PixCon16 Configuration

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The LOR PixCon16 is configured from this screen.  No configuration changes are sent to the PIxcon16 until you select either the OK or Apply button.  Should you exit the screen without pressing these buttons, all changes are lost.

 

The configuration screens are designed to handle multiple different firmware revisions.  If an option is disabled, it may be that the firmware on the board needs to be update to a more recent version.  This can be done on the Misc tab.

 

Dual Modes (E1.31/LOR Enhanced)
Network Configuration
Pixel Port Setup
oSimple Mode
oAdvanced Mode
Misc settings
Automatic configuration of Network Preferences for DMX/E1.31

 

 

Dual Modes (E1.31/LOR Enhanced)

 

The PixCon16 is a little different than other Light O Rama controllers when it comes to configuration and use.  All configuration of the board is done while it is connected to a standard LAN.  The PixCon16 can not be configured via the LOR RS485 mode.  The PixCon16 however can run in either E1.31 mode (via an Ethernet network), or as an LOR device on an LOR ENHANCED network at 500K.  If you would like to use the PixCon16 as an LOR device, be sure to select 'LOR Mode', explained below.

 

 

Network Configuration (Tab 1)

 

tab1net

Network Configuration tab of the PixCon16 configuration

 

The first tab of the Pixcon 16 configuration screen allows you to change the name of the board (can be accessed on all tabs), various network IP settings, as well as the Auxiliary DMX ports available on the board.  There is also a section that allows the board to be put into test mode.

 

You should set the name of the board to something meaningful to you.  For example, if this particular controller is used for a tree, you may want to name it 'Pixel Mega Tree' or the like.

 

The IP address section allows you to change if the board is to use a Static or a Dynamic IP address.  If you are familiar with IP addressing, it is recommended that you use a static address.  Using a Dynamic (DHCP) IP address is best if you will eventually run in LOR mode.

 

To set a static address, select static and then type in the IPV4 address you would like for the board, as well as the Subnet Mask.  The address should be in the same range as the computer you are currently using to configure the board.  The subnet mask should match the computer's as well.  If you change the address to one that is not within the range of your local LAN, the board may 'disappear'.  In that case you should reset the board to factory settings, search again for the board, and attempt to reconfigure it again.

 

Mode of Operation: The PixCon16 can be run in 2 different modes ->  As an E1.31 controller on an Ethernet network, or as an LOR device on an LOR RS485 network.  To run the board as an LOR device, select the check box labeled  'J3/J4 (DMX #1) are LOR RS485 Network IN/OUT, not DMX [use board in LOR mode]'.  Be sure to also move the jumpers on the board from the ESTA side to the LOR side near J4.

 

The Auxiliary DMX Ports section allows you to enable/disable the 4 DMX ports available on the board, as well as assign the universe each will control.  These ports act as a bridge between E1.31 and a DMX universe.  By using one or more of these ports, you can eliminate the use of one or more USB DMX adapters.  These ports are not active when using the board in LOR mode.

 

The Test Mode section allows you to put your PixCon16 into test mode.  This is the same mode that is described in the PixCon16 hardware manual, except when run from the PixCon16 configuration program, a new test that allows for a custom color can also be used.  This mode is not available with the hardware buttons.

 

Pixel Port Setup (Tab 2)

 

This tab allows you to set up how the 16 pixel ports behave on your Pixcon 16.  For most users, simple mode should suffice.  However there is an Advanced mode that allows for more control.

 

Pixel Type:  The Pixcon 16 can support multiple different pixel chip-sets, depending on the firmware loaded to the board.   Select your pixel's chip-set here.  Most LOR pixels use the WS2801 chip-set.

 

High Speed:  Some pixel chip-sets have a low and high speed.  If your chip-sets supports high speed, check the box.

 

Loss of Heartbeat:  Typically when a DMX device looses the DMX signal, it will reset to a known state (usually OFF).  If you check this box however, the PixCon16 will continue sending the last known DMX data to each port/universe.  This will basically 'freeze' all the pixels/devices into the last state they heard.

 

There are 2 modes available for setting up the pixel ports of a PixCon16, simple and advanced.  For most users simple is all that will be needed, however for more complex configuration options please use the advanced mode.  Please keep in mind that Simple Mode and Advanced Mode update separate parameters on the board and are mutually exclusive.  That means if you switch from easy mode to advanced mode, (or vice versa) some or ALL of your changes may be lost.

 

Simple Mode Setup:

 

tab2simple

Pixel Port Setup in Simple Configuration mode

 

Pack Pixels Tightly

 

Notes about addressing using the Pixcon 16 in simple mode:

 

The pixel ports on the PixCon16 can be automatically configured using two different schemes, either 'Unpacked' or 'Pack Tightly'.

 

Unpacked is self explanatory.  Each port will be assigned a sequential Universe/Unit ID, starting with the Universe/UID specified for port 1, and continuing for all 16 ports.  This mode may be most familiar to those people who have used Cosmic Color controllers previously.  For example, the Cosmic Color Bulb or Cosmic Color Pixel controller can be configured in 'Dual Normal' mode.  That means string 1 is controlled with the UnitID specified, and string 2 is controller with the next higher unit ID.  In the 'One ID per Port' mode, each string will have a sequential Unit ID number based on the first ports Unit ID.

 

The PIxcon16 can also minimize the number of universes/unit IDs and channels/circuits required to run your RGB nodes.  This mode is called 'Pack Tightly' or 'Packed Pixels'.  In the typical configuration, each port on the PixCon16 will have 50 pixels, and the starting channel for the board would be 1.  That would mean that port 1 consumes 150 channels from 1-150, port 2 would be 151-300, port 3 would be 301-450, all on the same starting universe.  At port 4, the PixCon16 will continue to assign FULL pixels until it runs out of channels.  In this case it will assign 20 pixels (Channels 451-510).  While there are 2 channels left (511 and 512), that is not enough for a FULL pixel.  The PixCon16 will then assume that the next pixel will start with channel 1 on the NEXT universe.  It will assign 30 more pixels (since there are 50 on a string), and end with channel 90 on that next universe.  Addressing like this will continue for the entire board if desired.  If you wish to use a different scheme, please use the advanced mode.

 

These addressing notes apply to using the board in both LOR mode and E1.31 DMX mode.

 

Notes about addressing using the Pixcon 16 in advanced mode:

 

In the advanced mode, you are responsible for all addressing and ensuring that addresses do not overlap, etc.  There are several options that are available when editing a port to set the addresses or parameters of other ports.

 

Maximum 170/340 pixels per port:The PixCon16 can support up to 340 pixels per port in DMX (not LOR) mode.  If you are going to use more than 170 pixels per port, please change this setting to 340.  Note that you can set the pixels per port to 340 even if you are using LESS than 170 pixels.  Doing so will change how the ports are addressed, so care must be taken to ensure that you have the correct settings.

 

Starting Universe/Unit ID of Board: Select the universe that this board should start at. The first pixel port will be this address, and then each higher universe will be incremented from this value, depending on the addressing mode selected.  If you did not select 'Packed Tightly' then each port will get one or two IDs depending on the max 170/340 selection.  If you selected 'Packed Pixels' the Unit/Universe will be dependent on the starting channel as well as the number of pixels.  For example, setting the starting universe to 5 (with 170 pixels on a port, starting channel 1) means that port 1 will be universe 5, port 2 will be universe 6, all the way up to port 16 which will be universe 20 when using 170 pixels per port.

 

Number of Nodes (Pixels) per port:  This is the number of physical pixels that are attached to each physical port on the board.

 

Triplet Order:  If the strings that you are using are not in RGB order, you can change it here.   In general most strings are RGB and you should not need to change this.

 

Port Table: The Port Table will be updated each time you make a change showing how each physical port will be configured.  In simple mode, this table is read only.

 

Advanced Mode Setup:

 

tab2advanced

Pixel Port Setup in Advanced Configuration mode

 

The table shows the settings of each port of the PixCon16.  Scroll the list down to see higher ports, and scroll the list to the right to see additional settings.  Clicking on a port will bring up the advanced port configuration screen for that port.

 

 

Misc (Tab 3)

 

The miscellaneous tab allows you to update the firmware on the board, change the color curves,  and set up the aux power port to power a fan or other cooling device.

 

tab3misc

Misc PixCon16 settings

 

Firmware Update:

 

To update the firmware, press the Update Firmware button.  You will then be asked for the location of an LOR PixCon16 Firmware File.  To ensure you have the latest firmware available, please check the Light-O-Rama website and download the latest available.

 

Once you have selected the correct file, the firmware update process will start.  The process is typically safe to perform, however we recommend that you do not update firmware unless  you are addressing a known problem, or need to add some new functionality that a new firmware offers.

 

When updating the firmware of a PixCon16, the power and status lights will flash on/off in different patterns.  Please do not power off the board while the update is in progress.  If you are unsure if the update was applied properly or not, wait a few minutes and then observe the power and status lights.  This will give the board enough time to reboot and stabilize.   Also, pay attention to any instructions that may be shown on your screen.

 

Should the update process fail, the board could be in one of several states after the failure:

If the status light is blinking and the power light is solid, this typically means the update was successful.  However, it could also mean the board did not receive or it did not properly start the update process.
 
If the power and status lights are alternating, then the board is currently in the boot-loader mode.
 
If the power light is ON but the status light is OFF there was a problem with the firmware update.

 

In all cases after allowing the board to sit for a few minutes, power it off then back on.  The board should return to normal operation at that time.  If not, please refer to the hardware manual of the PixCon16 for additional troubleshooting information.

 

The PixCon16 will only operate and be able to be updated by Light-O-Rama signed firmware.  No other companies firmware can be used on the board.

 

Automatic Network Configuration

 

When saving the configuration of a PixCon16, the program can also optionally create all of the entries needed in the DMX Configuration of Network Preferences using Multi-Cast settings.  However you may have already set up proper parameters for this board and don't want to be bothered again.  This setting is saved with the board.

 

Color Correction ('Color Curving')

 

These sliders allow you to adjust the relative amount of power supplied to each channel of a triplet attached to the 16 pixel ports of the board.  Color Correction is typically used so that pixels attached to this board can be adjusted to more closely match pixels on other boards.  Please note that this setting is for the entire board and not per port.  Use the sliders to increase or decrease the amount of 'color' for each component.

 

Fan Percentage

 

A fully populated PixCon16 can draw a significant amount of power and needs to be properly cooled.  To help with this, the Pixcon 16 can automatically regulate power to the accessory power connector based on the temperature the board is currently sensing.   The slider here will control when the power is at 100% based at what the current temperature is.   You should consider the amount of load on your PixCon16 as well as the typical ambient temperature of your installation.

 

Automatic configuration of network preferences for DMX/E1.31

 

When you press the OK button and have configured the PixCon16 to use DMX/E1.31 you will be asked if you would like to automatically create the necessary Network Preferences entries.  If you select yes, the program will automatically determine all of the universes that this board will use and then create the correct multi-cast entries in the DMX tab of LOR Network Preferences.  The system will warn you if there are already conflicting settings present and allow you to opt-out of the changes.

 

The program will only create Multicast entries for the universes in use.  If you would rather use the boards Unicast address, you will need to edit the entries created and specify the static IP address of the board.  If you are not an expert in IP addressing, you may wish to leave the boards in multicast mode.