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Thread: Any wirless AC SSR options for Renard 64?

  1. #1
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    Default Any wirless AC SSR options for Renard 64?

    Hello,
    I was wondering if there are any options to use wireless AC SSR's with my renard 64 controller? It's a pain having to run Cat 5 cables all over my yard so I'm looking for another option. I know most people will say just switch to pixel but I prefer the classic look of regular lights.
    Thanks so much, Mat

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Any wirless AC SSR options for Renard 64?

    I've run wireless to my REN64 for years from the show computer.
    What SSRs are you using? That's the rub I imagine. running all those cables from the REN64 to the SSRs, correct?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Any wirless AC SSR options for Renard 64?

    There is a wireless AC SSR available that does not use the Ren64. It takes E1.31 from WiFi and controls ssrs directly.


    2019 - Just moved into a new home (yet another change of plans). Will be dim but not dark. Too much to do at the new place to leave time for a show.
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyX...ttrsZNARkUce0Q

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Any wirless AC SSR options for Renard 64?

    At DIGWDF, we pondered this idea for many years but never could get past the issue of channel counts as it related to wireless radio transmission. We created a lot of screwy things at DIGWDF, but the wireless SSR wasn't something we tackled. I'll explain why the wireless SSR for a Ren64 really isn't a viable solution.

    Traditionally, wireless communication has used different frequencies to differentiate successful send/receive coordination, meaning that each channel output would connect to a transmitter that sent data on X frequency, and its corresponding SSR would be a receiver tuned to the same X frequency to receive that channel's commands. Thus, the Ren64 would require 64 such transmitters using 64 separate channels and 64 frequencies. The expense (not to mention size and antenna issues) of putting 64 transmitters close together inside a single box as well as the challenge of frequency tuning to keep that many transmitter/receiver pairs functioning accurately were significant hurdles to attempting such a design.

    The advent of digital transmission seems as though it ought to solve the channel frequency problem since a single frequency can carry multiple channels using digital encoding. This is, is some respects, essentially what Wi-Fi is. But still, each Ren64 channel would have to be transmitted with its own individual digital encoding, meaning that the Ren64's eight RJ45 outputs would need to plug into a single transmitter unit which then send the combined wireless signal out to the receivers. Then you have the issue of reception and decoding the signal at the remote ends which means multiple receivers and here again, one encounters the issue of expense as either each channel or each set of 4-channels, or perhaps each set of 8-channels would require its own receiver.

    Instead, what we deemed to be the most appropriate because it afforded the least expense and most potential for success was to make the controller itself wireless and design controllers that had Triacs and all necessary circuitry built-in, and we made the MiniRen line of controllers. In keeping with the idea that SSRs were usually either 4 or 8 channel units, the MiniRens were either 4 or 8 channels, too. In application, you would install the MiniRen at the place where you would normally use an SSR with the consideration that the MiniRen was also the controller, too. But we also created adapters for making existing controllers like the Ren64 wireless, as well.

    Of course, this doesn't solve your issue with the Ren64, but the Ren64 was designed to use external SSRs. The prospects of retrofitting that controller with wireless SSRs is mind-boggling to ponder and would most certainly be very expensive. However, making the Ren64 itself to be wireless and then using it in a location where the CAT5 runs would be very short (such as inside the base of a megatree) are still very workable. This is, in fact, what we did when the DIGWDF engineers collaborated with Tweist (Twireless) in making the Renzilla-96 controller. Renzilla's 96 Renard channels on one controller was designed for such an application -- where a lot of Renard channels were needed in a small, compact space. And, of course, Renzilla was designed to be wireless foremost; an RS485 adapter was created to allow its use in a wired environment.

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    The DIGWDF Store is closed for all sales. Thanks to everyone who supported us through the years!
    User guides, documentation and other files are still free and available for downloading.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Any wirless AC SSR options for Renard 64?

    Several years ago I had most of a design that would solve the problem. It involved using the nRF24L01 that had a moment of interest back then. I had the design for the AC controller end of the problem, although it used the Z0107 triacs instead of the higher current triacs that most people were using. It was designed to fit in a TA200 enclosure, and was of modest cost (the nRF24L01 cost about $1 at that time, and a significant part of the overall cost was in the enclosure). The other end of the solution at the controller end would have required a new program for the PIC, and a small board holding just another nRF and connecting the the PIC through the two RF45 connectors alloted to the PIC. The design that I used at the time for the controller end used a much larger PIC and a USB-to-serial module, because at the time I wanted to control a much larger number of channels. However, the PIC16F688 used in the original REN64 design should be capable of controlling upwards of 8 channels, and the PIC16F1825 used later on should be capable of controlling larger numbers of channels, although perhaps not an entire 64 channels (so more than one PIC would need to be dedicated to the wireless output if 64 channels are needed.

    However, I dropped the project after a while. It was for my own private use, and I just became distracted. At this time I think that the interest in this sort of thing would be relatively low, as most people seem to have either totally gone over to pixel displays or have frozen their use of the Renard logic to what they already have and are using pixels for the new elements in their display.
    Last edited by P. Short; 08-12-2019 at 10:01 PM.
    Phil

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Any wirless AC SSR options for Renard 64?

    Quote Originally Posted by P. Short View Post
    Several years ago I had most of a design that would solve the problem. It involved using the nRF24L01 that had a moment of interest back then. I had the design for the AC controller end of the problem, although it used the Z0107 triacs instead of the higher current triacs that most people were using. It was designed to fit in a TA200 enclosure, and was of modest cost (the nRF24L01 cost about $1 at that time, and a significant part of the overall cost was in the enclosure). The other end of the solution at the controller end would have required a new program for the PIC, and a small board holding just another nRF and connecting the the PIC through the two RF45 connectors alloted to the PIC. The design that I used at the time for the controller end used a much larger PIC and a USB-to-serial module, because at the time I wanted to control a much larger number of channels. However, the PIC16F688 used in the original REN64 design should be capable of controlling upwards of 8 channels, and the PIC16F1825 used later on should be capable of controlling larger numbers of channels, although perhaps not an entire 64 channels (so more than one PIC would need to be dedicated to the wireless output if 64 channels are needed.

    However, I dropped the project after a while. It was for my own private use, and I just became distracted. At this time I think that the interest in this sort of thing would be relatively low, as most people seem to have either totally gone over to pixel displays or have frozen their use of the Renard logic to what they already have and are using pixels for the new elements in their display.
    Before Phil's edit, his comment about the laziness of the DIGWDF engineering staff was entirely true! Our knuckleheads always took the easy way out and they liked it even more when their procrastination on a project caused it to be cancelled altogether! HAH!

    I remember Phil's work on this personal project and I vaguely recall there were some exposed places on the board with hot 120VAC that made it into an unsafe product for general release out into the wild.

    And... I think the concluding note about the interest in it being relatively low is a bit of an understatement. LOI in AC-based controllers and lighting was the primary reason we stopped developing and closed the DIGWDF Store.
    Last edited by dirknerkle; 08-13-2019 at 10:44 AM.

    http://digwdf.com/store/
    The DIGWDF Store is closed for all sales. Thanks to everyone who supported us through the years!
    User guides, documentation and other files are still free and available for downloading.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Any wirless AC SSR options for Renard 64?

    LOI??? something something insurance?

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Any wirless AC SSR options for Renard 64?

    Loss of interest?
    Phil

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Any wirless AC SSR options for Renard 64?

    Phil's got it.

    LOI = "lack of interest" or "loss of interest."

    http://digwdf.com/store/
    The DIGWDF Store is closed for all sales. Thanks to everyone who supported us through the years!
    User guides, documentation and other files are still free and available for downloading.

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