These can also be purchased at Wired Watts: https://www.wiredwatts.com/klk16-b along with pixels, mounting plates, power supplies, etc…
What is it?
The K16A-B is a cape for the BeagleBone Black designed to drive ws2811 LED pixels. It has 16 local ports (fused with LED indicators) that can each drive 800 pixels (with power injection) at 40FPS (1500 at 20fps). It also has 4 RJ45 differential ports that can output an additional 16 strings. In addition, it has an expansion connector that can provide an additional 16 strings. Finally, it has 2 RS485 outputs for DMX, PixelNet, Renard, LOR.
For end-user usability, it provides a Real Time Clock, temperature sensors, voltage sensors, an OLED display, and four push buttons for navigating menus on the display.
The K16A-B also has an on-board, high quality DAC chip for providing sound.
It also has two extra headers for additional functionality. One header provides access to the I2C bus and 8 GPIO pins for additional push buttons or other triggers a user may need. The other header provides a mounting point for an optional Si4713 based FM transmitter.
A User Manual is available based on the older K32A-B. It’s been mostly updated for the K16A-B, but the serial outputm(DMX/LOR/etc…) handling has not been updated to reflect how it’s done on the K16A-B.
Why did you make it?
Animated Christmas Light displays typically use ws2811 Pixels for things like house outlines, candy canes, tree’s, etc… The F16A-B was designed to drive a large number of pixels for dense props like MegaTree’s and matrices where having a lot of local ports is useful. By providing onboard sound and optional FM transmission, its also very useful for fully “stand alone” shows.
NOTE: The optional FM transmitter will NOT come with any sort of antenna attached. The user will need to create a suitable antenna (a simple 75cm wire will work for most cases) and solder it to the transmitter.
The FM transmitter requires the Si4713/VAST-FM FPP Plugin to be installed in order to configure and enable the the FM transmission.
What makes it special?
The 16 local ports provides plenty of outputs for dense props.
The 4 RJ45 ports provide additional output capabilities to allow for future expansions. All 4 of the ports can be configured to drive a ws2811 pixel differential receiver board (available from pixelcontroller.com ). Both the “Smart Receivers” and the normal receivers are supported.
The BeagleBone can be powered by the same power supply powering the pixels. There are jumpers on the board to select either 5V or 12V power. Alternatively, the BeagleBone can be powered by its own barrel connector if an on-board jumper is removed.
Technical details: The ws2811 protocol is extremely timing dependent and are generally not drivable via a general purpose Linux CPU. The FPP software uses the two semi real-time PRU’s available on the Beaglebone to handle the protocol specific timings.
You WILL need:
- ws2811 pixels
- A good quality SD card with the latest FPP image installed on it. The latest FPP image can always be found at https://github.com/FalconChristmas/fpp/releases
- A BeagleBone Black, BeagleBone Black Wireless, or BeagleBone Green.
Note: a BeagleBone Green Wireless will NOT work.
You can print a mounting bracket: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4609555
- For K16A-B 0.9 Pre-Production Boards – fixes problem with on of the differential ports not working
David Case –
Great controller. 16 ports, each capable of 800 pixels, then add differential receivers. The embedded sound card is solid too. I did not need Soundblaster card i`D bought. Ran mine as a master with a k8 remote. For wifi configuration it worked well with the nano wifi, but next year I will either go with the extension cord and or Edup.
Randall Brown (verified owner) –
Great Product, I used the K16A-B for my 2021 Christmas show. It ran for 2 and half months every night with no problems. The sound quality of my music transmitted from this board to my FM station was great. I ran 8k pixles at 40fps and used 4 smart receivers. The DMX output ran 8 moving heads. The board is a power house. Mr Kulp is great about answering your questions if you have any. The owners manual that is available on his web site covered all my questions about this board. Fast shipping also.
Northern Lights (verified owner) –
Being from Northern Canada i can personally vouch that the K16A-B can withstand the brunt of a harsh winter. Temperatures exceeded -40celcuis and the board performed flawlessly having only a basic cable box to protect it. Every night it booted up on time without issue and did its job.
Joseph Jarboe (verified owner) –
Amazingly easy board to set up! Great functionality, quick shipping, and supports smart receivers and expansion board! Worked like a CHAMP from the minute I set it up, could not be happier! New to the pixel lighting scene, but looks like my whole setup will be Kulp all the way!
Terry D Watkins –
I bought 3 K16A-B controllers with Beagle Bone Blacks. Used these controllers for my 2022 Christmas Show. They worked flawlessly no glitches what so ever. It is awesome that you attach the beagle bones to the units, and the entire show is stored on an the S D cards. I set one controller up as master and it controlled the other 2 that were set up in remote. I was also able to run all my lightorama controllers which was wonderful since I love blending an Rgb and Led show together. Can’t wait for Halloween this year. I will be looking into exploring the uses of the GPIO pins and how to use them with props. I highly recommend these boards. And I want to personally thank Dan Kulp for all the time and effort he has contributed to the software side of this hobby by helping to make Xlights possible, and for his continued support for this hobby by developing a compehensive controller and other hardware that gives the hobbyist such exciting capabilities.
Dave Case (verified owner) –
Outstanding Controller. I love the simplicity. I run several Kulp boards as Master/remote, leveraging the embedded Beaglebone. They’ve supported several 800 pixel matrices per port. Excellent audio already included, just connect to your transmitter, no soundblaster required.