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Thread: Recommendations for matrix sequencing with real time overrides

  1. #1
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    Default Recommendations for matrix sequencing with real time overrides

    I'm creating a sparse matrix in a 30m x 50m space that I would like to be able to play standard xlights sequences on with a few exceptions. First, I will scatter some mic arrays around the space and use them to triangulate the source of noises. I want to use the matrix to indicate that location (say superimposed bright spots on the playing sequence). Furthermore, the mic arrays are pi hats and I was hoping to use the pixel pi hat on the same PIs to control the leds. I could certainly separate the LED controller from the noise detection if I needed to. Before I start, I would appreciate any recommendations regarding the software side. Historically, I've used pixel pops and remote/synced FPP to control LED strings and matrices.
    1. Can you recommend solutions for using a PI as an E1.31 server (the side controlling the lights) that allow me to also us it for other things simultaneously. FPP has been great for me a controller but I don't know how easy it is to run other programs (e.g., the mic array processing). I've used a node project as an E131 client but only for a small number of nodes. I believe it has a server side lib as well but I don't know how well it scales up (e.g., at what speed could it push updates to a full universe or two). I don't have any constraints on language.
    2. How would you approach this problem of merging standard sequences with real time overlays. I've read through the code for reading the fseq files (and looked at the other formats that are more human readable). I could foresee making my own player but it feels like I'll be reinventing the wheel. I've heard of "triggered" sequences in xlights but I've never used them and don't know how flexible they are. To use these, do you have to have xlights running as the controller at all times?

    Thanks for your thoughts

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Recommendations for matrix sequencing with real time overrides

    The new C++ based plugins for FPP can access the entire channel data for the frame. Thus, you may want to consider creating a plugin that would do whatever detection you want and overwrite the channel data for the areas you need with whatever you generate.
    Dan Kulp

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Recommendations for matrix sequencing with real time overrides

    It does not sound like you are looking for a triggered sequence. You are describing an overlay to your running sequence. That gets more complicated. You would need to overwrite the current output frame in real time.

    The multiple PI Hats on the Same PI problem is not that hard. Unsolder your current 50 pi socket on the hat closest to the PI. Replace it with a socket that has longer pins, allowing you to put another hat onto the stack. Make sure the pins are long enough to give you clearance over the tallest part on the middle hat. I have also used a 50 pin ribbon cable to go between the hats, allowing you to put the top hat next to the PI. For me, cables over 5" give me issues.


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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Recommendations for matrix sequencing with real time overrides

    Thanks Dan for the idea. I'll definitely take a look at that. I suspect my problem is similar to the clock or matrix message overlay plugins as far as the display side is concerned. I'll starting looking for the repos. In this scenario, there would be one PI running FPP. Wouldn't the other just need to be E1.31 servers...can FPP do that? I've only used it in multisync but that doesn't sound applicable here.

    Thanks Marten for the encouragement and the length guidance. Ribbon cable is an interesting idea. Given the physical size of the two hats, I was thinking I was going to need a custom PCB. I'm actually a little surprised a hat doubler (similar to those for feathers) doesn't exist yet. Maybe I'll sell the extras. :-)

    While I appreciate the hardware ideas, I think I can work through them. Anybody else have possible approaches to the software problems?

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Recommendations for matrix sequencing with real time overrides

    Quote Originally Posted by sjernigan View Post
    Thanks Dan for the idea. I'll definitely take a look at that. I suspect my problem is similar to the clock or matrix message overlay plugins as far as the display side is concerned. I'll starting looking for the repos. In this scenario, there would be one PI running FPP. Wouldn't the other just need to be E1.31 servers...can FPP do that? I've only used it in multisync but that doesn't sound applicable here.
    The matrix overlay things currently use the REST api to post data into the overlays. While that works for simple things, doing something in real time that way will likely not be ideal. That's one of the reasons I added the C++ plugins into FPP 3.x. The C++ plugins are loaded right into the same process as FPP as shared libs and thus really have access to almost everything. The best plugin to look at is the "Brightness" plugin: https://github.com/FalconChristmas/fpp-brightness
    That currently does a bunch of things that you might find useful. It hooks into fppd's HTTP server to provide a REST interface. It hooks into the MultiSync process to send/receive events on remotes. And, of course, modifies the channel data to adjust the brightness.
    Dan Kulp

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