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AlphaPix Technical Support Page
Last Updated: 07/14/2017
All support and technical assistance for the AlphaPix controllers can be found on this page.

If you are looking for controller specific information, including purchasing the AlphaPix, see this page: http://www.holidaycoro.com/E1-31-Artnet-Smart-Pixel-Controllers-s/1960.htm

If after following the instructions below, you are stuck and have purchased optional technical assistance (see details), please contact us for additional assistance.

If you are new to the AlphaPix controller, here is the recommended setup method:

  • Bare Controller - NOT pre-assembled / Ready2Run Kits
    • Ensure that AlphaPix controller is on a non-conductive / metal surface. Ideally, we recommend a mounting plate and enclosure (AlphaPix 16 / AlphaPix 4).
    • Connect your power supply to "BANK 1" power input- this should be the same voltage as the pixels connected.
    • With the power off, connect your pixels to the SPI output(s).
      • Make absolutely sure that no wires are shorted or touching.
      • We recommend connecting one string to start.
      • Make sure the direction (pixels are all directional) is correct - if you are unsure, check out website product page or your pixel configuration sheet shipped with your HolidayCoro pixels. Arrows should point away from the controller.
      • See the following video for wiring instructions:
    • Power up controller
  • PRE-Assembled / Ready2Run Controllers / Kits
    • Plug in pixels to waterproof plug
    • Power up controller
  • Test the Pixels
    • We know you are ready to get going but start by making sure that ALL your pixels work with the controller in hardware test mode first. Do not skip ahead and test or configure the PC sequencing application at this time. To test pixels using the built-in hardware test mode, see this video:
    • Here are the instructions shown above:
      • Wait for controller to boot up (usually about 15 seconds)
      • Press and HOLD the "M" (1st from left) button until the LCD reads "Entering test mode"
      • Press the "+" and "-" buttons (3rd and 4th from left) to cycle through the different output modes
      • LCD will display the type of output that should appear on the pixels (Red, Green, Blue, Yellow, White, etc)
      • Press and hold the "M" button to exit the test mode, once test mode has been exited, the controller will display "NORMAL MODE"
    • Once ALL lights test out correctly and the colors listed on the LCD match those of the actual lights, proceed to the next step. If the lights do NOT light up, check the following:
      • Ensure that the lights are hooked up in the right direction. See our pixel configuration sheet for which direction is "IN" and "OUT" on your HolidayCoro pixels.
      • Ensure that the lights are the correct voltage for the controller power. If you have 5v pixels, make sure the controller power supply is 5v, etc.
    • If most of your outputs work but one or more do not work, see this troubleshooting video:
  • Setup the PC Network
    • Note that the following video shows setup on a Microsoft Windows environment. Your specific operating system may vary.
    • Setup your PC network:
      • Windows 7:
      • Windows 10:
      • DO NOT proceed until you are able to PING your controller as shown in the videos above.
  • Configure the Pixel Controller Settings Via Web Browser
    • This process configures the settings for your specific pixel configuration. As each controller configuration is often unique, the settings are unique to that controller and the pixel type, pixel count and number of pixel controllers in the display.
    • We recommend using Google Chrome for best results with your controller. There are known issues with selected versions of Internet Explorer and Safari.
    • This video walks through all the standard configuration parameters on the AlphaPix controller:
    • Need help understanding how a DMX universe/address is laid out and configured? See our chart at the bottom of this page.
  • Test the Output from the PC
    • If you are new to E1.31 controllers, we highly recommend starting by testing your pixel output using xLights.
    • xLights can be downloaded here: https://www.xlights.org/releases
    • This video shows the process to setup xLights outputs:
    • This video shows the process to test the output:
    • LOR S3 Users: If you have installed LOR S3 on your computer from which you are using xLights (or any other E1.31 application) you must unload the Control Panel application (system tray with a red or blue light bulb icon) by right clicking the icon and selecting "Unload Light-o-Rama". If this is not done, output from xLights will be interrupted and unpredictable.
  • Setup the E1.31 Application / Sequencing Application
    • NOTE: There are hundreds of possible applications on the market today that work with E1.31 and Artnet protocols but the following only shows some of the very common applications used by the holiday lighting community. Due to the rate of change in these applications and the quantity, it is not possible for us to provide specific advice on each application. Please contact your software vendor for assistant on setup of their application to work with our standards based controller.
      • Light-o-Rama Software
        • If you are using LOR S4 (S3 users should upgrade to S4), we recommend configuring the hardware output and then just a simple test sequence. We do not recommend trying to build an entire sequence to start with.
        • Software download link and how-to videos: http://www.holidaycoro.com/kb_results.asp?ID=122
        • NOTE: If your configuration results in the LOR comm listener error "DMX listener error 3: Comm Winsock Error / 10061: Connection is forcefully rejected", this is a result of an issue within LOR S3 that assumes you must have an LOR "dongle" configured. As a result, you need to install the drivers for the dongle even if you do not have one. See this article for complete instructions.
        • If your controller is configured for universes 1 to 16, here is a useful test sequence for LOR S4 that outputs test data in an LOR sequence, to all channels - download link
        • Setup video:
      • xLights 2017
        • Note that xLights is an open source application and as a result, updates to the application are very common and this can result in a different application than shown on the video below.
        • Software download link and how-to videos: http://www.holidaycoro.com/kb_results.asp?ID=122
        • Setup video showing a common 16 string * 50 pixel MegaTree:
      • Vixen 3.2
        • No longer supported
      • Madrix

The following are a variety of other videos and links relivant to the AlphaPix controller:

AlphaPix Firmware Update Process 25-Apr-15
Firmware V1.01+
See the Firmware Update Page which contains video and text instructions along with firmware.

Configuring RS-485 DMX Outputs 25-Apr-15
Firmware V1.01+

See this Knowledge Base Article
Replacing the Output Chip on AlphaPix Controllers 05-Jul-15
All Hardware
See the Output Chip page for replacement instructional videos

Q: When I test the output from my controller using the built-in hardware test and/or my sequencing application, the colors don't come out correct - how do I fix that?
A: While we mostly refer to lights as "RGB" and assume they are always in that order of Red, Green then Blue, the reality is that they are often in different orders. There are two settings that can change the order on your AlphaPix:
  • "Color Order Output from Application" - This should be set to the color order your application expects the pixels to be in. In nearly all cases this will be "RGB".
  • "Pixel Chip Color Order" - This should be set to the color output order of the specific pixels you are using. For example, if you using our #700 pixel strip, the order should be BRG.

Q: Do you have a diagram that helps me better understand the relationship between DMX Channels, DMX Universes and SPI Outputs?
A: Yes, we have a diagram for both the AlphaPix 4 and Alpha 16 that show how DMX Channels and DMX Universes are arranged inside the controller addressing:

AlphaPix 4:


AlphaPix 16:

Q: What do the three status lights on the board mean and/or what do the green and orange status lights on the Ethernet (CAT5) jack mean?
A: There are 5 status lights on the AlphaPix controllers. The following tables list the functions of these lights:

System Board Status Lights
(Firmware V1.02+)
LED 3
(Green)
LED 2
(Green)
LED 1
(Red)
Condition / Function / Mode
Off Off Flashing Normal operation
Not in test mode - Ready to receive E1.31 / Artnet Data
On Off Flashing Normal Operation
In test mode - Will not respond to E1.31 / Artnet Data

Network Jack Status Lights
(Instructiosn are also printed on PCB)
Link LED
(Green)
Data LED
(Yellow)
Condition
Solid Rapid Flashing Connected to network, receiving/sending data ok
Solid Off Connected to network, NOT receiving or sending data
Off Off Power on controller is off or cable is not plugged into a valid Ethernet network port/switch

Q: What test modes / built-in sequences are in the controller?
A: The AlphaPix controllers have a variety of test modes which are great for burn-in, finding bad pixels or off-season uses. The following table lists all these modes:
Mode # Color / Function
1 Black / Off
(useful for checking for stuck pixels)
2 Static Red
3 Static Green
4 Static Blue
5 Static Yellow
6 Static Purple
7 Static Cyan
8 Static White
(useful for checking for bad RGB lights)
9 Red > Green > Blue Changing
10 General Color Changing
11 Red Meteor Chase
12 Green Meteor Chase
13 Blue Meteor Chase
14 General Color Changing
15 Green > Red Chase
16 Red > Green Chase
17 Red > White > Blue Chase
18 Yellow > Purple Chase
19 Purple > Yellow Chase
20 Red > White Chase
21 Blue > White Chase
22 Green > White Chase
23 Purple > Yellow Flashing
24 Yellow > Purple Flashing
Video Common Soon - Video showing each mode

Q: I have a suggestion for an improvement to the firmware (software) or hardware - how can I do that?
A: We love feedback from our customers and you can find current suggestions planned or suggested on our firmware page.

Q: I'd like to purchase spare or replacement plugs used for the pixel outputs for the AlphaPix 16 - where can I find those?
A: If you need additional plugs, they can be purchased at DigiKey.

Q: I'm unable to get output to my pixels and I have verified that the pixels have the right power and the test mode doesn't work.
A: It is not common but in selected cases, when pixels are incorrectly connected or shorted out, the output chip can become damaged. The output chip is in a removable socket in the controller (chips U7 - U10) to allow for it to be replaced in the field. When replacing the chip, note the text on the PCB that says "DIRECTION OF NOTCH/PIN". The chip can be purchased here.

Q: How do I factory re-set my AlphaPix controller?
A: Yes, the firmware can be factory loaded. See the firmware page.


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