Jump to content
Light-O-Rama Forums
btyson

PixCon16 Hardware Test

Recommended Posts

btyson    1

Hi All

I've been struggling for 2 days and hoping to connect with someone to assist me with my new PixCon16.

After several failed attempts to send data from my computer to the pixcon board I am trying to just start with basics.  I am now just trying to determine if my board and lights are good first.

I have reset the factory settings on the PixCon16 board.

My setup:

2 of the following power supplies (https://www.radioshack.com/products/radioshack-13-8vdc-19a-power-supply?variant=5717083653)

1 string of lights on channel 1 (http://www.aliexpress.com/item/18AWG-wire-100pcs-string-DC12V-12mm-WS2811-addressable-RGB-led-smart-pixel-node-with-all-BLACK/32660514511.html)

and one PixCon16 board, brand new delivered 2 weeks ago.

 

I was able to connect to the board via my computer and was able to verify the firmware as 1.4.9 (this is even higher than what is currently published on the LOR support site, it shows the latest firmware as 1.4.8)

 

Now I have taken the board off the network, done a factory reset, powered down and then powered back up

Power Light: solid ON

Status Light: solid ON

This is suppose to indicate that the board is powered and is receiving data (though no cat5/data is running to the board)

I then hold the Factory IP button for 3 seconds to put into Hardware test

Power Light: solid ON

Status Light: flashing rapidly 

This indicates that the hardware test is running

However, no lights are lighting

 

When I initially powered the board the lights did flash briefly white, so I think the lights are working.  This flash of white on the string of lights/pixels does not happen every time i power the board though.

Unfortunately I have no way to test lights independent of the board at this time.

First question, obviously, do you see anything wrong with above?

Secondly, in the config tool there is a setting on defining what type of pixels are running (in this case WS2811).  Do you think that the pixels have to be defined before the hardware test pattern to run correctly?  Or should the hardware test be able to run out of the box with its factory settings irregardless of the type of pixels?

 

Appreciate any assistance!!  

Thanks

Edited by btyson
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DevMike    429

1 - Is that a REGULATED power supply?  If it's not regulated, you are pushing 14V into pixels that are only looking for 12V.  That will shorten their life span if not completely kill them.  http://forums.lightorama.com/index.php?/topic/33029-the-cheap-transformer-and-why-you-shouldnt-use-it/

2 - Yes, you must first configure the pixel type before you can expect the hardware test to work.  The PixCon16 needs to know what kind of pixels are attached so that it can send the proper data up the pixel wire.  Start the LOR Network Preferences program and go thru it to set up the PixCon16 - pay attention to tab #2 where you select the pixel type.  While there, check the voltage the board is receiving (misc tab #3).  You really want it at 12V ;)

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mr. P    302

Also be aware that the pixels you have chosen (100 pixel string) will pull more power on full white then the Pixcon can handle. Each output on the Pixcon can handle up to 4a and your string will pull about 4.5a when on full white.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
larryk5    17

When I first connected some pixels to my PixCon I got the flash and then nothing! I had the pixels connected at the wrong end!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
indi    22

I think Mr P is right. The description says max per is .8w. I assume that is per pixel. If so, they will draw more than 4 amps. I bought mine from Holiday Light Express and they are .3w per pixel. So, if my math is right :  100x.3=30/12v=2.5 amps. And as DevMike said, power supplies very a great deal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
larryk5    17
10 minutes ago, indi said:

I think Mr P is right. The description says max per is .8w. I assume that is per pixel. If so, they will draw more than 4 amps. I bought mine from Holiday Light Express and they are .3w per pixel. So, if my math is right :  100x.3=30/12v=2.5 amps. And as DevMike said, power supplies very a great deal.

Could be the reason! Also I don't know about that power supply. I did use about 8 of the outputs on the PixCon with a variety of 2811 pixels and when I used the rectangular pixels 40 of them worked fine but when I when to 60 the last 20 where not as bright when white. All of them worked, just the colors where off!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
uncledan    33

Never trust math!  Hook them up and see how many amps they draw.  100 will be under 4 amps based upon my experiences.  This will vary though. If not you can lower the intensity a little bit.  100% intensity is almost too bright for me.  Never trust what China tells you. Get a meter and test yourself.  Pretty sure the Pixcon is rated for more than 4a per output.  They just put 4a fuses because each bank is rated for 32 amps.  I power inject all my pixels.  The board just pumps out data.  Less stress on the board and I run appropriate fuses for the wire size I've used.   If it's not white it needs power injection. DC is a whole different animal than AC....  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mr. P    302

100 of the ones in his description will not be under 4a. Also if you hooked up 8 of them on one bank, one of those power supplies per bank, then those power supplies are not strong enough to power them as those power supplies are re only around 220w.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
larryk5    17

I don't think this is solving the OP's problem! Good stuff to know but doesn't help him much.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
uncledan    33
2 hours ago, larryk5 said:

I don't think this is solving the OP's problem! Good stuff to know but doesn't help him much.

Sorry about that! Starting to remember why I stopped coming around.  I was trying to help and not just repeat what everyone else had said..  More help than your last post nagging at me..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
uncledan    33
4 hours ago, Mr. P said:

100 of the ones in his description will not be under 4a. Also if you hooked up 8 of them on one bank, one of those power supplies per bank, then those power supplies are not strong enough to power them as those power supplies are re only around 220w.

This might be the case being over 4 amps. Like I said results will vary, always test! I just tested 100 12v 2811 bullets and was 4.08 amps. The OP stated 100 pixels on one output, not 800 on 8 outputs.  Last year I powered a few elements from the boards and utilized 6 of the 8 outputs and kept the total amps on that bank under 30.  Two spare outputs and increased the fuses from 4a to 6a.  This was an Advatek Pixlite16 which I believe makes the the Pixcon16 and Advatek advised me this was OK as long as total amps on the bank didn't exceed 32 amps.  Not sure if that is the same for the Pixcon just throwing it out there in case someone wants to power more than 4a per output from the board if its even possible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mr. P    302

I apologize if anyone thinks I got off topic but if I see a potential problem then I am going to speak up and I would hope someone would do that for me as well.

Just by looking at the specs of the lights and power supplies the OP linked in their post I see potential problems and whether it is part of the problem they are having, well that is something the OP will have to check out.

According to the advertised specs those 100 pixel string lights pull more power then the outputs on the Pixcon can handle at 4a and the power supplies are too small.

On average a 50 pixel string goes 36w at 2.2a, some are higher and some are lower this is an average you can double that for 100 pixel strings. If you filled the board with 50 pixel strings that would require 288w per bank or 576w per bank if you are using 100 pixel strings plus you should always calculate a 20% overhead as you don't want your power supplies running at 100% all the time.

I don't know the OPs overall goal or setup, I just see potential issues with the equipment they have listed so I am speaking up and hopefully save some heartache and frustration in the future, that will ultimately be their decision.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
larryk5    17

I think it's all good information that anyone new to the hobby should know. And I like reading all the inout. I was just reading the original post and he can't even get the lights to come on. I would think that is more of a configuration problem rather than a power draw issue. Maybe I'm totally wrong, but I would think if he has it configured correctly in the setup the lights should light up even if they are not bright.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
btyson    1

I appreciate all the replies, every little bit helps, i have been doing LOR for 10 years now, the last few have been with dumb RGB and CCR's, I am diving into pixcon/smart pixels head first and crashing.   Truth is I am neither a computer network guru nor any smarts around electrical wiring.   But I am eager to learn and try and keep trying until I get it right.  I appreciate everyone's advice and planning on doing some more testing today.   I will let you all know what i find in the next few hours.  

DevMike,Indi,Larryk5,UncleDan,MrP, thank you for taking the time to reply, the fact that you have taken the time to read my post and reply is awesome!!  Thank you so much!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mr. P    302
18 minutes ago, indi said:

First thing I would do, is check the fuses.

I second that, the OP stated that when he first powered on the board the lights flashed white, that could have been the fuse blowing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
saxon    92

I am not familiar with the pixacon but I do know that if your data is hooked to the clock instead of the data, 2811 will go white. At least that's what happened to me, huh, I mean my friend when he did that once.:unsure:

Just something to double check along with the fuse.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DevMike    429
11 hours ago, uncledan said:

Sorry about that! Starting to remember why I stopped coming around.  I was trying to help and not just repeat what everyone else had said..  More help than your last post nagging at me..

 

Everything in this thread so far has been a help.  Please remember that while you (not YOU, but others reading this) may feel that a msg is not contributing, the only person who can make that call is the person asking the question themselves.

Everything here (including what you posted, you being uncledan along with everyone else) that has something to do with the pixels, the board, configuration, or power is great.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
btyson    1

OK, sorry for the delay everyone and appreciate the responses

I have had significant issues with trying to set up the network, this is my first year trying to go through ethernet/cat5 and trying to use an old work computer that has its own issues.

I also had to move everything, wife feels that the kitchen table is not the appropriate place for testing...

That said I think I am in good shape with the Hardware test, HUGE sigh of relief!

Originally with all my network issues (yes I had wifi turned off) I gave up configing the board which started me on this hardware test journey, alas, as DevMike indicated, there was no getting around that.

I was trying to run Cat5 directly from PC to pixcon board, and I was getting inconsistent connection results and it was just a mess

Went out and got a router and plugged both computer and pixcon board into router

set my computer up with a static IP, 192.168.2.2 (yes, i had to watch a youtube vid to figure out how to set a static IP, so sad)

router IP is 193.168.2.1

board is running on DHCP and currently reading 192.168.2.3

 

I made 2 changes to the board settings from the default

Pixel Type: from TLS3001 to WS2811/12

Number of Nodes (pixels) per port: 50 to 100

Note: I am getting below error trying to save settings to pixcon board

          "An error occured updating the board.  The error information is:

          Error number:529

          Description: Configuration Update does not match

          (Debug Info: Pos:162.142 141)

          Please ensure that the board is still powered up and connected to the

          network.  Retry the update"

I was reading some other posts which eluded to the board rebooting and not having enough time before the timeout expected a response, so I am thinking its something like that...

Anyway, upon searching for board again and seeing the settings on the board, it looks as though the settings are saving just fine.

 

Additionally, as indi and MrP indicated, even though I felt like I had already checked 1000 times, a fuse was blown.  So with that swapped I powered the board back up and put in hardware mode.

I have 100 beautifully blinking pixels behind me as I type, scared to turn it off actually.

Now, to focus a bit on power, because this is where my inexperience will show...

Right now on the board, on the misc tab I am getting the following:

Bank 1 Voltage 14V

Bank 2 Voltage 14.1V

Sounds like based on indi's comments this might be too much power and possibly blow fuses, put extra wear on lights, etc.

I would like to discuss further so I am going to start another thread on PixCon16 power supply, I am very interested in UncleDan's comment on power injection and curious on how others have wired their solution and possibly discuss what power supplies you all are using.  Wondering if that post is more for general rather than here in LOR Hardware category...

 

larryk5, your comment on the wrong-end being wired is interesting, on the pixels the wiring instructions are as follows:

"wiring instruction:

input:the side without IC of the pcb

the first wire from left: DC12V+

middle wire:DAT

the left wire from the left: GND"

So... as you can see, clear as mud instructions. but the one that reads "input:the side without IC of the pcb" is interesting however I have no clue what it means.

 

Saxon, thanks for your point out on the clock lead.

Thank you all so much for contributing, I was scared I had a $700 pile of nothing here.  Always nerve wracking to take on a new technology, I went though a similar feeling when I went Dumb RGB and CCR, but this has been much worse, you all however have saved me!

Shouldn't be too long for my next post.

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DevMike    429

Woo!  Sounds good!

Yes, that voltage for 12V pixels is far to high.  That is an unregulated power supply (or if it is regulated it's set to 14V  Ouch).

If you can, take them back to Radio Scrap and get your money.  Then take a look at Mean Well drivers (power supplies)--> http://www.meanwellusa.com/ .  They make excellent power supplies that are rock solid.  I believe you can purchase them from places like Mouser, and even Amazon sells them: http://amzn.to/1sJQh3y

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mr. P    302

Glad you got it working, keep an eye on the fuses. If you use full white for any period of time you will likely blow them again.

As DevMike stated I would return the power supplies and look at some larger ones that are regulated.

As for the direction of the bulbs, the pcb is the little green board you can see through the clear bulbs. The ic is the little square black chip in the middle of the pcb. Power and data have to flow in one direction through the lights. If you get a magnifying glass you can even read the info on the pcb, + Data -, it may even state in and out or have an arrow.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
indi    22

Meanwell are good power supplies. They can be adjusted to the voltage needed.  You need a volt/ohm meter. Does hurt to check the voltage when you get It. Mine is a 360 watt power supply. Good luck .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
k6ccc    499

Glad you got it working.

Sent from my Droid Turbo via Tapatalk, so blame any typos or spelling errors on Android

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×