Hello from The Netherlands

Peter Heyt

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Jul 28, 2018
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3
I am Peter Heyt and I have been searching for answers for a few weeks and today I found you guys ;)
I am a balloon artist from The Netherlands and for a BridesFair (is that the correct word for a fair for weddings?) I want to built a few balloon columns and a large arch with digital LED.s inside.
With “inside” I mean not inside the balloons but inside the clear plastic poles I use to attach the balloons to so it appears the balloons are emitting light. Really cool effect.

I have worked with DMX before in my time as a Laser artist but I hope there is a better and faster way to do what I have in mind.

My balloon setup:
- In het middle I have a balloon arch of 7 meters total length
- On each side I have 3 ballon columns each 2 meters high.
- On top of each column is a 90cm balloon.

My LED setup:
- On each column I want to use a 5V Digital LED strip with 60 LED’S per meter, WS2812b, 5050SMD, 14,4 Watts per meter (max), 900 Lumen per meter, IP20.
That’s 120 LED’s per column. 720 LED’s in total.

- On the arch I want to use this LED strip as wel. So 7 meters of 60 LED’s per meter gives 420 LED’s. (I may combine two strips of 3 and 4 meters since my supplier has no 7 meter length)

- In each 90cm top balloon I want a cluster of LED’s so I can make some cool rotating light FX inside each balloon.

To do this with DMX I need a lot of universes/DMX interfaces.
I would like to use these LED strips instead of their ribbons because I like to have a high resolution in the movement of the light through the balloons.
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qm224vocfSM

This is what I want but in a higher resolution. You can see the individual lights as they go and I do not want that. With 60 LED’s per eter I should get a very smooth motion.

I have contacted Light-o-rama but their response is very general and doesn’t help me al all.
Looking at their website it must be possible to connect these LED strips to their Pixie16 5V controller
In my newbie but in my opinion (LOL) I could make a working system if I just get their USB-RS485-HS connector and the S4-Pro software.
Does anybody have experience in using that many LED’s (240 on the arch) on a single channel/“Nodes per string” with this Pixie line?

I want to buy the Pixie16 version because the next project will be 10 or more of these arches in a line so I can make a tunnel with really cool depth effects ;)

I really would appreciate a few lines that can help me out.
The Fair is in September so time is allergy ticking away ;)
Greetings from The Netherlands,
Peter Heyt
 

AAH

I love blinky lights :)
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Hi Peter
Going with LOR software and hardware is the expensive way of doing things. Xlights is free and does much more than LOR S4 does and either a Falcon F16 or Advatek Pixlite16 will give you more power than the Pixie and I expect they are probably cheaper options.
240 pixels per output is childs play these days. If you really wanted to you could go with a Raspberry Pi and something like my rPi-P28 and have 800 pixels running off each of it's 2 outputs.
60 pixel per metre strip is great if you really need high resolution and can actually see the strip. I would be a little surprised if you could see the difference between 30,48 and 60 pixel per metre strips when they are on the inside of the ballons. The diffuse actions of the balloons probably reduce the effective resolution that you can see to around 10 pixels per metre.
The balloon arches look cool by the way :D
 

i13

Senior elf
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Jul 5, 2013
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805
I completely agree with AAH. The resolution in the video is a little bit low as you mention but even having 30 LEDs per metre means the LEDs will only be 3.3 cm apart which is plenty. You also won't be able to get 7 metres of 5V strip powered at one end without voltage drop causing incorrect colours.

DMX would be an impractical way of controlling this many channels. E1.31 is DMX over IP, allowing way more universes than you'll ever need. This would be the way to go.
 

Peter Heyt

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Jul 28, 2018
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Hey AAH,
Thank you for your fast reply. I have looked at both Xlights and the Advatek Pixlite16 and that looks good.
The Raspberry option is way to complicated for me to dive into right now. I need an almost turnkey solution so I can start programming as soon as possible ;)
Advatek sells a "Plug an Play" version of the Pixlite on their website but the max power is limited to 18,75 W per channel. That's not a lot if you want to use LED strips. They can go up to almost 60 Watts for a 4 meter 60 Leds/m strip. Even the 5 meter strips with 30 LEDs/meter will not work I fear. I don't know if the powersupply they use (320W) can be upgraded but I cannot find what the max output per channel of the Pixlite16 is.

I would like to buy the 60 LED/meter versions because I want to reuse the strips for other projects although they might be a bit overkill for inside the balloon columns as you pointed out.
I also watched the Null Pixell Buffer and that might also be a thing for me to look into because the columns are spread out over max 20 meters. Depending on where I can put the Pixlite the maximum of cable length could well be this 20 meters.

Any further input is much appreciated ;) Cheers!
 

Peter Heyt

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Jul 28, 2018
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3
Hey i13,
Thanx for the input ;)
The 7 meter arches are made up out of two half arches witch connect at the center. That way they are more easy to transport and store.
Each halve will have it's own LED strip and connnector so one arch consists of two strips and therefor two channels.
I've also looked into the E1,31 and that is an amazing feature comming from "normal" DMX interfaces.
The Pixlite16 has this feature built in so I really hope I can get that controller to work for me ;)

As I said I am not a technical guy so all input is welcome.
I need to controll many long high power strips and I am still clueless in how to do this.
I've always programmed light an lasershows and that is my strength, the technical side of this still is abracadabra to me ;)
 

AAH

I love blinky lights :)
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Depending on how you plan on running a Raspberry Pi may be a really easy option for you. If you use a Pixlite or Falcon F16 you need that, a power supply, the enclosure to mount stuff in, a router and a mixing desk, a computer or a Raspberry Pi to put your effects/sequences on. With a Pi you can have everything on the Pi itself and all you need is the power source which can be as simple as a USB power pack depending on how long you need the lights on for and how many of them that you're using.
The Pixlite ready to go has only 1 internal power supply which limits the number of pixels that you can run but you can re-task some of the power to provide power injection if you need to.

There's plenty of info and video on how to setup and run from a Pi and there's numerous hat/cape options that could be used.
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ah233Bkc_yo


Depending on what you're wanting then a pixel tester may do the job you want
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3uWoqCrFQVk
 

i13

Senior elf
Joined
Jul 5, 2013
Messages
805
Power injection is the key to running lots of pixels per controller output. It involves connecting the pixels directly to the power supply. You don't need to power any of the pixels through the controller. I don't consider the maximmum wattage per controller output to be an important factor in the decision of which controller to buy.
 

Henk

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Aug 28, 2013
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Eindhoven
Leuk dat je hiermee bezig bent, mocht je nog een keer advies uit Nederland willen hoor ik het graag.
stuur me dan maar een PM via Facebook
 
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