WPS Hobby Bundle & Tiny. First Impressions.

Discussion in 'Firing Systems And Fusing Fireworks' started by BritRich, Sep 5, 2016.

  1. Today I received a ‘WPS Hobby Bundle’ and ‘WPS Tiny’ from @Wireless Pyro Solutions. Here is a look and first impressions of the kit. This is not a full functional product review, it really is just first impressions. I am hoping to do a ‘First use /setup’ review as soon as the opportunity arises.
    WPS delivered.jpg
    I am putting this out there for the amateur ‘Consumer’ firers who are looking to move into wireless firing. I’ve been doing consumer displays for the best part of 30 years now and have been looking at the options for a more comprehensive, cost effective (and safer!) wireless solution for about a year.

    Main reasons for going with @Wireless Pyro Solutions ; Flexibility (to expand), Cost, British made, Support.

    Prior to ordering the WPS Hobby Bundle I have been using two cheap 12 cue remote firing systems, often referred to as ‘Cheap Chinese’ systems and on the whole they have been good, but the failures that have happened have been show stopping and my confidence in them to do the job safely now is middling at best. It’s inevitable that I will make comparisons with these systems as this is what I am used to but I will try and remain objective in my opinion of the WPS system.

    What is in the box? The WPS Hobby Bundle comes with the following;
    • WPS hobby ‘Receiver’ + Alligator clips to attach an external power source
    • WPS mote ‘Transmitter/controller’ + USB lead for charging / PC connection
    • 12v 3.Ah battery (fitted in the WPS Hobby Receiver) including 12v Trickle Charger
    • Printed instructions included (copies of the PDF manuals available on the WPS website)
    The battery is an option when ordered (12v or 24v) as the WPS Hobby unit can be powered by a suitable external power source with the provided Alligator clips & lead.

    First impressions.

    Packaging
    The package was very well secured externally (it spent a few extra days bouncing around the UPS network with no ill effect)
    All the contents (I ordered additional items I will mention later) were well packed in their own boxes and further wrapped in bubble wrap, except for the Hobby unit which didn’t need it, it is in an armoured case. Though this was still securely packed in the centre of the box.

    WPS hobby
    WPS hobby front.jpg

    The Hobby unit looked smaller than I thought it would be. The case clips securing it closed are very robust holding the lid tightly in place. There is a very sturdy fold away carry handle built into the front of the case.

    Opening the lid, while appearing small the space on the top of unit efficiently holds 24 ‘Kobicon’ type compression terminals arranged in two banks of 12 an LCD (2 line) display panel, four menu control ‘push top’ keypads marked with four directional arrows, an on/off switch, signal indicator light and a power jack. A 5db antenna is also provided which attaches to the outside of the unit.

    The Hobby unit came fully charged and the battery level is indicated in the LCD with a single key press.

    Turning on the unit for the first time it completes a self-test and is then ready to go. (the self-test happens each time the unit is switched on but takes just a few seconds)

    WPS mote
    WPSmote toop.jpg WPS mote back.jpg

    Conversely the ‘mote’ is larger than envisioned it, a good thing considering my chunky fingers but it still sits easily in my hand, though two hands would be needed to hold and fire/operate the unit.

    The mote is a sealed unit but is fitted with a 2200mAh battery which can be re-charged with the included USB lead. The mote came fully charged. On the top of the mote is an on/off switch, USB port and connector for the provided 5dBi Antenna. The front face has a test/fire key-switch (2 keys included), signal and charge lights, a four line LED display and 16 ‘push pads’ for input and control.

    The casing feels solid and well-made and has four rubber feet which stops it sliding about when placed on a shiny surface.

    The switch keys are adequate for the unit but do not lock in place. It is possible to turn the key to ‘fire mode’ and then remove the key leaving the unit ‘live’. There are pros and cons to this which I will hopefully remember to re-visit should I do a ‘ first use’ review.

    The keypad is a membrane type with a plastic overlay indicating the key function. The plus of this is a wipe clean ‘splash proof’ front panel but I am a little concerned how these will stand the test of time. I doubt if individual ‘keys’ could be replaced should they wear out especially as it’s a sealed unit.

    Turning on for the first time and the LCD displays the main menu with the battery level indicator in the top right.
    The LCD is bright (and the brightness can be adjusted both ways) the ‘push pads’ are well spaced and no problem for my chunky fingers and it feels very responsive when navigating the menu.

    WPS Tiny
    The WPS Tiny is just that.. Tiny, but pretty well made for the size.
    WPS Tiny closed.jpg


    Note that your pyro won’t be doing much wirelessly with just a ‘Tiny’ by itself, it’s just a receiver. You will need a way to connect your pyro (WPS slat) and a way to ‘tigger/fire’ the ‘Tiny’. (WPS mote or an RF12channel Remote)

    The ‘Tiny’ comes with a 2dBi Antenna (5dBi Antenna available – this impacts range 150m+ or 300m+) this screws on the front on the unit. Also on the front is a single push button to test attached cues or sync the Tiny to the ‘mote’ or RF Remote. There are also two lights indicating cue status and battery levels.

    The Tiny runs on two 9v batteries. To fit them you have to remove a bolt on the front of the unit (flat-head) and attach the batteries inside. One battery runs the Tiny and the other provides voltage to ‘fire’ the cues. Battery levels are indicated separately. There is an on/off switch on the right hand side.

    My first impression concern here is that the bolt is fixed into a plastic pillar. While the pillar is made of the same molded ‘high impact’ plastic as the case this is still metal to plastic and you could strip the thread if you over tighten the bolt. It is good a bolt is used rather than a self-tapping screw but a companion nut fitted into the plastic pillar would have been nice to see. (or should it be called a screw? I don't know)
    Edit: After looking closer at the picture I took I noticed that the bolt locates into an extension of the plastic pillar so easy enough to replace that extension should I de-thread the plastic. Even replace that extension with a metal one.
    WPS Tiny Open.jpg

    Lastly on the top of the unit is an RJ45 socket. This is to connect the Tiny to the WPS slat using standard CAT5 (network) cable. Good quality copper core cable is recommended.

    WPS slat
    WPS slat.jpg

    The slat is simple in design holding 12 ‘kobicon’ type connectors and an RJ45 socket to receive the CAT5 cable from the Tiny (or WPS Pro) unit. They are all mounted on a sturdy board (PCB) and the underside is sealed against weather. Each connector is clearly numbered and the slat has mounting holes in each corner for ease of fixing. The slat can be mounted to a rack or board and wired/e-matched to your pyro (on site of course) and then connected to the firing unit (Tiny or Pro) via the CAT5 when ready.

    Documentation
    The instruction manuals for all WPS kit are available from the website but printed copies were included. They are comprehensive covering every aspect of the WPS menus and use of the Hobby, Mote and Tiny. Instructions for the Pro and Hobby units are combined so you can easily see the differences. I had no problem following the information provided. It even includes a piece on wire length vs voltages based on the unit you are using. So no 1 mile wires then :(

    Well that's it, first impressions, now I've just got to find something to wire it all up to :)
    I intend to follow this up with a first use/test review as soon as I have time.

    I hope this has helped if you are considering a safe wireless solution for your pyro.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2016
  2. K9Girl

    K9Girl Batteries not included Supports UKFR

    You gonna do a post BFN review..................... please? :)
     
  3. Madfish

    Madfish Pro Firer/Crew Supports UKFR

    In the absense of a reply @K9Girl , here's mine.

    WPS Pro system.
    Producing the script -I struggled with trying to create a .csv file that WPSUploader would like :mad:
    So resorted to PyroIgnation control. turned out to be quite easy to use.
    I had listed my firing order in an OpenOffice spreadsheet

    UKFR Firing order.JPG

    Then I used that to add the cues and times in PyroIgnation, the only weird thing is it lists the cues numerically only (the output dropdown) so cue A1 is 1, cue B1 is 13 etc so I made a little reference chart to work from

    [​IMG]

    Then worked through the list using the green + button to add each cue.

    [​IMG]

    I added the actual slat cue location in the description to make them easier to locate. Once done, connect the Mote with the usb cable, switch on, go to settings/connect then press F7 to open the uploader and upload - simples :)

    Set up on 5th was straightforward, I Placed the WPS Pro centrally, with 10meter cat5 cables going to each outer position and some 5 and 2 meter cat5 cables to the remaining central and mid way slats - having multiple 12 way slats means much less extending of ematches - just spread out/use more slats.
    Once all connected the test on the Mote showed a couple of missing cues which were just poorly inserted, re-inserting them with a little squeeze of the spring clips sorted them. more importantly, the test showed up two e-matches on two slats which were connected but not scripted! - my error, where I had missed inputting 2 cues in PyroIgnition. A quick sprint back to the house, fired up the PC, added the missing cues & uploaded them to the Mote, back to the field and uploaded the script to the WPS Pro - all sorted in 10 minutes. It has proven to be a very simple to use system.

    Firing time - powered up the WPS and Mote, a quick cue test to show all was well, keyswitch to fire position, select script (which prompts a re -upload from the Mote to the WPS Pro (this takes a few seconds) once ready, press Go!

    82 cues fired perfectly, only one small cake failed to ignite the visco from the consumer e-match (one where I had not put a QM 'shroud' over the visco) and one cake overran at the end :mad: but all in all a great success and a cracking firing system.
     
  4. was that in excel ? have you found out why this was ?
    also some of the images under the first on are not available to look at
     
  5. Madfish

    Madfish Pro Firer/Crew Supports UKFR

    No it was open office, I saved the files as .csv but if opened as a text file to check there were " marks between each field

    Missing images
    Cues.JPG


    PyroIgn.JPG
     
  6. WPS Uploader 1.02 now supports exports from open office (with the " in between values). Thanks for the feedback.
     
    Madfish likes this.
  7. K9Girl

    K9Girl Batteries not included Supports UKFR

    Does it all only work on Windows?
     
  8. Unfortunately yes, there are ways to run it on Mac via virtual machines though.
     
  9. K9Girl

    K9Girl Batteries not included Supports UKFR

    Such a shame, it's the thing which has stopped me buying a hobby bundle, I looked at Virtual Machines but decided against as I saw quite a few recommendations against it:(
     
  10. Pyro Pete

    Pyro Pete UKFR Editor

    @K9Girl any reason why you can't run bootcamp and dual boot up to Windows? I did that a lot when I first got my MacBook and didn't want to let Windows go, it worked well.
     
  11. K9Girl

    K9Girl Batteries not included Supports UKFR

    Are updates able to be put on via a Mac?
     
  12. Unfortunately there is no trivial way of doing it. I will give it a go, but no promises.
    Second hand windows laptops under 50 quid on eBay. :whistle:
     
    K9Girl likes this.
  13. K9Girl

    K9Girl Batteries not included Supports UKFR

    Cheers, theres a lot of Macs out here :) Out of interest what is the 'spec' requirements of a windows pc for it?
     
  14. Pretty much any windows PC with usb port will do :) Windows 7+ preferred.
     
  15. Bucksend

    Bucksend Supports UKFR

    With the .CSV file thing-as I know they can be a bit fiddly- is there not a template/blank file you can download and just add in your show, that way you know it will work?

    I know a) that wasn't the issue here and b) I don't have a Mote so it could be simpler than I realise negating the need for a template.

    Just a thought :)
     
  16. Madfish

    Madfish Pro Firer/Crew Supports UKFR

    WPS do provide a template to download, but to edit it you have to open it in exel/open office etc, it was when saved as .csv after editing that open office seems to put in the extra " marks. (I don't have Excel on my PC) I tried to find a way in the open office settings to prevent it but gave up. PyroIgnation Control is very simple to use so I didn't see the point of :banghead: any longer with the .csv file issue.

    Thanks to @Wireless Pyro Solutions for addressing and rectifying the problem so quickly though! :)
     
    Bucksend likes this.
  17. npntransistor

    npntransistor Supports UKFR

    Finally got off my rear and ordered the WPS Tiny today :D.
     
  18. K9Girl

    K9Girl Batteries not included Supports UKFR

    Come on @BritRich wheres our post BFN New Year reviews? :):)
     
  19. K9Girl

    K9Girl Batteries not included Supports UKFR

  20. Some changes under the hood to improve reliability, that regular user won't notice. Additional features to nearly all units. Couple software improvements, that are currently under testing. If only there were more than 24h in a day :) Busy times.
     
    Madfish, pyrobrit, bandit and 3 others like this.