Help with light testing

merryoncherry

Senior elf
Generous elf
Joined
Apr 2, 2022
Messages
518
Location
Cherry St., Hudson MA USA
I hadn't heard of the Hinks when researching for my first buys. Is it mostly popular in the states? It seems to operate similar to the f48 using cat and RJ45 to send data to receivers.
Hum, how much to say without making anybody upset.

The Hinks is, as far as I know, exclusively distributed by HolidayCoro, and therefore largely confined to the States. It seems they sell thousands every year.

It is a CPU board that doesn't have any outputs directly on it, those get attached, generally underneath because the holes line up for stand-offs. It has long-range 4-port boards, and 16-output powered pixel boards available. The design is flexible, and works well so long as you don't have to swap a fuse on the bottom output board in the dark / in the rain. Most people get them ready-to-run, and they are relatively well built, especially in light of the number of configurations offered. They seem pricey, but if you consider all the parts and the assembly time, it is sensible for many. I've made minor touch-ups to most of mine to make it easier to plug DMX and long range in, but am generally satisfied with the product design.

If you put 3 long-range boards on it it would be like an F48, yes, except that for backward compatibility with the older AlphaPix, the Hinks has a bug in the long-range pinout. This is easily fixed if you want to mix and match, see my blog, or I think Scott has talked about this also. While this makes dumb long range receivers interchangeable, the smart receivers are not compatible with other kinds as far as I know.

While the HolidayCoro reputation in the established community is, let's say "complicated", many newbies in the States find HolidayCoro first. (My story is that I placed my first orders on September 26, 2021, and that is what was simultaneously available and appealing, and I didn't know very much at the time. It may not have been the best thing to do, but I don't regret it, given the late start I got honestly I'm not sure there was any other way. Unlike the Falcon, you can call HolidayCoro and get a ready-to-run controller quite quickly, even in the busy season, and so it was.)

Since that time, I have branched out and tried some other controllers... a R2R Falcon, some Pi hats, BBB-based Kulps of various design, and WB1616s... so I'm somewhat versed in the relative merits. I see pros and cons on all of them... the R2R Falcon deserved some touchups as well, the others I had to fully assemble myself and ended up with a variety of things that I'd change if I did them over again. In the end, I'm relatively satisfied with all the controllers I own... they all work fine and put on a great show.

While I have heard enough bad stories about HolidayCoro from people I trust to take those reports seriously, their delivery and execution during the busy season has been very good for me. The only thing I say to newbies who buy them is to do it the xLights way for good results fast, and to ignore the HC videos about controller configuration.
 

Steifel

New elf
Joined
Nov 19, 2023
Messages
1
I use HinksPix Pro controllers a lot with good results and would be happy to help you. There are a lot of things it could be, so there will have to be a bit of back-and-forth on this.

Here are a few things I've learned.
1. Port numbers depend on how your unit is assembled. If you have the model or a picture the inside of the box that would help. Generally there's the Hinks CPU board, and a stack of up to 3 output boards under it, connected with ribbon cables. Where the ribbon cables go determines the port numbers, usually the board right under is port 1-16, 17-32 is the one under it, and 33-48 is the bottom one.
2. Like @DarkwinX said, don't follow the HolidayCoro videos if you are using xLights. Joe Hinkle had a very controller-centric view of the world and built a lot of features into the controller that you won't use if you're using xLights. You'll use the controller web pages very little. Put everything in xLights (controller IP, and other info, use the port settings in the layout tab or the visualizer on the controller tab to tell xLights what port everything is on). Then tell xLights to "upload to controller" and you'll be all set. (Use web page to verify / troubleshoot.)
3. You didn't say if you are using smart receivers or regular. Controllers that shipped in June/July 2022 timeframe have a firmware bug that prevents them from configuring their smart receivers. Update the firmware to at least version 110 if you have a Hinks Pro that was delivered to you this year.
4. Don't use DDP even though it is listed as a choice.

Hope this helps. There are a lot of other simple things that could be wrong too, however. We might need screen shots starting from the xLights controller tab, the Hinks port configuration web page, and the Hinks input page.
Even in 2023 this was helpful! I ordered a HinksPix Pro for a Megatree in 2022. It shipped in July of '22. This year I ordered two smart long range receivers for a MegaStar and two singing Xmas Trees. For the last two weeks I've gone back and forth with Xlights configurations, Controller configurations but cannot get my long range to test from either. I've had correspondence with Holiday Coro who said everything looked right, so I asked about a firmware update but got no response. With this tid bit I'm going to push for that again. Thanks!
 
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