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Flextech Strips...are They Hackable?

17 posts in this topic

Posted · Report post

Picked up 4 boxes of these;

086786870808lg.jpg

http://www.lowes.com/pd_391536-80668-87080_0__?productId=3827465&Ntt=flextech&pl=1&currentURL=%3FNtt%3Dflextech&facetInfo=

 

Are these hackable????  What controller would work with these if they are????

 

I posted a video comparing regular incans with these;

 

If they are not hackable...they will be for sale ;-)

 

Robert

 

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Posted · Report post

I would also like to know this... Great idea using it on the arch.  I was just thinking of using it along the roof line along with my 6 channels of C9's.  I guess we could use them to make a mega tree!  I purchased 12 boxes so far and was going to put them up at my mom's house next year.

To hack these would be great.  There must be SOMEONE who's tried this?

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Posted · Report post

Reading, reading and reading....

Found more here;

http://doityourselfchristmas.com/forums/showthread.php?23961-LightShow-versus-GE-Color-Effects

 

I have linked this current thread "

Flextech Strips...are They Hackable?"

...in several different threads. It would be nice to bring it all into this current thread.

All I know....we need to keep plugging away. These have GREAT coating on the outside. Really thick.  I am also sure if we can find a quick solution...then some others could grab these up from their local Lowe's as well.

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Posted · Report post

Home depot has white only marked down online line for $15.00. Get them while you can

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Posted · Report post

Aaaah. Would get more if I knew they were hackable. I did read on the diychristmas that the RGB are not really RGB. Red is red, blue is blue, etc. For that, I would just be interested in the white. Could do more arches ;-)

 

Hackable...not hackable....that is the question.

 

If not, I will have 4 for sale :-)

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Posted · Report post

Robert, They are hackable indeed. I used four arches in my show this year. http://vimeo.com/56196871 The strips use the P9816 chip which is similar to the 2801 controller chips. I use a quick start (propeller based) board and modifed the E680 code to to fit into my control system which is MIDI based. Terry

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Posted · Report post

Terry, do you have more information on how you did it?  2012 was my first year with LOR and am already looking into RGB for arches next year.

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Terry!

You just made my night. Many questions for you. Let's go with the stuff on topic...then off topic...since it is my thread ;-)

 

Ok. Midi based?  I am familiar with the midi based stuff with musical instruments. I guess that language (computer) can be used with the lights. Just not familiar with it. Is this something that can be controlled with LOR / dmx by chance???

 

The board you used, is that a custom board or is it one that can be purchased somewhere? (kit or complete...doesn't matter) 

 

Did you use "It's" own power supply or did you have to use something else?

 

How many channels or pixels were you able to get out of each strip?  Are each of the 108 LED's individually addressable??

 

There are a bunch of people grabbing these up now that the price has dropped. PLEEEEEASE share more about your exact setup with these. This honestly...even at the full price of $59.95 would be a great arch to use.  Your the only one I have found that can do this.....

 

 

:)

 

Now...off topic;

 

The choir piece at the first of the video....who and where did you get it?

 

Your pixel tree....tell us about that too ;-)

 

Like your setup :-)

 

Thanks....and May The Force Be With You....

Robert

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Posted (edited) · Report post

>>Terry!

>>You just made my night. Many questions for you. Let's go with the stuff on topic...then off topic...since it is my thread ;-)

 

>>Ok. Midi based?  I am familiar with the midi based stuff with musical instruments. I guess that language (computer) can be used with the lights. Just not familiar with it.

Yes, I control my display with the MIDI protocol. However, I use the same 250K for the bit rate over an RS-485 network.

>> Is this something that can be controlled with LOR / dmx by chance???

I don't think so. However, the controller that I built was based on the SanDevices E680 software. Their products work with LOR and will work with the light string.

 

>>The board you used, is that a custom board or is it one that can be purchased somewhere? (kit or complete...doesn't matter) 

The boards are made by Parallax. This is the P8X32A QuickStart board. You can even buy them at Radio Shack. I added an interface board that contains an RS-485 receiver, RJ-45 jacks (for the MIDI Network) and terminal strips to connect the four arch strings. One of these controllers will control 4 strings of lights. I used one controller to control all four arches.

 

>>Did you use "It's" own power supply or did you have to use something else?

The flex lights have their own power supply. The controller does not consume a lot of power and so I used the Flex Tech power supply as the power source for the controller.

 

>>How many channels or pixels were you able to get out of each strip?  Are each of the 108 LED's individually addressable??

Each strip does have 108 LEDs and you can address them individually with 256 levels of dimming.

 

>>There are a bunch of people grabbing these up now that the price has dropped. PLEEEEEASE share more about your exact setup with these.

>> This honestly...even at the full price of $59.95 would be a great arch to use.  Your the only one I have found that can do this.....

 

 

:)

 

>>Now...off topic;

 

>>The choir piece at the first of the video....who and where did you get it?

That song came off the Polar Express soundtrack. The title is Spirit Of The Season. The song off the soundtrack is significantly longer so I made edits to the song to make it shorter.

 

>>Your pixel tree....tell us about that too ;-)

The Pixel Tree is made up of GE Color Effects lights. The same controller will control these types of lights too. The tree is made up with 2x4's and some 1 inch fir strips.

The Icecicle lights are also the GE Conlor Effects type. The icecicle strings I got had only 35 lights on them and that did not cover the front of the house. So I added part of another string to make one string of 51 icecicles.

>>Like your setup :-)

Thanks.

 

If you want to see some unique animations check out the 2009 video. There was an incident involving a certain snowman, the Grinch, and a cannon.

>>Thanks....and May The Force Be With You....

>>Robert

Edited by Terry Dyke

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Posted · Report post

Terry, I'm not as tech savvy with this as you are getting into.  Can you break it down into plain English please?  I purchased 12 boxes of the clear as well as 9 boxes of icicle lights.  I have many questions on this, and the above reply doesn't help me at all.

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Posted · Report post

Terry,

I know you are starting to get swamped with requests from here and over on doityourselfchristmas .....sorry ;-)  As I mentioned before, you are the only one who I have found to have hacked these thus far.

 

I found the board;

http://www.parallaxsemiconductor.com/quickstart  Probably a little cheaper than Radio Shack...even though I don't mind paying for the higher price at this point. 

 

You mentioned the software from SanDevices. So I guess there is a ROM on the parallax board you flashed?  If so how did you go about doing that and I would presume the SanDevices software is not open source....

 

Now with the interface.... Do you think it would work with a different interface??? I would presume the software you wrote would work only with the midi interface you added?     That would be fine, however I am running dmx (first year and still a newbie at this) and LOR. Not sure how that would work.....do you???

 

I know there are so many questions coming at you...and we thank you for your help.  Any type of Wiki page, pdf, schematic, or ANYTHING would be greatly appreciated :-)

 

Thanks,

Robert

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Posted · Report post

Terry,

Wonder if I am in over my head;

http://doityourselfchristmas.com/forums/showthread.php?23961-LightShow-versus-GE-Color-Effects/page3

Almost embarrassed to post over there. I understand maybe just a tiny bit when it comes to programming. I can build stuff with the best of them (electronics as well) but programming...just not sure if I am ready for that. 

 

What software did you run your overall show with?

 

Guess I am asking that because since I use LOR3 right now. I see that it supports midi, but just wondering if and how that would work with my existing LOR files? I looked on the wizard to see the topic of midi, but found nothing about conversion back and forth. I pretty much use those arches in every song and at slow and fast paces.

 

Thanks Terry

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Posted · Report post

Terry, I'm not as tech savvy with this as you are getting into.  Can you break it down into plain English please?  I purchased 12 boxes of the clear as well as 9 boxes of icicle lights.  I have many questions on this, and the above reply doesn't help me at all.

Clyde are you on Facebook?

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Posted · Report post

The E680 code was posted on the DIY Christmas site. I modified that code for this roject. The Quick Start board has a USB port on which the code can be downloaded into an EEPROM. You are correct that this would work only with the RS-485 interafce. This could likely work with DMX but that would require some software changes. I am using a MIDI sequencer to run my show. More specifically Cakewalk Home Studio. I don't beleive the LOR MIDI interface would work. The standard MIDI interface runs at a much slower bit rate and would not likely be able to provide an acceptable response time for sending the commands. If you're running LOR the SanDevices ELOR/E68x would be a good choice as they currently support the Flextech deivces.

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Thanks to Randy N, the Flex Strips have successfully been hacked and can be controlled using the e68x card from SanDevices.  The information is here
http://doityourselfchristmas.com/for...ight=flex+tech

 

Clyde are you on Facebook?

Yes, I'm on facebook... Under my name with this pic as my profile pic :D

 

 

The E680 code was posted on the DIY Christmas site. I modified that code for this roject. The Quick Start board has a USB port on which the code can be downloaded into an EEPROM. You are correct that this would work only with the RS-485 interafce. This could likely work with DMX but that would require some software changes. I am using a MIDI sequencer to run my show. More specifically Cakewalk Home Studio. I don't beleive the LOR MIDI interface would work. The standard MIDI interface runs at a much slower bit rate and would not likely be able to provide an acceptable response time for sending the commands. If you're running LOR the SanDevices ELOR/E68x would be a good choice as they currently support the Flextech deivces.

Terry, so the LightShow icicles and C9 RGB's are able to be controlled with the LOR software as well?  This is indeed exciting :D I picked up 5 boxes of each.  These also are compatible with LOR then? 

This is a whole different animal.  Should I also mention that I have the LightShow Drip Icicles I found at Big Lots?  This has been a big gamble, and looking for the huge payoff for 2013/14 :)
 

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Posted · Report post

Helo Terry can you send me a link to the info on the GE flex strips hacking

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The LED tree and the icecicle lights are both GE Color Effects. If you use the SanDevice E68x you can control these form LOR. I'm not sure if the LightShow C9s/icecicles are the same as GE Color Effects. The following link has some great information on the GECE lights. http://www.deepdarc.com/2010/11/27/hacking-christmas-lights There was thread at DIY http://doityourselfchristmas.com/forums/showthread.php?13062-RGB-LED-s-Now-Consumer-Grade-Hackable

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