How to Use The Falcon Player (FPP)

By Kari / September 13, 2019

Learning how to install and use the Falcon player definitely presented some challenges for installation and how to use it. I had purchased a Rasberry Pi because it was on sale so I wanted to give it a try.

In this first video, I tackle how to install FPP or also known as Falcon Player as this was very new territory for me. This is a way that a lot of people run their shows automatically without a computer running Mac or Windows.

How to Install FPP

When I had first got started I had difficulties understanding exactly what I needed to do for installing FPP. The most reliable resource I was able to find was the forum on falconchristmas.com and the topic was FPP2.x Installation Instructions.

The first step is to install the latest image from Github.com. Make sure you do install the right version. The BBB version stands for the beagle bone and Pi is for the Rasberry Pi version.

Next, you want to burn the image on an SD card. It’s recommended that you use a program such as ApplePi Baker or Etcher. In this tutorial, I was able to use Etcher because it does run on a Windows system.

Burning Image to SD Card

When you download and launch your program you want to select the FPP image that you had downloaded.

When doing this step please make sure your SD card is plugged in. You also want to make sure that you get a class 10 so that it can run full speed.

So, you select the “image”, then select “target”, click “continue”, and then click “flash”. Let the program run as needed and it will let you know when it’s complete.

Setting Up Your Falcon Player

The next step for the setup and according to the original forum topic is plugging in your SD Card into the Pi/BBB, connecting to a network cable, and powering it on. When the unit powers on it should have the lights come up on the unit itself.

After 30 seconds of the unit being powered on go to your web browser and type in: http://fpp.local and this should pull up the FPP Falcon Player as seen below.

You will have a notice on the top of the page stating the SD Card has unused space. By clicking “Advanced Settings” you can create a new partition to save your shows.

To create a new partition just click “Advanced Settings” and then click “Grow File System”. You will be brought to a new page and the bottom it will say Please Reboot, so let the system reboot. Once it is is rebooted then the new partition has been created.

Using FPP (Falcon Player) to Output to Pixels

After being able to install FPP and getting it work the next step is figuring out how to get a sequence set up on it. In this next video, I walk through the steps on how to set this up.

After working through this video I realized that it is very important to note that you need to either have a network switch or be setting this up next to your router so that your Falcon Player, lights, and Pi can all connect with each other.

Pulling Sequence Files from xLights

I had originally set up my sequences through a program called xLights. If you used a different program the process should be similar. You do want to make sure you are able to pull the files as FPP.

The best method is to export your sequences through the FPP Connect. Please make sure your FPP is connected and running so the programs are able to connect and pull the sequences.

Setting Up Sequences on FPP

Once you are able to pull the files for your sequence you want to open up your Falcon Player. On the top menu bar select Content Setup and then select “Playlists”. The following page should come up for you.

Create and name a new playlist and click “Add”. Under the Playlist details and New Playlist Entry, you can select the type. In this video, we are working with a sequence only. When you make your selection just click “Add”. Under make playlist, you should see your new sequence come up. When done be sure to click “Save”.

Checking the Settings

While setting this up you want to be sure that you have the right settings. On the top menu bar, you want to go to Input/Output Settings and then select “Channel Outputs”. On this screen make sure the output is set up and then set the interface and the universes. Most changes will require you to do a reboot.

The next step is to set up your scheduler. For testing purposes, I had just set it to run all the time. You can set this up under Content Setup and then go to Scheduler.

To check what your system is doing, you can always go to Status/Control on the top menu to check what your system is doing. If you did set up a scheduler it would tell if the sequence you had set up is running.

As I had mentioned earlier make sure you are able to set up everything either next to your router or use a Network Switch. This will make the setup and testing so much easier for you.

About the author

Kari


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