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Discussion in 'RGB Lights - Intelligent Pixels and 3-Channel RGB' started by robin1373, Feb 22, 2014.

  1. robin1373

    robin1373 New Elf

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    Hello All,
    This will be my third year doing a display. I have 2 Lor 16 channel controllers run by a mp3 show director. I use the LOR s3 software. I am wanting to get into RGB this year and have been doing some research. I have talked to some of you in the chat and got some good information. I am ready to start buying some stuff and had a few more questions. After asking some questions I have decided not to use the mp3 show director to make is easier to run the RGB lights. What I am wanting to do is outline my house with rgb strips and add a few spot lights. I was thinking of buying the E682 for my pixel strips and a CMB24 from LOR for the spot lights. I think I can do the whole front of the house with 10 16ft strips.

    Question 1
    Does it sound like I am going in the correct direction?

    Question 2
    Will the e682 be a good choice?

    Question 3
    Is it better to get a 12v strip or a 5v strip, What do most people buy?

    Thank you,
    Robin
     
  2. i13

    i13 Senior Elf

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    No-one else has replied here yet so I'll have a go.

    Question 1
    I am not a pixel controller expert but the only suggestion I'd make for the non-pixel part is to check the prices and specs of DMX controllers on this page http://auschristmaslighting.com/wiki/Controllers
    Check that your existing controllers, software license, USB plug or equivalent support DMX too.
    LOR controllers seem reliable but expensive per channel, although shipping might vary this.
    Some spotlights may have power and DMX input and not require a separate controller. The downside of these is changing/setting their DMX start address, especially if the seller won't do it.

    Question 2
    Try asking in chat if no-one else replies here.

    Question 3
    As general rules with pixel strips (strings are different)

    5V
    • has individual RGB LED control, making it good for matrices.
    • suffers more from voltage drop, making the pixels shine pink when they should be white.
    • has a higher channel cound per LED.
    12V
    • has 3 LEDs per pixel, so every 3 LEDs are controlled as one single pixel.
    • suffers less from voltage drop, making it good for lg lengths.
    • has a lower channel count.
    This is an exception http://auschristmaslighting.com/forums/index.php?topic=5371.0
    The forgotten fact about voltage drop with pixels is that it does not just depend on the number of LEDs, it depends on the length of the strip as well.


    Keep researching and asking questions, it worked well for me.
     
  3. Eastwood16G

    Eastwood16G Full Time Elf

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    I'm not sure the answer to q3 is still valid. I have 300 WS2811 12v pixels from Ray and they are individually addressable, not groups of three pixels. Of course each pixel has three LEDs and a control chip.

    As far as I can see 5v pixels are a little cheaper than 12v pixels.

    Not sure whether they are more or less susceptible to supply cable volt drop because I've no 5v for comparison.
     
  4. OP
    OP
    robin1373

    robin1373 New Elf

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    Thank you for the info! I did some reasearch and was told that th e6804 can handle just as much as the e682. Does anyone know if this is correct. I have also heard the distance that the pixel strips are located from the controller makes a difference. Is this correct and if so what is the distance. Thanks again for all the help
     
  5. bluzervic

    bluzervic 65,768 Channels, 185 Universes

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    [font=tahoma, sans-serif]Hi Welcome to ACL, you came to the right place[/font]
    [font=tahoma, sans-serif]You will find all the right answers here in the Forums and in chat[/font]
    Question 1Does it sound like I am going in the correct direction?
    Of coarse, you came here :) Question 2Will the e682 be a good choice?
    This depends on what you are trying to
    [font=tahoma, sans-serif]achieve as this can be done several ways.
    Are you trying to control individual strips or individual nodes within the strip its self

    1. Control individual nodes within each strip: If you are doing individual nodes, you can controll them using a variety of controllers. You may want to have 1 centralized controller (e682, P12S) or spread your controllers around and not have to deal with as much power injection (P2)

    2. You can use a dumb RGB controller to control the individual strips without trying to control the individual nodes themselves thus you would not use the e682 but would use a CMB24 or Ray Wu's 27 Channel controller.


    Question 3 Is it better to get a 12v strip or a 5v strip, What do most people buy?


    I use 12 volts myself as it is easier to work with, others use 5 volts
    Each has its pluses and minuses.
    You can use a combination as well such as 12VDC for RGB dumb-strips and 5VDC for a pixel tree
    The differences was already addressed in a earlier reply to this post so I will not mention it here


    As always, jump into Chat. Everyone here is willing to help and you will have fun


    -Blu



    [/font]
     
  6. AAH

    AAH I love blinky lights :) Community Project Designer

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    If you are looking at going with a standalone controller then the Falcon Pi Player software that David Pitts developed to run on the Raspberry Pi computers is a nice option. The boards are only about $35 and will run even the biggest displays. Info on them can be found via http://auschristmaslighting.com/wiki/Interfaces#Ethernet_.28E1.31.29_playback_device and http://auschristmaslighting.com/forums/index.php?topic=4468.msg38924#msg38924 and then on Davids site once you're done reading here. I believe the latest software does usb dongles so you can do LOR or dmx boards as well as E1.31 devices like the E682.
     
  7. i13

    i13 Senior Elf

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    I stated that each 3 LEDs (not 3 pixels), are controlled as one pixel. I am referring to the 12V strip here, 5V is different, having a chip for every RGB LED and that is the reason I mentioned this.

    That is a good point about direct comparison; I can't do it either, just going by what I have read and what should theoretically happen.
     
  8. Eastwood16G

    Eastwood16G Full Time Elf

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    That's cool you did indeed say 3 LEDs not three pixels. My mistake. Apologies.

    Unless they are doing something very clever with choppers they are dropping a lot of power across series resistors to ensure my 12v pixels stay bright.

    I think Eddy wrote a note on the forum about this last year. I might have to sacrifice a pixel to find out.
     
  9. i13

    i13 Senior Elf

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    The 12V strings use resistors to drop the voltage/current for the LEDs but the strips have the 3 LEDs in series to use the voltage more efficiently.
     
  10. OP
    OP
    robin1373

    robin1373 New Elf

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    Thanks again for all the replies. I am wanting to purchase and control smart strips or the ws2811. I am wanting to outline the house I figure it will take about 108 feet to do the whole front of the house. I am just trying to figure out the best way to set this up. I have a laptop set up to use as well as i purchased the pi as another option. I guess what I am understanding is that if i use the 682 I will have to worry about injecting more power but if I use say 2 e6804 then power will not be an issue. if i do the 682 in a central location. How far can the beginning of the strips be away from the 682?
     
  11. ԆцряєсϮ

    ԆцряєсϮ Senior Elf

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    There are a number of factors that will determine your maximum distance from controller to first pixel.
    Cable type, Cable Size, How its run, type of Pixel.... these will all have an affect. I have to stay within 4.8 mtrs before I need to use Null pixels however others have gotten further without issue.


    Also your power injection requirements will be determined by the length of each run and again along with cable Type, & Size and also the type of pixel. In general most people inject 5V pixels every 50 pixels and 12V pixels every
    100, but Realistically you won't know until you have it all hooked up and start testing.
     
  12. OP
    OP
    robin1373

    robin1373 New Elf

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    Thank you for the info!! What is a null pixel?
     
  13. ShellNZ

    ShellNZ Senior Elf

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    A null pixel is a pixel that is added between the controller and first pixel if the length is too long.

    The null pixel is effectively "turned off" so that it doesnt light up, however it pushes the data to the next pixel.

    So if you had a controller, then 8metres of cable to first pixel you would wire a null pixel (single pixel same IC type) around halfway along, so 4metres along. Then in the configuration of the controller you tell it there is a null pixel in the line. It wont light up but boosts the data signal for the rest of the 4m run.
     
  14. ԆцряєсϮ

    ԆцряєсϮ Senior Elf

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    Ed Zachary what Shell said ^^^


    A null is just a single node from a string or strip (1 pixel) that you use as an amplifier, all it does is pickup, and pass the data along.
    Some people configure them in the controller but I do mine in the sequencer.
    I simply allocate it a channel but dont put any effects onto it. This allows you to have a null pixel anywhere in your run as opposed to just the start. (good if your using a P2) as sometimes distance between elements may require it but they arent at the start of the run.


    Hope that makes sense.
     

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