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Thread: FPP PB16 Pixel Controller

  1. #41
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    Oct 2019
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    Default Re: FPP PB16 Pixel Controller

    Hi Scott,

    Im new here and have just read through this thread and I'm absolutely amazed by what you have done. Im planning on doing a display for 2020 (only previously done halloween with full DMX lights) and iv bene looking at all the differnet controllers. I see the Falcon F16V3 is a very popular card and it does seem to have all the bells and whistles. But then I came across this thread which would cost me half as much (or the same for 2) as a F16V3 would and as an added bonus I love soldering and electronics.

    Now i'm debating whether to get a F16V3 which has a lot of users with a lot of support or try this out. As I'm new to the hobby with pixels I'm unsure which route to do down.

    Thanks,
    Jamie

  2. #42
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    Mar 2010
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    Default Re: FPP PB16 Pixel Controller

    Hey Jamie, welcome.

    I too was a DMX-only guy through last year, built up to around 400 channels of incandescent and 'dumb' RGB stuff. I decided I was going to get into pixels this year and was in the same place you are, wondering which controller to get (yeah, I know I'm late to the pixel party). I have used the Falcon Player on a Raspberry Pi for the last few years with an EtherDongle driving my controllers and really like it. I considered going with older Pixelnet pixel controllers and even picked up a few.

    Then Scott started this thread and as you state, it looked to cost a lot less and, since I could build it myself the decision was easy. So far, everything has been pretty straightforward. The FPP / Beagle community is pretty well established so most of the questions I've had have already been asked.

    I've now built three of these controllers, learned how the FPP master-slave setup works and loaded up on pixels. Have sequenced a handful of songs and getting ready to assemble a bunch of Boscoyo props and have a go at it. With the low cost of these, I can spread them out and not have to worry as much about long wire runs and buffer/line drivers and such.

    Scott's board design is very well laid out and really easy to assemble. Whichever controller you go with I don't think there's really a bad choice with either, but this one has many of the same features at a fraction of the cost - if you're willing to chase down the materials and put the time into assembling them - which is half the fun for me.

    Cheers,
    Don

  3. #43
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    Oct 2019
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    Default Re: FPP PB16 Pixel Controller

    Hi Don,

    Iv seen Pixel displays so many times on youtube but iv never really looked into them before. Iv always been into lights since I was at school. I did want to get into theatrical lighting and technical theatre when I left but as I was young I didn't pursue my dreams and ended up in IT (which I was also invested it), so DMX seemed a good route to go down as I already new how it all worked. I cant complain though I love my job and its at a really laid back place, I even have a second desk which is loaded with all my electronic components, soldering station and 3D printer so I can work on projects in my breaks and lunches at work.. Like I said, really laid back!.

    Its really encouraging that you were also new to this and choose to give Scotts controller ago, I think I might do the same. Il order most of the parts from DigiKey for the first one for me to have a play, except the 3 pin connecters, this are sooo much cheaper to get direct from china (even with priority shipping). Once I'm happy, know what I'm doing and want to pursue this route al order parts in bulk from china so I can build a few.

    Regards,
    Jamie

  4. #44
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    Default Re: FPP PB16 Pixel Controller

    Woo they are here... In blue too

    Unfortunately I won't be able to assemble as I added the BOM to my Christmas list from the better half.... even though I ended up ordering them and paying :/

    IMG_7321-min.jpg

  5. #45
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
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    Grand Rapids, MI
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    Default Re: FPP PB16 Pixel Controller

    I'm jealous, I only have rev D PCB's. Just a word of caution, the build instruction have not been updated for the new components included in the rev F PCB's. I will try to add component steps to the text but I do not have any pictures of the PCB. I'm am unsure if the EEPROM (U6) will fit under the PocketBeagle while inserted in the socket. I would test fit it before soldering it in. I also redid the serial circuit, so please let me know if you have any issues.

    Quote Originally Posted by Curtisfeatures View Post
    Woo they are here... In blue too

    Unfortunately I won't be able to assemble as I added the BOM to my Christmas list from the better half.... even though I ended up ordering them and paying :/

    IMG_7321-min.jpg
    Thanks,
    Scott H.

  6. #46
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    Default Re: FPP PB16 Pixel Controller

    Iím sure I will be able to figure it out let me know if you want me to send some high res pics over. Thatís no problem at all. Everything is here now apart from the 3 pin connectors which I got from China in bulk to save some big money!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  7. #47
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    Mar 2010
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    Default Re: FPP PB16 Pixel Controller

    Quote Originally Posted by Curtisfeatures View Post
    ... In blue too


    IMG_7321-min.jpg

    Too Funny

    I've got my three assembled with power supplies into battery boxes, ready to put out in the yard. Time to get busy.

    Don

  8. #48
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    Default Re: FPP PB16 Pixel Controller

    Received my boards today time to get busy with soldering IMG_20191122_1408441_50.jpg

  9. #49
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    Default Re: FPP PB16 Pixel Controller

    Quote Originally Posted by oddi View Post
    Received my boards today time to get busy with soldering IMG_20191122_1408441_50.jpg
    Whoa, in black too - this is really starting to get out of hand

  10. #50
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
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    Default Re: FPP PB16 Pixel Controller

    Some people have noticed activity around the PB16 github and I want to go over some of the things I have been working on. There is one issue I feel obligated to share about the rev F PCB's that I have discovered. Early versions of the rev F gerber files had incorrect sized through holes for the Aux Header(J28). The two people who posted pictures of the rev F PCB's have boards with this issue. The included header in the BOM will not fit in the holes on these PCB's. I updated the gerbers on Nov 8th to fix this issue. If you don't plan on using the AUX header, I would just not populate it. If you need the AUX header I have been just soldering 20ga wire to the pads instead.

    The primary reason I started playing with the Pocketbeagle was to build a "upgrade" adapter for my Sandevices E682 controllers. I never really intended to make a full blown controller. To fulfilled this original goal, I created the PB 16 E682 adapter PCB. This board replaces the Parallax propeller MCU with a Pocketbeagle. It also has headers for an serial output board, OLED, and RTC. In an attempt to make the simplest controller breakout for the PB, I created the PB16 Mini. It only has an expansion header and two serial output parts. The intent the Mini is to pair it with one my expansion boards or a Falcon expansion board. I also created a three expansion PCB's to expand the PB16's. First, is the "Quad Diff Out" board which adds a single differential port for 4 remote outputs. The "Multi Expansion" PCB adds 8 local outputs and two differential ports for 8 remote outputs. Lastly I created the "Four Out" PCB to to add 4 addition outputs. All the designs are in the PB16 github if interested. I have built and tested all the designs except the "Four Out" (Not here yet). I have some spare unpopulated PCB's if anyone wants one. If you have any additional design idea or issues please let me know.

    Thanks,

    IMG_20190930_213630.jpg
    IMG_20191203_202850.jpg
    IMG_20191203_205121.jpg
    IMG_20191203_202821.jpg
    Four_Out.png
    Scott H.

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