Hello from Banora Point

Danielr

New elf
Joined
Jul 13, 2019
Messages
3
Hi everyone,

First I want to say you are all superstars, your displays are incredible and inspirational. I have been following here for a number of years now contemplating if I should do a display to music, so I have decided to sign up and have read the 101 booklet several times. I must say, it is very well written and presented and I've thoroughly enjoyed all of the videos as well.

I'm considering a house outline in RGB strip lights with 12v WS2811 and possibly 4 strip arches, while I would really like a pixel node mega tree I think it might be too much for me to start off with. To start off with I would want to go with a plug n play option controller, soldering and electronics is just not my thing I would rather just start off with an easy solution and have to suck up the $ for now until I can educate myself and look at other options down the line. I seem to keep running myself in circles as to what options to go for, it seems the Falcon is the preferred controller so I am leaning more towards the R2R Falcon F16v3 and using Xlights. I'm not looking to do an award display, just something nice to light up my kids faces.

There are a couple things I'm not too sure of and I would appreciate any assistance as I am trying to get my head around it all and to determine if I should just get in and try it, or if I am biting more then I can chew and just enjoy other peoples displays.
1. Am I correct that the F16v3 is used for running the strips? I'm assuming I will need at least 32 channels depending on how many strips I end up having once I work out the house dimensions.
2. If I do end up doing a pixel node mega tree or mini trees is the same type of controller used (F16v3)?
3. I take it you still need to power inject with strip lights?

I have many more questions but I figure I can start with these and work my way through it all. Thankyou to all for you help and I look forward to seeing your displays in 2019.
 

Mark_M

Apprentice elf
Joined
Dec 30, 2018
Messages
79
Location
Auckland, NZ
Welcome to the madness of pixel lighting @Danielr,

In terms of your questions:
  • Yes you can certainly control WS2811 strip lights on a Falcon F16v3.
  • You'll be using a bit more than 32 channels, don't get mixed up that one string of pixels acts as 3 channels (like common RGB strip light). Pixel strings (addressable strings) have each node/LED* use 3 channels, so 100 nodes/LEDs will be 300 channels.
  • F16v3 is capable of anything with pixels, just check that the type of pixels (e.g. ws2811, ws2812b) is supported. WS2811 isn't the only type available but is the one of the most common.
    • F16v3 also isn't the only controller that can do the job, a Falcon F48 is more in cost but can be spread out. They can both drive up to 16,320 pixels**. Watch videos by CanispaterChristmas about the F16v3 and F48 as he did a product video on them.
  • Power injection will happen, it just depends on how long a string is to how often they need extra power. 12v strings need less injection than 5v strings. It is harder to power inject into strips without the waterproofing being compromised.

Play around in XLights and look at videos on YouTube for how lights are connected and operated.
CanispaterChristmas's channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCby1v6Kbi8AHMkV2yMyF1MQ

*Some 12v string has 3 leds per pixel, check the product images.
**3 channel pixel node/LED with 510 channels per universe (Obtained from data sheet).
 

Danielr

New elf
Joined
Jul 13, 2019
Messages
3
Hi Mark,
Thankyou for the fast reply and that is great information. I will certainly take a look at the links and recommendations you have provided and I have started with Xlights to give me an idea of an outline. I have also been slowly making my way through the relevant posts on the Falcon forum.
 

AAH

I love blinky lights :)
Community project designer
Joined
Dec 27, 2010
Messages
3,381
Location
Eaglehawk
Strips only need power injecting at the ends/joins and they will typically come fitted with 2 wires for power injection.
If you're really committed to a ready to run option then there's also Advatek in Melbourne who do them as well.
It really isn't that hard to get started and depending on where you are there could well be someone local who you can talk to and have a look at how things go together. You can get pre-made leads for all your pixels and you really don't have to do much more then screw some wires of pigtails into your controller.
 

Danielr

New elf
Joined
Jul 13, 2019
Messages
3
Thankyou, I have enjoyed reading your posts over the years. I have been looking at those ones as well, particularly since they are here in oz. I end up going in circles when it comes to a controller as they all have their benefits. The pre-made leads sounds interesting, as I would like to keep it as simple as possible to begin with and grow it from there.
 
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