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Thread: PixelRadio, a DiY FM Transmitter with RDS RadioText

  1. #151
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    Default Re: PixelRadio, a DiY FM Transmitter with RDS RadioText

    Sorry for the continuous posts. By being a newbie to this project I hope to make it easier for those going down the same road I have.
    First, I didn't know that ESP32 would not connect to 5G wireless. That was my biggest hurdle in getting connected. My buddies at xLights zoom room were a big help here. 2.4gHz only/
    Second, I had a hard time navigating platformio to find the below menu. A clear and certain instructional path to get here would be helpful.. Not sure I could find it if I looked. I found it by accident. Thanks again. Waiting for parts for the rest of the project.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    That's a feature not a bug.
    There's no charge for that.

  2. #152
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    Default Re: PixelRadio, a DiY FM Transmitter with RDS RadioText

    Thanks for the feedback, it is appreciated.

    I didn't know that ESP32 would not connect to 5G wireless. That was my biggest hurdle in getting connected. My buddies at xLights zoom room were a big help here. 2.4gHz only
    I'll update the docs to specifically state that the ESP32 WiFi does not support 5GHz.

    I had a hard time navigating platformio to find the below menu. A clear and certain instructional path to get here would be helpful.. Not sure I could find it if I looked. I found it by accident.
    I'll expand the docs to say that the Project Task menu (used for flashing) will appear by clicking the Platformio Logo icon (ant head) on the left side of the screen.

    - Thomas

  3. #153
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    Default Re: PixelRadio, a DiY FM Transmitter with RDS RadioText

    Thomas,
    Thanks for being so responsive to folks suggestions!
    Another sign of a really good project!
    Quote Originally Posted by ThomasLED View Post
    Thanks for the feedback, it is appreciated.



    I'll update the docs to specifically state that the ESP32 WiFi does not support 5GHz.



    I'll expand the docs to say that the Project Task menu (used for flashing) will appear by clicking the Platformio Logo icon (ant head) on the left side of the screen.

    - Thomas

  4. #154
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    Default Re: PixelRadio, a DiY FM Transmitter with RDS RadioText

    Quote Originally Posted by ThomasLED View Post
    I'll expand the docs to say that the Project Task menu (used for flashing) will appear by clicking the Platformio Logo icon (ant head) on the left side of the screen.

    - Thomas
    I'll also thank you for the response. I am hoping the feedback helps.
    It will also help to know that simply clicking on the Platformio Logo icon (ant head) will not always work after loading the Pixel Radio program and you have clicked on something else. If you exit PlatformioIO and restart it, click on the tab with the program to upload, then click on the ant head, then it will bring up the proper upload link.
    It would be good to know that my programs loaded successfully into two different ESP 32s on the first try.
    thanks again.
    That's a feature not a bug.
    There's no charge for that.

  5. #155
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    Default Re: PixelRadio, a DiY FM Transmitter with RDS RadioText

    You're welcome! @all, please continue to post your project tips in this discussion, especially if they may prevent some hair-pulling by other builders.

    Please keep in mind that the PixelRadio project was intended for experienced builders. That's reflected in the Github docs, which don't go into the nuances of using PlatformIO or PCB assembly that some project builders might need.

    But as I mentioned in the very first post, perhaps the community can work together to make PixelRadio more accessible to those with less experience. For example, it would be fantastic if a successful project builder took notes as they assembled and used it. Then published a "Helpful Hints" PDF that was targeted to the average forum user.

    There will be more head scratching issues to discuss as PixelRadio is added to a user's light show. The docs provide a basic example on using xLights scheduler (because that's what I have). For other integrations the community will need to get their hands dirty and find the best way to do it. Then share how they did it so others can benefit from their efforts.

    - Thomas
    Last edited by ThomasLED; 05-19-2022 at 04:09 PM.

  6. #156
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    Default Re: PixelRadio, a DiY FM Transmitter with RDS RadioText

    Quick question: I never loaded the software onto the SD card and tested the ESP module by plugging in a USB cable to connect it, but soldered the module onto the Pixel Radio board first. To load the software and ensure it works, should I power on the entire module, or just plug in a USB cable to the ESP and try to connect? I'm not sure if the USB cable is able to effectively power the ESP with it soldered into the Pixel Radio board.

  7. #157
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    Default Re: PixelRadio, a DiY FM Transmitter with RDS RadioText

    should I power on the entire module, or just plug in a USB cable to the ESP and try to connect?
    Only the USB cable is needed to flash the firmware. It will provide power to the ESP32 (but not to the other circuitry).

    If 12V power is connected you can still perform the USB serial flashing. But since yours is a new untested build I would leave the 12V power disconnected during the first flashing. Then unplug the USB, apply 12V, and proceed to setup your PixelRadio. And when you're convinced it is working correctly you can safely plug in the USB cable (if you need to use the serial controller).

    but soldered the module onto the Pixel Radio board first.
    As mentioned in the Hardware Information page, socket mounting is recommended. The added height will provide space for the 3D printed end panel's mounting ear. Not the end of the world if you didn't use sockets, but be prepared to cut off the helpful mounting ear feature.
    https://github.com/thomastech/PixelR...rdware#sockets

    - Thomas
    Last edited by ThomasLED; 05-22-2022 at 09:58 PM.

  8. #158
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    Default Re: PixelRadio, a DiY FM Transmitter with RDS RadioText

    Quote Originally Posted by ThomasLED View Post
    As mentioned in the Hardware Information page, socket mounting is recommended. The added height will provide space for the 3D printed end panel's mounting ear. Not the end of the world if you didn't use sockets, but be prepared to cut off the helpful mounting ear feature.
    https://github.com/thomastech/PixelR...rdware#sockets

    - Thomas
    Gahhh....I forgot and used the 2 short headers that came with the ESP module, and not the headers that were included in the BOM. I went back and looked, and sure enough, different heights. And, yes, I used a Dremel and cut off that little ear on the 3D printed end already.

    Okay, here's hoping I didn't completely ruin the device by soldering it in. I'll give that USB cable connected to the ESP module a try.

  9. #159
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    Default Re: PixelRadio, a DiY FM Transmitter with RDS RadioText

    I have been waiting on my parts to arrive and became board. So, with my ESP32 and my RF boards in I was not ready to start soldering yet. But, I figured I could get started on setting up my RDS MQTT from my Home Automation rPi.

    This was surprisingly easy to setup with mosquitto broker and NodeRed. Here is what I did with to get this to work once I found the commands under the MQTT.cpp file, between lines 210 and lines 240 if anyone is interested.

    Added in one inject static text value that is sending out as my station text. Topic = pixelradio/cmd/rtm (pixelradio is based on broker subscribe name from what I could tell in the code where the function is instantiated.)
    This first one is resent every 15 seconds.
    Then added a second one that is using the name of the song being played by my home automation to the same Topic.
    This second one has a delay start of 5 seconds and then resent/updated every 15 seconds.
    Then the third is using the performed by details of the song being played by my home automation to the same Topic.
    This one has a delay start of 10 seconds and then resent/updated every 15 seconds.

    Works perfectly, I noticed that the pixelradio will occasionally re-establish the connection but I'm sure this is due to no antenna on the ESP32 which have not arrived.

    RDS using NodeRed & Home Automation.jpg
    RDS using NodeRed & Home Automation4.gif
    RDS using NodeRed & Home Automation2.gif
    RDS using NodeRed & Home Automation3.gif

    I know that there is a plugin for Home Automation on FPP but I have not set that up before so I was not able to test that.
    Last edited by sonic777; 05-24-2022 at 01:35 AM. Reason: added images
    2012 - Current : I light things up and I know stuff, it's what I do!

  10. #160
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    Default Re: PixelRadio, a DiY FM Transmitter with RDS RadioText

    Thanks for sharing your MQTT example.

    The command syntax for MQTT and the other controllers is summarized here:
    https://github.com/thomastech/PixelR...Controllers.md

    - Thomas

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