Author Topic: E 1.31 or USB Dongle  (Read 1435 times)

Offline AJVenti

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E 1.31 or USB Dongle
« on: March 12, 2017, »
Well I an new at this and tried to Read as much as I could fine. So I did my first Christmas light display 2 years ago. I used A Arduino with relays. Last year I built a Singing Tree with Dumb Pixels. Now I got the Bug. I Have surfing the net for 5 weeks now, what I think learned is Computer with software to output device ( E 1.31 or USB Dongle ) to Smart or Dumb Controller. My question is do I got this right or not. If so what out put device do I get. I do have one problem I am working with very little money. I would like to spend as little as possible ( if I get in to it maybe up grade as I go). Another problem I am having where do I get all this hardware and this coop that I keep reading about, to save money.

P.S. Not sure this is the way to ask questions if not sorry.

Thanks
Tony

Offline loveroflife96

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Re: E 1.31 or USB Dongle
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2017, »
Tony,

As with many things in life, it all depends on where you want to end up at as to what you need to start off with.  If you just want to have a few pixels, you can control up to 4096 channels with a single USB dongle flashed with pixelnet.  However, remember that each pixel is comprised of three channels (so this allows you to only have 1,365 individual pixels).  If you're using dumb pixels, that would allow you to have greater pixels as the whole strand functions as a single pixel, but many users use smart pixels which allow each individual pixel to operate on it's own regardless of the one before or after.  If you want a small investment now, that would be the way to go to start with.  You will also need some type of controller for the dongle so it can hook up to your lights.  There are a couple of styles available in the for sale section and there are others available via other forums.  We mainly support the DLA controllers here, but many of us have controllers from many different vendors and can help answer any questions you might have.  Hopefully this hasn't muddied the water too much for you.  Ask any question you wish here, we are all here to help you get your show to be what you want it to be!!  That's what's great about this forum, you have to have very little knowledge, the people here will help you out as long as your willing to put in the effort to look for the answers first!

Duane

Offline AJVenti

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Re: E 1.31 or USB Dongle
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2017, »
Duane,

Thanks for the reply, in my research I have seen a lot of different setups. One I think I would like to eventually get to would be using a raspberry pi as a programmer to run my show with lights and sound. In past years I have ran my show off a laptop, that it would leave outside. Not knowing if there was a way to have the laptop and a another location. I was thinking maybe that E 1.31 might be the way. If I can run a long distance. From what I have seen that may be a route for me to take. If I have this right I would need a E 1.31 bridge to use with my laptop and eventually the raspberry pie. Right now I do have some dumb and smart pixels I would like to play with. I saw a video on YouTube where someone used a pixel controller that they had gotten on eBay for about $20 something I thought of getting to play with. But I can see though we still need a bridge to tie this all together. One of my problems is trying to convince my wife spending money for Christmas lights because they are only out a few weeks a year, so if I can get some hardware with out breaking her budget. So I'm trying to do something small, but adding a few smart pixels on a small spiral Christmas tree.  My problem is I don't have $70 or $80 to spend right now. I was hoping somebody could point me in the right direction to get a inexpensive(but good) bridge. I have some soldering experience so I do not have a problem building it myself if that will save me money. I think right now I'm looking for a way to experiment with programming smart pixels and see the possibilities. I know I am allover the place on this I am really confused where to start. I even saw a thing called a falcon pi cap for about $35. I know if I went this route I would have to purchase a raspberry pi and build from there, that still puts me in the $70 $80 range. I think I would like to get a E 1.31 bridge and go from there. What you think? Would you have a suggestions on where I can find this hardware.

Thank you
Tony

Offline CaptainMurdoch

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Re: E 1.31 or USB Dongle
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2017, »
A Pi running the free Falcon Player software (FPP) can output DMX or pixelnet using cheap USB dongles.  An adapter like the PiCap allows the Pi to control up to 2000 ws281x pixels directly and it also can output a single DMX or pixelnet universe via the onboard RJ45 connector.  FPP can also drive any future E1.31 controllers at the same time as all of the above.

Offline rmp2917

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Re: E 1.31 or USB Dongle
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2017, »
The Falcon Pi Cap will also work with the Pi Zero. You can get a Pi Zero for $5 making the total cost $40. I believe the Pi and Pi Cap would be about the cheapest option and would make it easy to expand later on. About any other controller will cost you just as much or more by the time you get everything you need to make it work.

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There are other Pi Hats that are slightly cheaper but they don't have the DMX/Pixelnet output.

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Demand for products on this forum have dropped significantly so they have not been getting enough interest to run a coop. You may still find people willing to sell items they no longer need in the sell/trade section.

You will also find coops on other sites for other controllers, but some of them may not start for another month or two.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2017, by rmp2917 »

Offline AJVenti

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Re: E 1.31 or USB Dongle
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2017, »
Thanks for the help I will look in too Sell/Trade. I will also look in too the Pi Cap more.

Tony