1. New to Christmas lighting? Get started with the AusChristmasLighting 101 Manual:
    auschristmaslighting.com/wiki/AusChristmasLighting-101

Hello from Bondi

Discussion in 'New Members Say Hello' started by darrenr, Sep 16, 2018.

  1. darrenr

    darrenr New Elf

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    Hi ACLers!

    I'm looking at starting from scratch this last year as I left it too late last year and was a bit daunted.
    This year am keen to get at least a bit of a start on it and have a few runs of lights up.
    I've read the 101 many times and understand the concepts.
    Now I just want to make smart decisions on the first kit I buy.
    Pic of my house attached. It's a semi in Avoca St, Bondi in Sydney which is a *big* Xmas light street. I'll be the first to do computer controlled lights.
    [​IMG]
    There's a nice big, easy accessible space in the roof to position the gear - without the need for long cable runs
    I'm an IT guy so I got this! (famous last words huh...)

    This year I'd like to do:
    - 40m of lights
    - 3 x 30m following the architectural lines of the from of the roof (3 times over and back)
    - 10m following the zig-zag lines on the front of gabled roof
    (did the above on previous years with the good old bunnings lights and it looked great)
    - with basic sequencing

    Decisions I have made:
    - I'd like to use intelligent lights all over
    - a flood light (or two) to light up the underside of the porch
    - I'd like to use xLights and have a dedicated PC and E1.31 and a LAN switch to use for that.
    - Importantly, i want to expand the system in future years to do the the front fence, top of the roof, hedges and maybe some props down the track. Maybe 3-4 times the size of my initial roof lines 40m setup

    So I'm initially after some advice of exactly what to buy:
    - RGB intelligent strings (square resin filled) or RGB strips (silicone tube)
    - Strings or strips best? what spacing and IC type, 3 or 4 wire, 5v or 12v and any other considerations?
    - How to mount the lights, endcap or conduit (for easy installation/storage?), and what sort of connectors to join them for power and data?
    - what size controller (go big now or add a second/third in the future)
    - Pi Player?
    - what size power supply that would do me for the future (also go big now or add a second/third in the future)
    - Power cabling?
    Anything else I should be considering? Too ambitious for year 1?

    Please include links to exactly what you have brought that works well.

    Thanks gang!!
    Darren
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2018
  2. AAH

    AAH I love blinky lights :) Community Project Designer Generous Elf

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    Welcome Darren
    I'd go with a Pi running Falcon Player to control things as they are so cheap and they free up your PC to do sequencing while the show is running.
    Mounting stuff to conduit makes for easy setup and tear down.Just make sure that you have room to be able to store the lengths (preferably with lights still on) when you pull things down.
    The cost of 350-400W power supplies isn't too much different to the 200W ones so it's pretty logical to go with 350-400W ones.
    WS2811/WS2812 or the compatible 3 wire chips is the most common and cost effective choice for pixels.
    Strips are great for long straight runs but are fragile if not looked after. They need to be attached to conduit or similar and not cable tied too tight.
    5V pixel nodes are more energy efficient than 12V. For strip it's a trade off of the 1 led per pixel for 5V vs 3 leds per pixel for 12V. It is just a resolution choice really.
    13.5mm pigtails is the weapon of choice for connections.
    40m of lights at an assumed 5cm spacing (3cm is common for strips and about 7 max for "10cm" nodes) works out around 800 pixels. This can be done with 1 output of most controllers but the 40+ Amp load would need power injection. For that many pixels you have a choice of running of a Pixlite 16, Falcon F16 or 1 of the Pi based boards like my rPi-28D. A Pi, rPi-28D, 5V 400W power supply, some pigtails and a bunch of pixels is just about all that you need. The requirements are well within what you could build and install in weeks.
     
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    darrenr

    darrenr New Elf

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    Thanks Alan!
    I think I might go the Falcon F16 to start.
    So would this strip from for the 101 manual be a good choice?
    I plan on having no more than 2 x these (so 10M) in any one length. How do I work out if power injection is required and how is that cabled up? Do you run extra wires and join in extra pigtails 2-core for the 2nd 5m strip along the way?
    Which of your power supplies would you suggest would be most suitable?
    Thanks
    Darren
     
  4. AAH

    AAH I love blinky lights :) Community Project Designer Generous Elf

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    The F16 is an awesome controller if you can get hold of one.
    1 Strip by itself won't need power injection but 2 or more strips will generally need power injection at the far end and potentially at the join between strips.
    Most pixel strips and pixel nodes will come with 2 additional wires at the ends to allow for power injection. This can be implemented via a Tee connector, a separate 2 pin pigtail or hard wired if desired. The distance between the power supply and the pixels is the governing factor on how heavy the cable needs to be for power injection. Both the ground and 5V/12V get additional wiring. The power injection should come from the same fused output as the rest of the power powering the pixels.
    I generally stick with 400W supplies everywhere myself except where I am running only a few dozen isolated pixels.
     
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    darrenr

    darrenr New Elf

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    What Pixel Strips are everyone using?
    This one (click here) is referenced in the 101 Guide but it does not look like many people have bought it.
    I'm keen on 5V cause my longest run will be 5m.
    What about strings too?
    Also what plugs do I need to connect the power? Through the pigtail or a different connector.
    and what about black vs white PCB?
    Please post links to what I should be buying...
    Many thanks
    Darren
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2018 at 5:04 PM
  6. AAH

    AAH I love blinky lights :) Community Project Designer Generous Elf

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    The most common pixel type is probably boring old WS2811 or WS2812 if using 5V and high pixel per metre strips.
    The choice of black or white is purely cosmetic and depends on whether you want the strip seen against what it is mounted on.
    Pigtails are the way to go. They make it so much easier connecting everything.
     

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