FreeStyler (or similar) to Arduino Mega without DMX


I am trying to program a precise lighting sequence for 10 5W leds (dimming and strobe). I have the proper drivers that take PWM input, a Mega, LCD with buttons, and other parts. I have experimented with Nick Gammon's LedFlasher and LedFader libraries as well as the MultiBlink4 library and had some success with all of them.

My life/work experience is in video and music production/post-production and motion graphics. I understand enough about the coding and electronics side of the Arduino to so some basic things, but if I could get the Mega to work with FreeStyler, I could complete this project in a few hours.

I would like advice on getting FreeStyler or some other lighting controller software to send data to an Arduino Mega. I have searched for solutions but a lot of what I am finding has DMX in the mix, and I don't see the point. From the projects and posts I have seen, I am pretty sure that there is some way to get FreeStyler to recognize the Mega via USB and for the Mega to translate that data into something useful. At this point, I only need to use the PWM pins on the Mega for dimming and strobe.

Can you please point me in the right direction?

Again I have no need for DMX. FreeStlyer (or similar) to Mega via USB. Mega uses PWM pins to drive LEDs.

Thanks very much!

I'm not familiar with FreeStyler, but it looks like it only works with a DMX interface. If you are going to use a computer you'd need to build & program some interface on the Arduino-side. You can buy a DMX shield for the Arduino, and there's a library so I don't think it's too difficult to program, but I think it would take more than a few hours (on the Arduino side).

You can program a sequence directly into the Arduino. Would that work for you? That's also going to take you more than a few hours unless it's a simple modification of the blink or dim examples.

The downside might be that you'd have a "fixed" program/sequence (or a group of sequences) and if you wanted to change it, you'd have to write/change new C++ code and download it to the Arduino.

I've made some sound activated effects with the Arduino. They are all "stand alone" (no DMX and no computer).

Thanks for the reply! I have programmed sequences Arduino with multiple steps using LedFlasher, LedFader, and MultiBlink. Link above to my LED test setup using MultiBlink. Not all simultaneously. MultiBlink allows for multiple things to be done at the same time with different timings it is the closest thing to what I need. To get it to do what I am envisioning would require hundreds of steps and it would be too complex to try and trigger.

Using the GUI, like FreeStyler, is much easier. At least, it makes a lot more sense to me. :)

Nearly all of the interfaces that work with FreeStyler are USB-to-DMX. So it makes sense that I wouldn't actually need DMX. I just need FreeStyler to "see" the Arduino as a DMX device. Then I need the Arduino to decode the DMX and map the DMX channels to pin outputs.

It looks like it has been done before ( with a different lighting software. I tried this method using the code and the modified HardwareSerial.cpp, but I couldn't get it to work. I would think that a similar method could be used with FreeStyler.

Also, FreeStyler works with ArtNet and I have seen projects that use an ethernet shield to receive the data from FreeStyler. There is some sort of DMX involved with all the projects that I found. There are a few references to projects that goes from FreeStyler to ArtNet on an Arduino and then the Arduino decodes the DMX, but those pages are broken or no longer active.

I have also been looking at a similar problem

I use JINX (similarish to Freestyler) and want to use a Nano or UNO to read the data straight from the USB without using USB->DMX then DMX->serial

I found that I HAD to use an Arduino that had an FD232 usb to serial device, and not the ATmega16U2, 8U2 or CH340 (or perhaps even CP2102) interfaces

Once I got a Nano board with FD232 on it, my JINX recognised my board as an openEntec device and I could see my data arriving at the Nano RX port.. success !!

I believe openEntec only use FD232 USB->serial devices, perhaps your freestyler is looking for the same

On another thread I am documenting my results...


Thanks! I read your thread. I wonder if this little adapter would work?

davebode: Thanks! I read your thread. I wonder if this little adapter would work?

Sure looks like the right chip, if it has FTDI written across it then it sure could work as an openEntec DMX device

Although, I have heard that there are some dodgy sellers that have been selling fake ones, but who can tell from the outside ??

I see ebayers selling product saying they are genuine FD232, then in the picture you zoom in and they are CH430 !! bad puppies !!

Looks like this little chip worked! FreeStyler recognized it as Enttec open DMX. Arduino IDE doesn't like to upload with USB connected to the MEGA and the FTDI board at the same.

Connected Tx, Rx, and Gnd. Used DMXSerial library. Worked. Launched FreeStyler and I was able to control the lights from the PC.

@mcnobby - Thanks very much for that tip and the link to your thread! Had no idea it would be that easy. $8USD and I am good to go!

Now - I need to learn FreeStyler and program some sequences!

Dave, you know what, I am really pleased I could help in some way !! :) If you are just starting out on DMX keep in touch, I have many DMX related projects on here (wireless DMX, dmx to VGA etc)

I will hopefully be completing my little Nano openEntec DMX-> WS2812 cheap solution this week

As far as cheap solutions work out, this one gives a 2pence-per-LED control of WS2812 RGB LEDs !!

Will do! I would like to make a large ambient TV backlight for my main TV. And I would also be interested in what you are doing with Jinx and driving those WS2812 pixels.

Thanks again!

Ok, keep your eyes on my project as I will be updating it this weekend. I have lots of components arriving and some new NANOs to try out

The 13*13 matrix will take some time to do, as each one will have £10 worth of WS2812 on, and the way I tend to solder them I seem to damage some which is a right PITA !

Also I havent decided what pixel spacing i want yet, smaller boards are cheaper to make, although larger ones cover more area, I have used 10mm spacing before, but I think at least double that would look good

Or alternatively, just go for the LED strips and cut&paste my own