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Thread: DIY meteor tubes/icicles without ray wu Tee's or other parts

  1. #21
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    Default Re: DIY meteor tubes/icicles without ray wu Tee's or other parts

    So, looking at my tree, I'm more and more convinced that having the icicles as one straight line is going to be problematic with placement not to mention consideration about injection and signal. It's a really awkward tree to access. So, I may give your setup a shot, but I really need to figure out the connection. Either to connect your board GPIO slots to something like a Wemos d1 mini or espixelstick stick (I have some of the pixel sticks running with 12v and some at 5v). I have a little hack I use with the Wemos boards that basically gives me three wires sticking out, and all I need to do is feed a pixel string and match the wires. I have the 5v power and gnd pins to attach to the pixels, and i have one of the pins on the Wemos rigged for data. You built it to connect to a raspberry pi zero GPIO thats running fpp. I guess I wonder if I solder the appropriate GPIO Sockets on your board to the matching data, gnd and v+ from the Wemos board side if that would do the trick? after all, the board does not know what's going on, it just receives the output from the Pi fpp correct? If that is accurate, which GPIO Sockets on the board are which? At the least, I could always test it and let you know the outcome. There's always the wired option I suppose. Doesn't have to be wireless since the tree is really close to the house.

  2. #22
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    Default Re: DIY meteor tubes/icicles without ray wu Tee's or other parts

    Quote Originally Posted by XmasinVancouver View Post
    I think my main hesitation is that I don't want to transition to fpp this season, and I'm not entirely sure how I would adapt the board to run off of let's say a espixelstick or a Wemos instead of trying to get the whole pi and gpio pins and fpp set up. I know many love it and its on my list, but I really really need and prefer the live control rather than playing back exported sequence. I tweak or adjust a lot based on what I'm seeing even through December. I change things, gamma, lighting curve etc.
    Hmm....I think you might be misunderstanding how many of us use FPP. I'm very frequently changing my show, as well (as I would presume many others are). In xLights, I go in, make my adjustments, SAVE my file and then PUSH that file out to all my FPP remotes (using FPP Connect within xLights). That takes <30 seconds (often much shorter), given how xLights/FPP has optimized how these files are packaged.

    Quote Originally Posted by XmasinVancouver View Post
    On the flip side, I keep coming back to the fact that I really really like the centralized distribution with individual strands that can allow randomized spacing to fit the tree. The thought of having just a straight spaced set just wouldn't be as great in that setup in a tree vs lining a roof trim. That's what initially caught my attention about your build
    That's why I spent the time that I did. I knew I could easily put up a linear strand of icicles. But I knew that wouldn't necessarily work up in a tree.

  3. #23
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    Default Re: DIY meteor tubes/icicles without ray wu Tee's or other parts

    The module that I've been using for the last two years (v2.0) has 8 total outputs, split into two separate "banks." Each bank had a separate 10A fuse (power to four outputs). The data was daisy-chained for the 4 icicles in each bank (and the board provides line/data-buffering for the signal going in and out--which is needed for daisy-chaining).

    My current module (v3.0) will only have 6 total outputs. It also has three 5A fuses (power to two outputs). However, these outputs are discrete (thus, no daisy-chaining).

    As far as the BOM, there are really only two major ($) components:
    Both modules use the same DC/DC converter, dropping the supply 12V down to 5V/20A to power the pixels connected to each module:
    https://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail...U8IwAzxA%3D%3D

    For plugging the icicles into the board, I use an RJ45 connector/module. This give me 8 lines in the CAT-5: three 5V lines, both data lines (in/out) are on a separate twisted-pair with ground (best for sending data over a distance), and three GND. You'll want to search around for these basic modules, as prices vary substantially (but they're all based on a standard footprint).
    The 8-output version uses this 8-port RJ45 module:
    https://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail...s6WBup4w%3D%3D

    The 6-output version uses this 6-port RJ45 module:
    https://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail...6DgLs11ZANI%3D

    Both PCBs also have a few fuse/fuse-blocks, 12V connection terminal, and the 2X20 Pi header. The 8-output modules has several additional through-hole components that you will need to assemble (<$5). The 6-output module is already SMT assembled.

    The data-signal (WS2811) is generated from the PI, using GPIO-18 and GPIO-19. This data-signal is then processed/buffered through the board, coupled with power, and then sent down the CAT-5 to each icicle. Technically, feeding a data-signal into these pins (from a source other than a Pi) should work. But that could lead to a lot of trouble-shooting issues (which I'm not interested in getting involved with).

    So I know it may sound complicated--but it's really not too bad. It's just a solution that I came up with to deal with all the various issues that this type of set-up would create. I've been using this basic concept for the last three years with no problems (and a few good practical lessons). Even this year, I may continue using v2.0--as I've not had any problems with it. I'm really just developing v3.0 for curiosity and practice.

  4. #24
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    Default Re: DIY meteor tubes/icicles without ray wu Tee's or other parts

    Quote Originally Posted by XmasinVancouver View Post
    You built it to connect to a raspberry pi zero GPIO thats running fpp. I guess I wonder if I solder the appropriate GPIO Sockets on your board to the matching data, gnd and v+ from the Wemos board side if that would do the trick?
    Absolutely not. Do not attempt to back-power the board through the Pi 5V Pin and the Wemo--it's simply not designed to carry 20A in that manner.

  5. #25
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    Default Re: DIY meteor tubes/icicles without ray wu Tee's or other parts

    Quote Originally Posted by Bwinter View Post
    Hmm....I think you might be misunderstanding how many of us use FPP. I'm very frequently changing my show, as well (as I would presume many others are). In xLights, I go in, make my adjustments, SAVE my file and then PUSH that file out to all my FPP remotes (using FPP Connect within xLights). That takes <30 seconds (often much shorter), given how xLights/FPP has optimized how these files are packaged.



    That's why I spent the time that I did. I knew I could easily put up a linear strand of icicles. But I knew that wouldn't necessarily work up in a tree.
    Like I said, I'm not against fpp in general. But the way everything else is set up is working perfectly, mostly because I have the type of space that very few people have that would normally make the way I'm setup more of a headache for them. My layout is pretty much all vertical space, with only about 3 to four feet from the house props to the road, and the mini trees are actually right up to the curb. My pc and routers are basically all right there, I could practically touch the props from the windows. Fpp, It's on my to do list, but it's on the if it ain't broke don't fix it category. that is really good to hear that it's so quick to push it out wirelessly for sure. I thought that may be the case but originally the way it worked, the thought of having to export it to an SD card then go place and have to export everytime I made a change etc... it wasn't appealing. I'll probably do it next year, but the setup I have right now with the mix of wemos, espixelstick sticks and wired controllers running short distance where I know it works and it's mostly already built? Having to change over everything and learn the ins and outs (not that it's that hard), with also rebuilding all my props from scratch (literally tearing down and rebuilding everything), and adding/building/learning new props I've never done and adding new sequences.... It's just another thing. So if there is a possible way to alter the output to take the sequence data from the Wemos, that's 30 seconds.

    By the way I did a pex test with the strips slid in and yeah absolutely looks just fine with the full white not even translucent version. As long as its not the kind that had the uv inner black coat

  6. #26
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    Default Re: DIY meteor tubes/icicles without ray wu Tee's or other parts

    Quote Originally Posted by XmasinVancouver View Post
    that is really good to hear that it's so quick to push it out wirelessly for sure. I thought that may be the case but originally the way it worked, the thought of having to export it to an SD card then go place and have to export everytime I made a change etc... it wasn't appealing.
    I've always uploaded my sequences wireless for the 4 years I've been doing it. Granted, it's much more streamlined now (straight from the xLights interface)--but I never had to physically access my Pi once the show is up and running.


    Quote Originally Posted by XmasinVancouver View Post
    but the setup I have right now with the mix of wemos, espixelstick sticks and wired controllers running short distance where I know it works and it's mostly already built?
    Ugh, that gives me a headache already. Personally, I've never been a fan of having all sorts of different types of controllers (and backups) for my show. But I guess maybe there's a justification...

    Quote Originally Posted by XmasinVancouver View Post
    Having to change over everything and learn the ins and outs (not that it's that hard), with also rebuilding all my props from scratch (literally tearing down and rebuilding everything), and adding/building/learning new props I've never done and adding new sequences.... It's just another thing. So if there is a possible way to alter the output to take the sequence data from the Wemos, that's 30 seconds.
    Completely rebuilding all your props? Swapping out controllers shouldn't be a big deal...unless... you have everything embedded in a block of epoxy? Again, everyone's build it different--I just know that for my set-up, I can very easily swap controllers in-and-out as needed.

    Like I said, you could attempt to take the data-out of one Wemo and feed it into GPIO-18 Pin, and a second Wemo feeding the GPIO-19 Pin (thus replacing the Pi). You might even get away with the board powering the Wemo with 5V (no clue what their power consumption/requirements are).

  7. #27
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    Default Re: DIY meteor tubes/icicles without ray wu Tee's or other parts

    Couldn't this be simplified with 12v supply a few buck converters for a single Wemos and the injection ? The Wemos has ample Gpio .

  8. #28
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    Default Re: DIY meteor tubes/icicles without ray wu Tee's or other parts

    Quote Originally Posted by angus40 View Post
    Couldn't this be simplified with 12v supply a few bucks for a single Wemos and injection ? The Wemos has ample Gpio .
    I don't think it's possible to simply any further than I already have. I've merely taken all the components that you need, and placed them on a single PCB.

  9. #29
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    Default Re: DIY meteor tubes/icicles without ray wu Tee's or other parts

    Here's a video I did about the distance between pixel tubes when I did mine:

    www.da-share.com

  10. #30
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    Default Re: DIY meteor tubes/icicles without ray wu Tee's or other parts

    Is there a link to the modules discussed earlier? Iím trying to find a good way to get pixels out in my trees and distance to pixels is an issue.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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