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Help with shopping list

Discussion in 'The Development Lab' started by sveevers, Dec 4, 2015.

  1. sveevers

    sveevers New Elf

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    Okay, so I've read the 101 and a heap of posts and I'm starting to get my head around things but I think the best way to learn is going to be to jump in and have a play.

    As I'm still not 100% on everything (different lights and controllers etc) I thought it might be a good idea to ask for a list of specific items to purchase that will let me have a play and will be suitable to use in a display next year.

    Let's say that I want to build two mini trees and two leaping arches to play with and want to have full control over each individual LED. I have a PC to run it off and will probably use xLights or Vixen 4 unless there's a reason I shouldn't. What do I need to buy?

    Thanks,
    Steve
     
  2. JPB

    JPB Full Time Elf

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    You will also need a controller or controllers to interface between your computer and the lights.
    Lots of different flavours out there, i have j1sys and pixlight controllers and i am happy.
    Also read up on Falcon Pi Player (they also have controllers). Using FPP will free up your computer at show time but you will still need it generate your sequences
     
  3. OP
    OP
    sveevers

    sveevers New Elf

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    Yeah, I realise that I need a controller. I'm looking for advice on which specific items to buy to ensure that they will work together as I'm not 100% sure on the different lights and controllers and which will work together.

    This is what I was thinking I will need:

    Lights - WS2811 pixel strip - http://m.aliexpress.com/item/568458133.html?tracelog=storedetail2mobilesitedetail

    Controller - Pixlite 4

    PSU - 12v 350w - http://m.aliexpress.com/item/1948832565.html (Will this run controller and around 250 pixels)

    Cabling - Ethernet cable, pigtails (3 pin?), suitable interconnect cables.

    Once I have that gear, I assume I should be able to run Ethernet cable from PC to controller, connect power to controller, run cables from controller to lights and then start Vixen and start playing around.

    Does that sound right? Will this all work together? Is there anything I'm missing?

    Thanks,
    Steve
     
  4. gerry

    gerry Senior Elf

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    Hi Steve,

    What u have is good . In addition -- are you going to use strips for your tree as well , else if not u need 12V 2811 strings. You need a spare PSU , so get 2 or more - you will always use an extra one.

    Is your area small , or spread out ?

    You need a set of male and female pigtails , plus some for power injection ones (which have three legs)

    Cable ..

    Otherwise good to start off with.

    At some stage , consider getting a Raspberry PI to run the show

    I use xlights and love it
     
  5. OP
    OP
    sveevers

    sveevers New Elf

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    Hi Gerry,

    Good question regarding strips or strings for the trees. At this point I just want to start playing around with it, so I think I'll just stick with strips (it's not going to be a display for his year). I've seen mini tress with strips and mini trees with strings, what's the general consensus? I guess the strings would look nicer on a tree as they will shine in all directions.

    At this point I'm hoping to stay away from power injection so I'll limit each element to 50-60 pixels until I know what I'm doing. If it's a strip of 150 and I want to inject at pixel 51 do I need to cut the strip between 50 and 51 or can I somehow just join the extra power cable in?

    How does the Raspberry Pi connect to the controller? Does it use RJ45 like a PC?

    Steve.
     
  6. Fing

    Fing Full Time Elf Generous Elf

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    Hi Steve,


    the strip you are looking at is what is called 10/30 ( or is that 30/10?) meaning that for each metre there is 10 nodes with each node having 3 pixels (Leds), so a 5 metre strip is 50 nodes ( 150 leds), therefore there is no cutting at the 50-51 node...


    I can run over 8 metres of strip off a pixlite 4 ( there are great little controllers with great after sales service, you won't go wrong starting with one of those) without injection.


    cheers
    Fing
     
  7. OP
    OP
    sveevers

    sveevers New Elf

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    Hi Fing,

    Thanks for that info. So let's say I want to join two 5m strips. Do I just join the DATA and GND wires and run new + supply to the second set?
     
  8. dale82

    dale82 Senior Elf

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    Hey mate, I use them strips with a p12 controller with J1systems and I ran 2 strips (10m) without power injection just fine as they are 12v. If you look in the video gallery for last year my tree is made up of 32 strips and it is only a 270 degree tree.
     
  9. i13

    i13 Senior Elf

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    The very general rule for injecting every 50 pixels is only for strings and doesn't apply to strips. Remember the advantages/disadvantages of 5V vs 12V are different with strings and strips too. Your power injection description is correct but incomplete and not the most effective method. To complete it you also need to connect the negative at the same point as the positive. A more effective method is to leave both the positive and negative connected between strips where you inject power. Just cut the positive line in the strip half way between each power supply. That way the power injection works in both directions.

    That strip doesn't give you the individual LED control that you want. The LEDs can only be controlled on groups of three. This isn't necessarily a bad thing because with power injection you can have longer lengths of strip per controller output due to the lower channel count.
     
  10. OP
    OP
    sveevers

    sveevers New Elf

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    Okay, it only gives you control in groups of three because there are 3 pixels per IC is that right?
     
  11. dale82

    dale82 Senior Elf

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    That is correct, But from the road you wont be able to tell. I used that strip in my whole display
     
  12. OP
    OP
    sveevers

    sveevers New Elf

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    I just looked at your display Dale, looks great. Did you even use that strip for the matrix? That is the one place that I was thinking the 3 pixels limitation could be an issue.
     
  13. dale82

    dale82 Senior Elf

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    yeah the matrix is made up of 24 of those strips
     
  14. i13

    i13 Senior Elf

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    The 5V strips give you control over every single LED. The 5V voltage drop problem isn't such an issue with a matrix because you generally have lots of short strips in a relatively small area. Up to you whether you want to save the channels or buy more controllers to support the extra channels for the finer control.
     
  15. OP
    OP
    sveevers

    sveevers New Elf

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    I'm really interested in the matrix, can you give me a better idea of how that is wired up? It looks like they all have a pigtail at the left hand end but then it looks they are joined in pairs at the right hand end?

    Steve.
     

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