Helloooooooooo

technodisney

New and Confused Elf
Joined
Dec 29, 2020
Messages
12
Um hi...

I am technodisney
I am an Aussie living in Melbourne.
I am a Live Production student in Melbourne and I have LX/DMX knowledge for use in stage shows/corporate events, but this seems to just be a whole other beast. (I knew and understood Art-Net, 512 channels in a DMX universe and 1 channel per parameter (so 3 for standard RGB pixels).
Excited to go off on this DIY adventure.

I am here for two reasons.

1. Looking to make party signs for milestones (like 21 and 18) that light up in patterns. Seems like the Christmas light community has all the tools and resources to make that happen. (looks like I can do it with a falcon player (so i can configure buttons to trigger sequences), a small controller and a few different pixel types (still deciding))

2. I am putting together a display with pixels for my dad's business building. (I have always wanted to do one at my place but I live on some land and no one would see it). I have been playing around in xlights and I have 2 partially made song sequences.
Is there a board here to share them and receive feedback? Additionally, how many people use others sequences and how many make their own? I thought that half the fun in this hobby would be designing sequences...
The layout I currently have in xlights has around 4000 pixels. Is that overkill for first year?

I am excited to learn and get involved in the magic of christmas lights. (and probably waste money on incompatible equipment) :p
 

Zuseleets

Full time elf
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Oct 12, 2016
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Townsville
Hey @technodisney We were chatting last night in the chat room ;) Love your enthusiam! You can post a link to your video in the Show Off Arena ( I hope that link worked). I would love to see what you have created.

Love the idea of the milestone lights. You can probably get away with using a rpi28d+ board from Alan. It's much cheaper than a falcon board and you will still be able to to configure a button to trigger sequences with this board. I think you are limited to just the one GPIO output, but I'm sure Alan will let you know otherwise. Here is a link to the board for you rPI-28D+ board. This board connects as a hat to a Raspberry Pi and runs on FPP. If there is anything that you get stuck on, just holler.
 

OzAz

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Global moderator
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Hi @technodisney As for your question about sequences - not seen any actual numbers on who makes or users others, but do know quite a few people do both. Whilst some find enjoyment from creating their own sequences, others, like me, have limited artistic talents so rely on other people who are way better at creating sequences. :)

There are a lot of generous people who share sequences for free and even some of the vendors have a free sequence or two. So even if you want to create all your own it can be handy to at least look at some other sequences to get ideas and find out how certain effects are created. The xLights shared google drive is a good place to find some.
 

Mark_M

Annoying Elf
Generous elf
Joined
Dec 30, 2018
Messages
559
Location
Christmas Light world
Welcome to ACL!
I think we've talked a bit before?

I'm a student in my high school theatre having fun with lighting there.
Recently (Past 3 weeks) I have setup pixels on a lighting console, taking about 2 universes on sACN.

Few things to note here:
Here a 'node' is referred to as a pixel unit/pixel light. Stage lighting terms is something like an 'artNet node' for ArtNet to 5pin XLR type thing.
'E1.31' is just sACN.

Often people will set channels a universe to 510. Only reason is because it is divisible by 3. But 512 works fine, a pixels channels can cascade to the next universe.

Anyway, hope you continue to find this site useful :).
"Officially" welcome to ACL.
 

djgra79

My name is Graham & I love flashing lights!
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Welcome technodisney. Hopefully we can get the Melbourne Mini expo up and running sometime soon, venue and covid issues withstanding. That will be a great place to meet like-minded blinky fanatics and share knowledge and ask questions in person.
 

KiwiPhil

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Joined
Dec 17, 2017
Messages
59
Location
North Brisbane
Hi, welcome! I started off in the stage show DMX world as well - I still run it for smokes, strobes and lasers but the rest is all running e1.31, it can handle many more channels and faster than dmx can but has its on inherent problems with grounding and signal length using the ws28xx protocols but most people have pretty good systems to overcome these shortfalls!
 

technodisney

New and Confused Elf
Joined
Dec 29, 2020
Messages
12
Hey @technodisney We were chatting last night in the chat room ;) Love your enthusiam! You can post a link to your video in the Show Off Arena ( I hope that link worked). I would love to see what you have created.

Love the idea of the milestone lights. You can probably get away with using a rpi28d+ board from Alan. It's much cheaper than a falcon board and you will still be able to to configure a button to trigger sequences with this board. I think you are limited to just the one GPIO output, but I'm sure Alan will let you know otherwise. Here is a link to the board for you rPI-28D+ board. This board connects as a hat to a Raspberry Pi and runs on FPP. If there is anything that you get stuck on, just holler.

Will post it in the show off board once I have a more finalised song. :p (link worked!)

RE the milsestone lights, thank you so much for that board idea. Keeping it in mind, but that project has been left in the dust the past few weeks as I have gotten over excited researching different displays!

Hi @technodisney As for your question about sequences - not seen any actual numbers on who makes or users others, but do know quite a few people do both. Whilst some find enjoyment from creating their own sequences, others, like me, have limited artistic talents so rely on other people who are way better at creating sequences. :)

There are a lot of generous people who share sequences for free and even some of the vendors have a free sequence or two. So even if you want to create all your own it can be handy to at least look at some other sequences to get ideas and find out how certain effects are created. The xLights shared google drive is a good place to find some.

Thank you for sharing that google drive link, I had so much fun poking around, seeing crazy effects, then downloading the file and having a look inside, xlights is so versatile with so many things!
I feel like it is going too take me years to finally figure everything out.

Welcome to ACL!
I think we've talked a bit before?

I'm a student in my high school theatre having fun with lighting there.
Recently (Past 3 weeks) I have setup pixels on a lighting console, taking about 2 universes on sACN.

Few things to note here:
Here a 'node' is referred to as a pixel unit/pixel light. Stage lighting terms is something like an 'artNet node' for ArtNet to 5pin XLR type thing.
'E1.31' is just sACN.

Often people will set channels a universe to 510. Only reason is because it is divisible by 3. But 512 works fine, a pixels channels can cascade to the next universe.

Anyway, hope you continue to find this site useful :).
"Officially" welcome to ACL.

Thank you so much for that insight Mark. It is a little bit confusing seeing all the different terminology. And also learning how the pixel specific protocols work, like WS2811.

Welcome technodisney. Hopefully we can get the Melbourne Mini expo up and running sometime soon, venue and covid issues withstanding. That will be a great place to meet like-minded blinky fanatics and share knowledge and ask questions in person.
I saw that it is happening this weekend :(
I am working otherwise I would 100% show up, maybe next year...

Are there any other Melbourne meet ups closer to blinky blink time?


Hi, welcome! I started off in the stage show DMX world as well - I still run it for smokes, strobes and lasers but the rest is all running e1.31, it can handle many more channels and faster than dmx can but has its on inherent problems with grounding and signal length using the ws28xx protocols but most people have pretty good systems to overcome these shortfalls!

VERY HELPFUL!
I don't think I will be using any strobes, lasers or smoke. (this year at least :p)

What is your show player?
How do you bring a E1.31 universe out as traditional DMX, what is your setup like?

--------------------------------------------------------------------
RE how I am going with my planning. I think I have finally decided my pixel count and which props I will be using. Will be prettying up my xlights file then sharing, probably sometime tomorrow too get any feedback from you guys.

I am planning to use a R Pi 4 with FPP for the show player.
Pixels from Way Wu.
Advatek Plug n Play box (custom built with the full universe capabilities of the pixlite 16 MK II)
(building cables to convert from their proprietary cable ends)
Has anyone had experience with the Advatek Plug n Play boxes?

I am slightly concerned about longer cable runs... Will be around 15m from controller to first pixel of string for the longest one. Any tips for long runs? Should I get multiple smaller controllers instead?

Around 5,000 pixels in total.

With FPP can I play different videos onto screens using slave devices? I have seen the virtual matrix method, but I would prefer being able to play HD clips with my show on displays...
 

technodisney

New and Confused Elf
Joined
Dec 29, 2020
Messages
12
Alright, here are the rough layout I am planning on using. Still need to calculate the actual amount of nodes needed.
This is on a corner with a roundabout, with good viewing straight on from either side, but not from the corner (due to a roundabout).

Although this is a commercial building, I am not receiving any sort of monetary gain from doing this. The orange business (owned by family member) is willing to invest in the equipment for me to put this on.

I feel like I have gone with a less traditional sort of layout... What are your thoughts?

The two trees will be the Boscoyo 8' tree with 23" stars on top.
The spinner will be the Boscoyo PPD Geowreath (if i can either purchase effects or work out how to make use of effects on it)
The dots on the roof will be stars similar to these (except less then on diagram)
Lining the window frames, doors, signage and cafe dining area will be regular 12V bullets in conduit. (forgot to line cafe and dog windows/door in diagram, but will very likely use them (just need to get permission from the business owners)).
Up and down the poles I am thinking of using these different pixels faceing out...

I don't want to use the grass area's away from the building as I want to keep the project on the private property.

My next steps are to work out how cable management is going to work and where I am going to run everything.
Design feedback on my display both for practical and artistic reasons would be greatly appreciated.

Screen Shot 2021-07-14 at 11.16.55 am.pngScreen Shot 2021-07-14 at 11.16.13 am.png
 

Mark_M

Annoying Elf
Generous elf
Joined
Dec 30, 2018
Messages
559
Location
Christmas Light world
I don't think I will be using any strobes, lasers or smoke. (this year at least :p)

What is your show player?
How do you bring a E1.31 universe out as traditional DMX, what is your setup like?

I am planning to use a R Pi 4 with FPP for the show player.

Advatek Plug n Play box (custom built with the full universe capabilities of the pixlite 16 MK II)
Advatek boards have a DMX out. The DMX you're used to with 3/5pin cables.
Advatek, FPP and xlights supports DMX.

Regarding the software configuration, the Advatek controller will receive another DMX universe over E1.31 and be told to output on the standard DMX out.
xLights 'visualiser' setup makes this very easy, just drag and drop the lights to their outputs on the controller. :)


I have done DMX out from my Falcon, so I can help with this (when you have DMX disco lights to use).
 

OzAz

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Location
Newcastle
IMHO your biggest problem is making this safe in a commercial environment. Both physically and electrically.
If something went wrong (like pixels catching fire and damaging the property) becasue you hadn't used certified parts or had done un-certified electrical work, then insurance might not pay up.

You're also going to have to make things vandal and tamper proof, more so than in a home environment.

If it was me as a first year plan I wouldn't do any of the window outlines on the side or the tree. I think the sign outline, roof outline (but not the 2 horizontal lines across the roof), vertical columns and whatever the dots are (stars?) would be sufficient.

Similar with the front, I wouldn't bother with window or door outlines.

My reasoning:
1) as first year you might not want to go so big incase the other residents don't like it
2) it might be harder to make the window frames safe as it might be harder to 'hide' the wiring.
3) mounting the window frames or other props without damaging the building
 

technodisney

New and Confused Elf
Joined
Dec 29, 2020
Messages
12
IMHO your biggest problem is making this safe in a commercial environment. Both physically and electrically.
If something went wrong (like pixels catching fire and damaging the property) becasue you hadn't used certified parts or had done un-certified electrical work, then insurance might not pay up.

You're also going to have to make things vandal and tamper proof, more so than in a home environment.

If it was me as a first year plan I wouldn't do any of the window outlines on the side or the tree. I think the sign outline, roof outline (but not the 2 horizontal lines across the roof), vertical columns and whatever the dots are (stars?) would be sufficient.

Similar with the front, I wouldn't bother with window or door outlines.

My reasoning:
1) as first year you might not want to go so big incase the other residents don't like it
2) it might be harder to make the window frames safe as it might be harder to 'hide' the wiring.
3) mounting the window frames or other props without damaging the building

Thank you for your feedback. Will have a chat too the business owner and check how much he is willing to risk...

Went with those trees over megatree's because they will be harder to vandal.

The building MAY have screens in the windows by the end of the year. Might focus on some sort of animation for them with the roof lights as a little extra...
 

technodisney

New and Confused Elf
Joined
Dec 29, 2020
Messages
12
Should I be posting these updates here or somewhere else?
I want to just keep a log for my own purposes too look back on as well as provide anyone who stumbles across it a chance to yell at me if I make a horrible mistake that will fry all my lights (or something along those lines).

I have had a chat with a few people and have decided to go ahead even with the potential safety issues and theft addressed with them.

With that being said, the design has been yet changed around again (really hoping to finalise in the next week).

Updated images are attached below.

Stars are gone, 1 tree is a smaller, 4 candy canes.

Does anyone have advice for mapping out a display like this across 2 long surfaces in xlights? Should I figure out the 3d mapping? Does that allow me to map an effect onto each face of the building?

Screen Shot 2021-07-16 at 9.13.55 pm.pngScreen Shot 2021-07-16 at 9.17.18 pm.png
 

technodisney

New and Confused Elf
Joined
Dec 29, 2020
Messages
12
Just an update/thought dump.

Still the same design as before.

With a different spinner, and a line on the roof is gone.

So confusing with numbers calculating everything!

Have barely thought about power flow or how the data will come out of the controller.
Thinking of mounting controller under eave on the corner, will not be more than 8 or so metres from the start of each run if there.

I have begun creating a 3d model in Sketchup and placing the pixels on in xlights. Has proven to be quite finnecky. But I am slowly getting there...

Couldn't get the automatic mapping with photos that I have found to work. Sketchup has worked fairly well until making the windows. And it was a little bit of a learning curve to insert graphics into the 3D model.

I am hoping to order pixels in the next week from Ray Wu. As well as props from ELD before the sale ends at the end of the month.
Thanks for all the excellent resources everywhere. SO EXCITED!!!!!
 

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