Ethernet Synchronization of Multiple Controllers

Ethernet synchronization is a must for stand-alone mode that requires more than one controller in your setup. In this case, you need a unit that will synchronize the content over multiple devices. Without this device, your animations will be very soon out of sync. This is not a problem for very abstract animations, though if you are playing any video, it will be visible very soon to your audience. Ethernet synchronization solves this issue for you!

What will we cover? #

Ethernet synchronization is an advanced feature that can be utilized to synchronize multiple controllers in a stand-alone mode. You will learn how to utilize Zones for SPI Matrix/LEC3 and Reactivo. how to setup the Master/Slave device, what are the limitations in regards to the Master device being able to (not)use Outputs and how can a LSS Remote app be utilized.

Typical use case scenario for Ethernet synchronization #

Ethernet synchronization is an advanced feature that utilizes multiple controllers in a stand-alone mode. Typical use case would be a stage where you have a podium large enough to easily exceed 4096 pixels in your design. Installation requires at least 2 controllers. Three if you count the sync Master unit. Either through built-in switch or through external router. You are not using your PC to run the software and sync the content on 2 controllers. You would much rather use predefined animations, stored on SD card, and trigger them using DMX or Art-net.

What device can I use? #

Basically every device that can connect to local network through Ethernet switch. This includes LED Ethernet Controller 3, SPI Matrix, REACTIVO, POWERED LEC.

SPI LED Controller is a standalone device only, can not be controlled from the software directly. Thus no option to sync over Ethernet network is available.

In addition, you can utilize REACTIVO’s Wi-Fi capabilities. 5 Olympic rings Synced over Wi-Fi sums it up as a good example.

What effects can I play with Ethernet synchronization? #

The beauty of this is that you can even play long videos on your LED strips and they won’t get out of sync. Designed with performance and reliability in mind. Software converts any video throw at it to best format and will play it from the card smoothly and without any issues. Other than that, you can select from array of native custom effects from the LED Strip Studio software, play text and more.

What is the maximum number of devices? #

Network capabilities are primary factor here. We have tested 10 controllers connected through an integrated switch in LEC3/SPI MATRIX. The limit would be then the switch that you are using. Best approach is to test first what is theoretically possible. We can always test your configuration prior to your purchase. Just let us know 🙂

How many outputs can I use with Ethernet synchronization? #

With LEC3/SPI Matrix you can use all 4 outputs when the device is in Slave mode. In Master mode, you can not use Outputs, except for the REACTIVO. The reason is beyond the scope of this article. What is important is to always add one extra Sync unit to the total number of controllers that you are using. You can combine any and every controllers, e.g. synchronizing 3 LEC3 devices with single SPI Matrix or Reactivo. Additional advantage for Reactivo is the option to use it’s output.

Web Configuration settings #

Web configuration tool, or the LSS Remote app for the REACTIVO, is a powerful tool. Everything and anything is set up here.

SPI Matrix & LED Ethernet Controller 3 #

Settings for these two controllers are identical. Check out the screen below. It is important to decide which device is the Master, which is the Slave. Once again – Master controller can not utilize the outputs once used as Sync unit.

web configuration tool for LEC3 that is identical for SPI Matrix showting the settings for Ethernet synchronization

REACTIVO #

On the other hand, Reactivo is capable of using the output while serving as a Sync unit. As mentioned previously, it can be synchronized over Wi-Fi!

ethetner synchronization settings for different modes for reactivo controller

How to export effects for multiple controllers? #

Good practice is to create folders. A structure, so that export of the files won’t create a clutter of files.

You either export the effects one-by-one or you can export the whole bank at once. The software will always ask you for which Ethernet IP you want to export the effects for. You will select the IP or the controller and follow up with setting up the index of your first animation in the export.

It is important to always keep in mind that if you use the real IP address of the SPI Matrix that you have in the project, it will not work. You always need to use the Art-Net section in the mapping to be able to live control and preview the content on the pixels connected to it. For the export, however, you need to use the “Dummy device

For further information about exporting effects for LEC3 read this article. If you are working with SPI Matrix or REACTIVO, check out this article.

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