Wireless Amplifire Editor - Ditching the USB cable works

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

  1. Eric Raymond

    Eric Raymond Active Member

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    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

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    Will don't tease us: Theory/overview is nice, but tell us how you ACTUALLY did it!
     
  3. Naigewron

    Naigewron Active Member

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    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?
     
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  4. Eric Raymond

    Eric Raymond Active Member

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    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
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  5. Eric Raymond

    Eric Raymond Active Member

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    I'm looking to see if I can freely distribute an image people could use to create their own box. I mean both "free as in speech" and "free as in beer". One of the tools I used appears to be only "free as in beer" for a demo version with some minor limitations.
     
  6. Matt

    Matt Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
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  7. Filipe M.

    Filipe M. Member

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    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:
     
  8. Matt

    Matt Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
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  9. Eric Raymond

    Eric Raymond Active Member

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    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
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