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

Help with setup 2019

Discussion in '101 Display Basics' started by Michael Bowley, Aug 29, 2019.

  1. Michael Bowley

    Michael Bowley New Elf

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    Hi all,

    I know i am leaving my run a little late to get started but here goes nothing!!
    I am wanting to setup some sort of light display this yeah but am struggling and a little overwhelmed by everything.
    Last year i setup some lights (nothing crazy) but want to go even further.
    I have quite a few led strips (wall plug ones) and a rope light santa sleigh. I used them around the outside of the house and fence. Its a corner section so it takes a lot to fill it up.
    Want i want to know is where the best place to start is. I am happy to invest in more lights and a controller or something like that but i dont know where the beat place to look is. I want some big rope light features or more strip lights or something similar and hooking them up to a controller would be cool too.
    Sorry if this seems silly or has been asked before.
    Any help is appreciated.
    Oh and im from NZ but am fine with shipping etc. Also fine with DIY etc.
    Thanks all!!
     
  2. LeighH

    LeighH New Elf

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    Hi Michael,

    Read this first. https://auschristmaslighting.com/wiki/AusChristmasLighting-101 It really is a must read and will answer a lot!

    I would grab a falcon f16v3 - https://www.pixelcontroller.com/store/index.php?id_product=48&controller=product
    From Daryl - https://auschristmaslighting.com/threads/falcon-controllers-accessories-for-sale.11720/#post-103804

    Its a $300 controller but it gives you room to go big or sell if you get over the hobby. Plus you can plug it straight in to your home network to mess around with.
    Get your self some pixels either strip or nodes ( ws2811 type)maybe a small amount of ebay to test out

    Also if you haven't already download Xlights and have a play. https://xlights.org/releases/

    There are lots of helpful vids on YouTube

    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YLO6ZXWQ3cM
    canispater Christmas has a lot of good stuff.
     
  3. AAH

    AAH I love blinky lights :) Community Project Designer

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    Welcome to ACL
    Working out what lights you want to control is the starting point. If you want to re-use some of your existing lights then sharing some details of them will let us give you better advice on what you need to control them.
    Having a read of the ACL101 is a great start. Pop into chat if you want some real time support for any questions you have and have a look at the the display videos and pick out something that appeals to you and you reckon you can get done in time.
    I "think" you have to have 3 posts before you can post pics just in case you try to post pics of lights/plugpacks/house etc.
     
  4. OP
    OP
    Michael Bowley

    Michael Bowley New Elf

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    Thanks for the replies guys!
    I have had a read of some of the threads and the 101 manual but i am a little overwhelmed! Not to sure where to start or what i need to get to be able to achieve what i am looking for.
    Would be good to start somewhere and then expand in the future. So a controller with the ability to add expansion boards etc but not really sure what the best and cost effective option is.
    I have been looking at some of the layouts other people have done and like the ideas that i have seen but it's hard to comprehend some of the things they have done to achieve the results. (i am quite new to this sort of thing)
    Ill add some pictures of my house but i want to do some simple outlines of the house, like along the gutters and framing and windows but i am finding it a bit hard to know what i need to do that. I also like the look of the arches people make, i think it would look alright for the pathways leading to the front door. Also, some home made trees or candy canes. I cant seem to wrap my head around the controllers and psus and all the talk about power injection and the limits of the control unit and needing to expand it etc. I kind of get it but at the same time i really don't.
    I would really appreciate some guidance on this and i am sorry if this sort of thing has already been asked or gone over many times :( Capture.PNG house front.PNG
     
  5. AAH

    AAH I love blinky lights :) Community Project Designer

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    Hi Michael
    I think my HE123 made it into the last 101. It has 16 WS2811 outputs on it and you can add another 32 local or differential outputs to it. Your yard doesn't need the 100m+ range of differential so that'd be overkill. A single HE123 with a Power8 and a power supply close to each major prop would be an easy way to go. The HE123 should give you 20-30m range before the 1st pixel and my Null Pixel Buffers can extend that by another 20-30m for each 1 that you add. The Power8 can power up to 1000 pixels and provides you with 8 fused outputs for power injection. Without needing any expansion boards you can run up to about 16,000 pixels with 48,000 if you added the expansions. That should keep you out of trouble for a while. The manual for the HE123 is still a work in progress but it's on the HE123 page.
    http://www.hansonelectronics.com.au/product/he123/
     
  6. kevr

    kevr Full Time Elf Generous Elf

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    Hi Michael,

    What you are going to find is there are many choices for controllers and just as many opinions which is best, the reality is they are all great it just comes down to personal choice and what is best for the particular setup and budget. This hobby can get a bit spendy so be warned, it's like I told my son if anything happens to me don't sell my stuff for what I told your mother I payed for it!!

    I have come from the old DMX controllers and Vixen software running firstly modified LED strings to dumb RGB then to pixels so the way I do things is a little old school I'd say, I now use Pixlite controllers that have been fantastic for me and then converted to xLights. What I would say is things are evolving at a breakneck pace with xLights and Falcon Controllers, I'd suggest that Falcon are by far the most popular and therefore development on the units is the best supported and has a smooth interface to xLights.

    So what would I do if I were you, I'd buy a single controller and start playing with xLights and either use this year for learning and planning next years show or make a few props and run something small this year. The learning curve can be pretty steep getting your head around software and building props can all be daunting but there is usually help around if you are keen to get going. There are a few Kiwis around now so finding options for stuff is also a bit easier than it was.

    Welcome to the forum and you have a great looking space to fill with lights.

    Cheers Kev
     
    LawrenceDriveLights likes this.
  7. drakky

    drakky Full Time Elf

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    you've got great house to work with there
     

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