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Thread: Help with Vixen 3 (code for mega2560 8 channel SSR and 8 CHANNEL dimmer relay board)

  1. #41
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    Default Re: Help with Vixen 3 (code for mega2560 8 channel SSR and 8 CHANNEL dimmer relay boa

    Yaaaa !!! I knew that we could get there with a little patience. Way to hang in there.
    Kevin

    2017 - Pi3 w/FPP controlling 8 ESPixelsticks driving 1250pixels and 3 Arduino MEGAS communicating with ESP-01s driving 96 channels
    2016 - 184 channels of Blinking/Flashing using 4 Arduino MEGAs and cheap home-made props.

  2. #42
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    Default Re: Help with Vixen 3 (code for mega2560 8 channel SSR and 8 CHANNEL dimmer relay boa

    Quote Originally Posted by coors40ack View Post
    .........I know this can be done without using those long complicated sketches. ...........
    If you are referring to the ZParticle sketch as long and complicated, you are correct. But I have yet to come across another Arduino sketch that can dim 32 channels. If you find one, please let us know here. But you are on your way now to getting everything to work together with the ZParticle sketch.

    I have seen sketches that can dim one channel at a time or use the limited number of PWM inputs of an Arduino. But to my knowledge, the ZParticle sketch is the only one offering 32 channels of simultaneous dimming. It is complicated because he is squeezing a lot of processing in between the 256 slices of half of an AC cycle. ZParticle noted in his exhaustive thread that his code could probably support more outputs, maybe 64. I think that it could if we reduce the number of dimming steps from 256 to something like 64. Who can really "see" the difference of the dimming from level 149 to level 150?

    The core of the ZParticle sketch is complicated. But there is also a lot of extra lines of code that are not all that necessary to run 32 channels of dimming. He made extensive use of the serial monitor and that code is spread throughout the sketch. It can be removed. The random lights require the use of a physical switch which I have never used, It can be removed. But you have to be careful when removing those code sections such that you don't change some reference that you did not notice.

    I spent quite a bit of time learning how his code works to a point where I thought I understood it. Well, I only know enough to be dangerous!!! But I was able to modify his code to adapt to the hardware that I wanted to use. I reduced the number of dimming levels from 256 to 64. This one change gives the processor 4 times the amount of time to execute the complicated code. I do not notice any difference in the dimming. I added the ability to accept the Renard protocol so that I could receive the data stream from the ESPixelstick firmware. I removed all of the serial monitor code stuff. I removed the random light stuff. BUT, the end result is still complicated.

    I like using the Arduino for a controller because I have spent a lot of time figuring it out and building my own SSRs and Arduino shields. They work. I am not going to throw them out. I like AC string lights and DC string lights.

    I find it interesting when browsing the forums that the Arduino forum always has a lot of activity, a lot of people looking at it. I think that there will continue to be a lot of interest in the Arduino as a controller. And when they do want to dim using an Arduino, they will end up using the ZParticle sketch.

    **** this has not been a rant ****
    Kevin

    2017 - Pi3 w/FPP controlling 8 ESPixelsticks driving 1250pixels and 3 Arduino MEGAS communicating with ESP-01s driving 96 channels
    2016 - 184 channels of Blinking/Flashing using 4 Arduino MEGAs and cheap home-made props.

  3. #43
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    Default Re: Help with Vixen 3 (code for mega2560 8 channel SSR and 8 CHANNEL dimmer relay boa

    Kev,
    Figured out most of what I wanted to ask you. I want to use Led flood lights for the dimming what is the best type of bulb to use? I know I'm getting ahead of myself but something I want to do is control the display with Raspberry pi is that possible? with my limited knowledge.
    If you can or want to send me your Email when I complete this I can send you a video.

    I just read your last post and would like to talk to you about it more but right now I'm glad we got it working and I thought the code part was going to be easy part LoL!! Now I have to program Vixen

    I wanted to Thank everyone on http://doityourselfchristmas.com/forums for all the Help and Especially Kev I could not have done with out you.
    Thanks

  4. #44
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    Default Re: Help with Vixen 3 (code for mega2560 8 channel SSR and 8 CHANNEL dimmer relay boa

    Are the LED floods AC powered and dimmable? If so, you should be able to connect them to your dimming board. I am not sure that all AC powered LEDs are dimmable.
    You should post the video here so that others can see what is possible. You can PM me via this website, or my phone that I had PM'ed to you, if you need to communicate privately.
    Yes, you can use a Raspberry PI to control your light show. Lots of threads on here discussing what needs to be done. I got a lot of help when I set mine up.
    There are many people who can help with Vixen. That is probably my weakest area.
    And lastly, I suggest starting new threads for different topics/area of trouble, like a new thread for Pi or a new thread for Vixen issues.

    Enjoy your new hobby.
    Kevin

    2017 - Pi3 w/FPP controlling 8 ESPixelsticks driving 1250pixels and 3 Arduino MEGAS communicating with ESP-01s driving 96 channels
    2016 - 184 channels of Blinking/Flashing using 4 Arduino MEGAs and cheap home-made props.

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