The controllers worked great at Burningman

I got back from Burningman or non- Burningman whatever you like.
I had made a very simple camp marker up 20’ in the shape of a pyramid. Using the default patterns in the controller I had it running every night and people were really impressed with the effect. Since this was a non sanctioned event there were no street signs which lead to a lot of people becoming navigationally challenged. They came to rely on the Pyramid to find their way back to camp. Because of this it created a fair amount of dialog with other Burners and most were asking about my build. I referred them to the PB pico and the V3. I showed them the options and differences in the boards. I explained how simple they are to use. One of the art cars was using a competitor s controller and was having trouble with it. I showed him the Pico and explained the simplicity of it. I think he will be checking into it since he wrote down the info.
All in all it all worked great. Thank you for such a cool and simple to use product.

Don.

3 Likes

Photos? Hope you took some… always nice to see what people are doing.

Was going to load a video but can’t see how to do that.

If you upload it to YouTube (for example), you can link it here and it’ll appear. Doesn’t even have to be listed on YT, if you don’t want it visible for anyone else.

Not that I’m a fan of YouTube, but… Easiest answer.

I’d love to see it as well!

You can upload mp4 files up to 16MB, which is quite small for video but can work for short clips. I don’t run the forum on a very large instance with tons of space, but perhaps I should invest in that so folks can directly upload larger videos. The forums should accept video links from a large variety of video hosting services.

Ok,
Here’s a couple of links to two YT vids. You can’t tell by the vids but there is 4 sides and a base with a 5 meter vertical string of 144 leds. I’m using two controllers for this. The pyramid is running the Pico and the vertical is running the V3 with the accy (sound) board. People at Burningman loved this marker. It came in very handy since this years event was unsanctioned and had no street signs. There were a lot of lost people around there. We could see this 1/2 a mile and more away from camp. It looked much better in person than the videos. Of course I ran it at full brightness.

These were using the canned .epe files that come with it. I’m going to need to learn how to do some of this code stuff. This is really cool tech.

Don.

3 Likes

very nice.

Now that fall is here, I’m hopefully going to start up the Academy again, and do some basic intro stuff.

2 Likes

That would be great.

Oh wow! Thats pretty cool! More than anything this gave me some FOMO (whats the past tense of that?). I loved playing the game of hunting down PB powered LED art by watching for patterns. Very cool beacon for finding your way around!

Yup, I did run into a couple of other people out there running the PB.

@Don, I saw your installation out there - very nice!

If you saw a bicycle with the LED patterns on both wheels and a 6-ft rear vertical whip all synched, that was me. Running 3 PBs plus an ESP32 as an AP to synch the patterns and timebase. I also referred several people to PB! (Sorry I don’t have any pics.)

1 Like

Hi Irwin,
Did we talk out there? I remember talking with someone about the PBs and they were running 3 of them also.
It’s a great compact controller. In my opinion much better than Pixel Pusher. I would like to know how you did the synch. What is the range and how many can you synch simultaneously?

Maybe?! If it was about a bicycle, then probably, lol!

To sync the PBs, I’m using an ESP32 (Adafruit Huzzah32) acting as an AP that the 3 PBs connect to, which syncs the patterns and timebase. I wrote my code mainly by gleaning the protocol from the Firestorm code (not easy for me, since I don’t know JavaScript). I believe the ESP32 can handle up to 10 connections, although I’m not sure if that is a hardware or software library limitation. Range will be determined mostly by your AP antenna setup, and for extended range you can get an ESP32 board with an external antenna connector, or even use one of those outdoor AP/routers with a high gain directional antenna built in. Maybe there should be a version of PB with an external antenna connector as well?

Yeah, I was involved with a project that used Pixel Pusher, and found it to be severely lacking in documentation and support, and it’s odd use of proprietary protocols instead of established standards. I’m puzzled by its popularity among burners.

1 Like

From what I remember the pixelpusher was developed before those other protocols existed. Or maybe before fastLED at least.
Everyone now agrees it’s pretty outdated.
Anyways the only people that still use it were the ones using it back then.

1 Like

I’d love to hear more about this – a spin out of Firestorm timing synchronization that is ESP32 compatible would be super useful for lots of applications.

Given that you can buy a USB powered wifi router for as little as $10 (and nicer ones for $20 or so), that seems like a better option. In fact, most of them run openwrt (I’ve got one the same size as a PB), which is better than trying to solve the problem with another esp32. I’m really curious now if I can fit Firestorm onto the router (since it runs Linux anyway), and just have an ultra portable version that way. I’ll try it out in the coming weeks.

Interesting! I didn’t realize that would work without a separate Raspberry Pi or similar for Firestorm timing synchronization; was just about to dig into a project that will need this.

We’ll see if it can work…

If you are running nodejs on the Atheros AR71xx/AR933x, MediaTek MT76x8, it will not work because there is no hardware FPU.

From https://github.com/nxhack/openwrt-node-packages

So… might depend on what model/CPU… Looks like the compiled code ends up requiring fpu.
But there are node packages built in openwrt for some CPUs, so… YMMV.

That said, thanks to @zranger1 , we also have a python client that I believe can do most of what Firestorm does, and I’m sure that can work.

If someone finds a current and cheap wifi router that runs off usb and runs the latest openwrt (v21) maybe worth a group project. Using older hardware and older versions of openwrt are totally doable but I wouldn’t want to support others using it.

@Scruffynerf Hmm, I never thought of a USB router running Firestorm. I think it’s a cool solution, but wouldn’t you also need to carry around another device such as a smartphone to control it? I have a couple of external switches and an RGB status LED connected to my ESP32 that can I can program to do various things, it runs about 12 hours on a single 14500 rechargeable lithium battery, and it all fits in a small dust-proof enclosure. I guess I really just love building hardware!

1 Like

@ZacharyRD Hopefully soon I’ll release something on Github, as soon as I learn to use Github. I come from a very structured engineering environment where I’m accustomed to development tools that are much more complicated. Case in point: I’m using Microsoft Visual Studio to develop Arduino code, lol. Although I notice that VS now has integrated support for Github!

1 Like