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hasslerk

S5, G3-MP3 Director, and lessons learned

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Contrary to all opinions out here, I went and upgraded from S4 to S5 (5.2.2) after Thanksgiving in an attempt to incorporate a Pixie4 controller and some pixel arches.  After two weeks of fighting with a defunct show, scrounging these forums for someone with my similar setup and problems, learning the intricacies of the S5 software and the integrated preview design, and a lot of late nights with trial and error, I finally reached success with S5 last weekend.

Under S4, I used a G3-MP3 director and 8 controllers; 5xCTB16PCg3, 1xCMB24D, 2x50 Watt RGB floods, 2 wireless Light Linkers, and the show worked flawlessly.  The same show created via S5 without the pixie4 configured in would only light up one CTB16PCg3.  Everything looked like it should work in Preview, and there were no errors denoted.  After a number of days, I finally did the following:

1. Verify all controllers are actually 3rd generation (g3), which they were

2. Check, and then upgrade all firmware.

Sure enough, once I upgraded all the firmware to the latest revisions (which LOR HW Utility make very easy), a significant amount of the show started to work in S5 from the G3-MP3, but still not everything.

A check of my cat-5e connectivity made me realize that devices on "Net 2" of the G3-MP3 director were not working.  This was partly due to my misunderstanding of how to enable Net 2 in the HW Utility when creating the show, partly the type of devices on that link, partly due to my misconfiguration of "Aux A" in the Network editor (had not set it to "enhanced") and my misuse of it in the Sequence editor and Preview.  Basically what I did to fix everything was place anything "pixel" on "Aux A" in the Preview, and anything not pixel on Regular, and making sure the Cat 5e cabling matched.  When using the G3-MP3, NET 1 would be the "regular" network, and Net 2 would be "Aux A" and set to 500k.

To expand, when setting up a show via HW Utility, in step 3 make sure to select the box for "SD Card is for a Generation 3 or Newer Director", and then select "2" for number of ports.  The next screen will tell you that Port 1 will be for a regular network and Port 2 will be for Aux A network.  On Step 5 keep the "Strip MP3 Header" selected.  On Step 6 for the Port 1, select "57.6 (normal)", and in this step I chose to de-select "Output LOR enhanced channels as well as LOR normal (if available)". Pressing "Next" takes you to step 6 setup for Port 2, which I select 500K.  Creating the show with these selections and with the correct devices on each "Net" worked flawlessly.  I could now add in the pixie4 which set me off in this direction to begin with.

So one thing is for sure, S5 is way less forgiving than S4, at least in my original setup.  I had firmware issues, props misconfigured in preview, and cabling errors, but in the end none of it was errors with the S5 software itself.  After all this, I am happy I made the change to S5, and really like the consolidated interface and interaction.  I am still learning how to edit pixels, but for this season the pixel arches have some basic features to keep it entertaining.  Next year I hope to step it up to the next level.

Hope this helps someone...

Kurt

Woodlea Hills Lights

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Kurt,

1 hour ago, hasslerk said:

Hope this helps someone...

Good post. Stick around, as this season ends more people will be switching to S5. Posts like your are helpful in that they tell the story of how you got your show working. I think you will like S5 for pixels, lots of options.

One thing I've noticed this year (Christmas shows) is a lot of "My show works in Sequence Editor but not on the actual props" post. My recommendation to anyone switching to S5 is allow time to test before crunch time. If you can test props live during the off season if will help when you get all the props together for a show.

Alan...

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Good post. I too struggled a bit this year with similar issue. Using G3-MP3 with 2 networks and S5.

Another tip is that the Hardware Configuration MUST match the hardware designated when creating an SD card.

Also, there is no hardware settings on the Pixie controllers to reduce maximum intensity like you can on a Pixcon16.

 

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Kurt,

I also had some similar issues when I was running S4 pro for the Season. Go to LOR web site and look for a tab on Network Speeds. 3 things that you might want to look at is :

1. Is your Network set to ELOR or Enhanced mode?

2. Is speed, I had to kick my setting up to 500k as I was have slow responses, lights sticking in one sequence but not another my Pixie 16 tree was all messed up etc. 115k helped and might have been OK But.....(I was getting cold and 10 days before xmas and on and on)

3. Check and recheck your Cat 5 cables, they must be clean, ( high speed does not like  dirty connections) I have 1 at 200ft., 1 at 100ft.,1 at 50 ft. and several at 25ft.

You said that you are running 2  light linkers this might be your problem they are only good for 115k, LOR was telling me that I might want to go to 2 networks as I was getting close to max pixels of 2400? I played around a little and found that the Aux A port ran the same as the regular network until you config it for 2 networks, I split my loop of cat.5 cable and split my 2 pixie trees one on each leg along with other AC controllers and Floods helped a bunch.

I just went to S5 last month so its going to be show time in July (lots warmer for testing)

Good Luck next year,

Jack

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how do you get all of the rgb lights to work together throughout your whole display? I`m not sure how to get my pixel tree to sync with the arches and everything else. I would love to figure it out. your displays are awesome. I am using s5 pro.

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I don't understand your question.  You sync your RGB lights no different than non RGB lights.  Having them on two (or more) networks makes no difference at all.

 

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, rphelps68 said:

how do you get all of the rgb lights to work together throughout your whole display? I`m not sure how to get my pixel tree to sync with the arches and everything else. I would love to figure it out. your displays are awesome. I am using s5 pro.

I have the RGB spot lights that uplight on the house as well as the dumb LED strip along the bottom of the facia, and the leaping arches.  I will talk through both types.

For the RGB spots (both 10W and 50W) and the dumb LED strips, I have three channels identified for each "light" or strip (red, green and blue).  I then "mix" them to get the color I want.  It took a while to mix the colors to get the desired tint of orange that I use for halloween; Christmas is a lot easier color wise.  The 10W lights (x6) and dumb LED strips (x2) are driven by a CMB24D, and the two 50W floods are standalone as their own controller units.

The leaping arches (smart pixels) were much harder, as I was new to them as well as the new S5 software.  First off these lights and controller came as a set from Holidaycoro.  But due to my changing to S5 between seasons I had to set aside the alphapix (DMX) controller that came with it and replace it with a pixie4 from LOR.  I did not have the time to figure out the conversion from LOR to DMX, and for a reasonable amount of money that problem went away using the pixie4.  But it was still a hassle programming them (again, new to it).  To get the arches to work, I used the effects generator in S5, which for arches seems somewhat limited, as I think it is really meant more for pixel trees.  But I managed to get the moving effects I wanted.  To be honest, I could never seem to be able to program them to all just come on a solid color using the effects generator or by manipulating the channels.  The only way I could get the leaping arches to all light up as one color was to create the color I wanted against some other traditional channel and then cut/paste it into the leaping arches channels.  It was a brute force method but it worked in the time frame I had.  I hope this year to get more familiar with those aspects of controlling pixels.

Hope this helps.  And thanks for the compliment!

Cheers,

Kurt

Woodlea Hills Lights

Edited by hasslerk
Update signature block and thanks

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Jack,

I just realized I missed your post.  It came in while I was on business travel overseas.  Thanks for your inputs.

My wireless light linkers are only used to get out to my mega tree in the yard, which utilizes an AC controller (CTB16PCg3) and is on a "regular" network defined as 57.6K.  Since everything on this network are only AC controllers, I did not feel I needed a higher speed.  All my RGB dumb strips, spots and leaping arches are on the other "enhanced" network, set to run at 500k.

This year I will be adding at least two more colors to my LED mega tree.  I know it is probably easier to convert to pixels, but I have the lights and extra AC controllers so why not.  I plan to use the "LED mounting strips for M5 faceted lens" from Boscoyo Studios to create a nice red, green, blue vertical spacing (and maybe white).

Best of luck with S5.

Cheers,

Kurt

Woodlea Hills Lights

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I apologize.  My post last night to rphelps68 about how I setup my dumb RGB lights/strips was incorrect.  I crossed my thoughts between S4 and S5.  What I described was how I configured them in S4.  In S5, the channel configuration is done in the prop definition.  Refreshing my brain this morning, it took me a while and few trial and error mouse clicks to see how to set them to a specific color.  Seems like it may be more mouse clicks in S5 than it used to be in S4, but I guess that is progress.

I need to start porting my Halloween show over to S5, so I am sure I will learn more and hopefully some shortcuts.

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I think all of the above posts should be going to "Default" I just made a comment to Kurt. 

Thanks, Jack

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