XCG-X2A finally coming around the corner ...

Discussion in 'EthConGateway by Joshua 1 Systems' started by j1sys, Mar 11, 2013.

  1. j1sys

    j1sys There are no rules, and those are the rules. Community Project Designer

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    When we first introduced our xCG-x2 series (ECG-D2, ECG-P2, DCG-P2) of controllers we planned for and promised a set of expansion boards to follow. Our initial design of an expander never made it past the prototype stage. One was shown at several Aussie Mini’s in 2012.

    We’ve spent the last month working on a new ASIC (Application Specific IC) solution to our continuing need for more powerful and higher count pixel outputs. The first application of this new solution is our long awaited XCG-X2A.

    The XCG-X2A is out of the prototype stage and is in final pre-production right now and we expect an initial production run to be complete by the first week of April 2013.

    The XCG-X2A is a small board that mates to the riser connectors on the xCG-x2 series controllers. The combined boards will still fit in the extruded aluminum case with a set of new end panels.

    The XCG-X2A includes:
    · Real Time Clock w/battery (RTC)
    · microSD socket
    · 4x option switches
    · 4x status LEDs
    · 3x 3Pin Flexi-Port I/O connectors

    The RTC will be used for scheduling stand-alone sequences designed using our Compiled Object Oriented Lighting (COOL) language.

    The microSD will be used to store and retrieve pre-programmed sequences. It is NOT our intention to record raw captured sequences directly to the microSD. The sequences must be preprocessed by application software on your PC to create compatible COOL sequences. Simple COOL sequences can be written directly in XML.

    The 4x option switches and 4x LEDs will be used to control the operation and display status information under software control.

    The power and flexibility of the new expander is in the Flexi-Ports. All three ports offer identical hardware and software options as described below. Each connector has three pins labeled: G, C, D which match the signals Ground, Clock, Data used by one of the modes. Please note that the 3Pin signals are the same signals as pins 1-3 of our standard GCDV 4Pin pixel connector. We have removed the ‘V’ pin for two reasons: we wanted to squeeze 3x connectors across the same 42mm space and most xCG-x2 installations far exceed the nominal power capabilities of the board. For power distribution options the user should consider the ECG-P12 series.

    The G pin is permanently connected to the signal ground/common on the board.

    The C and D pins can be hardware configured in three modes: +5V, Buffered Output, Unbuffered Input/Output. The Unbuffered Input/Output includes optional pull-up resistors.

    Subject to hardware configuration jumpers the software can implement several different operating mode on each Flexi-Port:
    · GCD – Gnd, Clk, Dat for a single 4Wire or 3Wire pixel output
    · GC – 3Wire pixel output, GD – 3Wire pixel output (two strings on ONE connector)
    · GCD – two unbuffered digital inputs (CD) for switches or external triggers
    · GCD – one unbuffered digital input (C or D) with 5V supplied on the other C/D pin
    · GCD – two unbuffered digital outputs (CD) to control external devices
    · GCD – one unbuffered digital output (C or D) with 5V supplied on the other C/D pin
    · GCD – one unbuffered digital input (C), one unbuffered output (D)
    · GCD – I2C interface for external devices
    · GCD – 1-Wire interface (C) with 5V (D) for external devices

    The optional pull-up resistors are different on each connector to allow flexible choice for I2C or other uses:
    · P3C/P3D – 1.8K
    · P4C/P4D – 4.7K
    · P5C/P5D – 10K

    Please don’t let all these options scare you. In the most common mode the user will leave the jumpers as set when shipped and select either: 1x 4Wire/3Wire per connector or 2x 3Wire per connector under software control for each connector.

    Pricing not yet determined. Initial software releases will support the same pixel types we currently support and NOT include any of the RTC and microSD COOL programming. So it will just be a flexible 3-6 string add-on board. We are working on adding GECE support and other pixel types and will be adding simple COOL capability ASAP.

    Please see the photos below:
    · X2A_1 – the prototype board
    · X2A_2 – front to back: ECG-P2, XCG-X2A, ECG-D2. The ECG-P2 and XCG-X2A are tethered together for bench testing. The ECG-D2 has the stand-offs and riser pins installed to mate to the XCG-X2A
    · X2A_3 – rear of mated ECG-D2/XCG-X2A
    · X2A_4 – front of mated ECG-D2/XCG-X2A
    · X2A_5 – close-up front of mated ECG-D2/XCG-X2A


    -Ed

     

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  2. battle79

    battle79 Full Time Elf

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    So roughly how many more universes can I get out of this amazing little board?
    Even if it isn't any more in total, just spreading them out over a total of 8 outputs will be handy.

    Love the idea of removing the V+ from the outputs, as I don't think anyone would be using it, and it makes it less likely to overload the unit.

    Another amazing product. Can't wait to get my hands on one.

    Cheers,
    Rowan
     
  3. fasteddy

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

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    Ive been waiting for this for use in my garden
     
  4. kel

    kel Dedicated Elf

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    [​IMG]
     
  5. harrison0550

    harrison0550 Full Time Elf

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    I'm stocked abut it as well. Be sure to let us know when they are available for order Ed. Thanks for your work on these. :)
     
  6. Bill Ellick

    Bill Ellick Full Time Elf

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    Excellent Ed!
    Put me on the list of folks who are looking forward to seeing this out here in the world!
     
  7. remoteutah

    remoteutah Full Time Elf

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  8. OP
    OP
    j1sys

    j1sys There are no rules, and those are the rules. Community Project Designer

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    The pre-production PCB arrived last Saturday. I assembled up and did some initial testing. Everything looks great!!

    I left on Tuesday for a Caribbean Cruise through 31 March. I brought the boards and am doing some work on sea days so I can give a production order before I return. Hopefully the first units will arrive about 8 April.

    The PCB order also included a rush prototype of the P12S. I've dropped hints in chat and will be posting soon about the specs for this new upgrade/replacement for the P12R. Don't worry. P12R will continue to be supported and we are going to offer very favourable trade-ins.

    From Cartagena, Cruisin' Ed
     
  9. Binkles

    Binkles Full Time Elf

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    Enjoy the cruise, have a feeling you're gonna be a very busy vegemite when you get home.
     
  10. fasteddy

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

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    Enjoy your cruise Ed, im sure we will all understand if your focus gets redireted on the cruise and you dont get any time to do anything except have lots of fun :D
     
  11. remoteutah

    remoteutah Full Time Elf

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    Agreed - have as much fun as you can. None of us deserve it more than you!
     
  12. smartalec

    smartalec Im a SmartAlec what can i say! Community Project Designer

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    Hows this project comming along?
    is it ready for us to start placing orders? an how much?
    also how many extra universe's would you get on top of the 8 the p2 has?
     
  13. battle79

    battle79 Full Time Elf

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    Seeing as it's been a month I thought I might just see if you have had time to organise some pricing and product for the XCG-X2A?

    Can't wait to be able to schedule and remove the PC.

    Cheers,
    Rowan
     
  14. jediknight2

    jediknight2 Full Time Elf

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    For the person who asked the universe question...pulled this from a post

    "XCG-X2A - a daughter board that attachs to the ECG-x2 series. Provides more LED indicators, option switches, microSD slot, RTC w/battery, and two additional pixel string outputs (1 universe per string)."
     
  15. harrison0550

    harrison0550 Full Time Elf

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    Any new updates in the works Ed?

    Still very interested in the XCG-X2A. I will be up in Knox for 2 days on either 2/18 - 2/19 or 2/20 - 2/21. I'll buy you lunch if you'll sale me some new cool toys to mess with. ;)
     

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