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Working on a new pixel controller.

Discussion in 'Community Projects' started by dpitts, Apr 2, 2014.

  1. dpitts

    dpitts Apprentice Elf

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    Working on a new 16 string controller that uses a new processor from microchip that comes out next month. The PIC32MZ sample chips i have been using for testing are working out as expected. The ability for chip to receive 64 universes of E131 without cpu intervention is pretty awesome. The board is almost finalized and ready to send to the board house. The pixel port placement was inspired by the E682. After looking at the various places to place pixel port I came to the conclusion this was the best way as to not cross over ground and power planes with data. Since original design i have switched to a 4-layer board to reduce any chance of noise.

    Here are some of the specifications that we plan to meet.

    * 16 pixel ports
    * 25ms timing
    * 3 wire and 4 wire strings (2811/18XX, 2801, 3001 and 6803 will be the first implemented)
    * Read E131 with optional Ethernet connection board.
    * Read Pixelnet with optional Pixelnet/DMX/Renard input board
    * Read data delivered from the Falcon Pi Player that can be mounted to the back of controller.
    * Output Four DMX, Pixelnet or Renard RS-485 outputs with optional RS-485 output board
    * 8 strings can have the "string type' setting set to any type. The remaining 8 are split into two groups of 4 and each
    group can have a different type for a total of 10 different string types.
    * All strings can select any start address in 64K channel range. Actually 64K- (number of channels in string).
    * Webpage and software interface. Webpage at first.
    * 340+ pixels per string, but shooting for 500+ which seems very feasible at this time in testing.
    * Two power inputs. Different voltages at same time. External power input for both electronics and PI.
    * Ability to power electronics or PI from external source or pixel power.
    * Ground terminal to connect to the soon to be released 16 port power injection board.
    * Optional LED pads to install LEDS if you know the voltage you will be using for that side of the board.

    Although we added the ability for a PI to connect directly to the back it is not needed and an E131 or Pixelnet input board can be used. Although for $45.00 it is not a bad way to create a standalone show.

    Hoping to have something to show in July at the Academy.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Kaden

    Kaden Pixels! I need more pixels!

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    Sounds like a powerful little unit, what are you expecting it to cost?
     
  3. OP
    OP
    dpitts

    dpitts Apprentice Elf

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    Not sure yet. But maybe about $125 for kit and $160.00 for assembled. The shipping to Australia may be an issue. But I am willing to give board layout and firmware away to a few of the ACL members i know and trust to run a coop.
     
  4. bjpc2716

    bjpc2716 need more lights to light up the world

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    8) cool looking forward to see it up and running I might order one later on
     
  5. Kaden

    Kaden Pixels! I need more pixels!

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    That's good pricing considering the sheer number of pixels you are hoping to support!
     
  6. OP
    OP
    dpitts

    dpitts Apprentice Elf

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    FalconChristmas.com is all about making pixels affordable for everyone. We are non profit. That is why we gave the Falcon Pi Player away and did not charge for it.
     
  7. mborg10

    mborg10 Michael Borg

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    If shipping is an issue, perhaps a bulk shipment would lower the cost. I like the sound of it though and look forward to seeing it. It certainly gives a nudge to the competition out there.
     
  8. smeighan

    smeighan Dedicated Elf

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    Dave has shared some details in our phone conversations. This is a new chip that will start shipping in may. This vhip is 300mips, most of our current controllers are 100mips. Dave got some samples and has built a prototype. Board easily receives 64-96 universes. Gating item will be how much it can ouput. Dave is looking for 500-680 pixels per string times 16 strings. Optionally plug a pi into this controller and u have a show computer and 20-30k channels of output in a 3x7" board. Dave has optional daughter boards to give you pixelnet, e1.31, renard, dmx. Base kit around $80-90 with it configured for your system $120-$130. Again is setting a new standard. Great job dave.
     
  9. OP
    OP
    dpitts

    dpitts Apprentice Elf

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    Update.

    Received processors today so I built one controller of first version. The first version I placed the SD card holder footprint 180 degrees in the wrong direction. Already corrected it for the revision. here are some pics with E131 Phy board option and a couple with Pi mounted on back for Pi input/player option.
    Nothing got hot when I powered it up. [​IMG] The processor is running and Ethernet is working. Good news so far. Microchip also is updating the errata to indicate that the SQI port is indeed fuctional with some minor limitations that should not effect this design.
     

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  10. ecbailey

    ecbailey Full Time Elf

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    Looking forward to getting my hands one of these! When do you think will be available for purchase?
     
  11. AAH

    AAH I love blinky lights :) Community Project Designer

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    Looks good Dave.
     
  12. OP
    OP
    dpitts

    dpitts Apprentice Elf

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    Thanks Alan.
     
  13. Ɠαяєтн

    Ɠαяєтн Mae gen i C.L.A.P ei heintus iawn

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    Looks good Dave. Like the idea of the FPP direct connection. Count me in for one or more.
     
  14. Kaden

    Kaden Pixels! I need more pixels!

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    That is one serious looking board! Well done, I am glad to see this is progressing.
     
  15. Bill

    Bill Keep Moving Forward

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    This guy is impressed.
     

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