ESPixelSticks

Discussion in 'The Development Lab' started by danv, Dec 13, 2016.

  1. danv

    danv Full Time Elf

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    I am considering spinning my own version of the ESPixelSticks that uses the already open firmware.


    Has anyone used these previously?


    I see some are using them for matrix displays, I wonder if they would work alright as part of strings on a mega tree?


    I see them being perfect for elements such as arches etc also.


    Obviously one would need a good quality/decent access point.


    Has anyone that has used them experienced any issues with packet loss or dropouts etc?
     
  2. BradsXmasLights

    BradsXmasLights WiFi Interactive

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    I'm using 3 of them and they are nothing short of amazing!


    Only a handful of pixels on each, so can't comment on capacity.


    But they have no problem keeping in sync with the FPP @ 25ms over WiFi
     
  3. OP
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    danv

    danv Full Time Elf

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    Excellent.


    I am going to draw up some PCB's I think :)


    Thanks for the feedback!
     
  4. BradsXmasLights

    BradsXmasLights WiFi Interactive

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    An onboard 5V regulator would be handy - and to a lesser extent 5V level shifters too.
     
  5. OP
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    danv

    danv Full Time Elf

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    I believe the current v2 open source version has them. But yes I plan on including them in the design. Along with a 3.3v reg for the ESP-01 module also. The 5v reg originally is purely to power the level shifter. The pixel string will be powered by the incoming supply via a fuse.
     
  6. justinj

    justinj Apprentice Elf

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    I haven't used this specific one, but I was trying to do E1.31 between houses 2 years ago and there was a notable lag, even with directional high power antennae. I could push 100mb of data between them in under 10 secs, but the lag was there. I did notice when running wireshark that it looked like it was using broadcast instead of multicast. Perhaps an issue with my Vixen 2 plugin?
     
  7. Wolfie

    Wolfie Full Time Elf

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    I have 4 of them built. Bought mine as bare boards and soldered the SMD stuff myself. Mine are v1 boards. They accept both 5 and 12v input and have a jumper for voltage selection.

    Here are my boards:
    [​IMG]

    I don't have them in the display this year. I plan to use them to drive some color wash bars inside the front windows for next year and also possibly the indoor christmas tree. I have done some testing with them and they seem quite stable. Ran one with a test sequence looping for over a week straight (24/7).
     
  8. DrNeutron

    DrNeutron Just starting in this crazy hobby

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    I have one running 3 singing bulbs (143 pixels x 3 = 429 pixels) on an el cheapo Dlink wifi router and runs flawless.
    The AP is only 40 feet away and clear line of sight through window. The thing to keep in mind is that I live in an area where there is no wifi congestion so YMMV. And yes, the V2 of the ESPIXELSTICK has an onboard voltage regulator so no jumper for voltage selection.
     
  9. OP
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    danv

    danv Full Time Elf

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    Awesome feedback guys. Muchly appreciated.


    I have already started drawing these up.
     
  10. Wolfie

    Wolfie Full Time Elf

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    No disrespect intended at all, but why re-invent the wheel? Is there something lacking in Shelby's design? If I am not mistaken (and I could be), I think Shelby has the designs available for everyone.
     
  11. OP
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    danv

    danv Full Time Elf

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    The designs are freely available yes.


    I am wanting to alter it to suit what I want (ie. possibly use a different buck converter, change esp-01 module orientation, etc).


    Are these available "all the time" as I have only been able to find references to a group buy else where?
     
  12. Wolfie

    Wolfie Full Time Elf

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    Group buy AFAIK is the only way to get them. Short of finding someone selling theirs that is.

    As I said, no disrespect intended. Was just curious if you were just re-making them for down under or changing the design up a bit.

    You mentioned changing the orientation of the ESP01. If you are thinking about turning it around so it lies over the other board. I think Shelby tinkered with that orientation and had less than optimal distance results due to the proximity of the ESP antenna and the motherboard (with its associated ground plane). I don't have a link to that discussion. I remember seeing his nots on it somewhere though.

    In any event, I will be watching for your design to see what you come up with. Always happy to see a new trick card come out of the deck.
     
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    danv

    danv Full Time Elf

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    No disrespect taken Wolfie :)

    All good.

    I was curious about the antenna orientation. Figured that would be the reason why it is how it currently is.

    Won't alter that if that has already been tested.

    Yep, as I thought, group buy only. I might as well knock some up then.
    I have ordered 10 ESP-01 modules as well as some other bits and bobs.

    Should easily have the Altium artwork drawn up today.
     
  14. marmalade

    marmalade cats & pixels

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    The only improvement I can think of it to remove the programming interface components and use a programmer to load f/w into the esp. Would reduce cost and make the pcb smaller.


    Since the esp (in this instance) only requires a line driver and a 3v3 regulator, there's not a lot of improvement that can be made. Perhaps the mechanical layout could be customised to suit certain projects or a smaller enclosure.


    V2 of the espixelstick already has a nice switching reg onboard, much better then the V1 (the 5v reg on the v1 gets quite hot when running 12v through it)


    A suggestion is to make a small daughterboard with a micro to use the wifi packets, and have a few drivers and/or a 232 chip (as well as an additional regulator for power) Basically a combo shield so we could use the esp to drive dumb lights and/or stuff that requires dmx/232 input. Shelby has an e1.31 library for the ESP which can be used to feed the micro without the overhead of the pixel stuff.
     
  15. OP
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    danv

    danv Full Time Elf

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    Some good ideas there.


    Thanks marmalade
     

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