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DynamoBen  
#1 Posted : Wednesday, August 2, 2017 5:01:53 PM(UTC)
DynamoBen

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I thought I would share an open-source project I created last year and posted a week ago. (photos attached)

I do an event each year that really needed some tally lights. But as we all know commerical systems are ridiculously expensive and don't typically, or easily, connect to streaming software like vMix. So I decided to build my own. Initially I was going to build a wired system based on an open-source design by Skaarhoj, the problem was I didn't want to have to carry and run more cables. So instead I designed and built WIFI tally lights and since I already use a WIFI network for events I didn't need to bring anything additional to use them.

This system allows for up to 255 tally lights. Each light has a dimmable Tally and Operator LED(s). The operator gets both live and preview. Each tally light is configurable via a webpage, allowing you to change WIFI settings and the LED intensity. There is a separate piece of software that acts as a bridge between vMix and the lights. To associate a light(s) with a shot you just need to add special text to the shot name [T:1]. By doing it this way all the affected cameras in a PIP shot can be lit and reordering shots won't change the tally outputs. Also because this uses WIFI you can use them internationally without any special licensing.

So check it out, if you decide to build a set I'd love to hear about them. Feel free to DM me or post here about it. Enjoy!
DynamoBen attached the following image(s):
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operatorgrn.png (1,111kb) downloaded 119 time(s).
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side.png (1,074kb) downloaded 89 time(s).

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thanks 11 users thanked DynamoBen for this useful post.
kjones9999 on 8/2/2017(UTC), zioncast on 8/2/2017(UTC), stevespaw on 8/3/2017(UTC), Video Dave on 8/4/2017(UTC), boris9831 on 8/5/2017(UTC), shibbycribby on 8/24/2017(UTC), vijay6672 on 9/1/2017(UTC), Peter B on 9/1/2017(UTC), Peterv999 on 4/5/2018(UTC), joel72004 on 4/5/2018(UTC), JLMEMT on 5/25/2020(UTC)
shibbycribby  
#2 Posted : Thursday, August 24, 2017 10:18:22 AM(UTC)
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Hi DynamoBen,

This looks really well done congratulations on making this well polished result. I'm thinking about making use of the project you shared to make a set of tallys but just had a few questions going over the notes. Looking at the schematic I an see the tally has the adafruit huzzah, does this board require any other main board to work or is it like an arduino teensy board where it works all on its own? Also do you need another wifi sender of some sort to push the signal from vmix on the pc? Or does this board work over your existing wifi network? I think I mostly get it but have you got any real life photos of the wiring/setup inside both boxes you could share at all?....Very happy someones managed a diy wireless system all the existing assembled products seem way overpriced for a blinking light!

Many thanks
DynamoBen  
#3 Posted : Thursday, August 24, 2017 10:30:20 AM(UTC)
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shibbycribby wrote:
Looking at the schematic I an see the tally has the adafruit huzzah, does this board require any other main board to work or is it like an arduino teensy board where it works all on its own?

It works on its own nothing additional is required. It is a microcontroller with WIFI built-in.

Quote:
Also do you need another wifi sender of some sort to push the signal from vmix on the pc? Or does this board work over your existing wifi network?

This project uses your existing WIFI network, no additional hardware is needed but you will need to use the bridge software to communicate with the lights.

Quote:
I think I mostly get it but have you got any real life photos of the wiring/setup inside both boxes you could share at all?

I don't have any photos at the moment. In the box is a prototyping PCB that the Huzzah is soldered to and I just did point to point wiring to complete the schematic.

Quote:
Very happy someones managed a diy wireless system all the existing assembled products seem way overpriced for a blinking light!

That is why I created it. ;)
DynamoBen  
#4 Posted : Saturday, August 26, 2017 10:49:33 AM(UTC)
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shibbycribby wrote:
Hi DynamoBen,
I think I mostly get it but have you got any real life photos of the wiring/setup inside both boxes you could share at all?


I took a picture of one of my prototypes you can find it here.
mashynewie2  
#5 Posted : Tuesday, August 29, 2017 8:11:34 AM(UTC)
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This is great.

Can you tell me, why do you need bridging software, can't your device talk directly to vMix.

I also wondered why the skaarhoj surfaces need bridging software too? Can't skaarhoj put the bridging software inside the unit?

DynamoBen  
#6 Posted : Tuesday, August 29, 2017 10:08:45 AM(UTC)
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mashynewie2 wrote:
Can you tell me, why do you need bridging software, can't your device talk directly to vMix.


It's a good question and really a design choice. Instead of having complex code and configuration on all the tally lights I've offloaded that to the bridge software. Using the bridge software means not having to configure things like the vMix system IP on every light. It also avoids all the tally lights individually polling vMix, right now the only thing that polls vMix is the bridge software.

Also customizations and bug fixes easily handled locally, for example you could extend the bridge software to run an On Air light or make all the tallies flash when you start or stop recording/streaming.

Quote:
I also wondered why the skaarhoj surfaces need bridging software too? Can't skaarhoj put the bridging software inside the unit?


Here again it's a design choice, in their case they are controlling vMix with the ATEM protocol. This keeps their devices on a single code base and allows interoperability between multiple manufactures.

For both my design and Skaarhoj we have to consider other software and hardware solutions (like Wirecast and ATEM) and make design choices and compromises so things work the same or similarly across all of them.
shibbycribby  
#7 Posted : Friday, September 1, 2017 11:45:13 AM(UTC)
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Hey DynamoBen,

Thanks for the pic of the internals, has helped me along a little. I've programmed a couple of the boards with the supplied code however I went through the BOM list supplied as parts before the image of the internals was posted I've now noticed it was missing several resistors and capacitors that are in the schematic. Do you have any more info on wattage/voltage etc for these parts? Just trying to figure out how much I'm missing....

Many thanks
dark_ata  
#8 Posted : Friday, September 1, 2017 12:15:03 PM(UTC)
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if understand the code you uses to check if is on preview or program is the information of /api , when arrive the programer to upload the esp01s i will try change and uses the information from /tallyupdate for each camera, this way you got if one camera is in multiview and not only when is in overlay.
DynamoBen  
#9 Posted : Friday, September 1, 2017 1:36:33 PM(UTC)
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dark_ata wrote:
if understand the code you uses to check if is on preview or program is the information of /api ,


You are sort of correct. It's looking at program, preview, and overlay. But the more important part is it's then looking at the name of the shot in question, extracting the tally info in the name, then sending that info to the lights. See the readme for the special characters used in the name.

Quote:
...i will try change and uses the information from /tallyupdate for each camera, this way you got if one camera is in multiview and not only when is in overlay.


You can do this but know that I already have tried this and choose to not do it that way. Using tallyupdate means that as you reorder the shots it reassigns which tally responds to that shot even when the camera/input is unchanged. So swapping the order of shots 1 and 2 swaps the tally for each also. The method I'm using allows for multiview and while not as "automatic" it works pretty well. The beauty of it is you can reorder shots as much as you like and nothing changes on the tally lights.

Here again this is a design choice, if you prefer it another way then go for it...which is why I open-sourced it. Had it not been open-source you'd be stuck. ;)
DynamoBen  
#10 Posted : Friday, September 1, 2017 2:18:09 PM(UTC)
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shibbycribby wrote:

I've programmed a couple of the boards with the supplied code however I went through the BOM list supplied as parts before the image of the internals was posted I've now noticed it was missing several resistors and capacitors that are in the schematic. Do you have any more info on wattage/voltage etc for these parts? Just trying to figure out how much I'm missing....


Be careful my schematic has the Huzzah module schematic in it also, if you have a Huzzah module there are no additional capacitors but there are some resistors. What part IDs are you needing more info about?
shibbycribby  
#11 Posted : Saturday, September 2, 2017 5:39:07 AM(UTC)
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Ah I'm with you! Sorry I don't really read schematics very often if ever....so everything in the huzzah square box is irrelevant is what your saying? In that case I think its just the 1k resistor I'm missing from that I can tell. Would half a watt do the trick:

https://www.digikey.com/...500/PPC1.0KBTR-ND/614119

or does it need a higher wattage?



DynamoBen  
#12 Posted : Saturday, September 2, 2017 9:40:46 AM(UTC)
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shibbycribby wrote:
...so everything in the huzzah square box is irrelevant is what your saying?


Correct. With one tiny exception, there is a jumper between 1 & 4 on JP4. While it's inside the box it's something you will need to do between pins. If you forget it's not a big deal since that jumper just pulls the uC out of deep sleep which isn't used right, it's there as a "just in case" for the future.

Quote:
In that case I think its just the 1k resistor I'm missing from that I can tell. Would half a watt do the trick


1/2 watt resistors tend to be pretty big, all you need for this is a 1/4 watt.

I will update the BOM with that info.
Henny  
#13 Posted : Saturday, September 16, 2017 8:51:18 AM(UTC)
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Ive Just Knocked up my first prototype build of one of theses but i built it around a NodeMcu Development Board ESP8266 12E.
http://www.ebay.co.uk/it...sid=p2057872.m2749.l2649
Not only is it cheaper than the other board it also has an onboard Voltage reg that will take 4-20VDC so i more options for power it also has onboard USB for programming.

Please see the attached pics, When I make some more I will go with Led's that have proper Bezels rather than using hot glue
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DynamoBen  
#14 Posted : Saturday, September 16, 2017 9:52:27 AM(UTC)
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Henny wrote:
Ive Just Knocked up my first prototype build of one of theses but i built it around a NodeMcu Development Board ESP8266 12E.
http://www.ebay.co.uk/it...sid=p2057872.m2749.l2649
Not only is it cheaper than the other board it also has an onboard Voltage reg that will take 4-20VDC so i more options for power it also has onboard USB for programming.


I had one person ask if this was an option, nice to see someone tried it. One concern I had when that person asked was the size of the module but it looks like you used a different case.

Quote:
Please see the attached pics, When I make some more I will go with Led's that have proper Bezels rather than using hot glue


I'd be interested in adding your photos to the github site so that people can see different ways to build the same project. Would you be OK with that? I'm happy to wait for pics with no glue if you prefer. ;)
Murchik  
#15 Posted : Sunday, September 17, 2017 1:44:03 PM(UTC)
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I have one question! With the help of this module it is possible to realize only indication of communication or voice communication with operators too ???? For example, I use smart phones to display tally and also for voice communication with operators (all on WI-FI), but sometimes I encounter that, then the operator does not have a smartphone or he is too outdated for this system.
Is it possible to implement fully and communication and tally with the module that you use ????
DynamoBen  
#16 Posted : Sunday, September 17, 2017 1:49:59 PM(UTC)
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Murchik wrote:
With the help of this module it is possible to realize only indication of communication or voice communication with operators too ????


This system only operates tally lights, it cannot do voice communication.
Murchik  
#17 Posted : Sunday, September 17, 2017 2:01:26 PM(UTC)
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DynamoBen wrote:
Murchik wrote:
With the help of this module it is possible to realize only indication of communication or voice communication with operators too ????


This system only operates tally lights, it cannot do voice communication.



very, very sad .... how many problems it helped me to solve it in the future ... I will look further for an alternative to smartphones.
Murchik  
#18 Posted : Sunday, September 17, 2017 2:05:17 PM(UTC)
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maybe someone will catch a suitable system ??? write please. All should work on WI-FI, the number of subscribers is up to 15 people. The coverage of the WI-FI zone has already been realized within a radius of 1800 meters without losses, but with repellers.
DynamoBen  
#19 Posted : Wednesday, September 20, 2017 3:04:35 PM(UTC)
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This project just got a little easier, last night I created a stand-alone executable. This means you no longer need to install Python to run the bridge software, just download the EXE and run it.

I've updated the Readme to reflect this change. Enjoy!
shibbycribby  
#20 Posted : Wednesday, September 20, 2017 5:50:03 PM(UTC)
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I'm very nearly there now on my build, got 2 tallys nearing completion, had one connected up at work the other day working correctly just needs to be fixed in the case. I've just been trying to hook up the second one for a dry run but have hit a brick wall with the python bridge. Seems that on my home machine its not picking up when vmix is open and just remains in the "closed" state regardless. Is the bridge software tested as working with the latest version of vmix? 20.0.0.27? If so do you think that I installed as a trial (fully functional) on this machine would effect anything?
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