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Thread: E682 upcoming firmware upgrade

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    Registered User Samj435's Avatar
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    Default E682 upcoming firmware upgrade

    It appears as if there is an upcoming firmware update for the E682 and the E681 with the wiznet adapter upgrade. This upgrade will allow for up to 12 universes (6144 channels) of data! This is achieved through unicast, which will also help with not overloading sockets with multicast traffic.

    The update also has some new features such as the SACN priority fields, to allow multiple senders of data and which one receives priority.

    Here is what Jim St. John posted on DIYC:

    The new firmware will only be, at least for the time being, for boards that have the upgraded ethernet module. Honestly, for the $33 cost of the UPG1 upgrade module, you gain a ton of capacity.

    The board is still limited to a maximum of 6 universes in multicast mode, but you can go up to 12 in unicast mode. Although it's technically possible to do up to 8 multicast universes, it keeps the code and user interface a lot cleaner to limit it to 6.

    One wiznet socket is permanently configured for unicast, 6 for multicast, and 1 for the web server. The unicast socket is allocated a much larger receive buffer than the multicast sockets to prevent buffer overruns when a burst of unicast packets comes in.

    There have been a couple of modifications to the wiznet driver, one for a speed tweak, the other to allow a custom buffer memory configuration.

    This firmware will also support SACN priority, so that if 2 senders are sending to the same universe(s) the controller will only respond to the one sending at the highest priority.

    A couple of final comments re unicast/multicast. Even though the board is limited to 6 multicast universes, it will work reliably in an environment where there are 100+ multicast universes being broadcast. This is only possible because of the multiple hardware socket capability of the wiznet. So even though, yes I am limited by the number of hardware sockets on the wiznet, the fact that there are multiple hardware sockets means that the E68x controllers will oeprate in a high-volume multicast environment where other boards might choke.

    If you don't have multiple hardware sockets, then the only choice is to open a socket in promiscuous mode, and doing that will cause it to receive every packet coming down the wire. If you're operating in an environment where there are 100 multicast universes, the hardware has to be able to receive and inspect 4,000 packets per second. At some point the hardware will just run out of capacity and be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of packets, and packets will start getting dropped. Now there are workarounds, mostly involving using smart ethernet switches that only route specific multicast packets to those ports that have requested them. The problem with this of course is that you are adding an additional layer of cost and complexity by requiring fairly sophisticated switches.

    Now is unicast the perfect solution? No, it has limitations as well. For one it adds one more step to the configuration, since the senders must know the specific IP address to send each universe to, whereas with multicast, if the universe numbers match you are good to go. There can be issues allso if you want to send the same universe to multiple receivers. Some senders may have this capacity, some may not. An example would be if you want a large pixel group to be addressed contiguously. Say you have 1024 pixels. Thats 6 full universes and a fraction of a 7th. So the first controller will use, say, universes 1-7. But the next controller will also need to see universe 7 if the address is to be free of gaps. If the sender can't send universe 7 to 2 different IP addresses, that's a problem.

    I think I'm rambling now....
    2014: Lights - 75,000; Channels - 500 Renard AC, 75 Renard DC, 10,000 Pixels; Vixen 3.0
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    Havin fun ! kidcole's Avatar
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    Default Re: E682 upcoming firmware upgrade

    This is good news. My spare E681 has the Wiznet upgrade to be similar to the E682. So that would be 12 strings of 170-pixels each string.

    The largest addressable Pixel strips that I've seen are 5 meters with 32 pixels per meter. 160 pixels total per strip. So one of these controllers would run 12 strips of this size ! In comparing these strips to the LOR CCR, they are just over 3 times as many pixels per strip. The CCRs are 30 LEDs per meter but wired as only 10 pixels per meter (3 LEDs per pixel) .. where the 32 pixels per meter strips have one pixel for EVERY LED. This would be quite a Mega-tree !! And all controlled by a single E682 (or upgraded E681). This would put the SanDevices controller on par with the ECG stuff ! It would best be run by 3 or 4 power supplies, rather than trying to cram it all into one supply. You'll need power injection at the far end of each strip anyhow, so having multiple supplies won't be a problem. This is a lot more capacity than I ever invisioned from the E681.

    I am curious how we would define the network with one unicast 12-universe controller, but also with mutiple other multi-cast E681s in the same network ?
    Thanks,

    Denny Cole
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/Cole...ristmasLights/

    Back to Work <unretired> so I went Static in 2017. Planning xLights when I retire <again>. Maybe 2019 ?

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    Registered User Samj435's Avatar
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    Default Re: E682 upcoming firmware upgrade

    Quote Originally Posted by kidcole View Post
    I am curious how we would define the network with one unicast 12-universe controller, but also with mutiple other multi-cast E681s in the same network ?
    I'm not sure how it's done in LOR, but it's almost as simple as multicast at least in Vixen. The only extra step would be to define the IP address of the destination. All other settings remain unchanged for the most part. You should be able to have a mix of multicast and unicast.
    2014: Lights - 75,000; Channels - 500 Renard AC, 75 Renard DC, 10,000 Pixels; Vixen 3.0

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    Toymaker/Delivery Guy Santa Shannon's Avatar
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    Default Re: E682 upcoming firmware upgrade

    Quote Originally Posted by kidcole View Post
    You'll need power injection at the far end of each strip anyhow, so having multiple supplies won't be a problem.
    Excuse the brief hijack, but I've seen this advice often and never understood how it can work, and I'm sure the EEs around here can set me straight. How can power injection work from both ends of a strip of diodes? Doesn't the nature of diodes necessitate that power flow in only one direction? Or maybe I'm missing a crucial detail, like they are wired in parallel to the supply wires and not series (like C9s not minis). Anyway, inquiring minds want to know.
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    Havin fun ! kidcole's Avatar
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    Default Re: E682 upcoming firmware upgrade

    Quote Originally Posted by Samj435 View Post
    I'm not sure how it's done in LOR, but it's almost as simple as multicast at least in Vixen. The only extra step would be to define the IP address of the destination. All other settings remain unchanged for the most part. You should be able to have a mix of multicast and unicast.
    Yes, I can see how the Unicast will be fine to the Gigabit interface on the E681/E682. But isn't the Multicast information also being sent on the same pipe ? Seems to me that would still put a crunch on the pipe with the Unicast ? Or does the switch automatically know not to combine Uni and Multi ? This is total learning curve for me, so I may be trying to use invalid logic. Let me know.

    Also there was some other feature that we talked about last year, as being required for future gigabit switches. I just remember that our current gigabit switches did not have that feature .. What was that feature and will we need to swap out our gigabit switches for it ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shanta View Post
    Excuse the brief hijack, but I've seen this advice often and never understood how it can work, and I'm sure the EEs around here can set me straight. How can power injection work from both ends of a strip of diodes? Doesn't the nature of diodes necessitate that power flow in only one direction? Or maybe I'm missing a crucial detail, like they are wired in parallel to the supply wires and not series (like C9s not minis). Anyway, inquiring minds want to know.
    Yes the power to each pixel is wired in parallel.
    Thanks,

    Denny Cole
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/Cole...ristmasLights/

    Back to Work <unretired> so I went Static in 2017. Planning xLights when I retire <again>. Maybe 2019 ?

    Falcon - 3 F16V3 & 1 PiCap, Sandevices - 2 E681 & 4 E6804, 288 Channels Lynx Express, 108 Channels DC DMX,
    10' Pixel MegaTree, CoroFlakes w/Pixel Modules, Pixel RBLs, 2 Pixel Matrix 16x25, 10" RGB Ornaments, 7x230 Pixel Icicle Matrix,
    Classic 20' AC Megatree, TIR Destiny RGB Spots, RGB Blowmolds, Wireframes, and Inflatables with External Light Control

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    Registered User Samj435's Avatar
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    Default Re: E682 upcoming firmware upgrade

    Quote Originally Posted by kidcole View Post
    Yes, I can see how the Unicast will be fine to the Gigabit interface on the E681/E682. But isn't the Multicast information also being sent on the same pipe ? Seems to me that would still put a crunch on the pipe with the Unicast ? Or does the switch automatically know not to combine Uni and Multi ? This is total learning curve for me, so I may be trying to use invalid logic. Let me know.

    Also there was some other feature that we talked about last year, as being required for future gigabit switches. I just remember that our current gigabit switches did not have that feature .. What was that feature and will we need to swap out our gigabit switches for it ?
    Yes, multicast is also being sent. The amount of data however is really quite small compared to the speed of the connection. On my gigabit network last year with 8 universes, I was using .02% of my network connection. All devices will recieve multicast packets, while only the intended device will recieve unicast.

    The more universes you put on unicast, the less multicast traffic you will have and therefore the less data running into any given device (except the switches, but it's not a problem for them).

    The feature you may be thinking of is called IGMP. This splits multicast traffic among diffrent legs of a network so you don't flood NIC adapters. Think of it as making multicast into psuedo-unicast. If you unicast to your controllers, you won't have to worry about this feature. In fact, I'm not sure how many universes you will need before you need this feature. With some shows at 100+ universes it still isn't an issue.

    I hope all that made sense!
    2014: Lights - 75,000; Channels - 500 Renard AC, 75 Renard DC, 10,000 Pixels; Vixen 3.0

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    Havin fun ! kidcole's Avatar
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    Default Re: E682 upcoming firmware upgrade

    This is great information @Samj435. I did not realize that we're not really using much of the g-bit pipe .. Yes, IGMP .. so I guess on that one it's still a loading issue. This sounds like I would nooed 40 or 50 universes before that might come into play. And before that can happen, we'll need some improved software from LOR !

    ONe of these days I would like to get together with you and your Netgear switch (same as mine) .. so we can figure out why I had all that activity going on even when not running a show. This could end up being the problem that was causing my Renard controllers to look bad (and not the Renards) .. !
    Thanks,

    Denny Cole
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/Cole...ristmasLights/

    Back to Work <unretired> so I went Static in 2017. Planning xLights when I retire <again>. Maybe 2019 ?

    Falcon - 3 F16V3 & 1 PiCap, Sandevices - 2 E681 & 4 E6804, 288 Channels Lynx Express, 108 Channels DC DMX,
    10' Pixel MegaTree, CoroFlakes w/Pixel Modules, Pixel RBLs, 2 Pixel Matrix 16x25, 10" RGB Ornaments, 7x230 Pixel Icicle Matrix,
    Classic 20' AC Megatree, TIR Destiny RGB Spots, RGB Blowmolds, Wireframes, and Inflatables with External Light Control

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    Registered User Samj435's Avatar
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    Default Re: E682 upcoming firmware upgrade

    Quote Originally Posted by kidcole View Post
    This is great information @Samj435. I did not realize that we're not really using much of the g-bit pipe .. Yes, IGMP .. so I guess on that one it's still a loading issue. This sounds like I would nooed 40 or 50 universes before that might come into play. And before that can happen, we'll need some improved software from LOR !

    ONe of these days I would like to get together with you and your Netgear switch (same as mine) .. so we can figure out why I had all that activity going on even when not running a show. This could end up being the problem that was causing my Renard controllers to look bad (and not the Renards) .. !
    I get off work at 6pm. Let me know anytime about two days in advance and I'll bring it with me.
    2014: Lights - 75,000; Channels - 500 Renard AC, 75 Renard DC, 10,000 Pixels; Vixen 3.0

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    Registered User mschell's Avatar
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    Default Re: E682 upcoming firmware upgrade

    Quote Originally Posted by Shanta View Post
    Excuse the brief hijack, but I've seen this advice often and never understood how it can work, and I'm sure the EEs around here can set me straight. How can power injection work from both ends of a strip of diodes? Doesn't the nature of diodes necessitate that power flow in only one direction? Or maybe I'm missing a crucial detail, like they are wired in parallel to the supply wires and not series (like C9s not minis). Anyway, inquiring minds want to know.
    Shanta,
    There are two wires that are connected to every pixel - +5V or +12V and ground. So current always flows in the same direction through each LED. However, the data signal is the one that says if a pixel is on or off and what color it is.

    However, especially with 5V pixels, after awhile, the 5V signal starts to lose it's umph or voltage level due to losses in the wire carrying the 5V. So by the end of the 50th pixel, the voltage available to that pixel is probably closer to 4V than 5. And so, even though the data signal says to turn on fully, it can't, because the voltage is lower than the first set of pixels.

    By connecting a wire to the 5V at the "end" of the strip or string or "injecting power" supplys voltage to both ends and therefore the voltage level stays closer to 5V then 4.

    It's usually recommended to inject power every 50 pixels for 5V strings/strips. Locating your power supply somewhere in the "middle" of the strings means that you have equal supply wire going to them and your voltage drop to each string is similar.
    Mark

    New location - new display. Looking forward to 2015 season!

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    Registered User mschell's Avatar
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    Default Re: E682 upcoming firmware upgrade

    Quote Originally Posted by Samj435 View Post
    Yes, multicast is also being sent. The amount of data however is really quite small compared to the speed of the connection. On my gigabit network last year with 8 universes, I was using .02% of my network connection. All devices will recieve multicast packets, while only the intended device will recieve unicast.

    The more universes you put on unicast, the less multicast traffic you will have and therefore the less data running into any given device (except the switches, but it's not a problem for them).

    The feature you may be thinking of is called IGMP. This splits multicast traffic among diffrent legs of a network so you don't flood NIC adapters. Think of it as making multicast into psuedo-unicast. If you unicast to your controllers, you won't have to worry about this feature. In fact, I'm not sure how many universes you will need before you need this feature. With some shows at 100+ universes it still isn't an issue.

    I hope all that made sense!
    IGMP, which takes several pieces to make work, allows a network switch to be more "intelligent" on what multicast universes it sends down each cable to each device. It takes an IGMP capable switch, devices that respond to IGMP queries, and an intelligent device to do the querying and tell the switch about it. None of the current devices that we use here currently respond to IGMP queries, so even if you have a good enough switch, it won't make a difference today.

    Denny, I don't know how your network and controllers were laid out. It's highly unlikely that your Renards or the E1.31-Renard bridge was overloaded by all the traffic. However, I don't know how LOR puts out the E1.31 packets and if it stops sending them when a show isn't running or what. I do know that LSP will stop sending E1.31 packets before/after the show.

    I can tell when it's sending packets by watching the lights on the network switch. The activity lights tend to blink frequently and in a recognizable pattern when E1.31 packets are being sent.
    Mark

    New location - new display. Looking forward to 2015 season!

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    Registered User Samj435's Avatar
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    Default Re: E682 upcoming firmware upgrade

    Quote Originally Posted by mschell View Post
    IGMP, which takes several pieces to make work, allows a network switch to be more "intelligent" on what multicast universes it sends down each cable to each device. It takes an IGMP capable switch, devices that respond to IGMP queries, and an intelligent device to do the querying and tell the switch about it. None of the current devices that we use here currently respond to IGMP queries, so even if you have a good enough switch, it won't make a difference today.

    Denny, I don't know how your network and controllers were laid out. It's highly unlikely that your Renards or the E1.31-Renard bridge was overloaded by all the traffic. However, I don't know how LOR puts out the E1.31 packets and if it stops sending them when a show isn't running or what. I do know that LSP will stop sending E1.31 packets before/after the show.

    I can tell when it's sending packets by watching the lights on the network switch. The activity lights tend to blink frequently and in a recognizable pattern when E1.31 packets are being sent.
    Mark,

    Good to know that our hardware doesn't support IGMP. I almost wanted to get an IGMP capable switch to "play" around with it.

    Vixen is the same way as LSP, only sends packets during the show. The reason Denny was bringing this up was after the CC tour, Jack and I ended up back at Dennys to get our cars, and I happened to notice the lights on his switch blinking away. The show was off at the time, but the switch appeared as if there was still lots of multicast traffic on it. The question is what, exactly, was the traffic for. Dennys renards had the flickering issue only when connected to the E681, and they worked perfectly fine on the DMX dongle. I'm hoping to bring a few pieces of equipment out to his place sometime to help diagnose the problem. As we have very similar hardware, I'd like to know whats causing it just as much as he does.
    2014: Lights - 75,000; Channels - 500 Renard AC, 75 Renard DC, 10,000 Pixels; Vixen 3.0

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    Registered User mschell's Avatar
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    Default Re: E682 upcoming firmware upgrade

    Makes sense to figure it out. If the LOR listener or control panel was still active, it may have been still sending. I hope you guys are using a separate network for your show, ie not connected to your home network.
    Mark

    New location - new display. Looking forward to 2015 season!

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    This space for rent. Al in Raleigh's Avatar
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    Default Re: E682 upcoming firmware upgrade

    Quote Originally Posted by Samj435 View Post
    Mark,

    Good to know that our hardware doesn't support IGMP. I almost wanted to get an IGMP capable switch to "play" around with it.

    Vixen is the same way as LSP, only sends packets during the show. The reason Denny was bringing this up was after the CC tour, Jack and I ended up back at Dennys to get our cars, and I happened to notice the lights on his switch blinking away. The show was off at the time, but the switch appeared as if there was still lots of multicast traffic on it. The question is what, exactly, was the traffic for. Dennys renards had the flickering issue only when connected to the E681, and they worked perfectly fine on the DMX dongle. I'm hoping to bring a few pieces of equipment out to his place sometime to help diagnose the problem. As we have very similar hardware, I'd like to know whats causing it just as much as he does.
    LOR sends a signal to tell the controllers that a network is connected.
    Al

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    Havin fun ! kidcole's Avatar
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    Default Re: E682 upcoming firmware upgrade

    Quote Originally Posted by mschell View Post
    Makes sense to figure it out. If the LOR listener or control panel was still active, it may have been still sending. I hope you guys are using a separate network for your show, ie not connected to your home network.
    Yes, I am using a separate network, not connected to my home. In addition to your guidance on my network and laptop setup (and from others here), I read a lot of posts on other sites touting a separate network. It makes sense. There's no benefit other than exposing the Christmas show to clashing with home traffic .. And opening up the ability for hackers to seek to do harm .. Separate network is the way to go.
    Thanks,

    Denny Cole
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/Cole...ristmasLights/

    Back to Work <unretired> so I went Static in 2017. Planning xLights when I retire <again>. Maybe 2019 ?

    Falcon - 3 F16V3 & 1 PiCap, Sandevices - 2 E681 & 4 E6804, 288 Channels Lynx Express, 108 Channels DC DMX,
    10' Pixel MegaTree, CoroFlakes w/Pixel Modules, Pixel RBLs, 2 Pixel Matrix 16x25, 10" RGB Ornaments, 7x230 Pixel Icicle Matrix,
    Classic 20' AC Megatree, TIR Destiny RGB Spots, RGB Blowmolds, Wireframes, and Inflatables with External Light Control

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    Registered User mschell's Avatar
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    Default Re: E682 upcoming firmware upgrade

    Quote Originally Posted by Al in Raleigh View Post
    LOR sends a signal to tell the controllers that a network is connected.
    I know it sends out a signal on each LOR network, ie the RS-485 serial lines. The question I don't know is if it keeps sending out commands on the E1.31/sACN side of things to your show LAN?
    Mark

    New location - new display. Looking forward to 2015 season!

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