Wireless Amplifire Editor - Ditching the USB cable works

Discussion in 'Discussion' started by Eric Raymond, Jun 13, 2019.

  1. Eric Raymond

    Eric Raymond Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2019
    Messages:
    73
    Likes Received:
    16
    Trophy Points:
    8
    I can now wirelessly connect my computer to the Amplifire and use the editor!

    You attach a small device to the USB of the Amplifire, and then the connection from the device to your computer is wireless. No flames on saying this isn't wireless, please. There's no getting around that unless Amplifire supported wifi/bluetooth (which is a larger effort for Atomic than most people realize).

    So far so good.
    • Seems as good as a cable (including backups) in terms of speed and reliability (assuming wifi is good)
    • No noise/interference ... yet. I need more time to fully vet this and suspect this will vary from setup to setup.
    • The connection is resilient to outages and automatically reconnects as needed. Only time I've seen this is when the laptop screen sleeps and cuts off the wifi which means you wait for editor to resync with the amplifire (@Jace Nuzback @Atomic Amps I know a few ways to speedup the editor sync and backups. Reach out to me if there's any interest on your side in fixing this. Free advice perhaps worth the cost :) )

    Nice thing about this setup is that once you have it setup, you simply launch the editor on your computer and it just works. No cable to attach when you plop your laptop down. IMHO the usb cable from the ground to eye level is a pain and an easy way to drag your laptop into an expensive crash.


    Details:
    • How it works:
      • Connect Amplifire USB to a small device, a Raspberry Pi 3B running Raspian Linux and a VirtualHere server. No way around this, but at least this can live on your pedalboard.
      • Connect device to wifi
      • Connect computer to the same wifi
      • Run a small program on your computer, VirtualHere client
      • Bingo! Amplifire editor can run wireless from your computer to the device to the Amplifire
    • Should be able to connect to multiple usb devices (and other types of devices). I've only tested one at a time. It's all i need right now. The free version of VirtualHere limits you to one usb device at a time.
    • Only as good as your wifi network
      • Your mileage may vary if the wifi is sketchy, slow, or not available.
      • Currently requires both device and your laptop connected to the same wifi (and one which allows devices on wifi to see each other). There are a few ways to handle this, but not a huge priority for me.
      • Setting up the wifi SSID/Password on the device is a hack (since there's no screen/keyboard). I can see this being an issue as you move around from location to location. I have a few ideas on how to improve this, but this works for me now.
      • Should also be able to make the device itself act as hotspot when there is no network. Or just setup any wifi cheap router that you carry around and attach both laptop and the device to that.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2019
  2. JoeInOttawa

    JoeInOttawa Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2017
    Messages:
    267
    Likes Received:
    86
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Will don't tease us: Theory/overview is nice, but tell us how you ACTUALLY did it!
     
  3. Naigewron

    Naigewron Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2018
    Messages:
    47
    Likes Received:
    58
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Occupation:
    Dad, boyfriend, musician, nerd
    Location:
    Norway
    Looks like you left out the most important part of your post: What is the USB device you connect to your AFB, and what is the application you run on your computer?
     
    JoeInOttawa likes this.
  4. Eric Raymond

    Eric Raymond Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2019
    Messages:
    73
    Likes Received:
    16
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Done. Enjoy!

    Note that I listed what I used. There are any number of devices you could use in place of the Raspberry PI ... and it may perform better or worse. Could also run a different proxy server and client, but this one worked well.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2019
    Filipe M. likes this.
  5. Matt

    Matt Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2017
    Messages:
    108
    Likes Received:
    49
    Trophy Points:
    28
    This is very interesting to me seeing as I have a spare pi, I hate the cable running up to the laptop because it is always in my way with my desk setup, AND I get extra noise when the Amplifire and my interface are both connected to USB.
     
    Filipe M. likes this.
  6. Filipe M.

    Filipe M. Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2018
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    3
    This. Getting rid of the USB ground loop noise alone is a great justification to try this.

    And taking it a step further, it might also enable control from any mobile device using remote control software such as TeamViewer, Google Remote Desktop, etc. :cool:
     
  7. Matt

    Matt Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2017
    Messages:
    108
    Likes Received:
    49
    Trophy Points:
    28
    So I looked into this a little. VirtualHere is a piece of software that will run an all sorts of hardware and various OS’s. A Raspberry Pi will likely be the smallest and cheapest option for most people, but take a look, you may have other devices that will do the job as well.

    And yes, as long as you have a PC that is running the Atomic software and that you can control remotely, and the VirtualHere device has internet access, you can configure it to work across your firewall. May be a bit slow, but the Atomic syncing is so slow already it my not be a big deal.

    I am definitely going to try the local version of this to eliminate ground hum. Then I might have to figure out how to power a Pi off of pedal power, or maybe just use battery jump packs.
     
    Filipe M. likes this.
  8. Eric Raymond

    Eric Raymond Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2019
    Messages:
    73
    Likes Received:
    16
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Yup, definitely provides true air gap isolation to avoid ground loop hum.

    I also setup RaspAP (https://github.com/billz/raspap-webgui) to make it easy to config the wifi on the PI as well as allow connecting directly to the PI as an AP. The AP feature means you can control the Amplifire without any network (one less worry when you play in a new location). Amazingly the single wifi on the PI3 can simultaneously connect to both my external wifi network and serve as an AP.

    I can't see going back to the USB wire except as a backup. Just as reliable. Same speed. There's only upside going wireless on the control path.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2019
    Filipe M. likes this.
  9. Matt

    Matt Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2017
    Messages:
    108
    Likes Received:
    49
    Trophy Points:
    28
    I finally did this with an old Pi Model B 2. It mostly works well, allowing me to change any parameters with the web interface. The one issue I have is I get an error when trying to save changes from the software. Works fine if I use the save button on the AA6 and then hit discard changes on the PC which is an acceptable workaround I guess. Anyone else seen this issue?
     
  10. Eric Raymond

    Eric Raymond Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2019
    Messages:
    73
    Likes Received:
    16
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Have not seen this. Would be surprised it's an issue with the wireless connection. If the editor is connected, then the wire versus wireless should not matter.

    Have you seen the issue when using a USB cable?

    My experience is on the Mac where the editor goes to a disconnected state and you have to wait until it reconnects and syncs. And of course once you have the editor connected, you should never touch the AA hardware or it goes split brain.
     
  11. Slartibartfarst42

    Slartibartfarst42 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2017
    Messages:
    189
    Likes Received:
    58
    Trophy Points:
    28
    For a technological illiterate like me, this sounds more complex than I'd like. I looked up what a Raspberry Pi 3B is but most of the rest of it might as well be in Greek. Having said that, I imagine this is very easy to most people and if Atomic offered a simple wireless device I could just plug into the USB port and have a wireless connection, I'd certainly buy it!
     
  12. Matt

    Matt Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2017
    Messages:
    108
    Likes Received:
    49
    Trophy Points:
    28
    I have never seen it with a wired connection and it is consistently happening with wireless. Do you have the paid version of VirtualHere? If it works fine for you there must be a small difference. My wireless signals are very good as the access point is only 5-6 feet away. I am using an older slower Pi Model B version 2 which may be a little slower, and I am using an Edimax WiFi adapter instead of built in Pi wireless. I am also using Windows, not a Mac. I doubt any of those is a factor but it is possible.
     
  13. Eric Raymond

    Eric Raymond Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2019
    Messages:
    73
    Likes Received:
    16
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Could be the pi 2. That version is not supported by virtualhere per their site. I've used 3b (and 3b+ but not using the "hardware" firmware). For about $30 you can find out if that helps. Suspect it will. There is also other hardware listed (GL router models) which is cheaper and perhaps better suited for this application. External USB wifi can be good or bad. Another thing to try is if the pi is serving as a WiFi access point that your computer connects or if both are connected to another, common WiFi network. Suspect the Pi2 is your issue, but....

    I use the free version which limits me to one virtual USB device at time.
    I'm on a Mac which affects both the AA editor and the virtualhere client.
    When you have the problem does it look the same in the editor as if you disconnected the USB wire?
     
  14. Eric Raymond

    Eric Raymond Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2019
    Messages:
    73
    Likes Received:
    16
    Trophy Points:
    8
    It's definitely a DIY thing. It's like setting up a new WiFi and then changing the setup. A big challenge with these devices is how to configure it as an AP or have it join an existing WiFi network. I suspect the GL devices are better and cheaper.

    Only way I see Atomic using this is in a new product. But at that point, why not ditch the USB. That said, virtualhere licences their stuff to companies like Atomic. That's where they make their money.

     
  15. Matt

    Matt Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2017
    Messages:
    108
    Likes Received:
    49
    Trophy Points:
    28
    The GL router looks like a great option as they are cheaper than a Pi plus a case if you don’t already own one. I have a couple other unused Pi’s so I will check out their supporter hardware list and see if I have anything that will work. Or place an Amazon order.
     
  16. Atomic Amps

    Atomic Amps Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2015
    Messages:
    57
    Likes Received:
    231
    Trophy Points:
    33
    Cool project!
     
  17. Matt

    Matt Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2017
    Messages:
    108
    Likes Received:
    49
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Not even much of a project really! Load the software onto a clean Pi install, configure it to attach to your network or be a hotspot, configure to start on boot, run the client on your PC and it works. Takes about 15 minutes if starting from scratch, most of which is installing Rasbian and updating it.

    Now if you could port the editor to Linux and add a web interface, we could hook up a Pi and access the Amplifire with any mobile device on hand! (I know, not a small project, but it would be a big boost to the UI experience, especially for the box and bass box)

    BTW, I think the problem I was having was Windows related. It worked perfectly yesterday.
     

Share This Page

Share