Jerky sequence and lag

bepa

New elf
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Sep 19, 2021
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9
Hello fellow friends of lights!

After months of planning and building my first light show, I made the first test of all components installed in the garden. Sadly the show doesn't run smoothly, is jerky and has lags :(

I use self-designed ESP8266 WLED based controllers for the props (with WS2812 LEDs). To reduce each controllers load, I thought it would be a great idea to use more controllers (e.g two arches with one controller).

Now I am looking for tips, how to improve the data performance on the system. I know that the wireless performance is not the best, but I thought that it would be possible to control that 2500 LEDs.

I tired to switch do DDP instead of E.1.31 but it only works for the first prop. The mega tree as second device is completely shifted after that, so I changed back. Maybe reducing the controller count would help? I could combine 5 arches to one (83 LEDs/arch => 415 LEDs/total) should be controllable with 25fps.

In my Xlights setup there some mistakes with the universe IDs and channel counts, but it should not be a problem if there are unused channels within one universe.

My little setup:
Screenshot 2021-09-19 093941.png


Screenshot 2021-09-19 094011.png

Thanks for every tip and greetings from Germany!
Bepa
 

bepa

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Sep 19, 2021
Messages
9
The WiFi signal has a decent strength. About -55dbm at the farthest spot.
I use an dedicated Dlink Archer C6 router for the lightshow. The distance is only about 10m (33ft).
While indoor testing, I only set up a few props (one time only trees with candy canes or only the arches) and there I couldn't see any lag.
 

Notenoughlights

260,000+ twinkly lights
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I'd say see if you can move the wireless transmitter closer to the units for a test and see if there's a difference. If they're freezing up then jumping ahead or going out, could indicate dropped packets.
 

Grozzy

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How are you transmitting the Data, XLights or FPP and is the computer or Raspberry Pi hard wired to the Archer or wireless as well. It really needs to be hard wired.
17 ESPs is probably on the high side of total units. Are they ESP-01, ESP-12 or Wemos D1s.
WLED has come a long way and I do like it for everything except Christmas lighting. My preference is definitely ESPixelstick firmware.
It is extremely lightweight with the code optimised for E1.31/DDP. There is also an option to use it as an FPP remote but I don't think there is a precompiled release just yet. You would need to compile it yourself in the Arduino IDE.
You could try staring with only half the props running and then slowly power them on one at at a time to see if there is a point that you saturate the network.
 
Last edited:

bepa

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Sep 19, 2021
Messages
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Thanks for the tips!
Changing the distance between router and controllers did not change the issue, but it was the first easiest try.

I designed the controllers with ESP-12F, 5A power supply, level shifting and signal filtering to avoid problems due to the electronics.

Great idea with starting with a low controller count and adding the others later. I will check that.
The FFP or xlights programming PC is directly connected to the lighting router.

But first, I will try the pixelstick firmware.

Too bad, that there is so few information on usage of DDP because of its 20% better performance it would also help a bit.

Greetings
bepa

IMG_20210320_150604.jpg
 

Grozzy

Slightly unhinged elf
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Aug 16, 2018
Messages
72
Thanks for the tips!
Changing the distance between router and controllers did not change the issue, but it was the first easiest try.

I designed the controllers with ESP-12F, 5A power supply, level shifting and signal filtering to avoid problems due to the electronics.

Great idea with starting with a low controller count and adding the others later. I will check that.
The FFP or xlights programming PC is directly connected to the lighting router.

But first, I will try the pixelstick firmware.

Too bad, that there is so few information on usage of DDP because of its 20% better performance it would also help a bit.

Greetings
bepa

View attachment 18095
In case you missed the first part of my comment,
The most important thing you must do is ensure that the device sending the pixel data is hard wired and not wireless.
Your wireless controllers look great BTW
 

bepa

New elf
Joined
Sep 19, 2021
Messages
9
Thanks :)

I've been a bit unclear :( With the data sending devices "connected directly to the router", I meant hard wired.

I made some tests, then reflashed the controllers with ESpixelstick FW and tested again.
These are the results:

WLED:
7 Controllers: smooth show
8-11 Controllers: A bit jerky
12+ Controllers: About 6fps (especially after adding the two controllers for the mega tree)

After reflashing, I also rearranged the univers IDs and channels, because I saw that I made may mistakes (e.g 2 universes for the arcs, but 1 would be sufficient)

ESPixelstick:
11 Controllers: smooth
12-13: A bit jerky
14: Gets very jerky

The other firmware helps a bit. Next I would use one controller for five arcs instead of to, so I save 3 controllers.
Same with the minitree-minitreestar-candycane combination, there I will try to controll 3 of each bundle with one controller. I would erase the flash of the unused controllers and keep them for the power injection.
All in all I can save 6 controllers and hopefully the show will run smooth after this.

greets
bepa
 

Grozzy

Slightly unhinged elf
Joined
Aug 16, 2018
Messages
72
Thanks :)

I've been a bit unclear :( With the data sending devices "connected directly to the router", I meant hard wired.

I made some tests, then reflashed the controllers with ESpixelstick FW and tested again.
These are the results:

WLED:
7 Controllers: smooth show
8-11 Controllers: A bit jerky
12+ Controllers: About 6fps (especially after adding the two controllers for the mega tree)

After reflashing, I also rearranged the univers IDs and channels, because I saw that I made may mistakes (e.g 2 universes for the arcs, but 1 would be sufficient)

ESPixelstick:
11 Controllers: smooth
12-13: A bit jerky
14: Gets very jerky

The other firmware helps a bit. Next I would use one controller for five arcs instead of to, so I save 3 controllers.
Same with the minitree-minitreestar-candycane combination, there I will try to controll 3 of each bundle with one controller. I would erase the flash of the unused controllers and keep them for the power injection.
All in all I can save 6 controllers and hopefully the show will run smooth after this.

greets
bepa
Ah yes I see where you said that it is connected directly 👍

Another suggestion would be to strongly consider using DDP as it is an extremely efficient protocol.
It should be straight forward to setup but might be worth joining the XLights Wireless Support group on FBook for more active support.
 

bepa

New elf
Joined
Sep 19, 2021
Messages
9
Yes, maybe the other protocol would give the last piece of performance needed for the show. Too bad, that I don't have an FB account.

Is there anywhere a manual for DDP usage? It is the least documented thing in lighting.

I changed some controllers to DDP, but only the first one is working, the other DDP controllers are not receicving data. The E1.31s are working.

Screenshot 2021-09-20 160204.png

Maybe here is someone with a bit DDP experience?

edit: reducing the number of controllers and building larger groups of props made it worse. 5 controllers for 5x2 arc groups has a better frame rate than 2 controllers for 5x2 groups

Greets
bepa
 
Last edited:

Grozzy

Slightly unhinged elf
Joined
Aug 16, 2018
Messages
72
Yes, maybe the other protocol would give the last piece of performance needed for the show. Too bad, that I don't have an FB account.

Is there anywhere a manual for DDP usage? It is the least documented thing in lighting.

I changed some controllers to DDP, but only the first one is working, the other DDP controllers are not receicving data. The E1.31s are working.

View attachment 18136

Maybe here is someone with a bit DDP experience?

edit: reducing the number of controllers and building larger groups of props made it worse. 5 controllers for 5x2 arc groups has a better frame rate than 2 controllers for 5x2 groups

Greets
bepa
DDP should just work exactly like E1.31 as long as the Universe ID matches.
WLED needs to be set to DDP manually.
You could try setting the ESPixelstick controllers to multicast DDP in XLights.
 

bepa

New elf
Joined
Sep 19, 2021
Messages
9
DDP does not support multicast. I think I have an issue with the channels and universes since the cleanup, because the show runs from xlights but has some offset in the pixels after FFP upload. I will investigate that, maybe this is also the reason that only the first DDP device is working.
 
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