Basic workflow help

Discussion in '101 Display Basics' started by schoey, Sep 14, 2015.

  1. schoey

    schoey New Elf

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    Hi all,

    I have had a good search on the topic and read, re-read and re-re-read the 101 but I'm really struggling with the basic process or workflow of putting it all together.

    I crashed and burned pretty hard last year with very little to show for over $1k (and a lot of time) spent on lights. I'm back into it again this year but seem to just get stuck on how it all fits.

    Basic plan is RGB outlines for starters, I've got the strips, conduit, controller and FM transmitter.

    Where to start?

    - Measure up all the outlines, make all the lengths, put it all up then work out channels etc into software?
    - Measure up all the outlines, 'Build' in software, make lengths to suit, put it all up?
    - Something completely different?

    I'm hoping I'm not the first to get stuck on this? Maybe it seems obvious to others but I just can't seem to get stuck in to it because I'm worried about getting too far and realising I've missed something, I'm not a fan of re-work where it can be avoided.

    I know there may be different preferences but I'm happy to just pick an option that I trust works and get movin on it.

    Thanks
     
  2. scamper

    scamper Senior Elf

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    Firstly. What do you have to work with.
    ie. Pixels or dumb strips, controller types, power supplies and what software are you using?

    Basically, what I did (and everyone is different in one way or another) I got myself a string and a controller and then hooked it up in the shed and wrote a very short simple sequence in Vixen and then played it to see if I had it working.
    It turns out I didn't as the dmx controller I bought was a dud.
    I asked questions on here, then bought a new controller and started again.
    I got it working this time, so added more strings to make sure they did what I wanted when I wanted.
    Then I started building the props.
    All of my props are wired with waterproof plugs on them so I could just plug them into a test setup in the shed before hey went outside.
    My biggest mistake was leaving it so late before setting the display up outside as when I went to turn it all on, I found several other problems that took days to sort out.
    So this year, I will be setting up early and doing a lot more testing.
     
  3. ShellNZ

    ShellNZ Senior Elf

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    My 2c worth...

    1. Measure up the outlines and cut up the strip accordingly
    2. Add connectors to them
    3. Hook the controller up to the PC and go into configuration and set that
    4. Hook up the strips to the controller (inside the house) and test with testpattern so at least you know lights are working
    5. Set up the props and channels in software, put a simple pattern in and make sure lights are now working with the software.
    6. Keep going :)
     
  4. i13

    i13 Senior Elf

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    It's a personal preference thing.

    As they're pixel strips, I'd measure first to work out how many pixels will go in each place. Having said that, with Vixen 3 it isn't hard to adjust your sequences to have a slightly different number of pixels if you get it wrong.

    I would choose the second order you listed but add in a bench testing step before putting anything on your house. The reason for this is sequencing can take a long time so you'll want to start that ASAP.
    Of course you'll need to be sure that you can inject power if you need to and don't exceed the pixel limit per controller output. These points shouldn't be too much of a problem with the particular strip you're using.

    Once you know how many pixels to put in each place you can work out what order to wire them in.

    I'll also link to this thread because it has details about exactly what you're using in your setup.
    http://auschristmaslighting.com/forums/index.php/topic,6144.0.html
     
  5. OP
    OP
    schoey

    schoey New Elf

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    Thanks all, I think I was pretty close the way I was headed, I have been bench testing but just with a simple tester I bought from Ray Wu with the strips, mainly just to test the soldering.

    I'll still have plenty more Q's when I really get into proper control, I've tried to get in to it for ages but hasn't really clicked yet. It doesn't help that I've mostly forgotten all the stuff I'd learnt last year :eek:

    One more question, being realistic even if I do get to sequencing this year I'm guessing it will be a work in progress at best, is there a way to just get all my lights flashing at least in a short amount of time either with the PixLite16 or otherwise? I'm confident I'll have them all up and wired in place, just don't want to get that far and realise I can't switch em on :-[

    Last year the few strips I did get up I just powered from the little pixel controller/testers from Ray, but that won't be an option this year, with more up.
     
  6. Habbosrus

    Habbosrus New house (again) 2017

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    Hey Schoey, I'm only just down the road from you. More than happy to give a bit of a helping hand if I can. I'll PM you my phone number if you want to give me a call.
    Your query about getting lights flashing this year will possibly be best solved by implementing XL/NC. Anyway, like I said, give me a yell and between a local fella and the great people here on ACL, we'll get you up and running for sure.
     
  7. roo

    roo Full Time Elf

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    Hiya schoey, also a local fella here too. Happy to give you a hand as I know Habbosrus can get to busy

    cheers roo
     
  8. bbayjohn

    bbayjohn Full Time Elf

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    If you build it they'll come.
    So build first. Then you know how many channels are needed. Set up your visuliser to how u like.. Now sequence some thing quickly. Lights on in a few months
     
  9. OP
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    schoey

    schoey New Elf

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    Awesome, thanks for the offers Habbosrus and roo. Habbosrus I will call this arv, thanks 8)
     

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