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Thread: FPP vs. python-fseq package

  1. #1
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    Default FPP vs. python-fseq package

    Hi,

    I just got off the VCS 2021 summit, there were several classes on FPP, and I am contemplating switching to it. I am coming from PiLightShow, which is 100% open source. Thing is, should I? It seems FPP is geared more for people who purchase falcon pixel controllers, or who maybe don't live Linux full-time every day. I've been DIY'ing my own controllers out of MCU's for quite awhile.

    I see that there is a downloadable python-fseq player, so I should just be able to export Xlights and run Python directly on Raspbian OS. So why would I benefit from FPP?

    Would I run into hardware limits REALLY quickly if I run Python directly on the OS and use python-fseq and ws281x libraries? Would I be very limited if I try to run, say, an Xlights pinwheel using slave controllers? It does seem FPP is superior at playing slaves and masters at the same time (unless I just put an entire universe on a slave and the Pi just sends the slave a "start" signal...which a pinwheel definitely is not).

    For that matter, maybe it's very easy just to run FPP on a bunch of Pi's running Raspbian OS and directly off the GPIO, and I don't have to purchase dedicated pixel controllers? I understand there is a "custom controller" feature in FPP, but I don't know what exactly that controller needs in order to talk FPP..

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: FPP vs. python-fseq package

    FPP works with a myriad of controllers, not just Falcons. It has plenty capability to output control signals out GPIO pins, ethernet, wireless and just about anything that can plug into an USB port. It's networking is flawless and Linux provides rock-solid performance. While rolling your own player is a project that carries a lot of pride as well as possible functionality, FPP is ready to go. It's extremely well supported, costs zero, is expandable, and has ample external capes already out in the wild to plug into it. It's a proven piece of software and is easily expandable. Other than actually 'doing it yourself,' I can't see why you'd want to go through the headaches of developing something new that probably wouldn't be as complete as FPP -- certainly not for several years anyway...

    http://digwdf.org/store/
    Even though the DIGWDF Store has been closed for two years, it's still awesome!
    User guides, documentation and other files are still free and available for downloading.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: FPP vs. python-fseq package

    I DIY the controllers--not the player. I haven't really seen LightShowPi support fseq format, so I can't really import Xlights. That's the problem. Although, since LSP is open source and Python, I could probably make that happen (at a risk to some commercial vendors' sales, I'm sure).

    Can FPP support a myriad of controllers--including just a vanilla ESP32 with SSR's and WS2811 libraries? Can either FPP or Xlights decompose FSEQ files down into the individual slave controllers, such that I could just upload the decomped FSEQ files to all the slaves and just hit "Go" at exactly the same time?

    I'm just trying to figure out, why does it have to be FPP? And why are the controllers always ones you buy, when making one is not rocket science.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: FPP vs. python-fseq package

    FPP is open source but based on "appliance mentality".

    It is far more than a fseq player.

    It does master-remote by sending sync packets only.

    The gpio on the rPi doesn't lend itself to doing multiple streams so you will see that mostly it handles two outputs. For a "better rPi" see the Beaglebones. Several hardware projects use those with FPP to control lots of outputs.

    The basic unit of output for FPP is an e1.31 packet.

    afaik, FPP does not decompose the .fseq but it will handle the fseq with only its own channels. I think both xLights and Vixen have facility for breaking down the sequence into individual players (including espixelstick V4 with sdcard).

  5. #5
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    Default Re: FPP vs. python-fseq package

    There was a time, not really that long ago, when you had to build your own controllers, sometimes using point to point wiring, too. Then someone came up with etching your own boards. then 2-sided boards and thru-hole soldering. The firmware for these devices started off pretty crude, but with lots of sets of eyes on it, it became more refined. People started having commercial boards made, and group buy programs flourished. More people started taking the stock designs and adding features, or adding channels.... and strings of LEDs became affordable.

    Then somebody tried surface mounting components to make the controllers smaller. Trouble was, it scared people away a bit since they're harder to see and for some, much harder to solder because old eyes don't see so good... and let's face it, most diy'ers were not youngsters... the hobby cost too much...

    Then somebody invented the pixel and everything exploded. No longer were channel count controllers popular -- everything had to be pixels. But the channel counts to drive the pixels went off the charts. New sequencing software allowed new ways of sequencing where you could more-or-less 'paint' the display using mathematical functions instead of manually coloring spreadsheet cells to turn a light on or off. Pixel prices came down. New controllers became available but to eliminate potential diy assembly problems because of the tiny smd parts, the controllers were now pre-assembled except possibly for a few terminal blocks...

    The demand for AC lights dropped as did the demand for AC controllers. Some diy'ers who sold those boards and kits quit providing them because nobody bought them. Some companies even closed their stores altogether because of it. Everybody wanted pixels.

    Today, it's a whole lot easier and cheaper just to fork over a couple hundred bucks and get a known-working controller than try to engineer one yourself. That's the bottom line.

    Some of us have tried without success to keep the spirit of diy controllers alive, but it's just a dog that won't hunt. The skills necessary to enjoy the full diy experience, from design to finished product, are greater than the typical person has patience for. It's a lot of work to acquire and put all that knowledge into action when for pennies, really, you can buy it online with a credit card and power it up a week later.

    That's why.

    http://digwdf.org/store/
    Even though the DIGWDF Store has been closed for two years, it's still awesome!
    User guides, documentation and other files are still free and available for downloading.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: FPP vs. python-fseq package

    Is it true open source, or does it just support API's, plugins, etc.?

    I'm curious about using an .img to install (as opposed to just being able to yum or rpm install FPP). Is FPP working in the kernel (and disabling keyboard events, for example)? Can FPP be grubbed with Raspbian OS on the same Pi? Or do I pretty much have to switch out SD cards when Christmas is over?

    The sync packets thing is nice. I would NOT want to reinvent that.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: FPP vs. python-fseq package

    I don't see what's hard about DIYing your own WS2811 controllers? Their hardware performance might not outdo a $200 controller, but 66 Arduinos sure can (since that's what I could get for the same price)? Connect the ground pins, connect the data out to GPIO. Load sketch with WS2811 libraries and go. What gets lost?

  8. #8
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    Default Re: FPP vs. python-fseq package

    Quote Originally Posted by 1pet2_9 View Post
    I don't see what's hard about DIYing your own WS2811 controllers? Their hardware performance might not outdo a $200 controller, but 66 Arduinos sure can (since that's what I could get for the same price)? Connect the ground pins, connect the data out to GPIO. Load sketch with WS2811 libraries and go. What gets lost?
    Your mind ? lmao

    Who wants 66 ladas in the driveway and 2 blocks down the street when they can have a silver cloud in the garage ?

  9. #9
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    Default Re: FPP vs. python-fseq package

    Could you be more specific? What is $200 worth of better about it, besides a brand name?

  10. #10
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    Default Re: FPP vs. python-fseq package

    Quote Originally Posted by 1pet2_9 View Post
    Could you be more specific? What is $200 worth of better about it, besides a brand name?
    It is not about brand . It's more about practicality with controllers/hardware. they all have their place .
    Your comparison was comical just not realistic .
    However ,you mentioned Esp32 in another thread . Go with that and add some e1.31 firmware to it .
    Setup fpp on a rpi and you are away to the races !

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