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Thread: Additional Controllers?

  1. #1
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    Default Additional Controllers?

    Hi!

    Right now I have some pixels around my house, but I want to use more. I asked for some opinions on where to put those in this forum (where you can also see what my house looks like).

    No matter where I put my extra pixels (definitely thinking about doing something on the roof, whether it be lines of pixels or snowflakes), I will need a way to control them. My house right now is using a bunch of older LOR controllers, and the mega tree is controlled by a Falcon F16V3, only using 4 of the outputs. The Falcon is right below the mega tree in my yard, and it is connected to a network switch near my front door.

    My question is:
    What's the recommended way to control pixels that are further away from the Falcon? I know there is a falcon expansion board that can connect using ethernet, but I also know there are things like ESPixelSticks that I could buy and use on the roof as well. I don't just want to do the cheapest way, I want to do it a good way. Is it better to use the Falcon for everything or no?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
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    Kimberly, WI
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    Default Re: Additional Controllers?

    There is the expansion board for the Falcon to control differential recievers which can be, if I remember correctly, up to 250 away from the f16. You may want to look into that. I use this set up and a Falcon F 48 fir distant items in my display.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    Chambersburg, PA
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    Default Re: Additional Controllers?

    I have used a Falcon with differential receiver boards in the past and they work great, if you can easily run the cabling to connect them.

    I tried ESPixelSticks last year, but I ran into too much lag for my liking, although I understand the newest version with SD cards on board eliminate this issue.

    This year I have moved to several Raspberry Pi's with capes or hats in a Master/Remote setup to run separate sections of my display. Like the new PixelSticks these have the needed portion of the sequence stored locally on an SD card and only use wifi for an intermittent timing signal to keep everything in sync. Most of my new controllers are using the inexpensive Pi Zero with a hat. Each of these controllers has 2 outputs and cost less than $20 to build.
    2012 - 1st year 64 Channels - 7500 LED lights - 5 sequences
    2013 - 128 Channels - 10,000 LED lights - 7 sequences (2 New)
    2014 - 201 Channels - upgrading 8 Arches to dumb RGB - 8+ sequences (1+ New)
    2015 - 240 Channels + 8 Universes - sequences TBD
    2016 - No Display
    2017 - Back in the Game - 240 Renard Channels + 12 Universes
    2018 - 256 Renard and 9 Falcon Outputs of Pixels - 16 sequences shown over 2 nights
    2019 - 256 Renard and 9 Falcon Outputs of Pixels - 16 sequences shown over 2 nights
    2020 - Emergency Conversion to Falcon F48 with limited wireless

  4. #4
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    May 2016
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    Default Re: Additional Controllers?

    I run a combination of F16v3, F48, and several KulpLights controllers. I’m seriously digging the Kulp controllers for remote locations and wireless connectivity. Put them in “remote” mode (they run on FPP), and enjoy low network traffic.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
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    Default Re: Additional Controllers?

    I use multiple F16s spread around my property. Even then there are some long runs between controller and first pixel. There I use a few RobG pixel buffers and everything works fine.

    Personally I have avoided using a Wireless network to transport real time lighting data. My show uses wired connections to all controllers. WiFi was designed as a "Best Effort" transport mechanism and does a less than stellar job in lighting (I know you can tweak and tune and make it work, but its a bother). This year I AM adding some ESPs to my show using the new V4 software that runs as a remote FPP with minimal network traffic.


    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

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Additional Controllers?

    TomL8345, how did you get the cost down to $20? I think you can get Pi Zeros for about $25(with the headers soldered on already), and the PiCap is another $25, right? Still less than $50. Pretty solid deal.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Additional Controllers?

    Quote Originally Posted by virgil1 View Post
    TomL8345, how did you get the cost down to $20? I think you can get Pi Zeros for about $25(with the headers soldered on already), and the PiCap is another $25, right? Still less than $50. Pretty solid deal.
    Ok, I was wrong, I am doing this for less than $35/controller. I am using a Renard Plus RHL Simple Pi Pixel Controller Kit (<$10) and ordering the Pi Zero W (<$25) and soldering the header myself.
    2012 - 1st year 64 Channels - 7500 LED lights - 5 sequences
    2013 - 128 Channels - 10,000 LED lights - 7 sequences (2 New)
    2014 - 201 Channels - upgrading 8 Arches to dumb RGB - 8+ sequences (1+ New)
    2015 - 240 Channels + 8 Universes - sequences TBD
    2016 - No Display
    2017 - Back in the Game - 240 Renard Channels + 12 Universes
    2018 - 256 Renard and 9 Falcon Outputs of Pixels - 16 sequences shown over 2 nights
    2019 - 256 Renard and 9 Falcon Outputs of Pixels - 16 sequences shown over 2 nights
    2020 - Emergency Conversion to Falcon F48 with limited wireless

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
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    Default Re: Additional Controllers?

    Thanks! I hadn't looked at other Raspberry Pi controller kits. I have a PiHat from Falcon. I was going to go out and buy a couple more Raspberry Pi Bs, but Zero makes much more sense. You saved me enough to buy a few more strings

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    Default Re: Additional Controllers?

    Quote Originally Posted by virgil1 View Post
    Thanks! I hadn't looked at other Raspberry Pi controller kits. I have a PiHat from Falcon. I was going to go out and buy a couple more Raspberry Pi Bs, but Zero makes much more sense. You saved me enough to buy a few more strings
    2012 - 1st year 64 Channels - 7500 LED lights - 5 sequences
    2013 - 128 Channels - 10,000 LED lights - 7 sequences (2 New)
    2014 - 201 Channels - upgrading 8 Arches to dumb RGB - 8+ sequences (1+ New)
    2015 - 240 Channels + 8 Universes - sequences TBD
    2016 - No Display
    2017 - Back in the Game - 240 Renard Channels + 12 Universes
    2018 - 256 Renard and 9 Falcon Outputs of Pixels - 16 sequences shown over 2 nights
    2019 - 256 Renard and 9 Falcon Outputs of Pixels - 16 sequences shown over 2 nights
    2020 - Emergency Conversion to Falcon F48 with limited wireless

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