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High pixel/channel count issues & questions/help needed

Discussion in 'RGB Lights - Intelligent Pixels and 3-Channel RGB' started by nutz4lights, Jan 3, 2014.

  1. nutz4lights

    nutz4lights Full Time Elf

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    Hey all, Merry Christmas!

    Let's just say that it has been an interesting year... I spent what seems like the entire year working on switching to RGB and it was an interesting adventure. From ordering the wrong lights in the spring with my first shipment, to dealing with a 14 week ship time on our second shipment and receiving lights on December 1st that were supposed to arrive in October, there hasn't been a dull moment. The only reason I was able to maintain my sanity is that I had told myself up front that this was going to be a 2 year project. Adding 7,000+ pixels and another 4,000+ dump RGB nodes and integrating it into my existing 75,000 light display that had been running LOR for 7-8 years wasn't going to be easy. Because of work, family, and not receiving the big portion of the shipment 'til December 1st, I had to basically limit our display... Once I had up what I wanted to run, it would only be fitting that I had additional issues, since nothing this year went as expected.

    A good amount of the issues were user error (messing up channel assignments in LSP, messing up controller drawing images in LSP, running the main ethernet cable from the computer to the switch in parallel with two huge power cords which caused all kinds of data issues!). Those were all fixed in 4-5 days with plenty of swearing involved...

    The one issue I was left with seems to be focused around the fact that I am trying to control over 20,000 channels of data. I am experiencing an immense amount of slowing when I try to run full color macros (rainbow, or red-green-white), but everything works spectacularly when I work with single color macros. Here is some pertinent information:

    Computer: started with a Core 2 Duo laptop (2GB RAM) to run the scheduler app (sequencing done on 1st gen core i7) but then switched to running the scheduler off of the core i7 (6GB RAM) in an attempt to make things better... which did nothing.

    Running Unicast

    Running gigabit out of the Core i7 out to two 5 port Netgear 10/100 switches. Using a 100 foot CAT6 cable. The switches are daisy chained so that the first one has the input ethernet, three outputs to some of my p12s/r controllers, and then the 5th output goes to the next switch. On that switch, obviously there is the one input and then the other outputs go to the rest of the p12r/s controllers.

    Controllers are seven p12s/r controllers.

    I am curious how others that require seven or more E1.31 outputs are doing it? Is the daisy chained switches ok or should I go to a single higher port count switch? Any recommendations.

    I honestly can't believe that the computer could be the issue. Even though it is a 1st gen core i7, it is still a quad core with eight processing threads and none of them are running over 15% utilization. The RAM is never above around 4GB when the scheduler is running.

    I honestly can't believe that it is the cable as I am using an identical make and length cable to stream 30mbit/sec blu-ray from my computer room to our media room.

    I guess I haven't mentioned that I am running LSP Advanced or whatever they call it. I have all of the latest updates for scheduler and sequencer.

    Here is a link to the 3 minutes of sequencing that I was able to finish before my holiday deadline.

    https://vimeo.com/82357322

    You should be able to clearly see the slow-down in the rainbow and red-green-white sections of the sequence whereas the mostly red and mostly green sections are smooth.

    I've seen some of the awesome displays that y'all run and know that ours is not the largest display around by any means... so how are y'all doing this? Do you see anything glaringly wrong with my setup? The daisy-chained switches perhaps?

    Thanks and Merry Christmas! I'm already looking forward to next years display and getting the rest of the elements out on our house...

    -Louie
     
  2. fasteddy

    fasteddy I have C.L.A.P Global Moderator Generous Elf

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    nutz4lights

    nutz4lights Full Time Elf

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    Thanks eddy. What switch setup do you use for how many controllers. Just curious.
     
  4. garyjac1

    garyjac1 Apprentice Elf

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    Don't daisy chain ordinary switches. Use a cheap 16-port switch for a 'flat-switched' network. This is more efficient and cheaper in the long run. Commonly available Ethernet switches cannot be cascaded (and work properly).
     
  5. lithgowlights

    lithgowlights Senior Elf

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    I have tried daisy chaining switches and sometimes the results can be hit and miss. I now use a single 16 port switch and that's it, and had no problems with 20K channels last year
     
  6. tom82

    tom82 New Elf

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    Hi Nutz4lights.


    Your display looks great! Could you tell me what sort of pixels you used on the trees to the left of the video, and how they were mounted? Did you just wrap the trunk in string or is it affixed some other way?

    Thanks
    Tom
     
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    nutz4lights

    nutz4lights Full Time Elf

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    Sorry for the delayed response, I thought this thread was lost for good with the crash. Glad to see it made it back.

    So, I ordered a used Linksys Cisco 16 port switch off eBay so I have plenty of expandability later on... it arrived and I tested it out. The effects are definitely smoother. I had moved this thread over to the LSP forum, but I will post a quick summary here. Basically, I'm still not able to run this from the Core 2 Duo laptop (2GB RAM) that I was hoping to run the scheduler from. I didn't know the scheduler would have the same high memory requirements that the sequencer does, I thought that was limited to the sequencer.

    I was, however, able to run the show much more smoothly still using my 1st gen Core i7 (6GB RAM) desktop and also my wife's 3rd gen Core i5 (8GB RAM) desktop. Her computer is now becoming the Christmas light computer and I will get her something else like a hybrid laptop tablet to make up for the fact that I am stealing her computer ;)

    Regarding the lights on the palm trees... I have always hated wrapping cylindrical objects because the lights loosen up and have to be re-tightened, etc. I'm sure I'm not the first person to come up with this idea, but basically, the palm tree trunks are nice and smooth... so I went and bought a ton of camoflage bungee cords at Harbor Freight and used those to secure either 6 or 8 pixel strings vertically around the tree trunk. I got up on my ladder, wrapped a single bungee up at the top of the trunk and then one by one I hung a pixel string from that top bungee. Once all 6 or 8 strings (depending on trunk diameter) were hung, I went down the trunk with additional bungees and straightened out the light strings. I created a matrix in LSP to represent the lights, I just treat it as a flat matrix array, I don't worry about the fact that it is wrapped around the trunk 2/3 the way around.

    I will try to take some pictures at some point, if you don't see them, send me a message.

    Thanks again for all of the suggestions.

    Lithgow: were you using LSP? what kind of computer specs? I have been asking everybody those questions that says they have 20,000 channels just for my own knowledge.

    -Louie
     
  8. fasteddy

    fasteddy I have C.L.A.P Global Moderator Generous Elf

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    As I said over at the LSP forum

    20K channels
    2GB Ram
    Core Duo computer

    = No Hope

    Its not your old 64 channel LOR show anymore.

    for 20K channels an I7 or I5 with 8GB ram will do the trick nicely.
     
  9. garyjac1

    garyjac1 Apprentice Elf

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    If you are talking about just scheduling and running the sequences, then all you need is a raspberry pi and fpp software (free). A lot less than an i7 based computer of any make and it frees you from the cumbersome bloat of a windoze machine:) I used an r-pi to run my lights this year. Sure, that was only 2400 channels or so, but I see that it will handle 128 dmx universes and from the performance it has delivered, I am ready to believe that claim/specification. In any case, a 40 dollar computer, what's to lose?
     
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    nutz4lights

    nutz4lights Full Time Elf

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    With the help of another in-town RGB'er, we came to some additional conclusions yesterday and I'm / We're still puzzled. First, we had the idea of trying a rainbow color shift macro in bounce mode compared to using a JPEG based image shift macro that I've been using to date. Maybe not so surprisingly, the rainbow spectral color shift was super smooth, much smoother than the JPEG image shift left to right. So, I have to ask... (and I plan on posting this at LSP forum as well), is there something that someone could do wrong using a JPEG and doing image shift? I grabbed the massive collection of JPEGs that someone posted here and just picked one that was a rainbow... do they have to be modified to be a certain resolution? The image sizes were kind of all over the board in that zip file.

    So, as I said, the rainbow color shift macro was much smoother... but it got even smoother when we replaced the 100 foot CAT6 cable I've been using with a 75 foot CAT5 cable... does that make any sense?

    -Louie
     
  11. fasteddy

    fasteddy I have C.L.A.P Global Moderator Generous Elf

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    The image used shouldnt have anything to do with the output performance as all the image does is gets overlayed into the mapped channel assignments.

    What makes a big difference is the number of channels and the timing of the effect, so by reducing your effect to say 8 frames per second instead of the default 15 frames per second then you may see a difference in performance.
     
  12. OP
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    nutz4lights

    nutz4lights Full Time Elf

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  13. fasteddy

    fasteddy I have C.L.A.P Global Moderator Generous Elf

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    Ate you using Transitions or macros for this, if using transitions then the number of frames used is critical to the speed of the effect.
     
  14. OP
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    nutz4lights

    nutz4lights Full Time Elf

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    I am using macros, not transitions. I tried 15fps but haven't tried slower yet.

    -Louie
     

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