Falcon Controller Question

Tuke

New elf
Joined
Jan 2, 2020
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14
So, like many, this will be my first year running RGB smart pixels. My show will have approximately 2000 pixels as well as around 300 AC lights and 2 rotating head spotlights.

I had originally planned on buying an F16V3 controller but after thinking about it, the F4V3 may be enough for me. My display will not grow that much more to justify the F16. Even if I doubled my RGB count, the F4 would still be able to handle it.

My one question though is regarding the spotlights. The F4 only has 1 dedicated RS485 jack so I'm wondering if I would be able to run both of my spotlights or would I need to spend the additional 75.00$ for the F16 to get the additional 485 jack?

Thanks in advance.
 

lithgowlights

Senior elf
Generous elf
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May 6, 2010
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Lithgow, NSW
DMX can control up to 512 channels, and most moving head lights are 8-16 channels, so you can easily control both moving head lights on the 1 output
 

Ben F

Lights On Eaglemont
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Dec 26, 2017
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Canberra
Spend the extra and get the F16V3, you will be addicted and want to expand your show, so this will allow you to grow next year without having to purchase another controller... unless you are like me... this will be my 3rd year and I am already to 3x F16V3's, all with expansion boards and an F48 with 12 smart receiver boards!
 

Sebastien6221

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Dec 31, 2020
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Spend the extra and get the F16V3, you will be addicted and want to expand your show, so this will allow you to grow next year without having to purchase another controller... unless you are like me... this will be my 3rd year and I am already to 3x F16V3's, all with expansion boards and an F48 with 12 smart receiver boards!
How would the ready to run do without power injection?
 

i13

Senior elf
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Jul 5, 2013
Messages
893
The Ready to Run would still need power injection if you want to use the Falcon to its fullest capacity. You'll need additional power supplies for this because the included one won't have the capacity to power 16,000+ pixels.

I'm the opposite to Ben F; I power everything with injection and nothing through the controllers. The controllers draw much less current than the pixels so I can have a long cable from the power supply to the controller. This means that I can position the power supplies near the pixels and inject directly with less of a concern about voltage drop between the power supply and first pixel.
 

uncledan

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Dec 27, 2014
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Buellton California
Spend the extra and get the F16V3, you will be addicted and want to expand your show, so this will allow you to grow next year without having to purchase another controller... unless you are like me... this will be my 3rd year and I am already to 3x F16V3's, all with expansion boards and an F48 with 12 smart receiver boards!
you underestimate the F4v3. With expansion and two receivers you have 12 ports of 1,024 pixels if you want to go there. (3) F16v3 and (5) F4v3 here. F4v3 is a great little controller. I prefer F4v3 over F16v3 myself for majority of display. As you expand you add more controllers. Half the cost and very flexible.
 

foodi

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Aug 31, 2014
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maryborough victoria
i started with a pixlite 16 and thort yep that it for me then igot a v16 then 5 dmx usb dongles and now this year will be another falcon which will power my whole roof it pais to get the extra get like uncle said its a addiction lol
 

uncledan

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How would the ready to run do without power injection?
Not too many go that route. Building is the fun part for me. Not sure what "ready to run" is exactly. Pre-built from Falcon with one psu you cant do much. Add a second power supply to power each bank and you should be good for 2k+ 12v pixels at reduced intensity
 

BrianZ

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Jan 2, 2021
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Location
Miami, Fl.
I don’t power inject anything, everything is powered directly from controllers.
Did you increase your PSU to the controller or do you just purchase extra controllers or receivers for your pros? How would I be able to run about 500 pixels daisy chained from one port without power injecting, but that's actually 22a at 80% brightness which a 350W should run with out power injecting right? Or should those daisy chains be split up?
 

i13

Senior elf
Joined
Jul 5, 2013
Messages
893
BAZMick is correct. Voltage drop is due to the current flowing through wires which will have some amount of resistance. Regardless of the power supply's capacity, the voltage will drop further from it. This also happens in the wires between an injection point and the power supply. Using shorter and thicker wires reduces the resistance and therefore the voltage drop. I referred to (but didn't fully explain) this in the second paragraph of my previous post in this thread.
 

TerryK

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Feb 9, 2020
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West Central Ohio
Did you increase your PSU to the controller or do you just purchase extra controllers or receivers for your pros? How would I be able to run about 500 pixels daisy chained from one port without power injecting, but that's actually 22a at 80% brightness which a 350W should run with out power injecting right? Or should those daisy chains be split up?
Somewhat indirectly you answered one of your own questions. If you already know 500 pixels at 80% will require approximately 22 Amp, then to find how to run them from a single port you only need to know what amperage the controller port is capable of. From that calculate backwards to determine the pixel maximum drive level. As this thread began with a Falcon F16v3/F4v3, (ports fused at 5 amp) it is an approximate 16% drive level for 500 pixels at the usual .055/.06 Amp per WS2811 pixel.
A similar manner can be used to determine the maximum pixels per port without power injection. WS2811 pixels driven at 80% would be about 105 pixels. If the drive level would be decreased to 30% then about 275 pixels.

Asking if a 350 Watt supply will run the pixels is a apples to oranges question. Amperage is a defined quantity while wattage is calculated. Is 6 watt 2 Amp at 3 Volt or 3 Amp at 2 Volt or 1 Amp at 6 Volt; somewhat iffy isn't it? So, without knowing more about the supply one cannot accurately answer the question. From the other information you posted it seems you are asking about a Meanwell LRS-350-5 or a -12 supply so yes, either a 5 Volt or 12 Volt 350 Watt supply will drive the pixels. Without power injection, not at 22 Amp however. The limitation is not the supply but rather the AWG wire used in the string. At some length or number of pixels depending upon drive level, pixel type, and AWG size, a tradeoff will be reached. The end pixels cannot illuminate and/or amperage in the first part of the string is above AWG amperage capacity and is either heating the wire or causing a high voltage drop inhibiting string operation or both.

So, split the strings? Strategic power injection is better in my opinion. So far, like i13 I do not power any pixels through the controller and like Dan, prefer the F4 over the F16.
 
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