JamesC

New elf
Joined
Dec 12, 2022
Messages
16
I am new to the this and would like some advice on what to use.
I want to do a 20’ mega tree next year and I would like to know what components I will need to do it.

I will be using 64 strands with 2” spacing for 120 pixels per strand or 7680 total leds for the tree plus a star at the top.

It looks like I will have to use 8 350 watt power supply’s.

What kind of controller or controllers will I need?
What else will I need to make this tree?

I want to start with the mega tree and I want to start big.

Any help is greatly appreciated. I want to add to this every year and install permanent led lights on the house and be able to put on a show for the neighborhood.
 

TerryK

Retired Elf
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Feb 9, 2020
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655
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West Central Ohio
Welcome to ACL.

That's a sizable project to begin toying with animated RGB displays. Generally it's better to start with several small props until one has a better feel regarding hardware and how to build a display. As to controllers, just about any of the larger controllers can drive that many pixels. The number of power supplies will depend upon the maximum pixel drive level (some individuals design to 100%, others less) and to a lesser extent the pixel voltage/type. Something to consider is using a smaller quantity of higher wattage supplies, perhaps moving to 500, 750, or 1000 watt supplies instead of the 350s.

ACL's Media and/or Display Video sections have some MEGA Tree builds that will help give you an idea of what you are planning.
 

JamesC

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Dec 12, 2022
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Yes I found a 1000 watt power supply that will work. I found that on another site that said I needed 8 350 watt. I checked the power requirements of the lights and 1000 will run them with a lot of room to spare.

I’ve been told I should start smaller but that’s not me. I have always been overkill on everything I do. It usually works out well.

I really want to start with a mega tree and don’t want to do a smaller one then do a bigger one later. My front yard is not that big because I’m in a cul-de-sac. My back yard is 1/4 acre but you can’t see the back yard.

What controller would you recommend for 64 strands? I am trying to put together a list of what I need and start buying everything to give me enough time to have most of the year to figure out everything.
 

uncledan

Senior elf
Generous elf
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Dec 27, 2014
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Buellton California
That is a pretty big first year effort. My tree is 270 degree 48x110 with F16v3 and two expansions with no power injection. One Meanwell RSP3000-12 powers it as well as 10 mini trees. Mine is all DIY, yes I do metal work
 

Indigogyre

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So, I love the car to start and since I've not seen it in person you do not live on my cul-de-sac so I approve of your wanting to go big. Being one who also lives on a pie shaped lot the front lawn can get crowded. From a personal opinion having just one large tree might seem nice but it'll lose it's shine as the only item in the show.

Last year I started my show with a smaller 8.5' tree and it was a good starting point when put together with other props.

It's your show, so you run it the way you want. all we can do it share our personal experiences and let you decide. to be honest I think I get more bang this year adding onto the rest of the house over last year.

First year:
2021 Show.jpg

2022 - Second Year in which I still need to put back up my mega tree. Well, this is at 80% setup since I have not yet taken another picture.
Setup80.jpg

A 20' mega tree would be nice also. :)
 

TerryK

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@JamesC : Here are another few thoughts.

The 64 strands work out rather well to 16 strings of 480 pixels each (4 strands per string) so I would suggest a 16 port controller. I prefer Falcons so I'd likely use a F16 or F48. For the star as you did not indicate the number of pixels, either strategically merge into the 16 strings, use an expansion, or a separate small controller. With Expansion and Smart Receivers you should I think be able to run each strand as a string (1 strand per string). I'd also suggest 5 Volt pixels (better power efficiency) over 12 Volt.

Concerning power, please note that those 8 350 Watt supplies you mentioned, likely will not actually produce a summed 2800 Watts. Using Meanwell LRS-350-xx as examples, a LRS-350-12 is speced at 29 Amp (348 Watt) while the LRS-350-5 is speced at 60 Amp (300 Watt). Both are considered to be 350 Watt supplies (and are discussed as such) but rather obvious they have a lower rated wattage (it's in their datasheets). A reason why I prefer doing calculations and designing power requirements in Amperage.
Specified pixel wattage isn't always very accurate either. Generally it is I think better to think of pixel power requirement in mA; for example a 5 Volt WS2811 at 100% White is approximately 55 mA (0.055 Amp). Ignoring wire resistance, each 120 pixel strand will at 100% White 'eat' about 6.6 Amp.
 

merryoncherry

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Cherry St., Hudson MA USA
Opposite point of view, just for fun.

Why use a 16-port controller when you could use 32- or 48- ... no reason to make it difficult to add the star...

Because I'm lazy, I'd get a 32-port 12V R2R controller with 4 diff expansion ports, 10k bulk order 12V resistor pixels (which would string up and back down to make 64 strands, those would fit within the 4-PSU config of the controller with no fancy PI) and the star on a diff receiver. I'd buy the strips and the tree frame too, because... lazy and no metal shop.
 

JamesC

New elf
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Dec 12, 2022
Messages
16
I was looking at the falcon F16V4 tonight with the expansion ports. I was wondering about having the strand go up and then back down so instead of having to use 64 channels I would only need 32. But I don’t know if that would work. Or do I have to wire it differently?

I read that the falcon will run up to 700 pixels per channel. So does that mean I can connect 4 strands of 120 or 150 pixels on 1 channel? And I would assume you just program it to know how to control each strand. Obviously I would have to power inject to run that many per strand.

I do know how to do metal work and welding. I’m not a professional but I can get it done. I have also put up 120’ of rohn 25 tower from when I was in to cb’s with 6000 watts so this should be a piece of cake making the frame for the tree.

I found a 1000 watt power supply online. Would that power it or do you still recommend something different?

merryoncherry, I’m not sure I am following you on 100+50+100. 125 per strand would be fine. I’m not set on an exact height as long as it’s close to 20’

I already have a lot of store bought cheap led lights that I will continue to use next year. The year after that I plan on doing the whole house with a custom led light show. I even want the spotights on the roof like I’ve seen in so videos online.

I will include a picture of what I have this year. Nothing impressive. My wife likes it but I’m not satisfied with run of the mill. Also I have more room in the front yard than it looks in the picture 698DFCB8-90D9-4740-986C-EE0B42FD443B.jpeg

I really appreciate all the advice.
 

JamesC

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Dec 12, 2022
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Indigogyre, I just noticed you said nice car. That is actually a friends car that I did some work on for him. This is my car. Or I should say was my my car as I sold it recently. 9.00 seconds at 151 mph on pump gas. It was a daily driver for a while but it cost too much to drive and keep up with gas prices. 342 stroker, dart iron eagle block, 4340 forged ultra light internals, zero balancing. Solid roller cam 242/252 duration at .50 650 lift. 8200 rpm shift point. Too much to list everything here. I’m not sure how much it cost total but it was around 50k for the motor and transmission.
As I said, I like to go big. It took me about 4 years to get it paid for. I sold it because it was a money pit and your never done working on it and spending more money. My final goal was a 120mm turbo but it never happened BB009675-FDB8-4E07-8826-5D253BF5B11E.jpeg
 

merryoncherry

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Cherry St., Hudson MA USA
When you set these up in xlights it allows multiple strands per string. If you screw together premade strings of 100+100+50 to make 250, call it 2 strands, that's 125 pixels per strand. 32 ports would run 250 each, that'd be 64 strands.
 

uncledan

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Messages
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Buellton California
You need to get your terminology correct so you can wrap your head around it all. I know it's a lot figuring out ports, channels etc. Are you planning a 180 degree tree? No need for anymore with that yard at the end of a cul-de-sac
 

JamesC

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Dec 12, 2022
Messages
16
No I really want a 180 degree tree because it’s right in front of my house and between 2 neighbors. I just think it will look better that way.
 

JamesC

New elf
Joined
Dec 12, 2022
Messages
16
When you set these up in xlights it allows multiple strands per string. If you screw together premade strings of 100+100+50 to make 250, call it 2 strands, that's 125 pixels per strand. 32 ports would run 250 each, that'd be 64 strands.
I see what you’re saying now. That’s only 5 more pixels per strand. That works for me.

So I could use a falcon f16v4 with an expansion board and run 64 strands with 3 strings each on 32 ports?

Did I get the terminology correct? Sorry I’m still learning all this.
 
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