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Author Topic: LED Wiz  (Read 9069 times)

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mccoy178

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LED Wiz
« on: May 03, 2006, 08:30:14 am »
This is a less than complete review of the LEDWiz.  I'm actually going to add more info soon, but I wanted to put down my thoughts while they're fresh(This sentence will be removed once this happens). This is just one topic and I wanted to be sure to write it down before the thought passes.  Don't mistake, I really like this product.

On the software end of the LEDWiz, I have been less than impressed with the functionality of the program Randy has provided.  With the two machines I have installed it on, it has had gliches that will sometimes keep the sawing motion from working or from all the lights turning off or on and so on and so forth.  My main point is that there appears to be a lot of confusion about the utility and the only reasonable solution is a hybrid version of mame to get it to work properly.  Don't get me wrong, I love the fact that the hardware is even available.  What I don't like is that I have spent $150 for three of these and not having a solid program to use with it.  I know the Nvidia chipset is an issue, and that may be my entire problem, but this product isn't exactly new and neither are the issues.  I hear rumblings about getting Randy involved in a solution, but I'm not certain the issue is being addressed. 

I feel as though the software end of things is oft over looked by Randy.  Like with the GPWiz 49, Sirp's program is the life saver of that product IMHO.  Once the automation was introduced, it appeared as though many people in the community jumped on the bandwagon.  As I continue the building of my last cabinet, it is these types of issues that give me premature grey hair.

I want to stress, that I have bought hundreds of dollars of equipment off of Randy and I prefer him to most any other vendor.  Although this thread is criticizing the software of a couple of his products, I would and will still continue to do business with him and highly recommend his products to anyone in the hobby.

RandyT

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Re: LED Wiz
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2006, 10:14:35 am »
On the software end of the LEDWiz, I have been less than impressed with the functionality of the program Randy has provided.  With the two machines I have installed it on, it has had gliches that will sometimes keep the sawing motion from working or from all the lights turning off or on and so on and so forth.  My main point is that there appears to be a lot of confusion about the utility and the only reasonable solution is a hybrid version of mame to get it to work properly.  Don't get me wrong, I love the fact that the hardware is even available.  What I don't like is that I have spent $150 for three of these and not having a solid program to use with it.  I know the Nvidia chipset is an issue, and that may be my entire problem, but this product isn't exactly new and neither are the issues.  I hear rumblings about getting Randy involved in a solution, but I'm not certain the issue is being addressed. 

I understand what you are saying, but I think these things require some comments on my part to better put things into perspective.

Flakey operation:

There is a known issue with some USB 2.0 cards that use the OHCI.  These problems can be avoided currently by:

 A) Using an inexpensive 1.0 hub or 1.0 card.
 B) Using a USB 2.0 card that uses the UHCI (VIA and others)
 C) Using software that talks to the LED-Wiz via MikeQ's excellent LED-Wiz DLL (like PowerMAME)

*edit*
D)  Using the GGG OCX or Youki's DLL which has added compatibility features.


Multiple LED-Wiz operation:

No LED-Wiz was ever sold promising multi-unit functionality with current GGG software.  It is expected to be implemented, but no time tables were ever set.  That being said, MikeQ's DLL supports up to 16 units, and that is the only current reason multiple devices are offered.  *edit*  The GGG OCX is also multi-unit compatible, as is Youki's DLL.

Quote
I feel as though the software end of things is oft over looked by Randy. 

I'm sorry you feel that way, but I really don't understand it.  The software for the LED-Wiz has the following fully functional features:

1) Caps-lock, Num-lock and Scroll-lock Keyboard LED emulation, each of which can be assigned to any output.

2) An editor which allows one to easily create and save animations using any of the LED-Wiz features, and gives real-time control of the outputs.  Loading and editing of previously made animation files is not yet supported.

3) The ability to play back animation files with an included command line utility.

4) The ability to control the LED-Wiz from any application or programming language which can talk to the clipboard (even notepad)

5) An OCX to bypass the clipboard and talk directly to the LED-Wiz from VB6 and other ActiveX compatible languages.

And if that weren't enough, there are third party programming tools and software support.

So I guess I'm a little foggy on what is being "over looked".

Quote
Like with the GPWiz 49, Sirp's program is the life saver of that product IMHO.  Once the automation was introduced, it appeared as though many people in the community jumped on the bandwagon.  As I continue the building of my last cabinet, it is these types of issues that give me premature grey hair.

While automation specifically aimed at MAME is a nice feature, it is not required to get the full benefit of the product.  Many people, including myself, were fully enjoying every feature of the GP-Wiz49 long before any of these other programs were made available.  With the exception of PowerMAME, any utility to provide "automation" needs to use the software I supply for it to even work.  And a number of these other solutions wouldn't even exist if I did not take the time to provide the appropriate information to other developers and work with them when they have questions.  Many times, the needs of third parties who make these types of programs are precisely what my design decisions are based on.

I understand that it's easy to perceive something as being overlooked when one expects it to do something it doesn't.  But that isn't necessarily the case.  Every piece of creative work that has come from GGG thus far came from a single person.  From the placement of every single trace on each of the board designs to the logos for the products.  So things have to be prioritized for the health of GGG, the demands of the market and for my own sanity  :banghead: :)

Quote
I want to stress, that I have bought hundreds of dollars of equipment off of Randy and I prefer him to most any other vendor.  Although this thread is criticizing the software of a couple of his products, I would and will still continue to do business with him and highly recommend his products to anyone in the hobby.

I really appreciate the support.  I understand that without customers there would be no GGG, and I try my best to keep them happy.  But sometimes I need to make things happen in a little different order than they would like.  Eventually though, all reasonable needs will get taken care of if they are within the scope of the product design.

RandyT
« Last Edit: October 12, 2006, 12:38:50 pm by RandyT »

mccoy178

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Re: LED Wiz
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2006, 03:11:34 am »
Thanks for the response Randy.  I'm going to drop the subject.  I'm not trying to stir the pot and I think we have different ideologys about this.

mccoy178

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Re: LED Wiz
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2006, 07:25:09 pm »
See this thread in regards to my thoughts on the software side of things:

http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?topic=56064.0

gamenut

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Re: LED Wiz
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2006, 12:07:06 pm »
I have a question about the ledwiz. Does it give the abillity to light up only the buttons used for a particular game?
For example: one button for this game, five for that game, seven for this one, and so on?

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Re: LED Wiz
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2006, 12:41:24 pm »
I have a question about the ledwiz. Does it give the abillity to light up only the buttons used for a particular game?
For example: one button for this game, five for that game, seven for this one, and so on?

See the AtomicFE threads on the software section.  It, as well as PowerMAME provide this feature.  I believe Johnny5 may also do what you are looking for.

RandyT


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Re: LED Wiz
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2006, 05:33:25 pm »
Thanks Randy...
I have FINALLY figured out mamewah....now lets try power mame :cry:

micktravis

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Re: LED Wiz
« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2006, 12:31:08 pm »
Time to chime in here, now that I've got my cab working.

I've got 12 buttons, plus the Electric Ice trackball, connected to 2 LEDWIZ boards.  Here are my thoughts.

1.  Installation.

Not exactly plug and play, but definitely not as difficult as you might think given the disclaimer on the GGG website ("This hardware is designed to be used by individuals comfortable with external control type projects...")  I started out building my cab with no electronics experience (I had to buy my first soldering kit!) and it was still really easy.  The instruction sheet was very clear.  I opted against using an external power supply but it doesn't seem like it would be very difficult to set up.  The main hassle is the guage of the wire running off the LEDs is really small, making connection very finicky.  But the RGB LEDs are under 3 bucks - some kind of Plug N Play cable for each LED would be much more expensive and probably not save too much time.  The common ground thing was also a hassle until I discovered Euro Style terminal blocks.  Whatever.  I'm new to this...

Once everything is wired up you just connect via USB and XP sees the boards. 

Installation, including snapping the LEDs into each button, connecting each wire to the LEDWIZ, and setting up common ground, took about 90 minutes for 39 connections (12 buttons + trackball)x3 = 39 wires.

2.  Software/config

The boards come with a very simple LED utility.  In my opinion it's really only useful to test that each LED is working properly.  It has a few other features which are, in my opinion, gravy.  I disagree with some people's opinion that the unit should come with complete software - I think it's much more efficient to use a front end to control the LEDs, but remember that I'm not a programmer. 

I use AtomicFE.  I looked at a few others but it seems to do exactly what I want.  Plus Youki is really easy to get a hold of.

In short, all you do is tell Atomic which port is connected to which LED (with a separate page for each LEDWIZ you have) and then set up a list of your games.  When you click on a game you can then select which buttons are used (there are defaults, some of which are correct, and some of which are wrong.  I changed a lot of them.) 

You can also script lighting events using a simple tool.  It didn't take long to set up a few cool attract mode type scripts.

Then you tell Atomic what should happen during specific events.  I have the buttons blink when Mame is loading, and the appropriate buttons light up when you scroll through the games or when you're actually playing them.

3.  Conclusions

I can't recommend this product highly enough.  Coupled with the right software they really add a lot to my cab (after people get over the fact that they can play Frogger at my house they all mention the lights).  Youki is constantly updating his software, so it will be possible to do much more sophisticated lighting effects really soon.  And if you're a programmer you can do them right now. 

My only complaint is that nobody makes a spinner that lights up.

 

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Re: LED Wiz
« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2006, 05:52:57 pm »
I gotta second that. If you are sitting on the fence about GGG stuff, jump in. The stuff works great. It requires some learning, but with the right software it goes together well. The GGG stuff is well built and this is a good thing because the building process can be a little brutal on sensitive stuff (well for me at least). I had no problems with installing the pieces (except for miswires which is my bad). Once connected, the computer immediately saw the stuff. The software app for the LEDwiz is easy to use (kinda limited) but it does the job. I used PowerMAME for the first couple of months and finally had the time to dig in and get hooked up with a front end. Atomic was the perfect transitional piece. It takes a little time and patience to get it set up, but once you do...Man this stuff  rocks. If one can set up MAMEWah, you can set up AFE. Both Randy and Youki are great support. I love having 49 way joys, I love that my games light up with the proper buttons, I love that when I am in the front end that I just select a game and it automatically selects the proper 49way mode. GGG and Atomic are a great combination.

:soapbox:

Ok... I am done.
M    Y    X

BLACKOUT  - Finally rewritten - http://blog.myxdigital.com/
Original BLACKOUT thread - http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?topic=48239.0

loadman

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Re: LED Wiz
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2006, 07:46:48 pm »
I have a question about the ledwiz. Does it give the abillity to light up only the buttons used for a particular game?
For example: one button for this game, five for that game, seven for this one, and so on?

FYI The LedWiz MaLa Plug-in also does this..  Even does it 'on the fly' as you scroll through the list which is kinda pretty when you scroll fast.

http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?topic=59376.0