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Decisions that should be made before a build?

Discussion in '101 Display Basics' started by SDFredLightShow, Dec 21, 2018.

  1. SDFredLightShow

    SDFredLightShow New Elf

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    Hi All,
    I apologize if this has already been covered, but I was curious to see what everyone's thoughts are as far as what "decisions" you feel that should/must be made before starting a brand new build and why? An example could be choosing the right controller(s) to make it easier to expand your display in the future.

    I look forward to your replies! Thanks.

    Fred
     
  2. NTKing(Brad)

    NTKing(Brad) Senior Elf

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    Hi Fred.

    Most have the falcon f16v3 and v2 boards for a controller. There are others but those are the most common. It’s probably a great time of the year to start to put together a wish list of props that you want for 2019. Take a look around your local area and see if there are any other displays. Also watch the media section on here as more members upload videos.

    Brad
     
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  3. AAH

    AAH I love blinky lights :) Community Project Designer

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    I would say the the F16 V2 and V3 are the most common but there are lots of others out there including the Falcon F48 which allows a centralised control and longer distance to props, the Advatek Pixlite range, the San Devices E68xx boards, Light-O-Rama pixel controllers and many Pi or Beaglebone Black based ones. The size of the display, the physical size of the display and what you want things to look like can affect what controllers you choose.
    2811 and it's variants are the normal choice for pixels with 2811, 2812, 2813 and lots of others in the same family. They all do the same thing and the data is essentially the same. The variations govern whether it's a separate pixel chip to the led or integrated into the led, some backup data ability and a few other features.
    Among the biggest choices are whether to go with 5V or 12V. 5V will always give you 1 led per pixel. 12V strip is 3 leds per pixel and 12V nodes use twice the power (roughly) of 5V ones. The 5V versus trade off is whether you want to look after the power well enough to only have a 0.5V voltage drop compared to the 2-3V that 12V strip can handle up to the 5V drop that 5V nodes can tolerate.
    The next major choice is which sequencer to use. You could go with Xlights ver 2018.56, ver 2018.55 or even 1 of the older versions. Xlights is the most common sequencer but Vixen 3 is another free choice or Light-O-Rama is also available if you have more money than sense or are unwilling to branch away from the much simpler interface and features of LOR.
     
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  4. OP
    OP
    SDFredLightShow

    SDFredLightShow New Elf

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    Thanks Brad. That's exactly what I am doing now. Thanks for your reply.

    Fred
     
  5. OP
    OP
    SDFredLightShow

    SDFredLightShow New Elf

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    Thanks for the reply AAH, This was very helpful.

    So far It looks like going with the Falcon F48 will fit my display needs. I'm also leaning towards going with 12v vs 5v. Xlights seems to be the sequencer of choice as well.

    Fred
     
  6. LawrenceDriveLights

    LawrenceDriveLights Full Time Elf

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    It may be also idea to have a look at some of the members “Behind The Scenes” videos they have uploaded as they show lots of different ways you can set out your display etc.
     
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  7. Dez

    Dez Fueled by Christmas - Inspired by You! Generous Elf

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    Hi AAH,
    Is it possible to use a Falcon F16v3 and just run long cables with data only to my pixels and power inject at the displays? What is the advantage of a F48 in this case?
     
  8. AAH

    AAH I love blinky lights :) Community Project Designer

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    The definition of long cables is the important factor here. An F16V3 "should" get you out to maybe 20m where you could put a power supply near the element. An F48 can go 10 times that. I don't know the exact numbers but the F48 could possibly go out to 300m.
    If you want to use an F16 and go "long" distances then adding some of my Null Pixel Buffers (or F-Amp or similar) can get you an additional 30m or more. I ran out of cable for testing how far I could go with a single buffer at 33m. @benbrown had access to some more cable than me and he went to 170m but I don't know how many he added in the middle.
     
  9. Dez

    Dez Fueled by Christmas - Inspired by You! Generous Elf

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    Oh thank you. I think the 20 metres is more than enough for me. I am considering just running data only to my pixels and will most likely use a couple of null pixels. In this case, do I need to run power to the f16 or can I just power inject out in the yard?
     
  10. MrX

    MrX New Elf

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    You still need to power the Falcon. If power injecting then run the data and -ve wires from the outputs to where your pixels are then from a power supply out there connect the +ve and -ve wires to those pixels. Note the ground from the pixels needs to run to both the PSU and the Falcon.

    I've got a F16v3 and have a combination of normal outputs driving the pixels and some differential receiver boards off an expansion board. I have 3 remote sites which have the differential receivers but the rest are connected directly to the F16v3 with just -ve and data like I describe above. I've had a few hiccups with my display but not a single issue with getting data to pixels.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2018
  11. Dez

    Dez Fueled by Christmas - Inspired by You! Generous Elf

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    Ok thank you
     

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