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scubanimal

How much can I put on a single network, and how to tell the limits of USB

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Hello all,  

    Like many of you the lights started going up this past weekend and I ran tests of the show. I clearly have some issues.   I'm running   (2) pixie16s ( each running 800 pixels) ,  (3) CCBs (100 pixels each),  and (3) 16 channel controllers.      I initially was running this on a single enhanced LOR network, but clearly that was too much as the further the controller was down the chain the less data it received.     I am not sure just breaking it into 2 enhanced LOR networks is going to be enough.  Then I started thinking that maybe this very old laptop I've been using might not be pushing out the data fast enough out the USB ports.    I have a vague memory that the USB ports can be set to higher speeds but default to lower speeds.  

      I'm running win7, on a laptop that is at least 10 years old.        What I'm wondering is that where should I focus,  meaning, do any of you  have high numbers of pixels running on very low end pcs?    That would tell me I need to figure out how to tell my system to up the output speed on the USB ports,     

     Also does anyone have thoughts on if 2 enhanced LOR networks will work?   I still have an other  1200 pixels (megatree)  to add, as well as one more 16ch Controller.         Or is it likely this PC is just to wimpy and I need to get something that supports USB3?    Actually I'm not sure this Laptop has USB2 ports, they might be USB1.   

    Thank you,

            Ian 

   

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You can't squeeze USB3 speeds out of USB2 HW. (I assume this is not a 386 which might only have USB1.x.  What cipset does the device manager indicate?), But AFAIK the dongles are only USB2.x .

60MBps is the theoretical maximum, but I think that is spread out over the (internal Root) Hub

I think I saw one member running 7 @ LOR dongles (at unknown speeds) , so speed is probably not an issue if you run Enhanced mode on an insane sized Pixel only network .

 

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Back in the old days (before 500K speed or enhanced network were available), the rough rule of thumb for a 115K LOR network was six CCRs or 900 channels.  With 500K you get three to four times that much.  Enhanced networking adds some more.  At Expo 2016 or 2017 the LOR show demo was running 2400 pixels on a single network without trouble.

You would be hard pressed to run enough LOR networks to exceed your computer's USB capability.

One thing to stick in the back of your mind.  Since you have a Pro level license, are you running intensity files?  I assume so since you are running S5, but running Intensity files makes a huge difference in CPU requirements - particularly with your old computer.

 

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I certainly would start out by checking the speed you have your Com ports set at that are connected to the LOR Network.

It is in the device manager under com ports not sure which tab for win 7.

As i posted in a different thread. 

I have 8 gen 2 and gen 3 controllers on a single network ...2 pixie 16's,  3 pixie 2's , 3 pixie 8's see below......... 

For what it is worth....another data point

I upped my AUXA 500K enhanced LOR front yard network this year, by adding some new RGB props. It  has about 600 feet of cat5 wiring and 8 controllers.

I now have just over 3100 pixels and upwards of 9000 channels.

I use 1/10th second timings. Some musical sequences are ambitious as far as color changes. 

I finished my final testing last night and no problems seen.

I do have a newer pc however.

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Thank you all for your input.      Steve, I think you are on the right track,   If you have that much (Jim has a fair bit too) , I don't think I'm doing intensities, at least I didn't set them (maybe some of my purchased sequences have them but that would just be the Mega Trees then.    Therefore the most likely suspect is the port settings,   I'll look at device manager tonight and see if I can figure that out.    This PC is newer than 486, so then must be USB2,  though I'm using 1/20th of second timings, and many of my sequences are ambitious for sure; but they worked in the past when I had fewer pixels.  

 

  Thank you again!!  

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1 hour ago, scubanimal said:

Thank you all for your input.      Steve, I think you are on the right track,   If you have that much (Jim has a fair bit too) , I don't think I'm doing intensities, at least I didn't set them (maybe some of my purchased sequences have them but that would just be the Mega Trees then.    Therefore the most likely suspect is the port settings,   I'll look at device manager tonight and see if I can figure that out.    This PC is newer than 486, so then must be USB2,  though I'm using 1/20th of second timings, and many of my sequences are ambitious for sure; but they worked in the past when I had fewer pixels.  

 

  Thank you again!!  

I believe Network Preferences forces the USB port speed, just like any other RS232 or Modem

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13 minutes ago, TheDucks said:

I believe Network Preferences forces the USB port speed, just like any other RS232 or Modem

Correct.  Almost everything overrides the port speed in Device Manager.

 

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Well..... shoot....  that puts me back at square one.     If the port speed is sufficient, and a LOR enhanced (has to be with S5) is good enough for my load (should be based on your experience)....   I'm  not sure where to look now.  

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Bring up Windows Task Manager while the show is running and see what the CPU load is.

 

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Ian,

From what I see of your first post, these are the channels I count.

2 Pixie16 16 Ports of 50 Pixiel strings
16 ports X 50 pixels = 800 pixels. 800 pixels X 3(RGB channels) = 2,400 channels X 2 (pixie16's) = 4,800 channels

3 CCB's X 100 pixels = 300 pixels. 300 pixels X 3(RGB channels) = 300 channels X 3 (CCB's) = 900 channels

3 CTB16(?) X 16 AC channels = 48 channels

4,800 channels
  900 channels
   48 channels
--------------
5,748 Total Channels

LOR recommends that the each Pixie16's be run on thier networks. which tells me that 2,400 channels per network is a good number to go with. You were more than double that. This answers the question in my mind.

So since you have 2 Pixie16's, that's at least 2 networks with each having it's own USB RS485-HS adapter.

5,748 total channels - 4,800 channels (2 Pixie16's) leaves you with 948 channels on third network. The 948 channels on the third network would be fine. If you added your additional 1,200 channels (megatree) to the 948 you would only have 2,148 channels on the third network. Provided this network uses a USB-RS485-HS adapter also.

Another way to look at this, is that each additional network will cost you $31.95 (non-sale cost of an USB-RS485-HS) using a USB-RS485-HS adapter. Much cheaper than a laptop.

I wouldn't get to hung up on the laptop or the USB ports. I ran more than what you have on a notebook. To me the key here is spreading the load through additional networks.

Can you get away with more that 2,400 channels on a network?, maybe... It depends on the amount of effect being pushed to the controller. As Jim's said, in the old days 900 channels on a network was pushing it is correct. I experienced lag, even though I didn't I had that complex of sequences, certainly not what is available now with S5 motion effects. Now with Intensity files, that number has gone up. I use the 2,400 channels per Pixie16 as my base number for channel count per network. Others may do more, but again a lot of that depends on what controllers are on the network and the amount of effects being pushed..

Personnaly, I would add two additional networks, then test it with what you have. If need be, then get another laptop. At least you will have the networks already setup, which indicated by your channel counts you should be running anyways.

Alan...

 

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Alan,

   Thank you that make sense.   I think if I'm doing the math right, as I have 2 Pixie16s, 1 Pixcon16 (talk about that later), 3 CCBs, and the 4 CTB16s, then I need to have 4 networks.  That is fine I have the Rs485 converts; and that is easy to test.   This old laptop though is limited on USB ports.  So assuming what Jim & TheDucks said and the USB ports are forced to a max throughput then I should be able to put on a USB hub and use that ..... right ... ?    

    I would not have to buy laptop, I would just pull it from my CnC I just hate to do that... I need it to max xmas gifts :)    besides being my favorite tool.....

    Thank you again!!

 

    Side note,  has there been a change to the PixCon16 for S5??   When I tested mine early July it connected up and tested fine, when to connect it tonight and I'm not seeing it on the network.  Checked on the LOR website and their "Big picture" shows a new configuration from what I remember...    I did direct connect (computer to network on card) for config then RS485 to router to J3/J4 on the PixCon16, now they show that as direct..... I know I'm getting old.... but.....

 

Alan thank you very much that limit of 2400 channels per network I had forgotten (along with so many other things).     Thank you!!!

 

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Yes, on the hub(s). I have 2. Here's a box I made for all my USBRS485 adapters and thier hubs, I got tired of the mess and wanted to consolidate this tangle of wires in an easy to store and carry box. I made it at work on our CNC. 😁  I mic'd the size of the adapters and cut the holes on the CNC. I didn't need to go through all that, but I was practicing using the router. I just got another Pixie16 tonight, I am going to cut the materials for the prop on the CNC router. Why hand drill 800 holes when the router can do it faster and a whole lot more accurate than I can, provided I lay it out properly. 😋

Don't know much about the PixCon, don't have one.

Alan... 

 

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I HIGHLY recommend using a powered USB hub rather than one that is taking power from the computer.  When I run my year round show from my server, I have to use a hub.

 

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1 minute ago, k6ccc said:

I HIGHLY recommend using a powered USB hub rather than one that is taking power from the computer.  When I run my year round show from my server, I have to use a hub.

 

Jim I might be wrong, I'll have to look, but I thought I read somewhere that LOR didn't want you to use powered USB's.

If I am wrong, please correct me. In my case, everything (so far) runs fine with the non powered hubs but I did upgrade this year to a new laptop for running the shows.

Alan...

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Alan,

     Thank you,  Nice box, you mentioned a router, yet your box looks like metal.  Must be nice CNC to do that.  I have small spindle on my CNC but I have not yet dared to metal on it yet; have stuck to wood and a little plastic; but sure is fun.    My mini-trees tops & bases came out the CNC, I need to post pics of those at some point. 

  Thank you, I have a powered hub, I'll use that.  

  I am able to see the pixcon16 with a direct connect, now to back to manual to figure out to run the show that way and I should be back in business.. :):)

 

 Thank you again... !!!

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1 minute ago, default said:

Jim I might be wrong, I'll have to look, but I thought I read somewhere that LOR didn't want you to use powered USB's.

If I am wrong, please correct me. In my case, everything (so far) runs fine with the non powered hubs but I did upgrade this year to a new laptop for running the shows.

Alan...

That would be news to me.  I ALWAYS use powered hubs when I have a choice.

 

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I've always used powered hubs for my other computer work as well, never seen an issue, and I've used some fairly sensitive UI custom gear.    Only thing I can see is you don't want your power cable laying in parallel with your data cables.   For folks with lots of CTBs (i.e powered lines) and data lines, be sure they cross at right angles and avoid the urge to put them in nice tight of parallel bundles.... looks good but can cause havoc....  

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Jim,

I am probably wrong. A quick read of the USB485 adapters manual i found this.

Quote

If a USB485B or USB485-ISO is powering LOR accessories, like an RF-V4 Wireless Module, a DC-MP3 Show Director or anmDM-MP3 miniDirector, the USB485B or USB485-ISO should be connected to a USB port on the PC, not to a hub.
Using a USB hub may severely restrict the power available to the adapter which in turn may not be able to power the accessory.

My bad.

Alan...

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Ian,

Our CNC router table at work is a 5'X10' table. We cut aluminum, wood, plastic, foam. Here's another thread of a prop i bulit using the router to cut all my strips. Worked great, but I didn't drill the holes the right size. This time around I got the right size for the holes. I'll do a "How I made this prop" post when it's finaly done.

Alan...

 

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5x10..... what I wouldn't give to have access to one of those.... My little hobby one is nice but not in that league.  

That is great you can use it for 'off-work' fun.... I worked in a sheet metal shop in high school made all sorts of fun things after work... :) 

The documentation on the pixcon16... is... giving me fits

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Amazing what you can find re-reading documentation....    found a few things that cause me rethink what the root cause may be.  

   I assumed I had an issue with throughput speeds because the lights were not behaving anywhere near what they did in the previews.    Tonight before seeing the great replies and suggestions from folks I did break up my show on to 2 networks (mega tress & 1 CCB on 1 network) everything else on the other which resulted on one mega tree working well and the CCBs working sometimes, only 1-2 arches would work, and the lights from the CTBs inconsistent,  1 was fine the others not so good.    Anyway,  I suspect that one of the root causes in addition to Alan's point about needing to break into more networks is I had forgotten that one of the CTBs was a kit, and those are very limited in bandwidth (115K max) and just happens to be #2 in line, right after the one controller (faces) that is working good.    I'm guessing here, but I suspect that in addition to the overloaded networks, that I need to put that CTB on its own dedicated (slow) network. 

 

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6 hours ago, default said:

Jim I might be wrong, I'll have to look, but I thought I read somewhere that LOR didn't want you to use powered USB's.

If I am wrong, please correct me. In my case, everything (so far) runs fine with the non powered hubs but I did upgrade this year to a new laptop for running the shows.

Alan...

AFAIK Everyone reccomends POWERED USB Hubs over underpowered hubs

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7 hours ago, scubanimal said:

Amazing what you can find re-reading documentation....    found a few things that cause me rethink what the root cause may be.  

   I assumed I had an issue with throughput speeds because the lights were not behaving anywhere near what they did in the previews.    Tonight before seeing the great replies and suggestions from folks I did break up my show on to 2 networks (mega tress & 1 CCB on 1 network) everything else on the other which resulted on one mega tree working well and the CCBs working sometimes, only 1-2 arches would work, and the lights from the CTBs inconsistent,  1 was fine the others not so good.    Anyway,  I suspect that one of the root causes in addition to Alan's point about needing to break into more networks is I had forgotten that one of the CTBs was a kit, and those are very limited in bandwidth (115K max) and just happens to be #2 in line, right after the one controller (faces) that is working good.    I'm guessing here, but I suspect that in addition to the overloaded networks, that I need to put that CTB on its own dedicated (slow) network. 

 

I have a dedicated slow network.  My Regular network is 56k non-Enhanced.  All that is on it is an InputPup - because you can’t read inputs on an enhanced network.  AuxA is 115k Enhanced and has all my CTB and CMB controllers.  Although all my controllers will handle 500k, there is less than 100 channels, so don’t need the speed on that network.  Next year that network will get an additional 96 channels.  My AuxB network is 500k Enhanced and has my 300 CCPs and will eventually have a CMB-24 added to it.  AuxB is used for Christmas only, whereas the other two are used year round.  Everything else in the yard is E1.31 (134 universes this year).  So none of my networks are heavily loaded.  Part of my split was because of enhanced capabilities vs not - before all my controllers were updated.  Now it’s just Christmas only vs year round.

 

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Sounds very well structured and organized Jim.    Hoping the day passes quickly so I can get home and redo my networks, I'm really hoping that is issue of why some of my lights are not working right.  I need to add in a wireless linker anyway (neighbor wants me to do their lights) so this will work out nicely anyway. 

     I keep hoping that my software learning curve will flatten and I can finally take the time to learn DMX,   what you have looks so cool,   but not this year, S5 is still a mostly a mystery; though I'm functional in the areas I need to be. 

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