to west, depending on the home orientation, with red lights on the trunk and white on top. I've actually been quite pleasantly surprised by how well this part worked.

    I'm now trying to hunt down ways to have these boxes more mass produced. Any tips on that would be greatly appreciated! I charged cost of parts ($50 for early payment, $60 otherwise) for them, but I can't do that to myself and family next year. I think $150 would still be acceptable for most, so I'm looking to see if I can either pay a person to make them, or find a company to make them.

    Thanks again for the feedback!

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
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    NM
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    Default Re: First year show, 160 houses, it's been quite a year!

    lol. "I don't have that in me every year"

    *decides to do the most massive thing ever!* hahaha great job!
    notwlights.com

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    Fox Valley Area, Wisconsin
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    Default Re: First year show, 160 houses, it's been quite a year!

    Quote Originally Posted by berserk83 View Post
    Thank you! We're in Delaware, Ohio. Just north of Columbus.
    We will be in that area December 22-26, kids in Newark - 30 minutes away. This is something I would like them to see.

    Watching TV "Light Wars" has nothing on what you have accomplished.

    Outstanding!
    Eddie

    P.S. If you care to meet, PM your address and a good time.
    -Eddie

    The missus wants to ride!

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