Greetings Saberland !!
May the Fourth is always a great date and opportunity for some announcements I am very pleased to unveil Crystal Focus version 6 !!!
I started working on it back in february, along with the PC2.0 and the CS to create a steady code base and refine a lot of things. There are a lot of new things in that little board, so fasten your seatbelt.Board availability
: No ETA yet but I expect to have a production time frame this month. As usual, you'll be notified via the forums and twitter. Don't ask me yet about it.Board pricing
: not final yet as I have to go thru the bills, but probably only a very few € additional, to compensate the new hardware and embedded PEx(s).Contest
: to celebrate the announcement of CFv6, I wrote another set of puzzles.
it's happening here : http://www.fx-sabers.com/forum/index.php?topic=35884.0
(I apologize for not demonstrating this with an actual saber and battery pack, which went dead while I was recording my video the first time, and my saber isn't finished.... (booo :-/ )
watch this one with the right aspect ratio http://youtu.be/VROX5iRdb5E
- CFv5 legacy for a lot of things. That includes crystal clear, 16 bit audio, 2W on a 4 ohm speaker, special accent mode for accent LED #1 (breathing, luxeon mirror, sound mirror)
- Drop-in Compatibility with CF sound font (no remix / volume adjustment necessary)
- Faster motion detection. Now breaking thru the 10 ms barrier of motion to sound reaction time.
- 12 bit, more accurate motion detection. Increased dynamic & better fine tuning of motion parameters.
- Motion sensing thresholds now go up to 1023 (ls, hs, lc) : multiply your former CF configurations by 4.
- General sensitivity (i) is now an integer between 0 and 99. Same kind of value than on CFv5. Previously entered as float number (0.65) but is now 65.
- Current now defined in mA
- RICE support !!! (details below). Larger & Labeled R.I.C.E. pads (still under the board)
- Anti power off delay (offd) : adds a delay to the power off when cycling the activation switch and is adjustable. A useful alternative to A-POP, a couple of customers requested it, here it is.
- hum resume : restart the hum where it's been interrupted (within a ballpark of 10 ms around that location). That's click/pop less of course.
- The override.txt
file : a master file in the root dir of the SD card. If present, any parameter in there will override all settings present in the individual bank config file. Requested by Novastar long ago, I never go the time to implement it. The code refining allowed to factorize a LOT of things, making multiple, sequenced parsing operation WAY easier. Very handy features for settings like switch, anti power off, volume, whatever you want to be the same for all banks.
- 2 different comment styles in the configuration files. Now accepting // and ## (emacs style). Keep // for what you want to see in RICE as the "config description" (like "// bank 1 - novastar"), the ## are useful to actually comment (understand disable
) certain features or configuration lines. Don't abuse of them.
- Accent LED sequencer LOOP instruction using the max delay 65535. Placing that delay in the sequence will make it loop and save you from doing crazy copy / paste for the whole 32 stages of the sequence.
- improved random generator initialization using physical variables. That makes sure clash, swing, blaster sequences will NEVER be the same from a power on to another. That was already very good, it's now even better and simpler.
- improved file fetching on the SD card (should be slightly better with MacOS)
- dimensions : SAME as CFv5. Zero change. 51 x 23.5 mm.
- 2.54 mm spaced pads matching headers for an easy connection, if needed (I still prefer soldering)
- fixed issue with the swing-after-clash problem, due to the wobbling blade.
- Font Protection System / FPS : not implemented on any website, but the CF (and PC, and CS) are FPS ready. It's an encryption system I designed to protect the sound fonts and the font makers. No need to go deep in there for now as it's not used yet. Time will come with more details if it becomes available. Still, protected fonts can be issued by a font maker or a sabersmith under request, when building a custom saber for instance.
that for the EE bling...
now for the sabersmith bling !![drum rolls]
- up to 3 AMPs !!!! I admit that the board is heating up a bit at that current, we're getting close to the limit for a certain number of things, but it works and it's safe. However, to avoid too much heat in the hilt, there's a safety timer that will bring things back to 2 amp after 3 minutes. So you can have your "full pawa thingie" for a moment and blind a couple of friends but it's not permanent. The timer is reset after each blade retraction.
- up to 16 swing and 16 clash files. You don't need to be specific, you need eventually minimum 8 to stay compatible with CFv5. Ideally in multiple of 2 to ease the new random selection mode but it's not mandatory. File number is found dynamically when loading the font.
- Multiple boot sounds : up to 4. Backward compatible with prior versions of CF sound fonts, if you have only 1, it's the one that will be played. If you have more (2, 3, 4), one will be selected randomly at the boot.
- Color mixing. It's been in the pipe for 2 years and customers kept asking. I also wanted (and I'm not alone) to achieve a very nice, consistent purple, without any color separation during ramping effects (blade ignition / retraction). It's using a satellite board like initially planned as my only desire was to NOT increase the size of CF in ANY WAY (makes no sense). First of all because not everyone will need / want color mixing and second because you don't need that satellite board if you want to do just Flash on Clash™ (even multicolored).
It's using my FlexiBlend™ engine, inherited from my smooth and accurate led driving methods and current regulation
The color mixing system consists of 2 additional channels (named FoC1 and FoC2 for the legacy) that control the satellite board which has 2 x 1.5 AMP current regulators
The color selection is made by selecting the current of each die. No funny integer, just... current ! This way it's connected to the actual specs of the led.Q : But what's the link between color and current ? [whine sounds] It's going to be AGAIN a mess of tuning the color with #1138 SD card editing with the computer, I'm so SICK of this !!! [more whine sounds].
That's where RICE is so handy. Check out the demo and explanations below ;-)
- 2 (two) on-board PEx, under the board, and with the 2512 foot print for a 2W resistor. That's in the case you want :
** to do a single or multicolored FoC™ / Flash on Clash™. If the current in the FoC die (dice) are not too big, you can use the SMD 2W resistor, considering that FoC (or lockup) are activated for short durations so it won't heat up too much
** to do color mixing without the satellite board. Color will not be 100% consistent during the whole battery pack runtime BUT it won't change too much thanks to li-ion technology. Just hook up 2 external power resistors like you'll do for a stunt and you're rolling !
The satellite board is 31 x 19.5 mm only. It can also be used as 2 channel standalone driver ! For now, you can wire it like you'll do for a stunt, and add a clash sensor to the second channel to get a stunt with FoC™ !
You can also use it as a stand alone color mixer. Current in both channels can be adjusted with a pair of small multiturn potentiometers.
In a very near future, that board will be come a standalone driver with switch handling, ramping effects and flicker, with a few preferences set in the back with super small jumpers. Just like my former luxeon driver, but with 2 channels. It's all ready to be like that but I'd like it to be exclusive as a CF sat. board for now, then see how it goes for a couple of month, and release it as a ++ standalone version.
- Adjustable FoC™. Just like you setup the color of the "normal" blade, you define the color of the FoC.
- MotionPlay™ engine. Allows the user to browse and select sound banks, as well as doing play/pause and next track within the iSaber audio player. Flick (swing) to move to the next track or bank, bang (clash) to select (or to play/pause). Kind of "demo" feature but very cool for a blitz/expert demo ;-)
[reboot-volca menu-swing-swing-clash-bank 3 selected-boot sound]
- The Glyph : the leds.txt file now has another keyword called glyph. It allows you to create custom accent led combination during the sound bank selection in the vocal menu. Previously, each bank would light up a single LED which # was matching the bank #. Now, each bank selection / browsing is lighting up a combination of leds. Wire the accent LEDs to a 7 segment display following the right numbering a-to-g of the segments and use this glyph table
and you'll get the bank # displayed on the 7-segment display As usual with my led sequences, the first led/segment is on the *right* hand side of the 0-1 set.
- SaberText™ : a work in progress joint effort with Sloth Furnace to work on a tiny display that could fit an activation box. We don't know if it will be released as a product, as a CF companion and/or as a stand alone thingie but we're having great results with the proto. Demo below - disclaimer : it's not in the final form factor AT ALL, it's still a big prototype unit, but we'll know soon if it fits a small enough PCB that will fit a hilt.
- Sound font upload with RICE : sorry but no. I did some tests when I designed my SD cards replicator unit (one of my new production tools). Remote writing can't exceed 25 kBps. As for the RICE link, it's about 10 kBps. So it would take you 45 minutes to upload your 6 fonts and a couple of iSaber tracks while... the default package still takes about 15 *seconds* to be transferred to the SD card, about 30 sec total with a formatting operation. Do the maths.
So I'll leave that to other boards, maybe I think wasting 7-12 minutes to upload a single font isn't very "elegant" neither as a usage or as a feature. I think that the user deserves better.
That being said, I know that SOME saber aren't providing an easy access to the SD. Most of them COULD actually, even using a SD extension flat cable. In most cases, a smart saber design solves all your problems. Look at Genesis Custom Sabers hilts :-)
PICTURESfrontbackSatellite boardSaberText™ proto (WIP)
At the EE school, I was known for 3D soldering & Spider Wiring, usually with SMDs. Not that I'm cheap and I don't want to make a PCB but it's so handy for using a SMD chip with a thru hole proto board. And the decoupling capacitor fits under.
That's pretty much the only situation where "nice bug" is a compliment.
RICE for CF
Due to the numerous parameters of CF, RICE is now organized with *TABs*
Color selection can be done in several ways. One important point to understand : brightness and color are 2 different thing, and our perception mixes the 2.
A darker color will usually ALSO be of a dimmer intensity (when comparing the same "tint" of course, as our eye doesn't have the same sensitivity on the whole visible spectrum).
Still, my goal with FlexiBlend is to provide a way to quickly setup the color you want, taking care of both the LED max ratings (and/or your battery setup) and the desired color.
You can of course adjust the color IN REAL TIME
with RICE !! You can play with the
current sliders and adjust color this way.
you can use the color swatch. As color is based on a ratio of each color, you first define a Reference current which is the max current of your led. That is 1.5A max as it's the limitation of the satellite board.
Once you're good with the ref current (let's say 1A), you can play with the swatch, it's going to adjust automatically the current of each channel.
As your saber isn't necessarily wired with RGB in that very order, you can swap the channel order just above the color swatch. If you have something else than a RGB led, of course, color won't match but you can still adjust the sliders yourself. If it's Amber Green Blue, you still have a close match to roughly select the color then adjust it manually.
For safety purpose, you can start adjusting the color with a very SMALL reference current, like 400 or 500 mA. Once the color suits you, you can make it brighter by increasing the ref current and watch all 3 channels increasing automatically, preserving the tint while increasing the brightness.LINK MODE :
If don't want the ref current to change (because it's already setup properly), you can also click on the link mode. From there, you'll use the first current slider and the other will follow, increasing brightness but keeping the tint. There's no real "limit" (not even the ref current), when one slider is hitting the max, proportions between the color will change and the color will change too. However, it's a great way to adjust brightness once the color has been selected.
Also, you'll notice that the first channel can go up to 3A (not 1.5A) as it's the onboard driver.
Then when you're happy, just click save on the sound board and you're done :-D
Same process for tuning the FoC™ color. Of course, you can clash the board to test the FoC color in real time.
You'll notice that the Aux Flash duration (and random / period) are gone now as it's all handled as the shimmer parameter, since we're just changing color, not adding a totally separated die with it's own behavior.
This way, the FoC™ effect is totally coherent, and can remain organic or static, just by changing the shimmer settings. No more headaches editing separately both channels (main led vs. foc channel).
RICE for editing the LED SEQUENCES !!!!
I know you guys hate to edit those sequences (me too !). So I programmed an (almost) real time editor for the accent leds !
Almost real time because unlike the CF regular parameters for which you have individual params, I didn't want to send a message each time you would change a value in the sequence, state or delay.
So there's a small sequencer simulator that allows you to copy / paste, edit the sequence and play it and when you're happy with it, upload it to the CF. Of course you can do that for all the 3 different sequences (normal, idle, lockup), you can retrieve the sequences that are currently stored in the CF for the loaded sound bank.
you can also edit the 7 stages power on, power off and glyph sequences in a separate tab.
What is missing right now is the ability to store and retrieve data on the HD, it's still WIP but you can still get the sequence as a text file.
VIDEOSCFv6 RICE™ & early color mxing demo, without the sat. board
(direct drive) - PART1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eiOgHgBsViw[/url]CFv6 RICE™ & early color mxing demo, without the sat. board
(direct drive) - PART2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jp4ShLZnCn4[/url]CFv6 RICE™ & Real Time Color selection http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xSOBGO52V8LED sequence editor with RICEhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SEFc2oM5oIYSaberText™
The PLI didn't work properly (sorry), I fixed it after doing the video. Like I said, it's still WIP, we're in alpha phase.http://youtu.be/DvXY_ZD_Ipk
and to whom is concerned : "thank you for the nail gun