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nmonkman

Length of Network

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I have 23 controllers currently but will be adding more. For several years I have mounted them all in cabinets and then ran extension cord out to the lights. because of cross talk issues and spending tons on SPT2 cord, I want to move these out to the yard in individual enclosures. I am aware that you should not run CAT5 or 6 cable greater than a distance of "x".

If I place these at say a maximum of 50' intervals, is that distance "x" only between controllers or is "x" the limit of the length of the overall network? (i.e. if x = 150 LF then would I be limited to 3 controllers and have to run additional networks?)

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31 minutes ago, nmonkman said:

I have 23 controllers currently but will be adding more. For several years I have mounted them all in cabinets and then ran extension cord out to the lights. because of cross talk issues and spending tons on SPT2 cord, I want to move these out to the yard in individual enclosures. I am aware that you should not run CAT5 or 6 cable greater than a distance of "x".

If I place these at say a maximum of 50' intervals, is that distance "x" only between controllers or is "x" the limit of the length of the overall network? (i.e. if x = 150 LF then would I be limited to 3 controllers and have to run additional networks?)

I had 11 AC controllers that were from around 50 to 120' of Cat5 due to the way I ran it through my wall and out my security camera ports.  I also had SPT1 and 2 cords that were over 125' mini trees, props going from my mega tree across the yard 175' wide and across the 20' driveway without failure.

I do have 10 networks though due to data loss in the past so that may give you some info. 

After 5 AC controllers went down from age or whatever at Halloween I ended up with 21 AC controllers used at Christmas along with multiple pixie16's.

My only problem was with a -3 degree night all of my pixels froze up within 5 minutes. I made that the last night of the show in January. The very next day when the temps went above 30 they all worked again.

Hopefully this answered your questions.

JR

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The length of any Ethernet (E1.31 for you light folk) run is 100 Meters from the drivers (Usually the switch or device). No Daisy chain allowed.

RS 485 (the standard LOR network) allows 4000ft (when properly terminated at the cable ends) on a single network. eg. a 'Y" arrangement with the dongle at the stubby base of the Y, would have both tops terminated, but not at the base) the Term<->Term should not exceed 4000', the spur (bottom) should be very short, since it can't be terminated. Star configurations are not permitted.   (Has anyone tried with an active  RS485 splitter?)

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24 minutes ago, TheDucks said:

The length of any Ethernet (E1.31 for you light folk) run is 100 Meters from the drivers (Usually the switch or device). No Daisy chain allowed.

Daisy chains are allowed if you have a controller with a built in switch as some of the Falcon controllers do. But as a rule the standard controllers do not.

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The one thing the ducks did not mention about the RS-485 standard is that the spec calls for a max of 32 devices, so you have some room there, but you’re getting close enough to have to think about it.  If those are all 16 & 24 channel controllers, you should not have a channel congestion issue unless you are running at very slow network speed.  However if you are running any pixel controllers on that network, you could run into a channel count issue.  If you can go to an enhanced network or 500K speed (both require Gen 3 controllers, and enhanced network requires a Pro level software license), you can go to lots more channels.  If you need to add a second network, it is no big deal.  As for your last question, there is no minimum or maximum distance between controllers other that the 4,000 foot total length.

 

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7 hours ago, k6ccc said:

The one thing the ducks did not mention about the RS-485 standard is that the spec calls for a max of 32 devices,

 

I forgot about that issue :o  LOR needs a bit more talk about network topology (issues) like this in the Adapter manual

 

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24 minutes ago, TheDucks said:

I forgot about that issue :o  LOR needs a bit more talk about network topology (issues) like this in the Adapter manual

 

I remember when I started RGB's with the pixie16's and Beta testing, it was "mandatory" to have the RS-485-HS (Red adapter) to run LOR Enhanced 500K. Then when I started helping all of the new memebrs with their pixie configurations and almost nobody had the HS adapters but for setup we used the black and low and behold they worked. However I did tell the person that I could not guarantee that they would work on their show once everything was setup and added. I always suguested they get the HS adapter.

Last night I helped someone and they said that LOR didn't metion that and I said they never have. I then sent him the link and I noticed a change in the RS-485-HS adapter ad. "If you currently have a 500K working port utilizing the black adapter there is no need to replace it". I felt like crap after that.

So it appears the black adapter works, however I remember my problems last year, they were all solved by adding my 10 HS networks.

Now I just need to find out if there is a temp (cold) issue with the pixies. All of my pixie props shut down at -3 degree. They all worked the next day when the temp warmed up to 30. Yes here in Alabama -3.

If any of you tech guys know about the pcb limitations. 

I narrow it to the pixies because 1- I had a mixture of LOR CCR's, LOR Pixels, HC Pixels, HC Ribbons and Ebay Pixels. They all just down after starting to lag and all within 5 minutes. They ran fine up until that point. The AC controllers and led lights worked on. I did shut the breakers off to the controllers that shut down and the rest of the show went off as scheduled. The next morning I reset the breakers and started the show. All worked.

JR

Edited by dibblejr

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When you build your Pixie enclosures if you put one of the power supplies in the box with the controller it will help with the cold.

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4 minutes ago, Mr. P said:

When you build your Pixie enclosures if you put one of the power supplies in the box with the controller it will help with the cold.

All of my controllers have their power supplies right along with them. Power supplies were still running when I shut them down.

I waited until the last night of the show to video and that was when they shut down so I have it on video. Funny part, I didn't even realize it until the circles just froze up mid cycle. CCR tree and matrix were both black.

JR

Edited by dibblejr

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1 minute ago, dibblejr said:

All of my controllers have their power supplies right along with them. Power supplies were still running when I shut them down.

JR

Do the Pixies have temp monitoring?

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1 minute ago, Mr. P said:

Do the Pixies have temp monitoring?

That's above my pay grade. 

IDK

 

I read it wrong, thought it said "Pixels". I don't think so, if so I believe that would be in the advanced config in which we have no source with pixies.

JR

Edited by dibblejr

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1 minute ago, dibblejr said:

That's above my pay grade. 

IDK

JR

I don't know about the Pixies in detail because I don't use them. I know other controllers have temp monitoring where you can actually see the temp they are running at in the software.

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Mr. P - I do not recall what controllers you use. The freeze up though that cold was a record has me looking to find another solution. 

 

JR

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Just now, Mr. P said:

I don't know about the Pixies in detail because I don't use them. I know other controllers have temp monitoring where you can actually see the temp they are running at in the software.

Yeah- being we don't have advance config I believe we do not have that capability.

JR

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I didn't think about throwing a space heater in the box. At the time I was thinking a blow torch or flame thrower, freezing my butt off and 25 mins later all shut down.

JR

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2 minutes ago, dibblejr said:

Mr. P - I do not recall what controllers you use. The freeze up though that cold was a record has me looking to find another solution. 

 

JR

I use to use Alphapix but they have been failing at an alarming rate so I have slowly been changing everything to Falcons as they fail.

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29 minutes ago, dibblejr said:

I remember when I started RGB's with the pixie16's and Beta testing, it was "mandatory" to have the RS-485-HS (Red adapter) to run LOR Enhanced 500K. Then when I started helping all of the new memebrs with their pixie configurations and almost nobody had the HS adapters but for setup we used the black and low and behold they worked. However I did tell the person that I could not guarantee that they would work on their show once everything was setup and added. I always suguested they get the HS adapter.

As I recall, it was a situation that the black adapter MAY work at 500K.  I suspect it's a case of using a short simple network and you can get away with it.  Similar to not terminating a RS-485 network.  The RS-485 spec absolutely requires termination, but most of us get away with not terminating because it's a fairly short simple network.

I absolutely recommend a red adapter for 500K networks.  In fact for such a small price difference, there is little reason to every buy a black one.

 

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3 minutes ago, k6ccc said:

As I recall, it was a situation that the black adapter MAY work at 500K.  I suspect it's a case of using a short simple network and you can get away with it.  Similar to not terminating a RS-485 network.  The RS-485 spec absolutely requires termination, but most of us get away with not terminating because it's a fairly short simple network.

I absolutely recommend a red adapter for 500K networks.  In fact for such a small price difference, there is little reason to every buy a black one.

 

I wish I understood the "termination" you speak of. Been meaning to ask but been a little busy with the flu.

While helping people with the pixie setups I had mentioned and LOR may have heard it via repeated calls that the black adapter worked in most of their cases, but as far as I know everyone ordered the adapter at my suggestion. Including my 11. LOL

JR

Edited by dibblejr

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A120 ohm resistor across the data pair at each end of the network.

 

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1 minute ago, k6ccc said:

A120 ohm resistor across the data pair at each end of the network.

 

Being only 1 data line how's that work, I read and followed all last year when you was referring to it but never understood. Is it soldered on the ground and data cable. Right now I use 3M5200 to seal my ends to protect from shorts.

JR

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1 minute ago, dibblejr said:

Being only 1 data line how's that work, I read and followed all last year when you was referring to it but never understood. Is it soldered on the ground and data cable. Right now I use 3M5200 to seal my ends to protect from shorts.

JR

Data pair are pins 4 & 5 in the cat 5. Your very last controller in a network will only have one cat5 cable going in so you make a terminator and plug that into the second rj45 port.

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12 minutes ago, Mr. P said:

Data pair are pins 4 & 5 in the cat 5. Your very last controller in a network will only have one cat5 cable going in so you make a terminator and plug that into the second rj45 port.

Dang, you made that sound simple and will be implemented this year. I was thinking at the end of the strings/ strips since they were in my mind the end of the run.

Thank you 

JR

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For end of the network terminators, I build up RJ-45 connectors that have an RJ-45 connector with a 120 ohm 1/8 watt resistor between pins 4 & 5, and  a second 120 ohm 1/8 watt resistor between pins 1 & 2.  The reason for the resistor on pins 1 & 2 is that one of these days I may end up doing something with DMX equipment and DMX uses pins 1 & 2 for the data.  The termination plug plugs into the unused connector on the last controller.  For the adapter end of the network, I have a RJ-45 jack (commonly called a biscuit) at the end of the cable going out into the yard.  I terminate the the data pair in the jack and then have a short patch cable to the USB adapter.

 

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I noticed the new (v2) Pixie4's have a Jumper assigned as Termination. That makes it simple, JUST jumper the last unit on the line. 

 

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2 minutes ago, TheDucks said:

I noticed the new (v2) Pixie4's have a Jumper assigned as Termination. That makes it simple, JUST jumper the last unit on the line. 

 

That may solve a problem for a few of my runs this year. Outline. I wonder if the new pixie8 with jumpers have it as well. Now gonna have to look at the pcb specs.

Thanks

JR

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