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Best way to hook up pixel strip

Discussion in 'RGB Lights - Intelligent Pixels and 3-Channel RGB' started by nato595, Mar 20, 2013.

  1. nato595

    nato595 Let's do this!

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    Hello all!
    My hypothetical situation is that I want a smart strip to be located say 100' from my computer & dongle.
    Which would be my best physical setup, considering signal loss, of the following two... or even an alternative suggestion?
    1. Start my run from the computer with a pixel controller, 100% of the run in CAT5 with null/phantom pixels every x feet, then directly into the strip.
    2. Start my run from the computer with a DMX dongle, 99% of the run in CAT5 as DMX signal, then the remaining 1% of the length as a DMX-SPI Pixel Decoder/Controller.

    Let's also consider that I will be controlling 20 strips in a similar setup scenario, does that change my ideal solution?
    I am a novice when it comes to holiday lighting in general, and an extreme newbie regarding smart pixels, so hopefully at least one of my above options is even possible and maybe even a 'good idea'!
    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. fasteddy

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

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    Another option you havent considered is using a pixel extender from J1sys that will allow the signal to travel up to 3 x the distance (300ft) you need.

    Personally i try to keep the power supply and controller within 5 metres (16 feet) of the lights, so the second option is what i prefer to do, but is not always possible in all applications so I use option 1 for some elements.

    But with extra long distances that dont justify its own controller then the ECG-PPX signal amplifiers are definetly worth an investigation http://www.j1sys.com/ecg-ppx/
     
  3. battle79

    battle79 Full Time Elf

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    Another option is to use e1.31 out (network port) from the computer to a pixel controller that takes e1.31 data (ie ECG-P2, or E682). This would allow your Cat5e run to be up to 300ft and the controller to be right next to the lights.
    This will require you to have the PS next to the lights also.

    Just thought I'd throw out another option.

    Regards,
    Rowan
     
  4. dmoore

    dmoore Senior Elf

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    This portion could be huge. Is this 20 strips of 150 channels or 20 stips of 12 channels? The overall number of channels could have a major effect on the number of dongles (de-centralized) vs E131 controllers (centralized). Which speaking of, didn't mention the distances from each 100' end point. It looks like there isn't a sufficient amount of information needed to make an acurate decision.
     
  5. OP
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    nato595

    nato595 Let's do this!

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    I want awesome looking effects so let's say each strip is 150 channels, give or take.
    Not considering power, what is the (safe) "max" length of CAT5e that I can run DMX signal before I need to end the run into the DMX-SPI decoder? How about max length of CAT5e from an ECG-P12R before I need to add null/phantom pixels?
    Thanks for the replies so far, I'm learning a lot!
     
  6. fasteddy

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

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    Can you do a basic drawing of what you want to do and show approx distances, this will ensure there is no confusion
     
  7. OP
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    nato595

    nato595 Let's do this!

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    Here is a pic of the house and a pic showing the ideal situation of what I'd like to do regarding just the placement of the strips.

    I may end up scaling it back a little bit once I figure the total cost of the project, but let's go with this one for now.
    Sorry I don't have measurements on all the roof lines and outlines, but as a scale we can say that the large garage door is 16'w X 7'h, the small garage door is 8'w X 7'h, and the upstairs windows are 4' X 4' and 5' X 4'.

    Thanks again for all your help!
     

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  8. fasteddy

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

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    I will tell you how I have done this. I have broken the house up into 3 sections, left side, right side and second story. I have placed controllers and power supplies inside steel or plastic weatherproof enclosures. I then distribute my mains power and data to these 3 locations. This way you eliminate voltage drop issues and keep controllers close to the lights so you minimize any use of null pixels.

    If you have 1 controller located in a centralized spot like in your garage then you will still require to have power injection and depending on the distances then it may be better to use a power supply closer to the lights or use very heavy gauge supply cables to help combat voltage drop.

    One of the important factors in designing your layout is the voltages used, if you are using 5vdc then you really need the power supplies close to the lights, 12vdc is more forgiving.

    So the reality is that the lighting layout is very difficult to do as we once could do it when running AC controllers, because with mains AC the voltage drop and current requiremnts were minimal. Now with low voltage DC the considerations of volatge drop and current really start to come in play and will determine the best setup. This is why i take a distributed approach and have 3 main areas for controllers and power supplies. I have my computer, network switch and mains supply to the 3 areas coming from the garage and distribute to the 3 main areas from there.
     

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