2013 Pixel Matrix

Discussion in 'How is my display put together...' started by MarcD, Jan 7, 2013.

  1. MarcD

    MarcD Full Time Elf

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    Following the success of our garage door setup in 2012, which included 15 two meter strings of K-Mart lights daisy-chained together and hung across the door on cord so it could be pulled back each night, I'm planning something much better for this year.

    I have attached a rough diagram of the plan. There will be 30 two metre strings of pixels. These will be in two sections of 15 strings each so they can be pulled across to each side at night. Again, these will be daisy-chained together at the top (will this be possible with pixels in terms of addressing them?). I need some advice as to whether this will work and what I'm going to need to buy. Assume I'm starting from scratch.

    Despite my best efforts, I can't seem to find the distance between pixels on any of Ray's products. So I don't know how many lights there will be per string. That means that I don't know the total number of lights and channels either. Working on the theory that they are 100mm apart, that would mean 20 per string and six hundred lights in total and 1,800 channels.

    So, what do I need to buy from Ray to make this happen. Power supplies, controllers, RGB strings etc. I figure if I buy this stuff now, I can rig it up inside the garage and will have plenty of time to play with it before next Christmas.

    Thanks in advance
    Marc
     

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  2. Benschristmaslights

    Benschristmaslights Dedicated Elf Global Moderator Generous Elf

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    marc you will need control psu and strings or strip. do you have a link to the strip your looking at. also in your diagram you show all the connections at one end. in reality they will snake throug the pixel strip. you can inject power at the one end like you show in the diagram.
     
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    MarcD

    MarcD Full Time Elf

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    I was thinking along the lines of these strings. Possibly 12v ones. Whatever is the most efficient and reliable.

    I did worry that the daisy-chain arrangement wouldn't work with pixels the way it did with the K-Mart string. I'll have to come up with some method of keeping the spacing at the bottom consistent. Some sort of weighted dowel or something between every second string.


     
  4. Benschristmaslights

    Benschristmaslights Dedicated Elf Global Moderator Generous Elf

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    ok those strings are what im using alot of this year. they are 5m long a string with 50 pixels a string. if you look at the 101 manual it will show you how to wire it all up
     
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    MarcD

    MarcD Full Time Elf

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    Thanks for that. So my assumptions were correct that I will need 12 of these to give me 30 strings with 20 lights on each for a total of 600 lights. Assuming I want to stay with DMX so I can add all of this into the what we used in 2012, which controller(s) and power supply/supplies should I buy to make it happen?
     
  6. BradsXmasLights

    BradsXmasLights WiFi Interactive

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    Every 170 pixels will need a run back to the controller (unless the 1 universe per output limit is lifted?)

    For a controller, I'd go PIXAD8 or Pix12

    As for cable distances (between pixels/controller), I'd keep them as short as possible. Maybe 2m between Null pixels or just use PPX extenders. Long lead in cable length will affect the clock speed and may or may not be correctable by just dropping the clock speed down.
     
  7. Binkles

    Binkles Full Time Elf

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    Where do you get null pixels from?
     
  8. fasteddy

    fasteddy I have C.L.A.P Global Moderator Generous Elf

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    A null pixel is just a pixel you use to regenerate the signal. So for example i have a string of 2811 pixels and the distance i want to run from controller to first pixel is too far because the data signal degenerates, so what you do is you cut off one of those pixels, or add another 2811 pixel in the middle of the length between the controller and the first real pixel you want to use. This will regenerate the signal and allow you to now get the distance required. You can do this multiple times if needed, the only issue is the further the distnace the more voltage drop so you may need to supply power closer to the lights you plan to use. The j1sys and E68x controllers all support using null pixels
     
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    MarcD

    MarcD Full Time Elf

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    Thanks, you just confused me even more. Power shouldn't be an issue. At the closest point it will start no more than two metres from the nearest powerpoint. At it's furthest, it will be about six to seven metres.

    I just need a definitive list of everything I need to buy to make this happen.
     
  10. zeph

    zeph New Elf

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    Ray's default pixel spacing on strings is usually around 100mm as you guessed, tho you can ask him for custom spacing (I got 150mm for my eaves). Be aware that these are assembled by hand, and there can be a bit of variance, so the lights may not line up exactly between strings as you get closer to the ground - which could affect things like scrolling text. You might think about ways to adjust that (take up small amounts of slack here and there), but you have a year to consider it.


    By "daisy chain" I assume you mean the end-to-end pluggability that conventional lights often offer?


    As others are indicating, pixels are a different matter - there is the routing of power and the routing of data.


    You might for example wind up feeding power to all your hanging strips from the top, from a heaver pair of horizontal wires (perhaps from each end). In general, it's nice to minimize the length of the power wires to reduce voltage drop.


    But you will need to wire your pixels in either a zig zag pattern (with a wire from the data out of the bottom pixel of each string coming back to the data in of the top pixel on the next), OR a back and forth pattern (with one string hanging such that data in is at the top, and the next hanging with data in at the bottom, and a wire connecting the bottom of the first of these to the bottom of the next, repeat until done).


    One option might be to connect eight strings this way for 160 pixels in one sequence, and then seven strings making another 140 pixels in a second sequence - on each side of the garage. That makes 4 "universes", each less than the typical 170 pixel maximum for a universe (which is limited to 512 channels which means no more than 170 RGB pixels). You would use 4 data ports (one per sequence of pixels, and universe).


    If I were you I'd consider doing 32 strings total, with 8 + 8 strings hanging on either side (160 + 160 pixels on each side). It keeps the numbers even and you might wind up with four identical and interchangeable wiring harnesses (except the length of the lead in wires).


    If you use 5V pixels, each group of 8 strings will draw a maximum of roughly 10 A (160 * 60 ma), or 40A total. You don't want to feed that with thin wires! You will need to think out your power harness, and perhaps distribute your power supplies. For example, you might use 4 power supplies of 10A capacity each closer to their pixels.


    With 12V pixels this is a somewhat smaller problem; for example the 1804 12v strings from Ray draw about half that much current (5A for 160 pixels or 20A total), and they can accept more voltage drop. You still may want one power supply on each side.
     
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    MarcD

    MarcD Full Time Elf

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    I guess that makes sense. So I'll go with 32 x two metre strings of 5v pixels with four power supplies or 12v pixels with two power supplies. In that case, which power supplies and controllers will I need to make it all fit together?

    Marc
     
  12. Binkles

    Binkles Full Time Elf

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    So if you have a gap of 2+ metres just place an ordinary pixel there and don't turn it on, is that what you mean? Or is there actually a null pixel you can purchase?
     
  13. talk2coxie

    talk2coxie Full Time Elf

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    Are there any 12 Volt 2811 Pixels? The first post linked to 5V pixels and I'd like to look at 12V 2811 but can't seem to find any.
     
  14. David_AVD

    David_AVD Good news, everyone!

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    Yes, a null pixel is just a normal pixel that you never turn on. Pixels all act as repeaters for the data so using one purely for that (no light output) is a simple work around for distance limitations.
     
  15. Binkles

    Binkles Full Time Elf

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    Sweet, thanks so much for clearing that up.

    I have so much to learn.
     

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