At the crossroads

Discussion in 'RGB Lights - Intelligent Pixels and 3-Channel RGB' started by HydroWVU, Jan 6, 2014.

  1. HydroWVU

    HydroWVU New Elf

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    Good afternoon,

    First let me say, Thank you. I spent all day yesterday reading and researching RGB, and related items. The Learning Centre was a treasure trove of information.

    This is my second year with my light show, and I am at a crossroads. I only have one LOR 16CTB. This year I had enough time to properly plan and got a nice setup, but I don't enough channels for new items or the mega tree that I built this year.

    I had planned on just adding more AC controllers, but I think that moving forward with Pixels would be better. Both for power, and the number of strings of lights.

    I would like to switch my new 10 foot mega tree over to pixels. I will be able to get better effects with a Pixel Mega tree with less strings of lights and AC controllers. And it will be cheaper.

    After my research yesterday, here is what I think I need (at least big items, I don't have a lot of the tools needed yet)

    1 Pixel Controller (with at least 16 outputs) I was looking at SAN Devices E682


    16 strands of Pixels (how many count do I need 50 or 100?) I current use 100 count 5mm LEDs

    1 DC Power supply, I haven't worked out size yet.

    I am not sure what I will use for sequencing yet. Plus cabling.

    Now for the questions:

    Should I use E1.31 over DMX or DMX512. I have a ton of old networking gear, and I am very familiar with UDP Unicast and UDP Multicast. My yard is not very large, but I would like to convert it all over to pixels eventually, and I have some more places I would like to put lights where I didn't have them, but I have been upgrading slowly.

    Is the mega tree too big to start out with pixels? The thought of switching over to Pixels is exciting, however I am a little intimidated.

    I would like to start out with maybe one string of pixels and a controller to get the feel of it before I make a huge investment like switching the mega tree over.

    How many strands of pixels can you string together per output on the controller? Since the operate at lower voltages then AC strings, can you only have one string per output channel?

    What else am I forgetting? Do pixel strings have any connectors or is it up to you to put them on? I see a lot of bare boards and open power supplies with screw in terminals do you have to worry about getting executed with the screw in terminals? Also what type of weather proof cases are there?

    I apologize for the firehose of questions.

    Thanks in advance

    John
     
  2. fasteddy

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

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    You are on the right track and are better off going with RGB, it is the new way most are headed

    So with pixels E1.31 is the choice as its far more scalable than DMX. E1.31 is basically DMX wrapped up in a package that can be used over an ethernet network. So if you have a lot of DMX gear then you could use a ECG-P12S or E682 controller and these have the ability to also spit out DMX data so you can run your old DMX lighting as well, so no issues there.

    Now a general string is made up of 50 pixels (5vdc) or upto 128 pixels (12vdc) so each output will allow 170 pixels connected to it, but in most cases you will need power injection when connecting more than 1 string to an ouput. For example the ECG-P2 can have upto 4 universes of lighting connected to an output, so a DMX universe is 510 usable RGb channels which is 170 pixels, times this by four and you can have up to 680 pixels connected to one output, but of coarse you will need power injection between each string

    Strings and strip are sold with no plugs, but you can get Ray to have these plugs fitted for you before shipping, so thats an option for you.

    As far as weatherproof cases then they vary greatly as to what people use. In the end it needs to be kept safe and dry, how you achieve that can be many ways
     
  3. OP
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    HydroWVU

    HydroWVU New Elf

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    Thank you for the reply. I think to get started with a small two or four output pixel controller and 2 or 4 pixels strings. Which leads me to a couple more additional questions.

    What are the different RGB string types best suited for?

    I was thinking the following for a mega tree

    http://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/promotion-WS2811-IP68-led-pixel-module-256scale-gray-IP68-3wire-red-blue-black-DC5V-input-50pcs/701799_469177597.html

    But what you would you use to wrap around a six inch (16 cm) square post? Pixel Strip?

    How about gutters and roof eve? Could you use the below for a gutter or would a pixel strip be better?

    http://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/Mini-ws2811-controller-20pcs-LED-digital-module-WS2811IC-5050-3LEDS-DC12V-input-waterproof/701799_654706233.html

    Thank you for all of your help
     
  4. mellowcouple

    mellowcouple Full Time Elf

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  5. fasteddy

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

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    I use strip for outlines as when you mount it to 25mm electrical conduit then it becomes very eay to install, packup and store and looks great as you can get some very neat straight looking lines.
    The strip that I have used for my outlines has been the 12vdc strip because the reality is that from the street controlling every pixel wont really be noticed and 12vdc has less voltage drop requirements to deal with especially when dealing with a house outline.

    12vdc strip
    http://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/5m-led-digital-strip-DC12V-input-WS2811IC-256-scale-10pcs-IC-and-30pcs-5050-SMD-RGB/701799_568458133.html

    The advantage i find with using strip is it is easy to mount to the conduit with cable ties, it will shine light in one direction so minimising the light wash back onto the house. This then allows you to add floodlights and then you can control the amount and colour of your wall wash. I also find it has great weatherproof properties, the only thing you have to ensure is that the ends have a good dab of silicone to ensure they are sealed.

    As far as what to use for a tree, then that will depend on the type of tree you are planning on building, if building a 3d pixel tree then that string you linked to should surfice, if building a 2D tree then the strip I linked to might make a better choice.
     

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