Fadecandy, Raspberry Pi, Balena and 250 LED Holiday Lighting Woes


Replaced the zeros with stars, updated the time to an appropriate interval - and didn’t get any results at the expected time. Then decided my I needed to restart the container after making the settings updates - so just to be safe, rebooted the whole device. Set an updated target time for turning the lights on – which came and went… still nothing.

But then - realized I’d broken the Glediator -> ArtNet -> FadeCandy path, when I updated the fadecandy server.json file to move to channel 1 (since xLights OPC output can’t be set to channel 0).

So - my problem is more likely in a required ArtNet configuration update, to shift it’s OPC output to FadeCandy from channel 0 to channel 1, to match the config change supporting xLights.

So many (potential) moving parts! :slight_smile:

I’ll bump this thread when I get the ArtNet thing worked out, and am certain I’m actually testing the timer function.


Time in the Glediator container may be in UTC. Try shifting the crontab schedule to UTC and see if that helps.

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I’m sure there seems to be some bug when running on the Pi 3 as I’m seeing behaviour where the output doesn’t automatically start on boot. It’s a similar script that starts and stops the output based on the schedule so I am wondering if it’s related. I’ve opened an issue here and am taking a look: https://github.com/balenalabs-incubator/fadecandy-led-controller/issues/8

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@SnoWake I’ve just pushed some changes to the repo that should resolve the output starting automatically - I think it was just on the very edge of giving Glediator enough time to start before running the output enable script, so on the Pi 4 (a faster device, of course) it was fine, but for me on the Pi 3 it was intermittent.

I’ve also tested the scheduler and added some documentation for that plus setting the timezone to the readme - both seem to be working great now, too. :slight_smile:

I’ll take a look at that VNC issue next.

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@chrisys Awesome! Off to ‘git pull’ during the lunchbreak :slight_smile:

The VNC issue is lower priority for me - but agree, might as well track it down so things ‘work as advertised’. Ironically, I’m ‘broken’ right now (with regard to Glediator) because of changes I made to fadecandy’s server.json, to support xLights. I was hoping to track down/validate the required changes to the ArtNet server output and submit it as a PR to the repo – but just haven’t had the cycles. :frowning:


I think I’ve tackled the VNC issue as well now so you should be good to go after the update! I’ve also updated the readme a bit and prepared the repo for addition to balenaHub :slight_smile:

I want to do some more work on it over the next week so that you can configure the matrix dimensions and configuration with environment variables. This way, the Glediator setup will handle more config without having to edit code. I think long term the xLights solution is the way to go though - the Glediator website has been down for well over a year!

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Outstanding – thanks @chrisys! Just a quick git pull and balena push and I’m off to the races. While I’m waiting for the build to push – adding a few more photos of the project, now ‘in situ’:

As seen from the living room (rig is mounted on our front deck):

As seen from outside, below:

As glimpsed between trees and houses from blocks away, on a dog walk:

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@chrisys Just a quick confirmation of what you already know:

With your last merge, you’ve made both the automated start on power up, as well as the timer function, operational. Thanks again to @koyaanisqatsi for the UTC callout: I might have still been scratching my head without that adjustment. :slight_smile:

It’s a beautiful thing. Now it can come on, and go off – right along with all the other lights!


That’s awesome, and I’m a bit jealous! I just informed my wife that next year our Christmas tree will be lit with smart LEDs.


Finally: A couple of gratuitous drone shots:

Link to full album of project photos, and even some drone video showing off some of the demo patterns:

Holiday / Everyday LED Fun

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Glediator is pretty slick - once I started to figure it out with the two effects, ‘merged’ into what gets sent to the tree. That said and as noted in the project: it doesn’t appear to be actively being maintained (or even hosted :wink: - and there’s just not a lot of information on it out there.

By contrast: it’s an xLights world. An equally steep (or perhaps even steeper) learning curve, but no shortage of resources, information – and examples! Check this out…

Let It Snow sequence

I’m slowly starting to figure out both the models, and the sequencing - and finally got it to render and display on the tree. The ability to package up sequences like this (but better :)) and run them using Falcon Player would be pretty slick.

@SnoWake I’m interested to see what you built but getting a 404 on that link!

I’d certainly be happier migrating the project to a known quantity; I think we can get over the steep learning curve of xLights by providing a few presets that work out the box and easing people into it.

@chrisys Thanks for the heads up on the 404 - that’s not good! Yes, there’s a lot of surface area just within xLights – but like you’d done so successfully in the project to date, I think some solid, working presets and examples, and a Falcon player container – and it might be golden.

Speaking of ‘easing’ and expanding: My additional strings arrived the other day, and I was hoping to add and expand my current display: Between glediator, artnet and fadecandy – there’s a lot of ‘mapping’ and matrix adjusting to work through. Digging into gled_patch_generator.py now… :slight_smile:

Thanks - AGAIN!!