Author Topic: What is a Lynx Smart String?  (Read 104543 times)

Offline ptone

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Re: What is a Lynx Smart String?
« Reply #90 on: November 07, 2010, »
You say pixelnet is an open protocol - do you have a rough spec somewhere?

Also, could you envision a different version of the hub that communicates directly via ethernet?

What I'm thinking is something that combines some of the features of the EthConGateway with the existing hub, and skips the dongle all together.  Yes it would be a more expensive hub, but would it be more than dongle+hub?

This would allow SS to work without a dongle, and allow for even greater topography flexibility.  By using E1.31 as a standard - you would stay compatible with all DMX software, but not be limited to the channel limit of dongles.

I believe the whole EthConGateway project is open source.

I just got my EthConGateway and have been working on some custom DMX software.  While I could probably build in support for pixelnet, seems it would be possible to stick with current standards instead of having to create a new one.  The world is bigger than just LSP and Vixen...

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Offline rrowan

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Re: What is a Lynx Smart String?
« Reply #91 on: November 07, 2010, »
Hi RJ

WOW, I just got back form Disney World but I think you are more magical then Walt  ;D

I knew you were working on something for rgb but this is far beyond what I was thinking you were doing.

I really want this product but cost is always a issue with me. So I'll have to see what I can do.

Cheers and many thanks for another great product

Rick R.
Light Animation Hobby - Having fun and Learning at the same time. (21st member of DLA)
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Offline RJ

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Re: What is a Lynx Smart String?
« Reply #92 on: November 07, 2010, »
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You say pixelnet is an open protocol - do you have a rough spec somewhere?

Also, could you envision a different version of the hub that communicates directly via ethernet?

What I'm thinking is something that combines some of the features of the EthConGateway with the existing hub, and skips the dongle all together.  Yes it would be a more expensive hub, but would it be more than dongle+hub?

This would allow SS to work without a dongle, and allow for even greater topography flexibility.  By using E1.31 as a standard - you would stay compatible with all DMX software, but not be limited to the channel limit of dongles.

I believe the whole EthConGateway project is open source.

I just got my EthConGateway and have been working on some custom DMX software.  While I could probably build in support for pixelnet, seems it would be possible to stick with current standards instead of having to create a new one.  The world is bigger than just LSP and Vixen...

-Preston


As I have posted prior it will be posted in the Wiki once the documentation is finished.

As far as the ethercon being open source, Does that matter to the users that do not write their own firmware or design their own equipment? This is an old argument and has never had any negative effect on DLA in all the years it has been shouted from the roof tops. I keep things simple and it works for DLA. I believe it has been a benefit to the users that Lynx equipment is not open sourced not a hinderance. I force no one to use the equipment and they are told up front it is not open source yet it still goes out faster than we can keep up with. 

This is not a competition, I design what I want and make it avaliable to others. I believe everyone should be aware of all the offerings and if I did not I would have removed a number of post in this thread which were nothing more than advertisments for the other equipment.

Since the dedicated Pixelnet dongle that I will release early next year uses 1.31 None of this is correct. it supports everything the Ethercon device does or will. It will handle over 16000 channel so I do not see that a channel count issue. It will be smaller, less expensive and simpler. It will only be avaliable to build yourself though because we are DIY site so it is all through hole parts like the rest of Smart Strings.

PixelNet is just the in between protocol just as DMX or Renard is for the other equipment. Neither of those are that great for Pixels. I love DMX but 512 ch is a very limiting when it comes to pixels. 

The current dongle everyone has right now handles 4096 channels with a simple firmware update which is I believe what the ethercon is doing at the moment so again not much channel limit in the dongle in my mind. Remember size does not matter!

So far PixelNet for the original dongle has support on Vixen and Light Show Pro working. I have been contacted by a few others doing software that wanted to include it so LOR is the only software I can think of that will not support it in it's current state.   

Going to a hub with the dongle built in would not simplify things as then the hub is more expensive and central (yes if you run more than one hub it would cost more than Dongle + hub cause each hub has to have all that support hardware and firmware to handle the ethernet). One of the nice things about the Pixelnet setup is that the data is handled just like DMX in that you simply daisy chain it from hub to hub and leave all the brains in the string. The hub is just a splitter/power injector and cost very little and you need no network switches.

So it works like what we use now and you just hook it up like dmx. Think of the hubs as splitters and the smart strings as expresses and you can see it works exactly the same. No new technology to learn, You just have to learn to sequence a lot of channels.  ;D

I am sorry if this post seems hard but since this thread was started there has been many supporters of other hardware posting what has the appearance of in some cases trying to talk users away from using Smart Strings.

I have not and am unaware of any of my users posting on other forums trying to convince users to not use that hardware. If other hardware looks better to you or does what you want better then you should use it. It will not bother me or hurt my feelings, I have no monatary benifit from users using it or not it's simply a hobby to me.
 

RJ
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Offline ptone

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Re: What is a Lynx Smart String?
« Reply #93 on: November 07, 2010, »
First let me be clear - I'm super enthusiastic about all you've done so far, and this project is no exception.  I'm a newcomer who is coming to this with interests in theater and haunted house lighting in addition as a hobby residentially.  In those contexts - ACN/E1.31 are a boon, as we already have extensive Ethernet infrastructure between multiple venues.  Also, as a Unix/Mac person, being able to write custom software that uses the E1.31 features of OLA makes it easy to get some cool stuff done.

RE the spec:

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As I have posted prior it will be posted in the Wiki once the documentation is finished.


sorry I missed that bit - great

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As far as the ethercon being open source, Does that matter to the users that do not write their own firmware or design their own equipment?


actually my only point about mentioning that EthConGwy was open source was that *IF* you wanted to add an ethernet E1.31 interface, you could use code etc from that project, I wasn't suggesting that things need to be open source :-)  I'm guessing this has been a debate before, but that is not where I was going with that comment.

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Since the dedicated Pixelnet dongle that I will release early next year uses 1.31 None of this is correct. it supports everything the Ethercon device does or will. It will handle over 16000 channel so I do not see that a channel count issue. It will be smaller, less expensive and simpler. It will only be avaliable to build yourself though because we are DIY site so it is all through hole parts like the rest of Smart Strings.

PixelNet is just the in between protocol just as DMX or Renard is for the other equipment. Neither of those are that great for Pixels. I love DMX but 512 ch is a very limiting when it comes to pixels. 


I'm confused, so your new PixelNet dongle uses E1.31 and ethernet instead of USB?  Which is DMX based on the addressing side?  I don't know what the limit of DMX universes is, but assuming it might be 512 (or likely with E1.31 much higher) that should be enough pixels for a while into the future no?  Just one universe per string. 


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Going to a hub with the dongle built in would not simplify things as then the hub is more expensive and central (yes if you run more than one hub it would cost more than Dongle + hub cause each hub has to have all that support hardware and firmware to handle the ethernet). One of the nice things about the Pixelnet setup is that the data is handled just like DMX in that you simply daisy chain it from hub to hub and leave all the brains in the string. The hub is just a splitter/power injector and cost very little and you need no network switches.


I missed that the hubs chained - that's cool.  So if I'm reading right - the new dongle will take E1.31 in and send PixelNet out?  One of the cool things about E1.31 is it works (with some caveats I presume) over wifi - and so if you want to have a wireless set up you could have it without any specialty wireless gear.


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So it works like what we use now and you just hook it up like dmx. Think of the hubs as splitters and the smart strings as expresses and you can see it works exactly the same. No new technology to learn, You just have to learn to sequence a lot of channels.  ;D


I'm excited to see this project progress, and I'm sure a few points I'm still confused on will be clarified along the way RE PixelNet.  I'm coming at this with some new software ideas - similar to Prancer, but without worrying so much about how to make a GUI front end to it (You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login)

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I am sorry if this post seems hard but since this thread was started there has been many supporters of other hardware posting what has the appearance of in some cases trying to talk users away from using Smart Strings.

RJ

I'm sorry if I appeared to be one of the people who talk users away - far from it.  As I'm more of a software than a hardware person, I'm just into any hardware that helps me get the job done.  I don't care if the PCB is open, or if it surface mount or whatever - if it delivers in the features I'm looking for, I'm stoked.  I think this DIY community is super cool and hope to contribute something of value over time.  Keep up the great work.

-Preston
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Offline RJ

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Re: What is a Lynx Smart String?
« Reply #94 on: November 07, 2010, »
Thank you for the post setting me straight. You are correct in the past when ever someone started about open source at DLA it was intended to be an insult so this made some of you post that followed a number of others questional post.

Let me hopefully explain the confusion away.

A current Lynx DMX dongle can be flashed with new firmware and run up to 4096 channels of lighting. (period)

I added the period to make sure eveyone understands that anything I post after this has no effect on that statement. The videos of the Smart Strings in use that have been posted and the more informative one soon to be posted will also be running off of a standard Lynx DMX Dongle. (period)

You can run mutilple Lynx DMX dongles reflashed to handle more channels right now! I have tested 8192 channels on vixen using two DMX dongles with the new firmware.

Now we will stop talking about the Lynx DMX Dongle at this point.

I am playing with a dongle design that is purpose built from the start to run PixelNet but instead of 4096 per Dongle it will output 16384 channels of pixelnet out of one dongle over a single cat5 cable which can be daisy chained all over the yard with nothing more complicated than the Hub you have seen. It cost little more than the current dongle and is to be about the same size, as well as being as easy and fast to assemble. It connects to the computer via Ethernet and accepts 1.31 in and outputs PixelNet.

All of the current Smart String hardware is 100% compatible with it so the upgrade path exist.  You can still use all of your DMX stuff as each hub will output a universe of DMX (what ever set of addresses you choose for it.)

Hope this clears it up.

Again I am sorry I took you post wrong but based on a pm I received just prior to it I believed it was connected.

RJ
« Last Edit: November 07, 2010, by RJ »
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Offline RJ

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Re: What is a Lynx Smart String?
« Reply #95 on: November 07, 2010, »
Just an image of the Utility that programs the Smart Strings.

RJ
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Offline csf

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Re: What is a Lynx Smart String?
« Reply #96 on: November 07, 2010, »
I apologize in advance if this sounds stupid for asking but I just have two questions:

Will you be able to control the intensity of R, G,B in each node or will it just be on or off for each color in each node?

Will the new controller be ready in time for the coop or will you need to use two injector boards to run over 4,000 channels?

These real look awesome, and are already giving me a tone of ideas for next year.

Offline fasteddy

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Re: What is a Lynx Smart String?
« Reply #97 on: November 07, 2010, »
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I apologize in advance if this sounds stupid for asking but I just have two questions:

Will you be able to control the intensity of R, G,B in each node or will it just be on or off for each color in each node?

Will the new controller be ready in time for the coop or will you need to use two injector boards to run over 4,000 channels?

These real look awesome, and are already giving me a tone of ideas for next year.

1st question: The way that you are able to create any colour is by fading any combination of red, blue and green as these are the primary colours of light. So a very big yes to fading or else you would only be able to produce 8 colours.

The second question is for RJ
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Offline IndianaChristmas

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Re: What is a Lynx Smart String?
« Reply #98 on: November 07, 2010, »
I'm not trying to make comparisons but I was thinking about the uses of SS and was thinking it is proably a design constraint that the pixels are spaced ~3.75".  If someone wants to make a pixel display I suppose it is pretty easy to change the spacing by "plugging" them into some sort of coro like rectangle to create any sized panel one would like.  But what about using an array of strings and creating animations on the arrays. I saw some pretty cool stuff (as I'm sure many other have too) with the CCR product and wonder if the spacing of the SS would prevent us from creating the same effects.  I assume the CCR spacing is smaller as the light ribons I have seen have a spacing of about 3cm.  Coro diffusion techniques might help with this issue; a 3.75" pixel might look pretty good from a 100' or so.
I have no doubt I will be using SS technology, I am just thinking of its uses.  As most of the Lynx community is now!
I hope I'm not making an inappropriate post on this matter.

Eric

Offline RJ

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Re: What is a Lynx Smart String?
« Reply #99 on: November 07, 2010, »
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I apologize in advance if this sounds stupid for asking but I just have two questions:

Will you be able to control the intensity of R, G,B in each node or will it just be on or off for each color in each node?

Will the new controller be ready in time for the coop or will you need to use two injector boards to run over 4,000 channels?

These real look awesome, and are already giving me a tone of ideas for next year.

As eddy said you control the level on all three seperate and then seperate on each led. So any led(node) can be any color and the next led can be any color ect.

The new controller I assume you mean the Dongle. The injectors have no relation to how many channels you can run. It is the Dongle that does. The hub relates to the number of strings you can run. You must have a port on a hub for each smart string so you can plug it in.

Does this clear it up for you?  The video I am working on will help I think.

RJ
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Offline tbone321

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Re: What is a Lynx Smart String?
« Reply #100 on: November 07, 2010, »
I think that he was talking about the new dongle and if it will be ready before the coop.
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Offline tbone321

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Re: What is a Lynx Smart String?
« Reply #101 on: November 07, 2010, »
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I'm not trying to make comparisons but I was thinking about the uses of SS and was thinking it is proably a design constraint that the pixels are spaced ~3.75".  If someone wants to make a pixel display I suppose it is pretty easy to change the spacing by "plugging" them into some sort of coro like rectangle to create any sized panel one would like.  But what about using an array of strings and creating animations on the arrays. I saw some pretty cool stuff (as I'm sure many other have too) with the CCR product and wonder if the spacing of the SS would prevent us from creating the same effects.  I assume the CCR spacing is smaller as the light ribons I have seen have a spacing of about 3cm.  Coro diffusion techniques might help with this issue; a 3.75" pixel might look pretty good from a 100' or so.
I have no doubt I will be using SS technology, I am just thinking of its uses.  As most of the Lynx community is now!
I hope I'm not making an inappropriate post on this matter.

Eric


I think that the spacing between the nodes is more to simulate a light string then any design constraint.  If you need or want the nodes closer together then just loop the wires between the nodes to reduce the spacing and tape or zip tie them in place.
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Offline csf

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Re: What is a Lynx Smart String?
« Reply #102 on: November 07, 2010, »
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I apologize in advance if this sounds stupid for asking but I just have two questions:

Will you be able to control the intensity of R, G,B in each node or will it just be on or off for each color in each node?

Will the new controller be ready in time for the coop or will you need to use two injector boards to run over 4,000 channels?

These real look awesome, and are already giving me a tone of ideas for next year.

As eddy said you control the level on all three seperate and then seperate on each led. So any led(node) can be any color and the next led can be any color ect.

The new controller I assume you mean the Dongle. The injectors have no relation to how many channels you can run. It is the Dongle that does. The hub relates to the number of strings you can run. You must have a port on a hub for each smart string so you can plug it in.

Does this clear it up for you?  The video I am working on will help I think.

RJ
Thanks RJ I figured you can control the intensity of each color but just wanted to make sure.


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I think that he was talking about the new dongle and if it will be ready before the coop.

That's exactly what I wanted to know since, my idea will have more channels then the current dongle will support,  so I am just trying to figure out if the new dongle will be out in time or if I will need 2 of the current dongles and 2 injectors to run my idea.

Offline RJ

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Re: What is a Lynx Smart String?
« Reply #103 on: November 07, 2010, »
The new dongle will not be out by the coop. I have other things that must be tested and presented before the coop so you know what you are ordering and The new dongle will take a lot of testing. There will be a full beta of it using users.

Your only answer would be two dongles. I have tested this in Vixen and it is possible.

RJ
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Offline RJ

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Re: What is a Lynx Smart String?
« Reply #104 on: November 07, 2010, »
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I'm not trying to make comparisons but I was thinking about the uses of SS and was thinking it is proably a design constraint that the pixels are spaced ~3.75".  If someone wants to make a pixel display I suppose it is pretty easy to change the spacing by "plugging" them into some sort of coro like rectangle to create any sized panel one would like.  But what about using an array of strings and creating animations on the arrays. I saw some pretty cool stuff (as I'm sure many other have too) with the CCR product and wonder if the spacing of the SS would prevent us from creating the same effects.  I assume the CCR spacing is smaller as the light ribons I have seen have a spacing of about 3cm.  Coro diffusion techniques might help with this issue; a 3.75" pixel might look pretty good from a 100' or so.
I have no doubt I will be using SS technology, I am just thinking of its uses.  As most of the Lynx community is now!
I hope I'm not making an inappropriate post on this matter.

Eric


Not at all,

First I would recommend that everyone not focus so much on the strings for the moment. This is just the first thing you have seen connected to the technology. The coop will consist of many items not just the node strings. There are many ways to mount leds and the controller does not care what is holding the leds or how far apart they are(to a point), it is the controller chip that is running them and at what voltage that matters to the controller.

If it is built with the correct chip and using the correct voltage you hook it up to a SSC (Smart String Controller) and away it goes. I have other items coming to me for testing that will work on the SSC and intended for the coop, so you will not be stuck with just one item to use.

Look at how the setup works and see if that is how you want your stuff to work. If so then what is to follow in the coming weeks will make your day.   ;D

RJ
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