Answered Hello all! I'm taking the plunge this year.

John Whitaker

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Dec 12, 2018
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4
Greetings everyone and a big thanks to the community for all the videos I've watched so far. I started off last year with an Arduino setup using Vixon, power relays and 8 strings of basic lights. It was awesome and my grandson loved it! Now I'm jumping in to the deep end and placed my order(s) yesterday. I plan to start with a Mega Tree with 16 X 50 pixels.

1 Falcon F16V3 (PixelController) - I was going to go with the F48 but the Differential boards got costly.
1 - 4-String Differential SmartReceiver Board (PixelController) - Going to use this for the tree
4 - F8-Distro (PixelController)
2 - MEAN WELL LRS-350-5 300W 5V 60 Amp Single Output Switchable Power Supply
1 - Tree topper from Holiday Coro, pixNode strips..

Pixels???
- I'm going to Order from Ray Wu as it seems that he's the best place to buy pixels. But - What's up with the shipping cost? I know it's coming from China but $77.99 for 20 strings to the US?

Here are my questions. I'm pretty comfortable with the Tree build. There are some other things that I need to understand. Once I get these straight in my mind I'll feel a lot more comfortable:

1. How far can data travel from the F16v3? If I plan to have power at a remote part of the display.
2. How do candy canes work (this would go for little tree props)? Let's say I have 5 candy canes:

Can I run this off one node on the F16V3? Specs say I can run 1024 pixels off each node. BUT - Let's say each candy cane has 20 pixels. How do I "skip" space in between the canes? Meaning spaced 5 feet apart? I guess the same would go for a scenario where I have 4 windows I wanted to outline. Do I use a single node on each cane? Or do I "virtualize" each item such as a cane or a window on the node? (I don't know how virtualized segments come into play with xlights or falcon boards.. I'm just guessing for now that I can segment out a 1024 string of lights)

This brings up another thought about arches. Does each arch have to be on its own node? or is this another prop you can daisy chain somehow?

(Update: I just read the 101 manual again and found Null Pixels. Maybe this is what I'm missing)

I've seen video's on daisy chaining the canes but I guess I don't get how to wire. Seems most video's I've watched don't cover this part of the plan.

Anyway - I'm rambling on so I'll stop for now. Thanks for any advice/guidance you can provide.

John
Phoenix AZ.
 
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uncledan

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Dec 27, 2014
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Buellton California
Welcome to ACL. First thing you need to get straight is your terminology. Yes I know its a lot.. Been in your shoes before. Shipping from China is expensive. Best to email for a quote rather than place order on Alibaba etc.
1.) Results will vary.. Typically for me with standard extensions and/or pigtails with soldered 18/4 security cable 15ft max. I've had data issues at 7-8 feet. You can use cat5 for data and V- and power inject V+and V- at the prop/model. I've gone 40 feet + with cat5 for data. This is where the differential receivers come in handy!
2.) Little confused.. If you have 20 pixels on each candy cane with 5ft spacing you simply buy or make 5ft extensions between them. Each output/port of F16v3 (not node as you mentioned earlier) can output data to 1024 pixels. This is where power injection is required. You can "daisy chain" multiple elements/models off one port. Xlights knows where to send the correct data to each pixel because you enter a start channel for each model. If you want to spend a few minutes on the phone I'd be glad to answer some questions.
 

John Whitaker

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Dec 12, 2018
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4
Dan - Super helpful already!

1. I guess I'll just have to do some testing to figure out distances. I was going to go with the F48 for "distance" but I don't have anything designed yet so I didn't want to completely over kill it on my first try. CanispaterChristmas did a segment on this I think.
2. This clears it up for me. Here's a hypothetical scenario - I can run a string of 1024 pixels off F16 port 1 (thanks on the terminology). On this string I want 5 candy canes and 5 small spiral trees each having 100 pixels. Each prop is separated with 3 foot extensions. As long as I have power injected along the way I'll be able to define each "prop" with a start channel (meaning pixel # in the line). Then once in xlights I'll be able to use these models.

This stuff is going to be hitting my doorstep over the next few days. I would love to take you up on a rain check for a phone call. I'm going to have many more questions over the next week.
 

uncledan

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Dec 27, 2014
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Correct. I have as many as 10 spiral trees with 100 pixels on a port of F16v3. Tree one start channel is #1:1, tree 2 start channel is #1:301, etc. (#1:1 is universe 1 channel 1 FYI) Just need set the pixels per output on the F16v3, input the controller/universe etc into Xlights and assign a start channel for the models in the layout tab. Drop me a PM if you need anything. I'm not as great as some guys here but I'll help if I can. Chat is helpful as well. Someone is usually lurking in there
 

John Whitaker

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Dec 12, 2018
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You have been more than helpful! I was fretting jumping in the forums. I was expecting something like "this has been asked/answered 1000 times! filter thru the 10,000 posts and you will find the answer!"

Thank you! I'll PM you next week when I'm stumped.

PS. Amazon just showed up at the door. 2 power supplies! Game on!
 

John Whitaker

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Dec 12, 2018
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uncledan

Full time elf
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Dec 27, 2014
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Maybe someone else will chime in regarding these promotion 5v nodes from Ray . I don't buy from Ray Wu but his email is ray@rita-light.com. Lots of people here have purchased those I know. Small wire and 5v isn't my thing. Mo Volts is Mo Betta. 12v and 18AWG makes life so much easier!
 

Tom Zheng

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Apr 13, 2017
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Location
ShenZhen
Hi John,
Good day to you.
We are a professional manufacture for pixel in China.And we can customize the pixel you need.
Our advantage:
1.Same product quality as ray's
2.Slightly better price than ray's
3.Quick response.

Our aliexpress store:
https://www.aliexpress.com/store/4478030
You can place an order on aliexpress directly or email us for new quotation.We will offer a discount for you(via email).Email:sales@etop-led.com
If you don't find what you need in our store, email us for more options.

Thanks for your inquiry.

Best regards
Tom
 
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