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Thread: Need to play old Vixen 2 sequences thru Arduino--surely SOMEone has already done this

  1. #1
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    Default Need to play old Vixen 2 sequences thru Arduino--surely SOMEone has already done this

    Sometimes progress is a pain in the butt.

    As a musician and producer, I have used Vixen 2 to create light and motion effects to go with various shows. In the past, I used an old laptop with a built in parallel port, and I built a break-out box which connected to the laptop with a regular parallel cable. The break-out box had four run-of-the-mill P&B 240D10 SSRs feeding four regular 110v AC household plug-ins. Into this were plugged whatever was needed for the little shows -- regular 55 watt floodlights; a color-wheel; an old strobe light; a smoke machine; etc. I used Vixen 2 in regular parallel mode, and the sequences never failed once in the many events that this setup was used for.

    Now, the old laptop has failed, and the steady march of progress has turned my world into a nightmare. I tried a newer laptop with a PCMIA to parallel card, but Vixen simply could not "see" the "external" parallel port. That led me to trying a USB to parallel adapter, which crashed the system every time the sequence was started. So-o-o-o-o-o.... I did a bunch of reading and discovered the Arduino world. I bought an Arduino Uno, read how to attach it to my SSRs and installed the board into my breakout box, and........................NOTHING!

    Next I learned about "sketches" (what's wrong with calling code "code"?) and that is where I am completely stuck at the moment. I tried writing some basic lines, but I am woefully lacking in programming skills. Then I tried downloading some example "sketches", only to find that the process is so exacting that none of them even begin to do what I needed (and again, I am woefully lacking in the skills to fix them)... the best I got was a bunch of random action that was worse than no action.

    AAAARRRRRGGGGHHHHHHH !!!!...........Surely someone had done this simple setup before.

    And so MY QUESTION.......... Does anyone have an Arduino sketch that I can use to make my Arduino uno work with my old Vixen 2.1.4.0 program and sequences? No dimming required, no loops required, no random effects required, no LEDs required, no nesting required.... just regular ON/OFF commands to activate the four SSRs to provide 110v AC power to the various incandescent lights and small 110v motors, etc. that are plugged into the four outlets of the breakout box. If working with Vixen 2 is not possible, is there a way to import my old Vixen 2 sequences into the new Vixen 3 without too much skill required?

    There are a lot of programming wizards lurking here, who have probably done this kind of thing to keep their cats amused, and if you would be willing to share that sketch with me, you would make this old (very old) working musician very happy.

    Thanks in advance,
    Tom Bernett
    bernettmusic.com
    Last edited by Tom Bernett; 06-24-2021 at 10:35 AM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Need to play old Vixen 2 sequences thru Arduino--surely SOMEone has already done

    What you want has been done MANY times. Vixen 2.x has the ability to output Renard and Generic Serial data streams to a controller. I have a bias against using an Arduino if you are not a programmer or are not interested in playing with programing. Yes an Arduino sketch is a program and you are writing in a nasty form of broken C++.

    What you are asking for is a Renard SS8 using an external SSR. For simplicity I might suggest using the more common (aka easily available) SS16 with the triacs built in (you would need to wire your plugs to the new controller). I think the SS16 AC version would be your simplest and most reliable solution. While you do not need nor want dimming, having a controller that can do dimming does not keep you from doing on/off.

    There are often people on this forum selling Renard based controllers. The external SSR versions would allow you to use your current SSRs and those with built in triacs would reduce the number of boxes and amount of wire you have lying about.

    If you really want to use your Arduino then look for the zparticle sketch and fix the header processing for generic serial operation. That is the part that most people mess up.


    • Did you set up a header in the Vixen controller config and then add that header to the sketch? If not, your show player (vixen) and your controller (Arduino) are not in sync and random things will happen.
    • Did you verify that the arduino outputs you configured are Digital outputs and are not using PWM (Older SSRs will go crazy with a PWM signal)?
    • Did you verify that the arduino output polarity is correct for your SSRs?
    • Did you verify that the arduino output voltage is correct for your SSRs?


    2021 New Tune-to sign. New 40x27 matrix at the house. Retiring the Strip based matrix. Updating some of the old window frames to the new house. Adding two new songs.
    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/user/MartinMueller2003

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Need to play old Vixen 2 sequences thru Arduino--surely SOMEone has already done

    Here is a link to a thread about a guy using Arduino UNOs for his show. He probably has a sketch that will work for you. http://doityourselfchristmas.com/for...o+pixels+vixen

    Not sure the Zparticle sketch will work on the UNO. IIRC it was written specifically for the MEGA. But there are plenty of examples of sketches on this site that will likely fit your needs, some good, some bad.
    Kevin

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    Default Re: Need to play old Vixen 2 sequences thru Arduino--surely SOMEone has already done

    Quote Originally Posted by kev View Post
    some good, some bad.
    That's one of the downsides of using Arduino - how do you know what's good and what's not so good out of the large number of available sketches?
    Phil

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Need to play old Vixen 2 sequences thru Arduino--surely SOMEone has already done

    Mine are good


    2021 New Tune-to sign. New 40x27 matrix at the house. Retiring the Strip based matrix. Updating some of the old window frames to the new house. Adding two new songs.
    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/user/MartinMueller2003

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Need to play old Vixen 2 sequences thru Arduino--surely SOMEone has already done

    You are looking for a basic on off sketch, this will do...
    https://www.diychristmas.org/wiki/in...chanical_relay

    It needs Vixen to be set to 115200 and it is looking for header !"#

    It is a basic eight channel sketch that uses pins 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10.

    All of which is changeable in the sketch.

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