How to control a massive amount of pixels

Discussion in 'RGB Lights - Intelligent Pixels and 3-Channel RGB' started by XYrZbest, Sep 12, 2015.

  1. XYrZbest

    XYrZbest Apprentice Elf

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    so I figured out I need about 135 meters to cover an outline of windows of my house. I was told about scottLED here and these http://www.scottled.com/e_showproduct.asp?id=195 look fantastic. Black PCB, very high density with 144 per meter but after doing the math it seems like I will have close to 20,000 pixels. I used DMX so far on all my dumb RGB and I have a friend who is helping who is very proficient and knowledgeable when it comes to DMX due to theatrical lighting. So we have been using DMX so far and it seems to work well with e1.31 and LOR. so my question is will I have 60,000 DMX channels due to the Red green and blue channel for each pixel? or will I have 20,000 pixels. It looks like I would have close to 39 DMX universes if it was 20,000 channels like I thought and alll I would need is 2 Pixlite 16's for 64 universes. is this true? if not should I get a controller capable of handling more universes? or should I go with a lower density strip? I don't know what these cost but I did a bit of a calculation on ray's pixels and it came out to be around $700, certainly a lot. I was hoping to spend 500 max on pixels this year but maybe I will have to spend the extra amount or maybe I can get a deal for buying so many.


    anyway let me know what you think


    thanks
     
  2. i13

    i13 Senior Elf

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    Firstly, yes. I would suggest choosing a lower density strip; denser isn't necessarily better IMO. Are you wanting the density for the added brightness or higher resolution? Either way, something like 60 LEDs per metre would still be overkill.
    My strips are 30 LEDs per metre and I think they're a bit too bright. You'll need to consider some serious power injection too if you choose the strip you've linked to unless you only have small windows. You also have to consider the limitation of the maximum number of pixels per controller output. This is 340 pixels for a PixLite 16 or 680 pixels for a PixLite 4 or the F16v2 main board.
    You mentioned that you have dumb RGB. Do you currently have any dumb RGB strips? Those should give you a good enough idea of whatever density they are.

    For your current plan:
    144 pixels multiplied by 135 metres is a total of 19440 pixels. Each universe has up to 170 pixels so you'll need at least 115 universes which is four PixLite 16 controllers.

    Each pixel is actually 3 channels so if you had 20000 pixels that would be 60000 channels.

    If you're good with technology and don't mind soldering, wiring things up and setting up Falcon Player then I would suggest asking smartalec to sell you a PixelBone and run it with a BeagleBone Black/Green. I only say that because it can run up to 21760 pixels. It can be difficult to set up for the first time so I wouldn't normally recommend it as a first pixel controller.

    If you want an easier out-of-the-box option then the PixLite 16 or Falcon F16v2 controllers would be a good way to go. If you're running LOR or DMX512 devices then I would suggest getting something that has a DMX512 output unless you've already sorted out a way to continue to run them.

    If I had to recommend just one type of controller then it would be the F16v2 if you can get hold of two of them. Its capacity is 10880 pixels per controller and the setup is easy.


    Really glad you're asking before ordering anything; it is good to get second opinions and I'm always happy to help.
     
  3. OP
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    XYrZbest

    XYrZbest Apprentice Elf

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    I should definitely look at something lower density. I'd love to get 135 meters for $400-500 if that's possible. For the controller board I'll definitely look into the beagle bone. My friend can solder very well and he is helping with the project well it's mainly his project but I'm doing w lot of the research. We both are very good with technology and know a lot about networking and build computers and custom drones so it should be no problem. What's the price on the pixel bone compared to something like a pix lite 16 or a f16v2 and does it work with DMX or LOR? I like to ask before I get into anything Diy since there are always a lot of variables and isn't always user friendly so I thank you for your knowledge.
     
  4. arw01

    arw01 Full Time Elf

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    Post a picture of the house, 135meters is pretty big so we all want to see the palace :)


    WAY lower density, you can do some grouping of pixels too to cut the channels. Some strips won't hold up in the sun, so figure that into cheap is better.. Replacing them in 3 years might not be so great.
     
  5. multicast

    multicast Senior Elf Generous Elf

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    something else you need to consider. You may not be able to run all your strings back to a single point because the distance between the first pixel and the driver is important. Typical this is less than 6meters/20'. There are ways of extending this, but you need various other components.
     
  6. i13

    i13 Senior Elf

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    I want to point out that pixel grouping doesn't lower the channel count that your controllers require. It just makes sequencing simpler.

    This strip is the cheapest pixel strip but you can only control it in 10cm sections. I'm pretty sure BenBrown would stock the same thing if you prefer to order from him.
    http://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/5m-DC12V-30leds-m-10pcs-ws2811-ic-meter-10pixels-led-digital-strip-IP66-waterproof-in-silicon/701799_1590021437.html
    The other really nice thing about this strip is that it's not too prone to voltage drop and therefore doesn't require much power injection. It might be cheaper to contact the seller for a quote because AliExpress can automatically charge more for shipping.

    The PixelBone itself is AU $20 or $40 depending on whether you want to solder it together or not. You need a BeagleBone Black or Green (I've only briefly tried the Black) to go with it. The reasons I wouldn't normally recommend it as a first pixel controller are:
    • There are no screw terminals for the pixels' data lines. You have to solder even if you get the PixelBone that's already soldered together.
    • You have to wire the negatives together because there is only one screw terminal for the negative which must be connected to all 32 strands of pixels. You have to know how to correctly wire up pixels.
    • The Falcon Player installation process (while easier than it used to be) might not work first try and it can be hard to work out why.
    • It only supplies the data so you can't power or fuse the pixels through it. You have to power everything as if you were injecting power. Other controllers have data and power outputs so you simply screw in the pixels (up to a certain amount then you still need to inject).
    While not always a problem, it only runs WS2811, WS2812B and INK1003 pixels. There are 32 outputs with 680 pixels each.

    The PixelBone should work with the advanced version of the LOR software but it has no DMX output so you'll need a E1.31 to DMX bridge. You could use a USB DMX dongle instead but they are less reliable. Many pixel controllers including the PixLites and the F16v2 have one or more bridges built in.

    Pricing is definitely the PixelBone's selling point. A F16v2 is around US$180 plus postage and they're hard to get hold of. The PixLite 16 is AU$199.95. The price of the PixelBone setup depends on where you buy the parts for it. It'll end up being AU$150(ish) or maybe less in total.

    The BeagleBone may be able to run the light show (including other E1.31 controllers) without a sequencing computer attached but I don't know if that will work with LOR sequence files or not. Currently audio is still an issue. The Raspberri Pi can already do this with audio but it still needs a BeagleBone to run the PixelBone.

    There is a thread about it here http://auschristmaslighting.com/forums/index.php/topic,7732.0.html
     
  7. OP
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    XYrZbest

    XYrZbest Apprentice Elf

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    just looking back on this as I setup everything. do I need an e1.31 to dmx bridge? currently I run some DMX devices that bridge to E1.31 and connect to a switch. I connect those e1.31 to LOR, wouldn't this work the same way? i would just go from beagle bone to network switch to LOR PC
     
  8. i13

    i13 Senior Elf

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    I don't entirely understand what else you're trying to include. It would really help if you could list the exact controllers/items that you want to include in the one big setup.
     
  9. OP
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    XYrZbest

    XYrZbest Apprentice Elf

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    Show PC (Running LOR S4) -> Lighting Ethernet Switch -> Beagle Bone + Pixel Bone -> WS2811's
     
  10. i13

    i13 Senior Elf

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    The should work but what exactly are these?
     
  11. OP
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    XYrZbest

    XYrZbest Apprentice Elf

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    http://www.diyledexpress.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=22&products_id=157 using this to connect a few dumb control board to my LOR show, did it last year and it was fine, but now trying to integrate the beagle bone + pixel bone running falcon player. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TodSY4fZq-Q i believe I just follow this and LOR just accepts the IP address from falcon. currently I log on to the beagle bone on fpp/ on my network, not an IP, why is that?
     
  12. i13

    i13 Senior Elf

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    The video refers to a F16v2 which is not quite the same thing. If you have the BeagleBone in bridge mode (confusing terminology) then it is just another pixel controller as far as the LOR software is concerned and the video content should apply.

    The E1.31 to DMX bridge you linked to just plugs into the network switch alongside the BeagleBone. I'm a little bit concerned that there's no mention of DMX but it obviously worked last year.

    There is only so much that I know how to help you with though. I'm not great with networking and I've never used LOR software.
     
  13. OP
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    XYrZbest

    XYrZbest Apprentice Elf

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    ok thanks I will put it in bridge mode and follow the video. at this point I've been trying things and when I get stuck asking others how to get past a certain point. I should take what i have learned today on the forums and go and apply it, and if i get stuck again I'll be back.
     
  14. i13

    i13 Senior Elf

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    Just be aware that you're not using the BeagleBone to its full potential in bridge mode. If you have USB audio then it can take over and run the entire show without your computer connected if you take it out of bridge mode and load your sequences.

    Bridge mode isn't a bad starting point though; it will get your show running and that is what matters most.

    The PixelBone is a difficult thing to understand how to connect pixels to correctly and that is something I can help with. There might be others here who can fill in the gaps in my knowledge if I couldn't answer your questions well enough.
     
  15. OP
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    XYrZbest

    XYrZbest Apprentice Elf

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    ok I've been messaging smartalec and he's been helping a lot.
     

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