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Thread: ECG-DR4

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    wrench twister TGabriel's Avatar
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    Default ECG-DR4

    Is anyone using or planning on using the ECG-DR4 to control their RGB lights? I'm thinking about using one this fall. What are the pros and cons of this unit?

    Thomas

    William what about a RGB form under lights.

  2. #2
    wbottomley
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    Default Re: ECG-DG4

    I can make a sub-forum for RGB lights.

    I have two DR4's still in the box along with a pic3 kit.

  3. #3
    wrench twister TGabriel's Avatar
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    Default Re: ECG-DG4

    The sub-form will work for me William.
    Thanks

    Thomas

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    God Bless America victory402's Avatar
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    Default Re: ECG-DG4

    I'm very interested in learning more about this type of control, I say yes to a sub-forum.
    RED MOUNTAIN LIGHTS

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    Toymaker/Delivery Guy Santa Shannon's Avatar
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    Default Re: ECG-DG4

    I have been looking into them, and the ECG-DR4 (I assume the title is a typo) is highly recommended by the most prolific DIY-authors on the subject. Very interesting to me is that the E1.31/33 ethernet signal can be transmitted by cable or wifi! I read somewhere that someone wanted to have wirelessly synchronized lights on a yard train, well this'd be the way to go! Everything on-board could be 12v: wifi router, DMX controller(s), RGB strands or pixels... all run off a deep-discharge battery or two. A whole lot cheaper than trying to use LOR Light Linkers. Anyhow, I'm pretty enthused about the possibilities.

    Check out my professional Santa website, That's Santa!.

  6. #6
    God Bless America victory402's Avatar
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    Default Re: ECG-DG4

    Let me see if I have this straight? LOR talks to a DMX dongle which then talks to the ECG-DR4 wireless transmitter?
    RED MOUNTAIN LIGHTS

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    wrench twister TGabriel's Avatar
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    Default Re: ECG-DR4

    Yes, the title should be ECG-DR4.
    Good find Shanta, just don't put me on the naughty list.
    Thanks
    Thomas

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    Havin fun ! kidcole's Avatar
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    Default Re: ECG-DG4

    It will be interesting to see what LOR does with their intelligent light strings and which protocols they will support. It may take LOR a while to get around to E1.31, unless they build some kind of gateway or hub.
    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

  9. #9
    This space for rent. Al in Raleigh's Avatar
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    Default Re: ECG-DG4

    Quote Originally Posted by victory402 View Post
    Let me see if I have this straight? LOR talks to a DMX dongle which then talks to the ECG-DR4 wireless transmitter?
    No but close. The ECG-DR4 is Ethernet in and pixel driver specific out with no RS485 involved. The LOR network and DMX are both RS485. The ECG-DR4 seems in theory to be a turnkey solution, and in my opinion it is not. The TP3244 is DMX in and pixel driver specific out. The ECG-DR4 is a much larger card and driving it with Ethernet gives me pause for concern. Ethernet is not as noise rejecting as RS485 and relies on faster communications to make up for that immunity. RS485 is more noise immune but cannot handle the number of pixels as easily as E1.31 (ECG-DR4). So what is a person to do? I plan to use a marriage of TP3244 (DMX in/pixel out) and ECG-DR4. The ECG-DR4 board is larger, costs more per drop, and can't be hidden as easily. Without going into great detail, it would be much easier to string nodes along the fascia board of your house with the TP3244. The ECG-DR4 requires a repeater every 20 ft or so. I will stop here and let Mark explain it better at the February TASL meeting. This is a complicated and truly dynamic subject and the proper navigation of it depends on multi-part hardware and software solutions. Mark is experienced and educated in the subject and an engineer that understands how the boards work and the advantages and pitfalls of "bridges".

    Let's just say that the ECG-DR4 is a nice part of a much larger solution.
    Al

  10. #10
    Toymaker/Delivery Guy Santa Shannon's Avatar
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    Default Re: ECG-DG4

    Now I'm confused. I understood the ECG-DR4 to be an ethernet connected DMX interface, and that the 4 outputs from it were DMX signal on RJ-45s. No? So, again as I understand it, your show computer (running Vixen or LSP most likely, not LOR) uses the ethernet port to communicate to the ECG-DR4 (using E1.31, and using whatever infrastructure is in place, be it CAT5 or wifi), which in turn generates a DMX signal on a CAT-5 which then is run to your light show and a DMX controller. The DMX controller puts out data, clock, power +, and power -, which is sent to strands of pixels and each pixel takes a command from the stack and then passes the rest along. I know that power needs to be reinjected into the line every 40' or so to combat voltage drop, but I hadn't heard anything about bridges or repeaters for the data signals. I understand this is a lot to bite off in a forum, but I couldn't wait two more weeks to voice my confusion (I was just beginning to think I understood!!!) LOL

    EDITED TO ADD: I was just on the developer's website and the four RJ45 outputs on the ECG-DR4 are software configurable to support various RS485 protocols, currently DMX and Renard. Currently it doesn't support LOR's RS485 protocol, but the purpose of the board is to convert E1.31 ethernet signals into various RS485-communicated protocols... or, I could still be VERY confused!

    Last edited by Santa Shannon; 02-07-2011 at 05:04 PM.
    Check out my professional Santa website, That's Santa!.

  11. #11
    This space for rent. Al in Raleigh's Avatar
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    Default Re: ECG-DG4

    You are correct about the ECG-DR4 board being RS485. I was thinking of the new board Jim St John is soon to release which goes from ethernet to pixel driver. The clock and data are regenerated with each driver but the longest distance that the clock and data can be transmitted is about 20ft. Again, on the fascia of my house I will have greater that 170 nodes which is the maximum number of nodes for a universe. As a result it will have up to 4 universes of pixel drivers on the fascia alone.

    Again, this subject is complicated and will be covered at the meeting.This thread was originally intended to ask if a sub forum is necessary.
    Al
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  12. #12
    Toymaker/Delivery Guy Santa Shannon's Avatar
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    Default Re: ECG-DG4

    EDITED TO ADD: Sorry Al, I was typing while you were. Not trying to beat a dead (or at least stunned) horse!

    Quote Originally Posted by victory402 View Post
    Let me see if I have this straight? LOR talks to a DMX dongle which then talks to the ECG-DR4 wireless transmitter?

    Not claiming to be an expert, just a newbie trying to get a grasp. I'll answer as I understand it and let the pros correct me.

    First, no LOR. If you want to do DMX other than with LOR's iDMX then you would have to use some other software (for the moment, at least). Probably Lightshow Pro or Vixen.

    And, no dongle. The ECG-DR4 is used instead of a USB-based DMX dongle. As DMoore told me, you get up to 4 DMX universes with the ECG-DR4 for about the same money as one universe with a dongle. In DMX-speak a universe is control over up to 512 "devices" and an RGB pixel is 3 devices, so 170 pixels per universe.

    Finally, wireless, no. The ECG-DR4 itself is all about wires: ethernet in and RS485 out. However, ethernet between your computer and the ECG-DR4 can use a variety of transmission options, including wifi. Theoretically you should be able to bridge over internet even, so you could control remote shows (which might be of interest to commercial lightshow installers). For my purposes, being able to take the laptop wirelessly out to the curb and tweak the show while I run it would have benefits.

    As for the train example I gave above, it would look like this. The show computer sends commands out of LSP via ethernet, which is transmitted wirelessly over wifi to the yard. A wifi router onboard the train converts the wifi signal back to ethernet on a CAT5 cable. That cable plugs into an ECG-DR4 which converts the data into a DMX data signal and outputs it on one of four RJ45 plugs. That DMX line is then fed to a DMX controller, say on one of the cars, which drives the pixels for that car. Other DMX controllers might live in the loco and the caboose, each driving lights on their car. It means there is a fair amount of equipment on the train: wifi router, ECG-DR4, multiple DMX controllers, and strands of pixels... but, it is all pretty low power and small stuff. And all told probably cheaper than just the light linkers alone.

    At least that's how I understand it.

    Last edited by Santa Shannon; 02-07-2011 at 05:42 PM.
    Check out my professional Santa website, That's Santa!.

  13. #13
    Havin fun ! kidcole's Avatar
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    Default Re: ECG-DG4

    Quote Originally Posted by Shanta View Post
    EDITED TO ADD: Sorry Al, I was typing while you were. Not trying to beat a dead (or at least stunned) horse!



    Not claiming to be an expert, just a newbie trying to get a grasp. I'll answer as I understand it .......................

    ..............................

    At least that's how I understand it.

    I think this is the wrong way to discuss this technology. Intelligent light strings are coming. But how we'll wire them and in particular how we're going to handle scores of universes - - needs to come to this forum from the engineers who are prototyping for us. I find the other Christmas sites to be a total mess to read. And it's because so many people are writing huge amounts of "this is how I understand it to work."

    I am truly not trying to be rude here. I would just hate to see us end up like the other sites with more vaporware and misinformation .. than the correct stuff.

    Mark is our "lead dog" with how the technologies combine. Al is also working on a specific solution to help sort out a reliable hardware scenario for us. I really think those are the guys who should be giving us the facts. And I also thing we should avoid the speculation since those guys will show us what is real. Some of it stats with Mark's pitch to the group on Feb 19th.

    Also don't count LOR out of the picture with intelligent light strings. They stand to lose a lot of software customers if they flinch and miss the mark to keep their customers happy. How they will handle (and network) the large number of DMX universes coming at their under-sized architecture will be very interesting indeed ..
    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

  14. #14
    Trying to behave here-NOT John's Avatar
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    Default Re: ECG-DG4

    Quote Originally Posted by Shanta View Post
    First, no LOR. If you want to do DMX other than with LOR's iDMX then you would have to use some other software (for the moment, at least). Probably Lightshow Pro or Vixen.

    Not true - LOR is introducing an inexpensive USB/DMX dongle this year, the iDMX is not required.

    LOR will also be supporting ethernet - either Art-Net, E1.31 or both. (Quite a bit of discussion in the LOR Beta forums)

    and the RGB pixel CCB are to be on sale in late Feb - early March sale
    John (The Mascot)
    www.tennholidays.com

    480 LOR Channels + 2 CCR + 8 Mighty Minis + 10 Rainbow Floods+ 1 vdrive and vflood, Lynx Express and over 40,000 LEDs

  15. #15
    This space for rent. Al in Raleigh's Avatar
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    Default Re: ECG-DG4

    I agree with Denny. This is a larger issue than what should be tackled here. The level of information and data available now requires an electrical engineer to fully comprehend. I am sorry that I made an incorrect reference to a product. I sometimes make this type of error. Against my liking I seem to be making more of this type of mistake as I age.

    If you so wish, you can buy this stuff and it could be obsolete in 1 year due to commercialization. The dynamics of the industry is tiring to stay abreast. LOR is a major player who cannot be ruled out. The corporation I used to work for prided themselves in not being cutting edge. We took a "competitor's" device that was cutting edge, spent millions of dollars properly engineering a well thought out and tailored product, marketed it then took control of the industry. What was cutting edge once was soon forgotten about due to a well rounded solution. The same could happen here. So far I have decided to play with this stuff and not invest in it heavily yet. I'll bet others will give you the same answer.
    Al

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