Jumping all in with a mega tree.

Discussion in 'Mega, Mini, Spiral & Pixel Trees' started by Kitman, May 15, 2015.

  1. Kitman

    Kitman Full Time Elf

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    Hey all,


    I have been planning for many years to convert my light display to a computer controlled display, but I have just never gotten to it, never seem to have the time, so this year I am starting early and thought why not start with the biggest thing I can, and fail spectacularly lol.


    I think I first got the CLAP when I watched National Lampoons Christmas vacation when I was young and always wanted to have a house totally lit up just like Clark Griswold, however I was only around 15 years old when I saw it lol and now that I am over double that age my inner 15 year old still wants that house.


    I have looked through the 101 manual many times, I have read many forum post's and I have gotten inspiration from Ruprects mega tree (as I am sure most of us have) which is one of the most ambitious things I think I have ever seen anyone do, I applaud you sir.


    I was thinking of making something very similar however with a few small changes.
    instead of making a lot of the items myself I found the following items on the holidaycoro website which I was going to consider purchasing to assemble my tree with.


    They have what they call Pixnode strips available http://www.holidaycoro.com/product-p/767.htm that you can simply click the pixel nodes into, they look really well designed and manufactured, and for the price of them I can't see myself making my own mounting strips, just the cost of parts alone would be more than the strips.


    I was thinking of getting the clear Pixnode strips and using these pixel strings to go into them http://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/100pcs-DC12V-12mm-WS2811-led-smart-pixel-node-with-all-color-wire-20AWG-IP68-rated/701799_1932882946.html and that way with the clear strips it would allow the light to travel a little further maybe making for a nice look, however I might be totally wrong and the lights may bleed a little into each other and look terrible, won't know till I try.


    Also on the holidaycoro site they have a Quicktree topper http://www.holidaycoro.com/Pixel-Strip-MegaTree-Topper-p/750.htm that these strips slide nicely into along with some pre drilled holes for cables and guide wires and the like which again for the price I think is great, and saves me making something up.


    I was thinking of doing a full 360 degree tree with the 32 string topper and maybe having 50 pixels per strip (makes maths easy) and spacing them 3 inches apart (that's the measurements of the pixelstrips) which would give me a tree slightly taller than reprects.


    However there are few things I am yet to decide and would like some been there tried that type of responses about what I should do.


    I was looking at using either a Sandevice controller for the tree or a j1s controller, however I am not sure if either of these will provide enough channels to be able to control the whole tree with just the 1 controller. Also I was thinking of grouping the strings into groups of 3 so that I have 3 sets of 50 pixels making 150 and connecting each group of 150 into a header on the controller to evenly space it all out, that then leaves me with 2 strings of 50 left over which I could then add another 50 pixels onto for a star on top so all in all I would have 10 sets of 150 pixels and 1 set of 100 pixels with 50 spare for a star.


    Also I was thinking with looping the 3 strings together I would maybe be able to get away with either not having to inject power since using 12 volts, or I can inject power at the end of the second string and start of the third so as to inject back into the second to compensate for any loss while injecting forward into the third string, saves on running power cables. or should I be using 5v lights instead.


    Again any suggestions from people who have been there tried that would be great.
     
  2. Karob

    Karob Let there be Light!

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    Nothing wrong with aiming big Kitman.


    I have used the strip with same pixel style as you have mentioned in your post, just in the 5v version.


    I was going to bring a strip with the pixels on them and strip without the pixels to the Adelaide Mini, however if you want to have a look at them before then feel free to hit me up as we are not that far away from each other.


    My tree was my 1st pixel element, and for WOW factor you cant go wrong with making a impact, especially at the size you are talking about.


    Feel free to ask any questions you need regarding pixels, we will see what we can help you with.
     
  3. scamper

    scamper Senior Elf

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    Hey, I am with you in jumping all in on xmas lights, but be aware that the sites you are looking at are in usa and china.
    They are both listing US dollars and at the moment we are only getting 80cents in the dollar and the freight (particularly from the US) will kill you.
    So investigate thoroughly before deciding. There are a lot of good ideas to build props around that are not that hard to do and can be made from locally purchased materials.
     
  4. jcmarksafb

    jcmarksafb Hello from Christopher Creek Arizona

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  5. Gilrock

    Gilrock Full Time Elf

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    I built mine like Ruprect's tree with the 1" black strapping. It's a lot of time to build but I like the result a lot better than using the plastic strips. I do own a lot of the plastic strips I bought from James that I plan to use to tie wrap to mounting poles for a roofline. But for the tree I prefer the straps. I used 42 pixels per strip because it gives me 168 pixels per universe distributed evenly across 4 strips. Not sure if you saw my design thread but I'm able to lower my top ring using a rope and pulley system so I can easily work on strings or lower them due to high winds fairly easy.
     
  6. ԆцряєсϮ

    ԆцряєсϮ Senior Elf

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    Hey Kitman
    Thanks for the kind words but my tree is also a combination of mine and others ideas. Thats whats good about a site like this, you can find something that someone has done and then add your own stamp on it.
    As Girlock said, I also used the 42 pixels per strand so I had 168 per universe. This keeps all the wiring at one end so you dont have to have cables run to bith top and bottom.
    Using 50 per strand will mean 150 per universe but it also means you will have Up, Down, Up as your first uni, and dwn up down as your second. this means you need to feed your second uni from the top.
    One way around that could be to use 2 x ECGP2's as your controllers. You can run 4 universes daisy chained from each output. You'll need 11 universes (using only 50 pxls for your star) or 12 if you want a bigger star. 2 x ecgp2"s will do this easy. Split it across both (6 unis per controller) this way all your connections will be at the bottom and If your using 12V you should be able to get away with injecting each strand at the bottom without any issues.
    When I first built my tree I injected at each end of my 42 pixel strands ( Because I can) last year I changed it and only injected at the bottom and it was fine.


    Good luck and cant wait to see some pics.
    Cheers
    Rod
     
  7. AussiePhil

    AussiePhil Dedicated Elf Administrator

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    The other option for a controller is the new Falcon F16v2 with expansion board for 32 outputs at 320 pixels per output.

    The board is undergoing beta testing at the moment.
     
  8. mborg10

    mborg10 Michael Borg

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    Mine is similar construction to ruprect. I used 42 pixels per string but due to my miss calculation I had to custom order the pixels at 11cm spacing. I used a p12 with 12 universes giving me 48 strings.

    http://youtu.be/5ghMHYbCtHg
     
  9. nzlongfellow

    nzlongfellow Dennis from NZ

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    Was there a dead pixel on your Bethlehem star? Just asking for asking sake..
     
  10. mborg10

    mborg10 Michael Borg

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    I fixed that later. There was an error in my channels in LSP. Simple fix and all worked after that.
     
  11. OP
    OP
    Kitman

    Kitman Full Time Elf

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    Hey Karob,
    Yeah I am not sure if I will be making it to the mini that is why I have started this post just incase. Glad I am not the only one that has seen those strips, would definately be good to see them in the flesh so to speak. If I don't make it to the mini we will have to catch up so I can take a look.
    Also I thought about using the 12v pixels instead of the 5v pixels just due to not having to inject power as often as I believe you need to inject power more often for 5v than opposed to 12v (could be mistaken)


    So it looks like the "magic" number is 42 pixels per string and then link up 4 strings per universe for 168 pixels. I was just going to use 50 pixels per string so as to not have too many "wasted" pixels per string, however I guess it's always good to have a few spares per string just incase. I could also combine all of the extra pixels to make up the star for the top.


    Hey Girlock,
    I did see your design thread and the rope and pulley system, very clever idea and it would make things a little simpler. I am looking at making the pole in sections for easy storage (plans could change) which means I could simply remove the middle section to lower the tree to a third of its height which would make things a little simpler, but then again I need got some bits first to determine if that will be viable or if the weight of the top with pixels added would be too heavy to dead lift. Also I am looking at making the base ring in sections for easy storage, build the entire ring and then cut it to pieces to save storage space.


    Hey John,
    Thank you for that certainly will be helpful, just need to work out which one to get, of course price will be a small factor which is why I was looking at the sandevice as I can get it in a kit and save $70us which to me is a big difference in price just to assemble the board, I am quite well versed with a soldering iron, used to install chips in game consoles shhhh lol. I know everyone has their own personal preference when it comes to controllers, it's like asking people what car is better, or what brand of electronics they prefer, people have had bad experiences and get turned off, so I will need to just make a selection but always good to hear what people found easy for their first go at pixels.


    Hey Rod,
    So if I was to use the 12v strings and run 4 strings of 42 pixels per universe then I would need to inject at the end of string 2 and 4? or could I get away with injecting at the end of string 4? would injecting be required at all?


    Thanks all for your ideas and comments, I will certainly advise and post pictures of the progress when I get further along. Hopefully I can make it to part of the Adelaide mini.
     
  12. mborg10

    mborg10 Michael Borg

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    I just injected between strings 2&3
     
  13. ԆцряєсϮ

    ԆцряєсϮ Senior Elf

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    I would inject at the end of 2 and 4, thats injection every 84 pixels.
    You may get away with less but you would need to test that yourself as there are a number of factors that will determine the end result. Its normal to inject at least every 100 pixels for 12V setups.
     
  14. OP
    OP
    Kitman

    Kitman Full Time Elf

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    Well I have finally placed an order for some bits.


    Have ordered 20 strings of 100 12v ws2811 from BenBrown, also a 500w power supply, and some pigtail leads, need to pay for them now which I will do on the weekend however I don't have a controller lol so I guess I will just be plugging them into the power supply to make sure they work if I don't have a controller by the time they rock up.


    Now to get the pixnode strips and a controller and start the building.
     
  15. i13

    i13 Senior Elf

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    You can't run pixels directly from the power supply because the controller sends them data telling them to turn on.

    You will need a controller that sends them data rather than power only; make sure you buy the right controller type. It seems as though you know which category of controllers you need but it's well worth mentioning that many common controllers are not for pixels.
     

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