Easiest "style" of RGB pixel for mounting

Discussion in 'RGB Lights - Intelligent Pixels and 3-Channel RGB' started by Bill Ellick, Apr 2, 2012.

  1. Bill Ellick

    Bill Ellick Full Time Elf

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    Appologies if this has been asked before. I tried searching but didn't come up with an answer (or maybe that I have spent the last couple of days reading the different threads on here and an getting cross-eyed).
    I am thinking of getting into the pixel world by going with some 2801 type strings and controllers to get me going and was wondering a couple of things for you folks that have done much more research than I have into this.
    I am looking at these:
    http://www.aliexpress.com/product-fm/521371851-RGB-full-LED-pixel-module-WS-2801-IC-DC5V-input-50pcs-a-string-wholesalers.html
    and thought that the module style of them with the wires coming out the ends would be easier for mounting than this style:
    http://www.aliexpress.com/product-fm/449802558-12mm-WS2801-pixel-module-IP66-DC5V-input-full-color-wholesalers.html
    Anybody have any comments good or bad on these two styles? I am looking at using them around windows and possibly for my roofline in the beginning. I thought that maybe using a form of C channel and drilling 12MM holes in it and then sticking the pixel through and securing them with sealant. That would make the wires invisible as well as making mounting fairly easy as well.
    Thoughts?
    I also see on the AliExpress site that they are starting to use the 2811 chipset more. Is there any advantage to it other than being 3 wire instead of 4 wire as the 2801 chipset is? Or is there a newer chipset coming around that you are aware of that would be better to look at?
    I have not looked at controllers yet for this either. I have 16 standard LOR AC controllers now with 1 CMB-16 DC controller. I am considering going with SansDevice 681 controllers for the RGB stuff but am open to suggestions from anyone at this point.
    Thanks for any comments.
    Bill
     
  2. fasteddy

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

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    Personally for things like roof lines, gutters and windows i prefer to use the strip as this gives nice striaght lines, has strong water ingress properties and is the best bang for you buck as far as actual LED count goes per $. The strip is easy to mount on 25mm electrical conduit with cable ties and is easy to store.

    Refer to this thread http://auschristmaslighting.com/forums/index.php/topic,2012.0.html

    The modules you have linked to may have issues with water ingress as they are not of a solid resin construction and are IP66, there have been some reports of this being the case.

    As far as controllers are concerend i would hold out because there will be a whole bunch of great valued new options hitting the hobby soon that will give you an option that will best suit you. Stay tuned :D
     
  3. OP
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    Bill Ellick

    Bill Ellick Full Time Elf

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    Thanks for the response Eddy.
    I was thinking this afternoon that my post was a little silly since strip would work much better. Doh!! But to hear about possible problems is the best reason to ask questions and save possible trouble later on.
    So do you have any type of strips in mind that work well? Better yet a link to Ray's for a strip since there are pages of them on AliExpress to look at?
    Guess I will have to keep my eyes on things to see what it developing on the controller scene.
    Bill
     
  4. fasteddy

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

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    Price for me a a major determining factor.

    If buying from Ray then the 2801 solid silicone is the best choice as it offers great dimming, good light dispersion and solid construction and is 36 LEDs 12 Controllable sections per metre
    http://www.aliexpress.com/fm-store/701799/209843764-519162566/5m-led-digital-strip-DC12V-input-WS2801IC-256-scale-12pcs-IC-and-36pcs-5050-SMD-RGB.html

    Now if price is the most important factor then you can get 6803 silicone tube strip (CCR replicas) which are 30 LEDs and 10 controllable sections per metre for $45 per 5 metre strip from another vendor, a couple of our members have already bought strip from him and appear to be happy with the strip.
    No specific link but chat to Sanny http://www.aliexpress.com/fm-store/605514
     
  5. AussiePhil

    AussiePhil Dedicated Elf Administrator

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    Bill
    Hi,


    Just to prove we are all different i personally prefer to use the 5V 32LED 32Pixel version to get individual control.
    http://www.aliexpress.com/fm-store/701799/209843764-533088656/5m-IP65led-digital-strip-DC5V-input-WS2801IC-256-scale-32pcs-IC-and-32pcs-5050-SMD-RGB.html
    I will admit for roof lines etc that the slightly cheaper 12V version makes economic sense.


    Interestingly I noticed this one trawling through Rays shop
    http://www.aliexpress.com/fm-store/701799/209843764-526400834/5m-led-digital-strip-DC12V-input-WS2801IC-12pcs-IC-and-36pcs-5050-SMD-RGB-per-meter.html
    Already with the waterproof connectors a lot of us use.


    A full 5M length of 5V 32 Pixel strip can be powered from one end.


    As for controllers there are some very exciting products nearly ready to be announced that will be perfect for this sort of thing, driving lot's of pixels from a single end.


    Cheers
    Phil
     
  6. OP
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    Bill Ellick

    Bill Ellick Full Time Elf

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    Eddy and Phil
    Thanks for the links and info.
    One of the biggest problems with getting into this stuff is the outrageous amount of types/styles/chipsets/etc that is out on the market. That is why I am on here and other forums to ask others who have looked into this already and/or are using this stuff so that I can get a feel for what direction ot take and more for good information on what really works and what is so-so or bad and should stay away from.
    It is tough to look at the sites and get any real feeling for things and the chat can be tough with Chinese reps as well. They want to please but the language differences as well as trying to explain something that you are not familiar with gets frustrating for both persons at times.
    The hands on experience that you guys have with this is a big factor for a lot of people out here who want to get started with it, so we depend on your inputs to steer us along at times. I find your honesty and input extremely helpful and see your desire to assist people in the many posts that I have been reading in the last few weeks.
    Hats off to you for all the help and Thank You. Sometimes we fail to say thanks enough, to me anyway, when we get help. Probably because we are frustrated by the time we ask for help and just want to get things taken care of.
    As an example though of the "tough to see" thing about the sites is the second link that Phil sent in his message:
    "Interestingly I noticed this one trawling through Rays shop
    http://www.aliexpress.com/fm-store/701799/209843764-526400834/5m-led-digital-strip-DC12V-input-WS2801IC-12pcs-IC-and-36pcs-5050-SMD-RGB-per-meter.html
    Already with the waterproof connectors a lot of us use."
    If you look at the photo of that strip and the connectors on there, you will notice that one connector is a 3 pin and the other is a 2 pin one? Tough for the average person to know what is what with some of this stuff when all there is is a photo to look at and the "specs" don't always ring true either.
    I know we have to question almost everything on this stuff to get the real info but even then it can be tough and you still can get something that is not quite what you think it is supposed to be. And when this stuff can run approx. $100 for a 5M reel, you really want to make sure that you are gettng the right thing in the first place much less if you want to order 10 reels or more of it!
    Anyway sorry for the long rant here. Just got up and am doing the morning coffee so kind of chatty right now.
    Appreciate all the help and info and can't wait to see what it around the corner with the new controllers and things.
    Bill
     
  7. Timon

    Timon Apprentice Elf

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    Eddy or Phil,

    Just out of curiosity have you left one of the silicon strips in the sun for a really long time, many months, to see how the UV effected it?

    John
     
  8. OP
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    Bill Ellick

    Bill Ellick Full Time Elf

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    Hi John
    I have just started a test on some silicone coated rgb strips using some different sealants for the electrical connections to see how it holds up for "long term" exposure to the weather, sun, and elements. Today is only day 5 so far, so not much to report yet - LOL.
    You can see it over on the thread at:
    http://auschristmaslighting.com/forums/index.php/topic,2042.0.html
    Thinking about it now though, I should find some of the silicone tubing to put a piece or two out and see how it would hold up as well.
    If anyone has a couple of pieces extra of silicone tubing jacket (just a 100mm section or two), I would be more than happy to pay the postage to get it shipped to me to add along with the other that I have out and see how the jacket holds up to weather as well. I suppose that a couple of the end caps would be nice as well to see how they seal on the tubing and wires to make it a valid test would be best but not really an absolute necessity.
    Since I live in the NorthEast US I will be getting a pretty wide swing of weather conditons to see how things hold up. I also live in a remote area away from cities so the average normal pollutents are less here and won't influence the testing as much.
    If anyone wants to have a piece tested, let me know with a PM or whatever and maybe we can work out something so I can add it to my testing.
    Bill
     
  9. OP
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    Bill Ellick

    Bill Ellick Full Time Elf

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    Just to let you know, looks like I have someone who is going to send me a piece of the silicone tubing and end caps for testing!
    So I will get them out as soon as I receive them and see how it holds up as well.
    Bill
     
  10. OP
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    Bill Ellick

    Bill Ellick Full Time Elf

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    Okay so while waiting for these new options that are coming, would you venture an opinion on the best software for folks to get used to for sequencing and running shows with pixels?
    I know you are somewhat leaning towards LSP which is okay, but will that work with the new things coming out or should we all wait for a new program to come out as well?
    I currently use LOR Version 2.9.4 and have not updated to S3 yet. I can do pretty much all that I need to do with the S2 software right now even as far as using my "dumb" RGB strips for windows as I will only be using 5 strips of it for now.
    But I am concerned about going for S3 and then finding that there is another program to use in a couple months? Especially if I am going to shell out roughly $3000 just for the 2801 RGB strips just for my house and the possibility of another few thousand dollars for the strips and/or pixel nodes for doing other parts of the display! And that does not cover the controllers for the strips yet!
    I did buy LSP in the first version of it and was sorely depressed by it. Quite frankly it was a waste of money for me since it was buggy, slow, a resource hog, and crashed a lot. Now I understand that Version 2 is much better but is it what we who are getting into the pixel world should be using?
    Or do we wait for Vixen V3 to come out?
    Matrix is a very pricey program and at this point I would say it is not easy to justify its purchase when you can do this stuff with lesser programs and most of us are not really in the loop on what is on the horizon for new software or hardware out there. With the use of DMX pretty much the "norm" for large light count displays, I would think that whatever is used would be a logical DMX style of control or it will be tightly integrated with another software program and/or run along side it.
    So is there one program that YOU would think is a better one to use for this hobby? Or do we just stick with what we have and hope that it will be compatible with the newer hardware that is coming out?
    Thanks
    Bill
     
  11. fasteddy

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

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    Each software package will suit each individual for their own reasons. I use LSP because i find it very powerful when controlling many thousands of lights and things like matrices and RGB lighting and im used to it. LSP does have a steep learning curve.
    Vixen 3 shows lots of promise but as it stands at the moment is far from a complete sequencing and scheduling package, but that may change soon as devcelopment continues.
    LOR S3 will need further improvements to run and control large non CCR based pixels and that i would expect to come when e1.31 is implemented.
    As far as madix well theres a high cost in ownership and its only really strong for a pixel based display
    Theres not a great deal of other software thats on the horizon that will meet the demands of our growing hobby and have similar features of LSP, LOR S3 or Vixen 3

    As far as the new controllers that have beed mentioned these will all work with the current software as these controllers are based on known standards and will run on DMX or e1.31.

    In the end its what you feel comfortable with and what you see as best value for you, if the current software does what you want it to do,then i see no need to change.
     
  12. OP
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    Bill Ellick

    Bill Ellick Full Time Elf

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    Thanks Eddy
    This is pretty much what I "thought" you would recommend but it never hurts to ask people who are more in the mainstream of what is going on with things. And there are always people who are working on the next big thing as well.
    I also ask on the forums instead of in chat as this provides others with answers that they can reference and learn from just as I am.
    So I guess then that I will update my LOR to S3 first (especially with the release of the information that E1.31 is going to be supported pretty soon - fingers crossed) and get used to the new features in it first since I use it now.
    I do want to purchase the newer version of LSP - partly just to see how it is now and to have something to compare LOR too as well. I also do hear many good things about it from no only you but other users as well who are pleased with the improvements and better operation of it since its early days. So it will be something to pick up and "learn on the side" as time permits.
    As you said, each person has their own favorites or things that they are comfortable with and it works for them. I don't mind trying new things as it is how we learn to appreciate things as well as there are always different possiblities and new challenges that keep us sharp and informed as well.
    I do also have to commend you (and Phil so far) as 2 people who really do a fantastic job on not only keeping up with this forum but more so the very ernest, forthright, and factual ways that you give out information. Your posts tend to be right on target and to the point without "talking down" to anyone no matter the subject or whether or not the question is not the greatest.
    I see it in all the various forums that you frequent and post on as well. Always a very level and straight forward approach to things.
    So Thanks again and I do look forward to learning more from all of you on here and maybe I can share some years of my experience with things as well.
    Bill
     
  13. fasteddy

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

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    I have strip thats been used for 2 years running in my display which is located on my roof line on black tiles facing west in Summer, which is a decent test. I would say they have had at least 4 months of summer exposure (this year wasnt really a summer) and they have held up very well. They are the solid silicone strip which has been cut to length and heat shrinked using non corrosive, neutral cure silicone.
    They yellowed slightly the first year but thats not noticeable at all with the lights on and didnt seem to yellow anymore last year. What ive been told is the yellowing is actually fine dirt particles settling into the fine ridges of the silicone coating and not actually UV damage. This seemed to be proved with some strip i had layed out in my office that started to turn yellow on the top side.
    So the strip has held up well and I expect to get at least 5 seasons out of them if not more.
     
  14. AussiePhil

    AussiePhil Dedicated Elf Administrator

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    John


    I have some strip that has been in place as lighting for my patio for over two years now, whilst it's not direct sunlight as it is on the opposite side of the plastic sheeting it does cope a lot of incidental UV.
    No sign of yellowing at all.


    Cheers
    Phil
     
  15. AussiePhil

    AussiePhil Dedicated Elf Administrator

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    Bill


    Eddy summed it up pretty well let me put my view forward.


    LOR S3, I'm sure LOR will continue their user friendly functionality and may be the best choice for people used to the LOR sequencing paradym but as yet really untested with extreme channel counts from Pixels.


    Vixen 2, essentially the same paradym as LOR but not as user friendly in some ways, stupidly tedious to sequence more the 400 RGB channels and actually use colours. Requires adaption of other sequencing techniques to work with thousands of channels from Pixels.


    Vixen 3, Not yet ready and with a little luck will be out for season 2012. Shows great promise for working with RGB in very large displays and also Pixels. Will be my sequencer of choice this year if they get it out.


    LSP 2, got Pixels, matrix and RGB then this is still the sequencer of choice if you are not pushing it's boundaries, version 2 resolved a lot of the issues. However it does have a steep learning curve that can only be climbed by watching ALL the videos from LSP.


    HLS, not yet played with but is getting some real interest and a lot of development.


    Madrix, simply brilliant at what it does but it is NOT a christmas lights sequencer. To me this results in shows that are nothing more than special effects, stunning but hardly christmasy. Oh and it is stupidly expensive for lots of universes.


    Nutcracker: the absolute required tool to get the best out of a Pixel Megatree[SIZE=78%]. [/SIZE]


    Cheers
    Phil
     

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