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Thread: Renard newbie....flash to DMx?

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    Registered User Paul Lowe's Avatar
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    Default Renard newbie....flash to DMx?

    Just got my first Renard boards to start experimenting...

    Apparently I need to flash them from ren to DMX.

    Any recommendations on an easy way to do this?

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    Registered User Samj435's Avatar
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    Default Re: Renard newbie....flash to DMx?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Lowe View Post
    Just got my first Renard boards to start experimenting...

    Apparently I need to flash them from ren to DMX.

    Any recommendations on an easy way to do this?
    What types of boards did you get? The SS series or something else? There are at least 20-30 Renard boards that I can think of off the top of my head.

    Either way, you will need a PIC programmer to flash the chips with the DMX firmware. As most of the Renard boards do not have any DIP switches to set the start point, I would recommended picking one up as you need to re-flash the firmware every time you re-order them. I got my PIC programmer from here:

    ICA03 - USB PIC Programmer Set [iCPO3v2] - $35.00 : DIYLEDExpress.com

    Honestly, I'd look into running Renard through an E682 or E1.31 to Ethernet bridge. Flashing firmware gets old real quick.
    2014: Lights - 75,000; Channels - 500 Renard AC, 75 Renard DC, 10,000 Pixels; Vixen 3.0

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    Registered User Paul Lowe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Renard newbie....flash to DMx?

    Quote Originally Posted by Samj435 View Post
    What types of boards did you get? The SS series or something else? There are at least 20-30 Renard boards that I can think of off the top of my head.

    Either way, you will need a PIC programmer to flash the chips with the DMX firmware. As most of the Renard boards do not have any DIP switches to set the start point, I would recommended picking one up as you need to re-flash the firmware every time you re-order them. I got my PIC programmer from here:

    ICA03 - USB PIC Programmer Set [iCPO3v2] - $35.00 : DIYLEDExpress.com

    Honestly, I'd look into running Renard through an E682 or E1.31 to Ethernet bridge. Flashing firmware gets old real quick.
    Ren24ss boards.

    I'm a complete newbie on Renard (or anything non-LOR)

    So I was assuming I needed to flash the pics.... If there's another way- I'm all for it!

    I also need to learn how to connect these boards to my pc!

    I got them NOW so I can learn this stuff for 2015

    Thank you for the help!!

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    Havin fun ! kidcole's Avatar
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    Default Re: Renard newbie....flash to DMx?

    I am really curious about Sam's idea of running them in Renard mode through and E68x controller. I noticed a while back that the Sandevices controllers all support Renard mode. I don't know too much about Renard, but it is just another DMX type, but it has a different way of addressing the channels based on the order that you plug them in. When a couple guys invented the Renards, the idea was to make a controller that needed little to no programming. Just plug and go.

    For those using LOR sequencing software (such as Paul), there is no Renard setting. So I am guessing the channels would be DMX in LOR and then use the E68x output defined for Renard. Has anyone has tried this ? My two assembled Renards are still dead. They lasted only a day or two back in 2012 and then both died. Could someone bring a running Renard to the TASL? And also bring at least one Cat-5 cable that is wired to convert from standard DMX wiring to Renard wiring ? I might be able to find mine, but having a second one would be a safe plan.

    I think this would be a great topic to fill that 30 minute session that is open in the afternoon. And we need to compare the Lynx AC controllers too. Williams is brining one. The Lynx are standard DMX AC controllers and they have been around a long time. They seem to be growing in popularity (again) due to their known reliability. The site DIY Light Animation sells them. Like Renards, they are also sold in kits during group buys and the cost is similar to Renard.

    Dariusz ( @Bartek ), we still have two more SS24 Renards to build (yours and mine) .. If this experiment works to run Renard controllers as DMX in the LOR software (and Renard mode in E68x), then this would be a nice way to run yours too. I was going to sell mine, but might run them if this works out.
    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 Paul Lowe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Renard newbie....flash to DMx?

    Thank you for clarifying my question.

    To simplify further:
    I have a computer.
    I have LOR software
    I need to still run LOR network to LOR at controllers
    I now own several Renard 24ss boards flashed to Renard protocol.

    What are my options to connect my software to the renards?
    Hardware? Software?

    Only other consideration (if it makes aNY difference) is that I also plan to add one or two of the CCR controllers from holidaycoro as well.... I suspect they are running e1.31

    Centralized 16 SPI Output Pixel Controller with 4 DMX Outputs and E1.31, StreamingACN and ArtNet support

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    Professional Net Lurker Jack Stevens's Avatar
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    Default Re: Renard newbie....flash to DMx?

    Paul -

    I need to verify it's still working, but I have a PIC programmer, and can bring it to the meeting to re-flash your PICs to DMX control.

    Something that is "standard" in Renard - both Renard protocol and Renard's version of DMX protocol - the controller looks at the first 24 channels (in the case of a SS24) and removes them, renumbering the rest in the data stream.

    What that means is that the first SS24 will be channels 1-24, the second will be 25-48, the third 49-72, and so forth. The relevant channel numbers for that controller is cable position dependent.

    The way I've done my display has been 4 SS24's for channels 1-96, then I have a DC DMX board that is set to channels 1-16 on the board. From my LOR software perspective, it's seen as channels 97-112.

    I happen to currently use a LOR iDMX1000 to get my DMX channels; to LOR, it's asingle 512 LOR controller. I bought it pre-DMX support from LOR. I also have (if I can find it) a DMX dongle that LOR supports. However, with the dropping cost of E1.31 controllers, it's be more cost effective to get a San Device controller with RS-485 output on one/more of the DMX outputs than to buy more than one DMX dongle now.

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    Registered User Paul Lowe's Avatar
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    Default Renard newbie....flash to DMx?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Stevens View Post
    Paul -


    the dropping cost of E1.31 controllers, it's be more cost effective to get a San Device controller with RS-485 output on one/more of the DMX outputs than to buy more than one DMX dongle now.
    Thanks- I'm starting to piece this all together in my head ;-)

    Is there a particular San device controller your recommend? Or one I could look at as a good example?

    Dumb question: is that pixlite16 controller I was going to get from holidaycoro (linked above) essentially doing the same thing as a san controller? It has 16 outputs for the CCR strings, but also 4 rs485 outputs.

    Dumb question #2 . If I connect the ren24ss via the rs485 output, do I still need to flash them to DMx, or will they communicate via the native Renard protocol?

    My goal is to get one to start playing with PRIOR to our meeting.

    Thanks so much!
    Last edited by Paul Lowe; 02-07-2015 at 01:04 PM.

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    Havin fun ! kidcole's Avatar
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    Default Re: Renard newbie....flash to DMx?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Lowe View Post
    Thanks- I'm starting to piece this all together in my head ;-)

    Is there a particular San device controller your recommend? Or one I could look at as a good example?

    Dumb question: is that pixlite16 controller I was going to get from holidaycoro (linked above) essentially doing the same thing as a san controller? It has 16 outputs for the CCR strings, but also 4 rs485 outputs.

    Dumb question #2 . If I connect the ren24ss via the rs485 output, do I still need to flash them to DMx, or will they communicate via the native Renard protocol?

    My goal is to get one to start playing with PRIOR to our meeting.

    Thanks so much!
    Nobody here has used the Pixlite but yes they are similar. I would be surprised if they could support as my different types of outputs compared with Sandevices and J1Sys controllers. I've not looked at the price in a while, but I believe Pixlite costs more.

    LOR software does not give a Renard output, so if you are going to use a DMX adapter then you need to flash your Renards to DMX. You also have to make a special adapter that converts the "standard" DMX pins to the Renard DMX pins, and label it correctly so it always has the renard end into the renard controller. You only have to do this for the first one.

    That said .. the Sandevice controllers are unique because they have a Renard output. We plan to test that at the TASL if someone can bring a working Renard. If successful, LOR running DMX might control the Renard channels.
    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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    Havin fun ! kidcole's Avatar
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    Default Re: Renard newbie....flash to DMx?

    I just found this post on DIYC .. Exactly what we've been talking about .. AND IT WORKS !! This was posted about a year ago. I am glad we had this dicussion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Johnfish211 View Post
    I used an e682 from sandevices last year and set it for balanced output and configured it to run renard. There was no need to change the renard firmware. I configured the lor S3 software channels as DMX and sent it over e1.31 to the e682 and it converted it into renard and sent it to the controllers. (and ss24 and a tr16). It worked flawlessly. This cost about the same as buying an entec dongle and gave me the added advantage of being able to use pixels as well.

    John
    In 2012 my show just seemed like it was on edge all the time .. and I was running all my DMX devices over and ENTTEC USB dongle. Plus the LOR dongle. I think the computer was struggling with that. I had 2013 off and then in 2014 I put all my DMX through an E682. It was smooth and perfect. I had two universes set up for DMX outputs in my E682, just in case the driver chip had an issue. But everything ran great. This year I think I will get my Renards back to their default Renard settings, and use the E682 to drive them.

    I would like to get my pics reprgrammed back to Renard, if someone can help. Or maybe come by to show me how. I bought a pic programmer but never used it.
    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 Paul Lowe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Renard newbie....flash to DMx?

    lol... Every question I find the answer to seems to create 3 new questions! :-)

    As I compare the e682 to the pixlite, one big difference SEEMS to be:
    1. To drive DMX from the e682, you have to dedicate 4 outputs to "balanced 2-wire", So this would seem to reduce the number of pixel strings I could also run from the controller.
    2. The pixlite, on the other hand, appears to drive 4 DMX outputs independent of the 16 spi outputs.

    Since I was already planning to buy a pixel controller for a "16-strip/bulb" pixiel tree, this seems like it might be an advantage.

    However, at least one tradeoff would appear to be the e682 can output renard protocol (I think??) whereas the pixlite can only run DMX (so id need ot flash the renards).

    Uhh..... I think I have this right, but theres a good chance I dont! lol!!

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    Registered User Samj435's Avatar
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    Default Re: Renard newbie....flash to DMx?

    If you are going to be running LOR as your playback program I would most likely just flash the Renards to DMX, especially if you will only have a few. However, if you need to create a DMX network and need to buy the dongle, I'd suggest just buying a bridge and calling it a day:

    6 Port E1.31 Bridge Kit [E1.31-Bridge-Kit] - $75.19 : DIYLEDExpress.com

    I have two of these (one of this new version, and the older 4 port model from RPM on DIYC). With more than one USB dongle you will start to get serial device errors eventually. One of these bridges can generate 6 universes of DMX OR Renard output. Like an E682, but without tying down a cluster. It has the balanced output AND the RS485 driver to go the full 4000 feet. The jumpers allow you to rewire to Renard OR DMX allowing you to use standard Cat5 cables throughout the display. This is my most important board in the show.

    This is also going to be the same price as a USB DMX dongle that does off-board processing.
    2014: Lights - 75,000; Channels - 500 Renard AC, 75 Renard DC, 10,000 Pixels; Vixen 3.0

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    Registered User Paul Lowe's Avatar
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    Default Renard newbie....flash to DMx?

    Quote Originally Posted by Samj435 View Post

    6 Port E1.31 Bridge Kit [E1.31-Bridge-Kit] - $75.19 : DIYLEDExpress.com

    I have two of these (one of this new version, and the older 4 port model from RPM on DIYC). With more than one USB dongle you will start to get serial device errors eventually. One of these bridges can generate 6 universes of DMX OR Renard output. Like an E682, but without tying down a cluster. It has the balanced output AND the RS485 driver to go the full 4000 feet. The jumpers allow you to rewire to Renard OR DMX allowing you to use standard Cat5 cables throughout the display. This is my most important board in the show.

    .
    Thanks for all the insight.

    I WILL be running LOR software and continuing to run about 12-15 LOR AC controllers.....

    Since I will need all 16 outputs to drive pixels, I think a E682 won't be the most effective way to drive my renards (since I'd have to lose a cluster).

    So I'd either need 2 e682's or 1 e682 and then add an e1,31 bridge as you suggested (and, apparently, need to build it from a kit)

    I'm leaning towards trying the pixlite board since it we do both 16 pixel outputs AND DMX.

    I think the only trade off will be I need to flash the renards to DMX. I guess I also will need to make-up some sort of special cable as well....

    But compared to buying 2 devices - this seems like a good option.

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    Registered User Samj435's Avatar
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    Default Re: Renard newbie....flash to DMx?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Lowe View Post
    But compared to buying 2 devices - this seems like a good option.
    The Pixlite 16 looks really nice. Unfortunately I can't comment on it as I have never seen one in operation. As for price, I guess it depends on how you look at it. Building my own boards, a bridge + E682 kit are still cheaper than the Pixlite. Either way, it will work the way you want it to.
    2014: Lights - 75,000; Channels - 500 Renard AC, 75 Renard DC, 10,000 Pixels; Vixen 3.0

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    Registered User Paul Lowe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Renard newbie....flash to DMx?

    Quote Originally Posted by Samj435 View Post
    The Pixlite 16 looks really nice. Unfortunately I can't comment on it as I have never seen one in operation. As for price, I guess it depends on how you look at it. Building my own boards, a bridge + E682 kit are still cheaper than the Pixlite. Either way, it will work the way you want it to.
    Good point- I wasn't looking at the kit price.... Just looked it up- pretty big delta between the kit and assembled!!

    To be honest, coming from the "plug-n-play" world of LOR, Even buying assembled DMX can controllers feels like a leap ;-).

    So, as I start down this new road, I think I'll go with assembled stuff- for now.

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    Havin fun ! kidcole's Avatar
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    Default Re: Renard newbie....flash to DMx?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Lowe View Post
    Good point- I wasn't looking at the kit price.... Just looked it up- pretty big delta between the kit and assembled!!

    To be honest, coming from the "plug-n-play" world of LOR, Even buying assembled DMX can controllers feels like a leap ;-).

    So, as I start down this new road, I think I'll go with assembled stuff- for now.
    It looks like you have found some good resolutions here. I know there were some major issues with Pixlite that were discussed on DIYC. I am not familiar enough to describe them. But apparently the issue was resolved with the newest model. There were people who were upset about their older ones not being replaced by the company. I became quickly jaded against the Pixlite over this "integrity" issue. But having DMX outputs and 16 pixel outputs is quite nice. I give the Pixlite designer a lot of credit for jumping ahead of the other designers to meet customer requirments ! ..

    Assembled is always the best way to go if you don't want the risk of having to debug a mistake somewhere. The majority of pixel strings are typically sold in the low-cost bulk form, with no connectors on them. So you need to consider buying assembled strings with connectors also. This does increase the cost a bit, but seems to be a smaller markup these days. Ray Wu still seems to be the best choice fo sending prewired strings. I have some strips that Ray's company wired connectors for me, back in 2011. And they are also completely filled with Gel. They did an awesome job.

    Once you have your string design, we can help you review your power needs, in case you need power injection. I've been trying to avoid power injection as much as possible, but with longer pixel runs injection is sometimes unavoidable.

    I am sure we will all enjoy seeing what the Pixlite can do. At the end of the day, these controllers all do the same thing. We can help you with any setup learning curve you might face. Also from a quality standpoint, the hardware design on all of the controllers is quite reliable. They all have very few components other than the combination of large chips that form the outputs. I suspect if we were able to aquire schematics of the various controllers, we would find that they are using mostly the same chips. But each has completely unique firmware, that makes it all work.
    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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