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Thread: Vixen 3 - Choppy performance / slow updates

  1. #1
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    Default Vixen 3 - Choppy performance / slow updates

    I've been using Vixen 3 for my third year now, last year was the first with pixel LEDs and adding more this year.
    I'm up to 2,040 pixels and a handful of strands.

    Everything is controlled with Arduinos, and I've been using an Arduino MEGA for my testing.

    I have 11 total arduinos all set to 115200 baud rate in Windows, Arduino code and Vixen display setup.
    I've been toying with my update intervals, going everywhere from 120 down to 5.

    The issues I am running into (and had this last year as well) is nothing is really smooth, wipes and fades are very choppy, almost like my LEDs are only updating every .5 to 1 second
    Everything stutters and is real jumpy.

    I'm testing a pixel tree I made just for this year and I've disabled all other Arduino generic serial controllers in my display settings and only running the pixel tree controller for now. It has 410 RGB LEDs in it

    The PC I am testing from is a Ryzen 7 1700 with 16GB of RAM and running off an SSD

    I'm not sure what I can do to improve the performance of everything, my CPU usage never crests 40%

    tree.PNG

    It's hard to tell in this video, but I have a pulse on to green and back down, then meteors for a brief moment, it's hard to tell the jumps in levels etc but it's very obvious in person.


  2. #2
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    Default Re: Vixen 3 - Choppy performance / slow updates

    Vixens ability to play smoothly is impacted by a number of factors: Other applications running, disk access, memory speed, memory quantity, etc... A PC at 40% loading is pretty high when there are time critical activities that need to be performed. For these reasons (and more) I use the FPP to play my show. Linux is closer to being a real time operating system than Windows.


    2020 Full sized show reworked for the new location. Only adding (famous last words) 13 RBLs that I finally got converted to using pixels
    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. Dim show (3000 pixels) had regular visits most nights.
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyX...ttrsZNARkUce0Q

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    Default Re: Vixen 3 - Choppy performance / slow updates

    Quote Originally Posted by MartinMueller2003 View Post
    Vixens ability to play smoothly is impacted by a number of factors: Other applications running, disk access, memory speed, memory quantity, etc... A PC at 40% loading is pretty high when there are time critical activities that need to be performed. For these reasons (and more) I use the FPP to play my show. Linux is closer to being a real time operating system than Windows.
    Looking into this now, a couple of questions as I read their doc and github.
    I may go with a Pi 4 (looks like FPP 3.4.1 supports this)

    The exports from Vixen 3 only show 2.x and generating controller files for FPP 2.x (though my export failed stating a few of my controllers do not support universes, so I'll dig into that abit)

    Can I hook a USB hub up to the PI so I can run my 11-12 arduino "controllers" or am I looking at different hardware or config there as well?

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    Default Re: Vixen 3 - Choppy performance / slow updates

    It looks to me that there is some issue pushing out the serial data to the controller. In the instrumentation panel you can see it is taking on average 40ms to output that data. 410 pixels is trivial on that hardware and should not take that long. 50ms update time is generally where you should set the update interval to, but even at 25ms your pixel count should still be trivial. I think I would examine the serial path as a potential bottleneck.

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    Default Re: Vixen 3 - Choppy performance / slow updates

    I had 24 USB devices spread across 5 powered hubs. Yes this works.


    2020 Full sized show reworked for the new location. Only adding (famous last words) 13 RBLs that I finally got converted to using pixels
    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. Dim show (3000 pixels) had regular visits most nights.
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyX...ttrsZNARkUce0Q

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    Default Re: Vixen 3 - Choppy performance / slow updates

    Quote Originally Posted by jeffu231 View Post
    It looks to me that there is some issue pushing out the serial data to the controller. In the instrumentation panel you can see it is taking on average 40ms to output that data. 410 pixels is trivial on that hardware and should not take that long. 50ms update time is generally where you should set the update interval to, but even at 25ms your pixel count should still be trivial. I think I would examine the serial path as a potential bottleneck.
    I wonder if I am pushing the limits of the Arduino at that point? I can run some test code straight from the arduino itself and everything is smooth. I noticed too the refresh rate for the Arduino was running at 9Hz and seems to hoover around there or 8Hz, no matter what I change.

    I'm going to try with a different PC and a couple other Arduinos I have. But I am also ordering a Pi 4 4GB and a USB 3 hub to give that a whirl with FPP as well

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    Default Re: Vixen 3 - Choppy performance / slow updates

    You can also look in the logs in my documents under Vixen 3\logs and see if there is anything in there that can provide some clues. You can see the lag in the preview timings as well in the instrumentation which is likely from the output taking a long time to send the data out. You can reset the counters and see if the refresh rate stays the same while not playing a sequence. That would take the rest of the processing out of the chain and focus on just the output controller trying to send out zeros. If you turn off all the controllers in Display setup and play a sequence after reseting the instrumentation counters, does the refresh rate on the preview settle in at at 20 when running at 50ms? Are you using the current version of Vixen as well (3.6u2)?

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    Default Re: Vixen 3 - Choppy performance / slow updates

    Are you saying that you're running 11 usb/serial controllers hanging off of 11 dongles? I'd suspect that the number of output devices is the problem here. I've seen where Vixen can struggle to keep up when you have a many controllers configured in display setup.

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    Default Re: Vixen 3 - Choppy performance / slow updates

    Quote Originally Posted by MartinMueller2003 View Post
    Vixens ability to play smoothly is impacted by a number of factors: Other applications running, disk access, memory speed, memory quantity, etc... A PC at 40% loading is pretty high when there are time critical activities that need to be performed. For these reasons (and more) I use the FPP to play my show. Linux is closer to being a real time operating system than Windows.
    Martin, I would never normally question your wisdom, for all of it that you have offered me and been correct, but this doesn't strike me as correct. He is running a Ryzen 7 1700 processor with 16 gigs of ddr4 ram. His processor has 8 CORES + 8 virtual cores, so basically like having a 16 core processor that boosts to 3.7 Ghz without any overclock applied. It is extremely true that there is tons of different factors involved, especially what is running or the state of the pc at the time. But that processor is specifically designed for people who have time sensitive heavy multitasking needs like live streamers and content creators. With that in mind, the fact that he never hits above 40% usage (note, that is the top he hits, not what it runs at), I'm having trouble seeing any resource bottleneck being the issue. Although it is of course possible, but it would be impossible to tell without examining the setup. But 40% use with a Ryzen 7 is peanuts, time critical processing or not. Hell, I run my entire show off of an almost 7 year old i5 with 8gb of ram that often has other stuff going as well.

    I believe what you are saying about the video not looking as pronounced as seeing it in real life. From watching it, particularly the green change....It almost looks like it's jumping points without hitting the intensities in between to the eye. Like a staircase instead of a slope

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    Default Re: Vixen 3 - Choppy performance / slow updates

    Quote Originally Posted by jeffu231 View Post
    You can also look in the logs in my documents under Vixen 3\logs and see if there is anything in there that can provide some clues. You can see the lag in the preview timings as well in the instrumentation which is likely from the output taking a long time to send the data out. You can reset the counters and see if the refresh rate stays the same while not playing a sequence. That would take the rest of the processing out of the chain and focus on just the output controller trying to send out zeros. If you turn off all the controllers in Display setup and play a sequence after reseting the instrumentation counters, does the refresh rate on the preview settle in at at 20 when running at 50ms? Are you using the current version of Vixen as well (3.6u2)?
    I'm going to check the logs this afternoon and see if anything jumps out.
    I have reset the controllers during my testing and gone to 50ms. But I'll do the deeper dive this afternoon as well with no sequence running etc.
    During my initial testing, I did disabled / stop all over controller outputs in the Vixen display setup, so only this 410 RGB LED Tree controller was running.

    Yes I am running Vixen 3.6u2

    I'll be booting up PC #2 after breakfast (parents bring their dogs over and its a big deal). And testing 3 Arduinos and different USB cables. (Duemilanove, MEGA and Nano)

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