(I’ve had the pieces for a while, from other projects. But this topic has come up often enough lately that I thought I ought to actually build the thing… )
The repo below contains a couple of sketches that let you use inexpensive ESP8266s to send data from a single sensor board to multiple Pixelblazes. You can use as many receivers as you like - it uses multicast UDP packets to minimize network traffic.
This is a brand new thing. There’s documentation in the repo and in the code, but it’s a little bare-bones. Some Arduino/ESP8266 wiring and programming experience and basic WiFi setup knowledge will be helpful, even if not absolutely required.
Of course, I’ll happily answer questions, and will continue to improve the documentation as I figure out what’s helpful.
(Beyond the obvious, it gives you interesting superpowers. With a little programming, you can send sensor data to things that are not Pixelblazes – pretty much any computer.
Also, you can set up sources other than the sensor board. As long as you stick to the packet format you can put any data you want in there. It can be from other audio analysis software, or stock market prices, or weather data, or whatever you want to send to your Pixelblazes in real time, with very low overhead on the Pixelblaze. In the long run, this should be a lot of fun!)
OMG this is so awesome! Thanks for building this!
Well oh my goodness I’m in the middle of doing this exact thing right now!
Interesting. I was just wondering - can I send weather-data to my pixelblaze sensor board.
Or would it be easier to just add a temperature sensor, and connect it to the analog input on the sensor board?
@emdeex, it depends on where you want to put the sensor. If it can be close to the sensor board, adding a temperature sensor is by far the easiest way to go.
Local weather data from somewhere like the NWS or OpenWeather would be cool though – adding it to my list of planned examples.
A year later now, a housekeeping note for people who find this topic via forum search:
If you just need to share sensor board data wirelessly from one Pixelblaze to several others (v3 or later), be aware that this capability is part of the new sync feature in firmware v3.40 and above.
As I see it, this sensor-multicaster is still essential for a few roles (feel free to opine and name others, @zranger1):
- Sharing sensor board data wirelessly with Pixelblaze v2 devices or non-Pixelblaze devices
- Situations where you need to send sensor board data from a location other than the new “group leader” concept referenced in the link above
- Providing a reference implementation for inexpensive ESP8266 side-boards that can consume/emit the sensor board protocol and send data wirelessly
Thanks for making this. It’s incredibly creative and solved a big problem.
I’m super glad to see native Pixelblaze support for sensor board sharing!
My best advice is to use the native support whenever possible. It’s really easy to configure and run. And combined with with the rest of the new sync features, it makes multi-Pixelblaze projects a whole lot easier to build.
@jeff, you’re right on about the remaining uses for this multicaster. I’ll still be using it at home because my main audio rack is nowhere near any Pixelblazes, and it’s not handy to run a long audio cable to the sensor board.
Having native sensor board sharing makes things better even in this scenario – I need only one sender and one reciever. Once I’ve got the signal to the group leader, the Pixelblaze takes care of the rest!