E16 Controller Drives 16 Strings of 8-bit RGB LEDs

To simplify testing the E16 controllers, we made a simple 42 x 16  grid of holes on 2″ centers.  Backing material is a 4′ x 8′ sheet of double-thick cardboard.  The 16 strings of RGB nodes easily fit in the holes.

After configuring a Madrix patch to output four consecutive universes of Art-Net data, I grabbed this quick video clip.

The rainbow pattern runs at about 40% intensity, to avoid over-exposing the poor camera even more.

The E16 also features a Test Mode, which drives the strings with different patterns.  No ethernet connection is required.  This makes it easy to confirm basic system operation.  String #1 displays 1 red, 1 green, 1 blue and 1 white LED.  String 2 displays 2 red, 2 green, 2 blue and 2 white LEDs, etc.

E16 Test Mode - String ID Pattern

After about 10 seconds, the test mode switches to a ‘walking stripe’ pattern, where each entire string is driven in alternating red, green, blue and white colors.  On a 1 second tick, the pattern shifts from string to string.  Thus, it’s easy to confirm operation of each color on each node.

'Walking String' test pattern.

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Testing and Shipping

An enormous stack of 8-bit RGB LED Nodes

Though we’ve asked the factory to thoroughly test each string of RGB nodes before shipping them to us, I double-check that each color in each node works properly in our shop before sending them out to our end customers.

In this case, 185 strings of 42 nodes were tested today.

For them to be tested simultaneously (they weren’t, but just for fun…) the following calculations are required:

  • 185 strings x 42 nodes / string = 7,770 nodes
  • 7,770 nodes * 3 channels / node = 23,310 control channels
  • 23,310 control channels / 512 channels per universe = 45.5 DMX universes
  • 23,310 control channels * 21 mA per channel = 489.51 Amps at 5.0V DC

E16 Art-Net Controller, Massive Node Shipment & More

First – and finally! – there’s an enormous batch of node strings en route to our shop.  The factory ended up being about 10 days late with the delivery, but we’re super excited.  This shipment contains 300+ strings of 42 nodes.  About 2/3 are spoken for already, and the factory is making several hundred more strings in addition.

If you’ve placed an order in the past few weeks, this is the shipment we’re waiting for.

225 pounds worth.

Next, a quick preview of the soon-to-be-released E16 Ethernet Node Controller.

E16 Ethernet Node Controller
  • Receives Art-Net 2.0 and (coming soon) E1.31 control data.
  • Input frame rate of up to 44 Hz
  • Drives 16 strings of 42 nodes, using between 1 and 4 universes of data
  • Simple web-based configuration wizard.  Node count, universe number, string start address and more can be set on a per-string basis.
  • Matching 5V / 50A power supply takes up less counter space (!) than the E16 controller itself.
  • Fuse per output for sleep-at-night safety.
  • Built-in test patterns for confirming wiring & string assignments, no ethernet connection required.

Below are a couple screen shots taken from the web-based configurator.

I’ve been playing with an early prototype E16 controller for the past few days and can’t stop smiling.  It’s amazing.

More soon!