Newbie thinks he's doomed

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Jan 21, 2023
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Hi all,

I'm completely new to pixel controllers, xLights and LED strips. I have all the enthusiasm and none of the know-how.

I only have Apple computers at home, and mainly use a Macbook Pro and an iMac for everything creative (session muso by trade mostly).
I really want to get creative with light programming and figured xLights was the way to go. A while back, I purchased a HE123 (v2.3) from Alan H's website, and he kindly added the BeagleBone Black and had FPP installed on an included mini-SD card with the device (thanks again Alan).

But beyond having the above hardware, I don't have any power supplies (if they're needed). I have 5m rolls of WS2812 at home, crimpers and soldering iron and other gizmos, but I don't have the first clue on where and what to solder together.

Have I completely shot myself in the foot to begin with, trying to have an FPP board run sequences from xLights on a MAC COMPUTER?! Everything I'm reading is pointing to Linux and Windows machines being the way to go for FPP, and it makes me worry that all the setup and connection issues I'm facing in my very early days of xLights setup all come down to none of my hardware and software being able to talk to each other.

So sorry for the annoying post, I can just go back to pulling out my hair quietly if necessary!

Thank you for any helpful advice or links anyone has. :)


Clem
 

Notenoughlights

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It looks like Xlights is available for Mac OSX here in the releases page https://xlights.org/releases/

FFP will be able to play the sequences you create just fine, as it doesn't deal with the mac in any way, and only runs the .FSEQ file you upload.

You'll first need to be sure what voltage your rolls of strip are, 5v or 12v. That will be a starting point for where you look for power supplies.
From then, you need to work out how big your power supply needs to be in order to run what you plan. for a reference, 350W meanwell power supplies seem very popular, and can run quite a few leds.
 

thewanderingpine

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plenty of us run xLights on Mac. I do. A lot of people swear by it’s performance with the m1/m2 chips.

I don’t have one of Alan’s boards - but I’ve had no real issues with connecting to FPP.
All that to say - you haven’t shot yourself in the foot - they sound like good choices.

what isn’t connecting to what? It might be easier to try and ask for help in the chat on ACL or the xlight zoom room.
 
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AAH

I love blinky lights :)
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You'll definitely need a 5V power supply.
I know nothing about Macs as I haven't touched 1 since I was in college in the 80's and they were literally the very first generation with monochrome screens and 3.5" disks.
Xlights has a Mac port which you can get through the Mac App store.
If you (or anyone else using my boards) ever has any issues I'm always happy answering emails and helping out with quick teamviewer sessions.
 

algerdes

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I'm running xLights on a MacBook from late 2013. No problems, whatsoever.
Yes - power supplies are needed, along with pixels of whatever variety you want to use.
 

orlandoal

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2012 Mac Mini 16G ram, running the show with xSchedule.
Don't go cheap on the PSU's, I personally think they are a crucial part of the set up.
Have fun....
 

Indigogyre

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So, looks like you need some first steps.

Read the 101 Manual!

Next, head out to you tube and look for Dr.Zzs. He has some nice beginner videos on using WLED and simple esp32 and Dig boards based upon small controllers. These are great items to start and learn with. You can use that knowledge to help with setting up gibber controllers.

xLights has a Youtube channel also with more educational videos.

keithsw1111 has a youtube channel which also has a bunch of helpful xLights videos.

These should all be good resources to get started.
 
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Thanks for the encouragement and support guys. :) Let me respond to everything:

@Notenoughlights thank you for the recommendation of the 350W Mean Well power supply, I’m looking into that now. I’ve got 5v strips, so would this power supply be suitable:


And xLights runs just fine on my Mac too, no issue with finding the software itself.

@thewanderingpine the connection issue I face is how to connect the HE123 to xLights, particularly which “protocol” to use for the board, USB, Ethernet, etc. I’m not sure of the IP address of the board or what settings to use when setting it up as a controller in xLights, and couldn’t find much in the 101 or the xLights manual specific to hooking up to boards running FPP.

@AAH thanks so much for your support and advice! Should I power the board with its only separate 5v power supply? And would you recommend connecting the board to xLights via USB or Ethernet or something else?

@algerdes and @orlandoal thanks for the advice and the Apple reassurance. :)

@Indigogyre thanks for the suggestions and links, I’ll look into those videos now.
 

djgra79

My name is Graham & I love flashing lights!
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Thanks for the encouragement and support guys. :) Let me respond to everything:

@Notenoughlights thank you for the recommendation of the 350W Mean Well power supply, I’m looking into that now. I’ve got 5v strips, so would this power supply be suitable:

If you're looking to save a littl emoney but not in a hurry, there is currently a pre-buy being offered in Aus and Meanwell PSU are included: https://www.lightitupleds-xmas.com....rue&sa=false&sbp=false&q=false&category_id=13
I've just ordered 6 to add to this years display (and future proof and further additions)
 

AAH

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@AAH thanks so much for your support and advice! Should I power the board with its only separate 5v power supply? And would you recommend connecting the board to xLights via USB or Ethernet or something else?
I recommend doing an initial setup of IP via the usb cable connection which acts as a virtual ethernet and you can connect to it on an IP which may not be 192.168.7.2 as it's not a PC.
After your IP is configured to match your home network range which is typically 192.168.0.x or 10.0.0.x then save and shutdown unplug the usb and then plug the BBB onto the HE123 and power the board via a 5VDC power supply which can be the same one that you are using for your lights. Ideally you'd connect to the BBB through a router but you may be able to do a direct connection to your Mac. After you're connected then most of the rest you can do in Xlights.
In xlights configure the board mostly as I have in the screenshot below. The IP will be what you previously configured.1674376490515.png
1674376490515.png
 

Kim_H

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Jan 1, 2021
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Hi Alan,
Can I jump in and ask a question, in the setup you posted above you have the model as HE123, in the older instructions I've been following they showed FPP and variant F, is model HE123 the best to use?

Thanks
Kim
 

Skymaster

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With FPP 6, given you need a license (whether paid, grandfathered, or other method of obtaining it) it's best to install the EEPROM contents and then run it through xLights and FPP as a Hanson HE123. This was you get all the functions operational (OLED, Buttons, Temp Sensor, RTC) with no manual setup required, as well as the ability to use smart remotes if you have a differential expansion.

You can generate and download an EEPROM on my site here:
https://apps.mortonlights.com/he123-unsigned/

This can also be applied to 5.5 as well, however there are a couple of functions which won't work out of the box due to the signing requirements.
 
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AAH

I love blinky lights :)
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Hi Alan,
Can I jump in and ask a question, in the setup you posted above you have the model as HE123, in the older instructions I've been following they showed FPP and variant F, is model HE123 the best to use?

Thanks
Kim
As what Skymaster says.
You can use it as FPP, RGBCape48 but there is better integration (on the way at least) when you configure as HE123.
 
Joined
Jan 21, 2023
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Alrighty, time for an update.
Spoiler alert: the He123 is still not communicating with xLights, and I can't even open the BeagleBone Black settings in Chrome.

The only progress I've achieved is having the board recognised as an Ethernet port when it's powered and connected directly to the ethernet port of my iMac. I've been able to change the IP address and that new IP address is shown when I ping the board with LanScan. But I am still unable to connect to the BBB using the IP address via Chrome. It just gives me errors.

I added the FE123 to xLights as a controller and followed all the advice and steps goven by @AAH, but I am still unable to select the HE123 as a controller board for models (the only two options are "No Controller" or "Use Start Controller"). :(

So, I've gone back to Step 1, and downloaded the latest Debian image for Beaglebone (the "IoT" one), I've formatted the mini-SD and I've used balenaEtcher to write the Debian image file to the mini-SD. I've inserted it back into the BBB while holding down the 'Boot' button and now I've left it powered on for the moment.

What do I need to do next?

I'm sorry if I was too drastic in my steps, but I couldn't figure out what else to try. :(
I am completely lost and bewildered by talk of FPP and licencing for FPP6, but willing to learn and get on with the actual CREATIVE part of this whole process. Ugh.

ANY help is appreciated. 🙏🏻
 
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