F48 question

Scotty49

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Dec 28, 2019
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Hi all I'm new to all this. My question is based around what options you have with each smart receiver
F48 smart receiver offers 4 strings. And a average string being????
5V pixels 50 nodes per string
12V pixels 100 nodes string
Before power injection is required.

The smart receiver uses one port = 1024 pixels total and can be dasiy chained to provide 12 strings????

I'll use the mega tree as an example.
Is this the way it would be wired??
Let's say we are using all 1024 split into 4 string = 256 nodes.
You would need to inject power approx 3 x for 12v and 6 x for 5v???

Each string can be of any length with the right power injection up to a max of 1024 nodes???

Is it better to use one string and power inject correctly or 4 strings and power inject. Or stay away from power injecting all together and use the required ports/ receivers to match the desired string length.
Any help would be much appreciated. If there are any links to help clear this up please let me know.
Cheers,
 

Robbo

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that's roughly correct for 100% brightness, but you can reduce down to 30% and still look good giving you further runs before injection, I would hook all 1024 nodes up and inject at beginning and end, then identify your dark spots, inject in the middle then middle again etc until it looks how you want it, Jeff from canispater christmas explains this much better in his matrix video View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-IedCXTfy0&t=10s
you can also daisy chain up to 3 smart receivers like you said and on 8 ports run 128 nodes or round down to strings of 100, however you like
 

Chad

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Dec 27, 2018
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As someone who went through this same process same time last year, and who bought into the F48 setup for my display, let me try and provide some initial advice based on what I had troubles with.
  • Definitely watch the video which Robbo above has linked to.
  • I struggled to comprehend just how little brightness I required for my 12v pixels before I bought my gear. In the end, after my hardware arrived and I did some testing I settled on 20% for the lights closest to the road (about 3-4m viewing distance) and 30% for the lights further back on the house.
    This means I could get more lights lit up on a string. I probably ran too many pixels without power injection (even though I had no failures), and this is something which I will address for the next season. It's part of the learning process.
  • I struggled to initially understand (without having access to the hardware) in the Falcon software the concept of port banks. I initially was thinking about putting more nodes on bank 1 and less on banks 2 and 3.
    After reading that many people evenly distributed nodes across banks, I went with 344, 340, and 340. For me, this allowed for better distribution of pixels with more smaller props that didn't require power injection. Rather than stringing many props together on a larger string that would definitely require injecting. Even many of the larger props (like a singing face) will be less than 340 nodes.
    I think this point alone made it easier for me to first understand concepts and then plan out my display.
  • While I'm no means an electronics expert, I did find this power calculator beneficial. http://spikerlights.com/calcpower.aspx
  • To help reduce (even if small) the voltage drop across the length of a prop/roofline string length I did order some custom spaced strings. Rather than the standard 10cm spacing, I went with 7.5cm. I figured every little bit helps. It also reduced the wire mess on the back of the props. But take note, some complex props require 10cm spacing so they can be put together, i.e. the string nodes are placed every second hole and then it backtracks on itself filling every other hole.
 

Scotty49

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Dec 28, 2019
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Thanks, yeah I guess I understand the power injecting and light percentage side of it. But I'm still lost on what each smart receiver board is capable of. And what the benefit is to daisy chain them together.

F48 = 12 ports x 4 = max 16384 pixles

Each smart receiver use 1 port giving the capability 1024 pixels with the capability of adding 3 more = 4 ports total (dasiy chain) and a max of 4096????

Hahaha I feel so lost.
 

Chad

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Dec 27, 2018
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My understanding is that all chained receivers will share the maximum pixel count of the controller port they are connected to.
 

Scotty49

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Dec 28, 2019
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Yeah ok. So given that the F48 is a 48 port with 12 outputs one would imagine that one output form the F48 Carrie's four ports in one. First smart receiver board then 2,3,4 in dasiy chain giving four of the 48 ports available????
If this is the case then each smart receiver board is capable of 1024 pixels split into four strings and same for 2,3,4 with a total of 4096 pixels over the four ports from one of the 12 outputs off the F48.
 

nightflyer00

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Oct 1, 2013
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Hi Scotty49. Did you get to the bottom of this? I'm going with the F48 too and I'm trying to figure out how many receivers I'll need at each point. For example my Megatree will be 16 strings of 50 pixels with a Chromastar 23 with 40 pixels. That's 840 pixels total. Should I run from just one receiver or have two in the controller box?
 

Scotty49

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No not really. But with what Chad has mentioned above I would take a guess and say 200+ x 12v pixels per string would be fine if your not running them at 100%
So you may be better off with two smart receivers to be on the safe side.

840 pixels x 1 receiver (4 strings) = 210 pixels to a string.
840 pixels x 2 receiver (8strings) = 105 pixels to a string
I think Chad is saying he ran 340 pixels to a string (without problems) but it was at its limits.
For me I would rather have 2. Sure you can do it with one, but depending on how you want to use it you might run into problems and the need to power inject.
 

andrewa

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I ran my 10 Arches off of 3 smart recievevers
1000 Pixels x 3 receivers. 2 recievers all 4 outputs & 1 receiver 2 outputs = 100 Pixels per string at 100% brightness no problems at all (no injection needed)
 

BAZMick

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Nov 26, 2019
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No not really. But with what Chad has mentioned above I would take a guess and say 200+ x 12v pixels per string would be fine if your not running them at 100%
So you may be better off with two smart receivers to be on the safe side.

840 pixels x 1 receiver (4 strings) = 210 pixels to a string.
840 pixels x 2 receiver (8strings) = 105 pixels to a string
I think Chad is saying he ran 340 pixels to a string (without problems) but it was at its limits.
For me I would rather have 2. Sure you can do it with one, but depending on how you want to use it you might run into problems and the need to power inject.
G'day All, one thing to remember is that there are 3x channels per RGB pixel or 4x if using RGBW pixels. Ie for RGB pixels 1x Channel for the Red LED, another for the Green LED, and the 3rd for the Blue LED.

I looked at it from another way, I use xLights and the maximum channel count you can set for a Universe is 512 using an F48. I think of a Universe as one Pixel string output connector on the (Smart) Differential Receiver Boards, so 512 divided by 3x channels per pixel gives me 170.66 pixels or rounded down because you can't attached 2/3rds of a pixel is 170. So in xLights I set the Universe channel count at 510 (170 pixels by 3 channels). I'm sure I've seen Keith explain how you can increase this number above 512 but I left it at 170x pixels so that if I ran a 12V string at 30% brightness I didn't need to power inject. (BTW 30% brightness was more than enough! My display lit up the neighbourhood like you wouldn't believe!)

After this now I could calculate how many (Smart) Differential Receiver Boards I needed to run my display (add 2x for Justin). Because it was my first year (2019) doing pixels I made the decision to forget about trying to use the "Smart" function of the Differential Receiver Boards because I already had enough on my plate (learning xLights, FPP, and the whole setting up phase) for my brain to deal with so I just configured them as Std Differential Boards (At least now I have the option to run them as "Smart" in the future). FYI I purchased 1x F48 and 8x Smart Differential Receiver Boards, and approx. 2000x pixels in 100x string lots. I ended up using 7x Receiver boards but I could've used only 6x if I hadn't accidentally purchased some cheap "Special Price" 5V pixel strings.

To answer nightflyer00's question above I would go with 2x Receiver Boards for the 840x pixels. Get another couple for spare because it's cheaper to have them in the back of the cupboard than it is for Express Air Freight at the last minute because your Mrs (but most probably yourself) thinks your display has a hole that needs to be filled.
And to answer Scotty, your original question, in my experience 150x 12v RGB pixels at 30% brightness before you need power injection, and approx 75x 5v RGB pixels ("Special Price") at 30% brightness

Another point I want to make after using the F48 is while you can output up to 1024 channels per port, if you calculate 16384 divided by 1024 that becomes 16. Each of the RJ45 Output connectors have 4x ports in them so this means you can only output 1024 channels per port across 4x RJ45 Output Connectors (the top row of connectors) and the rest are not usable. With my setup of 510 channels per port I only had the use of the top 2x rows of RJ45 Output Connectors (32x ports). I believe the F16v3 has a similar setup. Don't let that scare you, it's just something you need to be aware of and work around with. I believe the F48 is a very flexible and easy to use controller and I will be buying another this year too.

The Smart Differential Receiver Boards can be "Daisy" chained together but there can only be 3x in a chain, not 4x. They are labeled as "A, B, and C" in xLights, FPP and the F48 Web UI. String Output 1 on A,B, and C Receiver Boards have to share the maximum channel count specified by the "Slider" on the Port Settings page (Top RH Side) of the F48 Web UI, same goes for string outputs 2, 3, and 4.

So to sum up (sorry it's been a bit long winded and I hope it has all made sense).
The F48 can output a maximum of 1024 channels per port, or 341 RGB pixels. 4x ports for each RJ45 Output connector is 4096 channels or 1364x RGB pixels, 4x RJ45 Output Connectors is 16384 channels or 5456x RGB pixels.

Cheers Bazzy
 

franky_888

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I think of a Universe as one Pixel string output connector on the (Smart) Differential Receiver Boards
A DMX universe is 512 channels, you can span more than one universe per output if you want to.

The F48 can output a maximum of 1024 channels per port
The F48 can have up to 1024 pixels per F48 port (therefore spread across the A, B and C receivers depending on your F48 slider configuration). The board itself can drive up to 16384 pixels

From the F48 page on pixelcontroller.com:
Pixels per port
48 pixel ports are divided up into 3 groups with a configurable max number of pixels per port in each group. All three groups share a portion of a 1024 max pixels per port. The user can set ports 1-16 to have a max pixel count of 512, ports 17-32 to have max count of 256 and ports 33-48 to have max count of 256. Max pixels per port in each group must always add up to 1024.
Not trying to criticise how you've done your display BAZMick; you do you! Just wanted you to know that your F48 is much more capable than you currently believe :)

Personally I ran my tree off of two dumb differential receivers, (36 strands (groups of 6) x 60 nodes per strand = 2160 nodes + 180 node star). First receiver did the first 4 strings, whereas the first 2 outputs on the 2nd receiver did the final 2 groups and the 3rd ran the star.

Remember - just because you can string up to 1024 pixels per port, doesn't mean you should. The more pixels on the same output, the more pixels affected when you find a dud. I may end up with another controller on my tree next year and more ports used, just so 1/6 of my tree doesn't go out in the event of a failure.
 

BAZMick

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Not trying to criticise how you've done your display BAZMick; you do you! Just wanted you to know that your F48 is much more capable than you currently believe :)
Thanks mate, without a shadow of a doubt I'm a complete noob and have barely scratched the surface of what the F48 can do. xD
 
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