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Advice for a Mega Tree N00B Please :-)

Discussion in 'Mega, Mini, Spiral & Pixel Trees' started by danv, Dec 12, 2016.

  1. danv

    danv Full Time Elf

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    Hi guys,


    Pretty new to sequencing, etc but I am planning a Mega Tree for next year and I have some questions as I am not overly familiar with what pixel controller's are available (preferably in AUS but I don't have an issue with buying from overseas) and I also haven't built one of these before. I have built several LED matrix displays though, but mainly with P3, P4, P6 & P10 panels and controllers that used FPGA's that were catered for video.


    I have sketched out a design on paper that has the following:


    180 degree tree


    6000mm tall mast comprised of 50mm OD galvanised pipe


    3000mm diameter base ring


    600mm diameter top ring


    32 strings of 85 pixels wired as zig-zag (data in at bottom, with power injection at top and bottom of all strings, will be 2 strings per universe)


    72mm vertical pixel spacing


    147mm horizontal string spacing across base


    2720 pixels in total


    My first question is will the PixLite 4 be good enough? (this will max it out in terms of channels if my understanding is correct)


    Should I go to a controller with higher capacity so that whatever star I build for this tree is on the same controller?


    I am considering using the 5V variant of the 12mm round pixels instead of the 12V items. I understand voltage drop is an issue as there isn't much headroom with 5V pixels, but I think I should be able to cater for that with power injection at top and bottom. 5V pixels should be fine yeah?


    I have nothing to compare this to, do you think 32 strings will be enough to show animations, swirls, etc fairly decently?


    Wiring-wise and power-wise I think I will be right, just not sure about the vertical and horizontal spacing I have selected and whether it will give pleasant results.


    Go easy on me :) It's my first attempt at anything like this.
     
  2. scamper

    scamper Senior Elf

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    Power injection will be fine at that ratio. I have a 4.5m tree with 60 pixels at 5v and only inject at the bottom with no dramas at all. So top and bottom will be more than adequate.
    I would play around with the sizing a little to see what you like. I started with a larger bottom ring and it looked a little too large and with pixels it tends to spread out a lot. In saying that, mine is a 360 deg tree, so at 180deg with 32 strings it is probably ok.
    As a suggestion though, before you weld up frames etc, set up your strings, even if on the ground at the spacing you are looking at and see what it looks like.
    My tree is a work in progress, as in I built it with dumb nodes the first year, second year I made the base smaller, this year I changed to pixels and next year I plan to double the strings.
    I don't know about the pixlite's so cannot help you there, however, it does not matter what controllers you use for your elements. I have 3 controllers in the box under my tree and they all control different parts, so long as you can patch it all in the software it should all work ok.


    Anyway, good luck and make sure you get as much stuff done as soon as you can, as you will always run out of time in December :-[
     
  3. i13

    i13 Senior Elf

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    The PixLite 4 would be maxed out with that many pixels. If you plan on more pixels then you may as well get a larger capacity controller. The price per pixel supported is lower for the larger capacity controllers. The PixLite 4 has 4 outputs with 680 pixels each. The PixLite 16 MKII is just under double the price of a PixLite 4 and it has 16 outputs with 1020 pixels each. Of course consider where it will be placed, distances to the first pixel (data only goes so far without null pixels) and the fact that the PixLite range can only output one pixel signal type at a time. They can still run nodes, strips and modules together with the same signal type.

    http://www.advateklights.com/shop/pixlite-pixel-mapping/50-pixlite-16-mkii-control-board.html

    If you're not sure about your tree's dimensions, try downloading xLights or Vixen and draw it to scale so you can see how it will look and you can place effects on it.

    How do you plan on making the vertical strands? Are you going to use straps with holes for each pixel, cable tie pixels to thin rope or something else? One thing to keep in mind is that while pixel suppliers offer custom spacing, they usually don't get it perfect and your design needs to allow for this.
     
  4. OP
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    danv

    danv Full Time Elf

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    OK, makes sense. What size did you settle on for your tree? My current 3000mm diameter may be a little big (147mm ish spacing between strings).
     
  5. OP
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    danv

    danv Full Time Elf

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    Good idea, drawing it up in Vixen first is a great idea. Will give it a crack.


    I plan on using straps with holes for each pixel (either boscoyo or homemade). I like how neat and even the arrangement ends up looking when straps are used. Thanks for the heads up RE: spacing from suppliers too :)
     
  6. Fing

    Fing Full Time Elf Generous Elf

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    You can't go past Boscoyo strips. They offer 1' spacings.


    here's a link to some info on my tree that might help https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wG8kHKK07ys&index=9&list=PLRCKIqv5mRm7ZXqXPjQZkh-HhskCenMga


    Cheers
    Fing
     
  7. OP
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    danv

    danv Full Time Elf

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    Thanks Fing.


    Will check out your vid.
     

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