Many topics have been discussed in the forum, from touchscreen displays to colorful usages of the 40 IO PINs now offered by RPi model B+ and RPi 2.
A Raspberry Pi can indeed act like a mini PC, but much of its "DIY power" is in its SPI, I2C, GPIO and UART IO.
So I decided to stop the QLC+ 5 developments for a moment and dedicate some time to cover a couple of "hot" topics, introducing 2 new plugins: UART and GPIO.
For those who build from sources, they can already be found on GitHub.
All the other users will have to wait for QLC+ 4.9.2 to be released, which will happen later this month.
Keep in mind that these plugins will not be available on the desktop versions.
Although still possible, it is nowaday rare to see a RS232 interface on modern PCs (remember those DIN9 connectors ?)
So unless you specifically buy something like this (and hack the DIN9 to a DMX connector...), the new UART plugin is focused on working on embedded devices like the Raspberry Pi or similar, by reproducing the DMX signal on the Tx/Rx PINs.
The reference device with which I tested the plugin is this: DMX interface for Raspberry Pi The BitWizard team kindly donated a couple of samples of their boards to the QLC+ project. Thank you !
Please note that they have 2 models, with different pricing. One with and one without a FTDI chip.
The FT245 model, mounts a FTDI chip, so you might think that it works out of the box with QLC+. Well, no.
The usage they had in mind with the FTDI version, was to use a Raspberry Pi + the FT245 hat as a "Enttec Pro" compatible adapter.
Basically they wrote a software using the bare metal programming technique, which doesn't provide a full operating system, but just the stricly necessary binary to flash onto a SD card to implement a specific usage.
So basically, this usage has nothing to do with QLC+, which instead runs on a full Debian OS.
You can indeed use the RPi+FT245 solution via USB with QLC+ running on a PC or on another Raspberry Pi. Exactly like if you were using a USB-DMX adapter.
For now the UART plugin supports only data output and in any case the BitWizard board doesn't support simultaneous input/output.
The board works out of the box and the only thing to tweak in the QLC+ RPi image is the data direction which, by hardware default, is set to input.
Setting the output direction can be done in this way (just add these lines in the /etc/init.d/qlcplus file)
Code: Select all
echo 18 > /sys/class/gpio/export echo out > /sys/class/gpio/gpio18/direction echo 1 > /sys/class/gpio/gpio18/value
This long awaited plugin is finally here !
With GPIO PINs you can do many things and this new plugin is a starting point for ideas and discussions.
For example, those who built foot pedals destroying a USB keyboard , well, now they can use this plugin natively on the Raspberry Pi, just by wiring a few buttons.
The reference schematics used for tests are the following. (to electronic guys...please don't laugh ) As you can see, very easy stuff, even for a software guy like me, struggling to make it on electronics exams at school
For now the plugin supports very basic digital states (high/low) either in input or output.
Depending on the feedbacks I will receive, more developments can go into this plugin, for example to have PWM output, encoder readings, or even more complex usages I might not even think about right now.
Last but not least, I'd just like to share a few numbers of the QLC+ project.
This is a pure self-satisfactory section of this article (kidding ) simply to say that the project is incredibly active and constantly growing each month.
Even if he doesn't read this, I would like to thank again Heikki Junnila, original creator of the QLC project. Without him, all this would not have been possible.
130000+: visits on the website (6000+ each month)
64000+: views of the official YouTube videos
10000+: posts on the forum
3000+: downloads per month (counting qlcplus.org and SourceForge)
3000+: changes to the QLC+ sources (an average of 1000+ per year)
40: contributors to the project sources (but many more if we count fixtures)
So a big thank you to everyone who contributed to these results !