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Discussions on building large pixel matrixes

Discussion in 'The Development Lab' started by Greg.Ca, Feb 9, 2015.

  1. Greg.Ca

    Greg.Ca Apprentice Elf

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    The purpose of this thread is to discuss successes and failures of building large pixel matrixes.

    Two years ago I had build a reasonably 'large' pixel matrix on our front porch. It was using 5V WS2811 pixels strips at 30/meter. The size of the matrix was 36 vertical X 75 horizontal pixels. Couldn't do much with it as it was simply too small of a matrix but this first project served as my starting point for building a large matrix. I considered it a reasonable success. It was built using 3 separate J1sys P12R boards and 6 350 Watt 5V power supplies. The only thought I remember saying to myself is that this needs to be way bigger and the pixels need to be much closer together.

    Last year I switched out all of my 30/meter pixels to 60/meter and built a 48 X150 mega tree using 5V WS2812b flexible pixel strips. Pretty cool as I was able to put pics, animated gifs, and mini movies featuring dancing Santa Clauses, etc on the tree as there was more pixels and they were closer together. It was a big hit as every pixel was addressable because I selected 5V pixels.

    This year I'm getting more ambitious, the 48 X 150 megatree will be increased to 60 strips so I will have a 60 X 150 mega tree and I am back to putting a large matrix on the porch and in the process of building it. Projected completion date is mid February for the next 2015-2016 Christmas show. Everything is coming along good so far.

    Initial matrix size will be 56 vertical X 96 horizontal. I am building it by using 96 individual 'rigid' pixel strips each of them 56 pixels 'tall' mounted vertically. I have done research and selected ONE Pixlite 16 board and 8 individual 450 watt 5V power supplies.

    If this works out well then with just one extra Pixlite 16 board and 8 more power supplies then I could have a 84 vertical X 128 horizontal matrix for the 2016-2017 Christmas. With this size matrix, I will be able to show reasonably detailed pics, animated graphics and this would now be the 'center piece' of my large Christmas display.

    Here in the USA our incoming power is 120VAC but in every house we have two 'phases' of this 120VAC power thus I will have four of the power supplies on one phase and the other four power supplies on the other phase. Technically, this is running on 240VAC power but every Meanwell SE450 power supply will have only 120VAC as it's input.

    Each power supply will be running 2 outputs out of the Pixlite16. Each output of the Pixlite 16 can run 2 universes thus 340 pixels maximum. I selected 56 pixels on each strip so that each output of the Pixlite 16 can run 6 strips. If you multiply 56 X 6 you get 336. Just slightly UNDER the maximum of pixels that each output can drive. Since each output can drive 6 strips and the board has 16 outputs, by multiplying 6 X 16 you get 96 strips across (horizontally)

    I've had good luck in the past with my J1sys boards and now I am going to try this Pixlite 16 board for this project. Even though J1sys P12S boards have unofficially announced that their P12S board can drive two universes /output, that information is NOT on their web site and I don't want to be the first to try it. The J1 sys boards has only 12 outputs/board and this Pixlite board has 16. Just seems like a better value and a better performer.

    This project should be done in a few weeks as I have all the parts and currently in the final stages of building it.

    And now for the most important question, can anybody think of anything I'm forgetting? I've invested a lot of money and time. Anything I'm forgetting to take into consideration? I would like to hear the successes and failures from others who have built large matrixes. Thanks --Greg--
     
  2. Boof63

    Boof63 Senior Elf Generous Elf

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    Hi Greg, built a 20 x 75pix matrix for the roof last year. Video was a little crude due to spacing 1.3cm square, but the kids got the gist of the Frozen video that played. (the further away you stood the better it looked). I used one Pixlite4 for the matrix and once had the setup sorted it worked a treat ( 4 outputs x 375 pixels)
    I did use Rays T-splitters as a way to feed in the power at the start of each strip and they also worked a treat.
    So looking at your ideas , nothing springs to mind other than carrying and assembly of on your roof/Balcony, it will weight a bit, But would love to see the finished result as in thinking of going to 60/metre pix and doubling string number to increase resolution as well. Cant wait see a demo of your new matrix when it's done please!!
    cheers Boof63
     
  3. mararunr

    mararunr Here to learn! (and share)

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    I am also hoping to add a matrix this year. Would love to see videos of your old and your new to see the difference please.
     
  4. Greg

    Greg New Elf

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    Hi Greg, I see your also located in California as well? I am building a horizontal matrix and I used 3" spacing but I can not make out the text and graphics very good. What spacing did you use for your matrix? My current set up is 12 strips x 50 pixels.

    Greg
     
  5. AussiePhil

    AussiePhil Dedicated Elf Administrator

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    @ Greg.ca

    an alternative route might be P10 panels.

    For fixed matrix setups the future seems to be standardised P10 panels being driven with a BBB and octoscroller setup.

    Currently this has a 64 panel max per bbb, giving a 32,768 pixel matrix.

    Your proposed use of 60led/M strip gives a P16 spacing so dropping back to a P10 spacing gives greater resolution.
    Let's take your proposed 2016 size of 84 x 128 and see how that translates into P10 panels with similar physical dimensions based on the P16 spacing.

    Wide
    128-P16 = 2M wide this equals 6.4 so lets say 6 panels = 192Pixels wide.
    High
    84 -P16 = 1.35M high this equals 8.4 so lets say 8 panels - 128 pixels high

    this equals 48 panels so inside the max. Combine this with the panels costing $11 each (plus freight) we have a panel cost of $528

    I don't know how this compares with 60L/M strip.

    Pro's
    Cheap
    high resolution matrix that is largely plug together
    easy to replace a panel

    Cons
    Cheap panels are for indoor use, waterproofing needs to be considered
    not repairable at a pixel level, offset by cheap panel price.
     
  6. Greg

    Greg New Elf

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    Can you provide A link to these panels your referring too?
     
  7. AussiePhil

    AussiePhil Dedicated Elf Administrator

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  8. Greg

    Greg New Elf

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    Thanks you so much, How would I set these up for my display? This is only my second year with LOR/DMX, Can it be done with these types of devices or does it require a whole other program/application to run?
     
  9. AussiePhil

    AussiePhil Dedicated Elf Administrator

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  10. JonB256

    JonB256 Full Time Elf

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    Greg, I have a 3x3 panel setup running with the P10 panels now. I am using xLights/Nutcracker for it because it can handle the large RGB channel count. I still use LOR for some of my older display elements, but it (LOR) just can't the channel count. Maybe they'll get it improved soon.


    https://youtu.be/xMVyVyApLZM


    I am most active on the FalconChristmas forum (mentioned by AussiePhil) and learned most of the P10/Octoscroller info there.
     
  11. Greg

    Greg New Elf

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    Where did you purchase the P10 Paels?
     
  12. JonB256

    JonB256 Full Time Elf

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    I got mine from two places. The first set was the poorly advertised half-price sale. Last one from Ray Wu. There are identical. While Ray's may have cost a few $$ more, the shipping was cheaper and faster, included more ribbon cables and power connectors, and packaged a little nicer.
     
  13. gerry

    gerry Senior Elf

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    Hello Phil,

    Daryl brought an entire setup to the Sydney mini , including the panels, BBB , capes , the O driver board , plus all the other falcon boards - it was great !

    When factoring costs for the P10 panels as a matrix, in addition to the BBB and its accessories , if one is not already using 5V PSUs, then you would need to factor in 5V PSUs plus backups.

    Plus a Raspberry PI to drive the sequences and then drive the BBB

    So I think it depends on what you already plan to have for your show.
     
  14. AussiePhil

    AussiePhil Dedicated Elf Administrator

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    hi Gerry,

    Yes all good points.
    Couple thoughts.
    There are two concepts I think to be considered.
    One is low density matrix arrays, usually made from nodes and having 2"/50mm spacing or more, called >P50. The P number is a direct reference to the pitch in mm.
    Second is high density arrays that people have started to do in 60pixel/M strip or less that they are looking at as sign/video displays. 60L/M = P16.6 or 16.6mm pitch. these Matrix arrays are ideal candidates for direct change over or initial build in P10 panels.

    P10 panels are cheap, real cheap for the number of leds.
     
  15. fasteddy

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

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    I think what does need to be noted though is that these panels are not as bright as using other methods like strip with 5050 LEDs or other types of panels on the market. But at night these will still work great

    I wonder if these are being driven hard enough as they definetly dont look like the LEDs are being driven at full intensity when compared to similar designs. But at US$11 a panel these are much cheaper than what im comparing with.

    So a great deal for the price
     

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