Build festive lighting for the holidays with balena, Christmas lights 2020

Hi i decided to try this project again this year. I got it all to work this time but was wondering if there is a way to get it to work with xlights or a more up to date light sequencer? I can get xlights to talk to my pi and fadecandy but i get no reaction on the lights. If this cant be done that is ok, i will just do something different, but if it can please help me understand how. Thanks

Hey Earl, this seems like a fun project. Can you tell us more about it, how you have got it setup and what hardware are you using? Also, is there a specific use-case you are going with your festive lights project. Thanks!

I’ve attached a screenshot of my device from my account online. I’m trying to use it for my Christmas light show. It said in the article that it was possible to use something other than gladiator two sequence the lights. For everything else I am using xlights to do this with but I don’t know how to get it to work this this project. And trying to teach myself how to use gladiator is not easy. Hope this answers your question, if not let me know. Thanks

Hi Earl, which article are you following? I see we have a couple different ones on our blog

@edgeedj1982 looking at it I think you’ll be able to get it to work. It looks like you should be able to connect xLights directly to the fadecandy server using an OPC connection, which perhaps you have done already? I tried it here and couldn’t get xLights to make the connection - perhaps if you share what connection you’ve made so far I can try to replicate what you have here.

If that doesn’t work it may be a case of installing something like OLA to use as an intermediary to convert the lighting data from xLights to Fadecandy (OPC).

xLights looks really powerful so I am interested to see if we can get this working in place of Glediator!

yes i have tried to make a connection with xlights too. With OPC i can see the fadcandy talk to xlights but my lights still wont do anything. i have tried to install rasberrypi OS on my pi and install OLA to see if that would work better but the outcome was the same. If you need access to my project i would be happy to give access if that would help. if we can get xlights to work on this that would be awesome.

What settings did you use in xLights to get it to communicate? I had a brief look earlier and couldn’t get it to connect at all. If you can figure out the working setup I can help adding it to the project.

In the CONTROLLERS section I used ADD ETHERNET, changed the PROTOCOL to OPC, added the IP address of the pi and set the number of channels. Hit save then went to TOOLS, and TEST. I can see the LED on the Fadecandy blink like it’s talking but the lights just don’t do anything. I’m not sure what to do next but it’s almost like it doesn’t know where the lights are.

Oh interesting, I did that too and it just says it can’t connect to the controller.

Ok so right now I’m using a different SD card and have loaded OLA and I can get xlights to control the lights. So many you were right about using it with the system

ok @edgeedj1982 I figured it out. I noticed you can’t set the OPC channel to 0 in xLights, it only goes down to 1. Therefore we need to update the server.json file in the fcserver part of the project so that it runs all the lights on channel 1 instead of 0.

My server.json now looks like this, you’ll see the first column on map has changed to 1. If you make this change and push the project again it should work :slight_smile:

{
    "listen": ["0.0.0.0", 7890],
    "verbose": true,

    "color": {
        "gamma": 2.5,
        "whitepoint": [1.0, 1.0, 1.0]
    },

    "devices": [
        {
            "type": "fadecandy",
            "map": [
              [ 1, 0, 0, 50, "grb" ],
              [ 1, 50, 64, 50, "grb" ],
              [ 1, 100, 128, 50, "grb" ],
              [ 1, 150, 192, 50, "grb" ],
              [ 1, 200, 256, 50, "grb" ]
            ]
        }
    ]
}

Awesome I’m going to try it right now!!!

There might be some more fine tuning to do as one of my 5 strings is not working in xLights, but I think it’s going to be a case of getting the addressing and numbering correct. You could also put each string on a different OPC channel too, they don’t have to all be on 1.

That totally works!! I’m so excited! Now I just have to hook up the rest of my lights and see what happens.

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Picture please!

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Now if it would be possible to replace Gladiator with xlights in the whole setup that would be amazing

I think it totally would be since there’s a Linux version of xLights. One more caveat I just found, the ‘message data size’ option has to be enough to cover all channels one the controller. I have 250 LEDs so needed a data size of 750 (3 channels on each LED) to cover them all.