Hi All, Newbie here - Thinking about animating Christmas 2015


New elf
Dec 28, 2014
Folsom, CA
First, hello to all you helpful people. Many great posts, answers and conversations. I gone from zero to gotta build now, in just a few days.

Myself and what I doing........
I understand electricity and power loading very well, and have played in electronics. I did my share of programming in the late 80's and early 90, but have avoided since. I've also built my own computer from components (before thay were all put on the motherboard) I think I understand how a controller is to be used, but not yet to how they operate. I done some of my own electrical mechanical animation, but they are limited, and I want to (not jump, but) accelerate to the next level. I didn't inherit the ranch, so I need to be reasonable in overall layout cost and cost conscience on hardware. Layout space is also limited (unfortunately, I live in a overpriced residential track home) The price on Vixen 3.xx fits the budget and some great reviews too....so I guess my software is covered. Power, cabling, computer and FM broadcast is all covered as well.

Sequencing is the dark side here!

I wanting to control new WS2811 pixels, WS2811 strips and ws2812 strips, also add in existing standard 5050 LED, some 1 color, some white and a few RGB.....plus other standard LED Christmas lights.

Wanting to use 12VDC for better power distribution, but 5VDC will be available for controllers, and ???

From what I have read, I should start with a SanDevice E682 for my pixels, and cascade to a Renard Plus TR24 for all the 5050 and other Christmas lights. This is likely an overkill for what I will have room for, but I think I'm better off with too much than not enough. I ordered some samples of lights and a cheap controller to test and learn. Need to get to a much higher level of controller/pixel knowledge before I spend my annual allowance to buy lights and controllers.

Initial thoughts: have about 3000 led Christmas lights (About 500 got to new controller others always on), and 2500 LED strip light (1200 to new controller.) Additions will be a 2.75m pixel tree, 3 - 1m pixel trees, 4 - Arcs (3m strip ea) 12 Poles of various heights (1, 2, or 3m strip ea) 20m WS2812 to make a small waterfall.

Wow, I think I on the right track....I finally wrote something down.


Back again
Dec 5, 2012
Swansea, NSW
G'day Grumpy, welcome to ACL mate. You look like you have it sussed and we may be asking you some questions real soon. Have you found this little resource yet - ACL 101 manual? It's worth the read....many times over. Looking forward to your progress over the next year.


Full time elf
Jan 6, 2014
Hey mate, Welcome to ACL, sounds like you do know a bit about this and you have certainly chosen the right Software, i think Vixen 3 is very easy to use and when you get deep into it, it becomes even better, one thing when setting up your channels, if you have lots - group them, don't add them as single items and hope that this works, create group i.e. Mega Tree, Roof Outline, etc etc, and work with those groups, otherwise when you try and open it with thousands of channels it will be extremely slow or crash all the time, there are alot of guys on here that can help you out with Vixen just ask, i can even try to help you out a little where and if i can.
Good luck with your 2015 setup, i am sure we will talk sometime later on, either forum or in Chat,


Here to learn! (and share)
Dec 31, 2013
3505 NW Edgewood Ave, Bentonville Arkansas, USA
Welcome to ACL. Looks like you've got the most important step started - planning. Planning (and understanding) early will save you headaches later. (Trust me I know since I decided to learn by the school of hard knocks my first year). You've come to the right place. Best of luck.


LOR user
Nov 8, 2011
Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

to ACL Grumpy

Writing it down is the first step .. so you have that started ;)
Next will be a rewrite after asking questions and getting more suggestions.
Next will be another rewrite and so on .. take your time before placing an order, this will save you both time and $$.


65,768 Channels, 185 Universes
Dec 31, 2011
Fremont, Calif.
Welcome to ACL, Come jump into Chat and ask questions. Best way to get answers and see what others are doing.
Also read the Forums. lots of info to find there

I use LOR myself with Xlights to bring in some effects for my Pixels.
I would get boards and hardware based on the props you are planning to build and not so much a board that controls everything. This makes is more modular incase you want to move things around.

An Example might be a Pixlite16 to control your pixel tree and a pixlite 4 to control spiral trees...

You are off to a great start.