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

Kitmans Pixel Icicles

Discussion in 'How is my display put together...' started by Kitman, Jan 14, 2017.

  1. Kitman

    Kitman Full Time Elf

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2014
    Messages:
    284
    Likes Received:
    15
    Location:
    Munno Para
    Since I showed off my 2016 xmas lights I have had a few people ask about my pixel icicles, so I thought I would do a bit of a post about them to answer some of the existing questions and also to answer some new questions before they come through my mailbox.


    Last year (2016) was my first computerized display. I thought I would build a pixel mega tree and also add something else that was simple to the display. I saw some people were making their own pixel icicles which interested me, however I also saw Ray introduce some pre made pixel icicles to his store, this is exactly what I wanted, however the ones that he was selling didn't really interest me, they had drops of 3, 4, and 5 recurring, I wanted to have drops of 6 and 4 recurring so I thought I would ask Ray if he can make them up for me. There are a few reasons why I wanted to have the drops of 6 and 4. Firstly I have had numerous different icicles on my house over the years and the ones I really liked the look of had drops of 6 and 4 recurring, secondly it makes life easy to work out channel counts with drops of 6 and 4, each 2 drops is 10 pixels which is 30 channels, maths made easy in my head.
    I asked Ray if he can make up some pixel icicles to my specifications and I sent him this image (made in MSPaint I might add) to highlight exactly what I wanted.
    pixicles.jpg

    We struck a deal for my sample string, he made them up and I waited like a kid waiting for Santa. They finally arrived and well they were the wrong ones they were just the standard set with drops of 3, 4 and 5 but the length I asked for :( lucky for all of us Ray is very helpful so he sent out a new set, this time closer to my original specifications, not exact, but workable. I did my testing and everything seemed to work exactly as I had planned, I went ahead and ordered enough strings to put up across the front of my house.


    Now how am I to fix these to the house? For all of my previous icicles I had just used a staple gun and stapled them to the fascia board of my house, I didn't want to do this with the pixels, it may put strain on the waterproof connections, causing the wires to spread and the epoxy to spread, this would make a gap which water could then get in and destroy my lights. I needed to come up with something else. Off to Bunnings I went (Where a lot of our inspiration comes from) to wander around looking for something. I then came across some electrical cable trunking and thought this will do the job so I grabbed a length and home I went.
    IMG_2064.JPG IMG_2067.JPG

    I then drilled some half inch holes (Had a half inch drill bit in the shed) and what do you know the pixels fit in just nicely.
    IMG_2062.JPG

    I then proceeded to drill 24 holes, all spaced 11cm apart and popped all the pixels in the holes. Well that works and I now have a nice rigid backing to hold my pixels, this means that I now don't have to worry about putting strain on the connectors which could lead to damage. But how was I going to let the drop hang down the bottom of the trunking? Well I cut a little triangle out of the trunking to allow the drop to hang out the bottom, this was going to work.
    IMG_2068.JPG


    Now I had a new problem. I was originally going to screw the back of the trunking to the fascia board and then click the top of trunking on over the top. However cutting the little triangle out meant that the trunking was now a bit weak and was easy to crack with the weight of the lights pulling on the ends so I had to come up with another way of doing it, off to Bunnings again to work out what to do.
    I found some round conduit brackets which would fit over the trunking and hold them in place. Now I could leave the trunking in one piece with the backing on, to attach these to the fascia all I needed to do was put the conduit bracket over the trunking and screw that to the fascia with 2 screws. Now I had my Pixel Icicles on a solid mounting and a way of quickly and easily mounting it to my house so putting them up and taking them down would only take me minutes.


    My original order consisted of a string of 120 pixels, however Ray has now added a standard set of my pixel icicles to his store which is only 100 pixels in length and can be found here.
    https://www.aliexpress.com/item/IP6...id=ef3a2fe8-50cc-4d53-8480-7f840da158c6&tpp=1
     
  2. OP
    OP
    Kitman

    Kitman Full Time Elf

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2014
    Messages:
    284
    Likes Received:
    15
    Location:
    Munno Para
    Now for a little bit of technical details.


    Each of my strings of Pixel icicles is only connected at the input end, no power injection at the end of the string as I found I didn't need it this is exactly how I had planned it to work. However if I did need to power inject at the end I could simply run the power injection cable inside the trunking to the end and connect it up, so if you decide you want power injection or run multiple strings together you can get away with doing this. Each string has different length lead in wires (Because I ended up having to do 3 orders to get what I needed) However the string that I have used to show the measurements has a lead in wire of around 2 meters. However your mileage may vary so please have that in mind when you are designing yours.


    With the full string lit up Red it is drawing 2.4 amps at 12 volts.
    IMG_2046.JPG

    String lit up Full Green it is again drawing 2.4 amps at 12 Volts.
    IMG_2049.JPG

    String lit up all Blue again 2.4 amps at 12 Volts.
    IMG_2051.JPG


    I used the test mode on my Sandevice e6804 to get the Red Green and Blue.
    Voltage at the end of the string with Red Green and Blue is around 9 Volts (Didn't actually measure it during this test but that was from a previous test).


    So if you are just running Red, Green, or Blue you can see that you will be able to run these without too much trouble and without power injecting from the back. This is of course with my strings of 120 pixels, if you get the string of 100 pixels then your current usage will be less and voltage drop will no doubt be less.[/attach]
     
  3. OP
    OP
    Kitman

    Kitman Full Time Elf

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2014
    Messages:
    284
    Likes Received:
    15
    Location:
    Munno Para
    Now for Full White.


    As you would all expect full white will draw a lot more current and we will end up with more voltage drop at the end of the string so we could end up with some pink pixels at the end of the string.


    However As you can see I don't have any issue of pink or discoloured pixels at the end of the string.
    This is at the start of the string.
    IMG_2053.JPG

    This is at the end of the string.
    IMG_2054.JPG

    And now for a close up comparison of the very first Pixel.
    IMG_2055.JPG

    and the very last Pixel.
    IMG_2056.JPG


    With all of this running full White it is drawing 6.5 amps at 12 volts, which for 120 pixels is about right.
    At the end of the string we have 7.94 volts. Bit of a drop from the 12 volts we started with, but it still seems to be enough to drive the whole string full white without showing any sign of colour change.
    IMG_2061.JPG


    So for anyone out there wanting to add some Pixel Icicles to your display you have a few options available to you. Either the string that I asked for with drops of 6 and 4, or the standard with drops of 3, 4, and 5. But with all of my details you should be able to work out what sort of mileage you will get from a 12v string of Pixel Icicles regardless of what orientation to select.


    As I stated any additional questions please ask and I will put up what I can to answer any questions you have.
     
    ryanschristmaslights likes this.
  4. djgra79

    djgra79 Senior Elf Generous Elf

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2011
    Messages:
    728
    Likes Received:
    89
    Location:
    Cranbourne West
    Find Me On:
    Thanks for this Kitman! I'm already planning and budgeting to get these this year!
    Do you have a close up photo of your final mounting solution? As I already have 25mm conduit with strip mounted to it along the gutters, I will need to work out how to mount these along with it.
    Cheers for the post!
     
  5. Lishfish

    Lishfish Full Time Elf

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2016
    Messages:
    133
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    Adelaide
    Find Me On:
    Ill defiently be keeping this in the browser bookmarks for the years to come looks pretty damn cool
     
  6. OP
    OP
    Kitman

    Kitman Full Time Elf

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2014
    Messages:
    284
    Likes Received:
    15
    Location:
    Munno Para

    Unfortunately no I never took a close up photo of them on the house. I do have a photo of the house during the day from a distance and I can zoom in on the icicles and you can sort of make out how they are mounted but it's blury so not very clear.


    I can however take a photo of my gutters and you can see the timber that I attached these to if you like.
     
  7. Habbosrus

    Habbosrus New house (again) 2017

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2012
    Messages:
    750
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Swansea, NSW
    Find Me On:
    I've been out of the scene for a while and trying to catch up. Are these icicles fully addressable per node or is it per drop?
     
  8. OP
    OP
    Kitman

    Kitman Full Time Elf

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2014
    Messages:
    284
    Likes Received:
    15
    Location:
    Munno Para
    They are fully addressable per node. They are addressed down the drop top node being 1 and bottom being 6 and then a return wire runs to the start of the next drop which is then node 7. Or if you prefer the very first node is Pixel 1 channel's 1, 2, 3 and the bottom pixel in the first drop is node 6 or channel 16, 17, 18 and then the start of the next drop is node 7 channel 19, 20, 21.


    Hope that all makes sense to everyone.
     
  9. Habbosrus

    Habbosrus New house (again) 2017

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2012
    Messages:
    750
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Swansea, NSW
    Find Me On:
    Makes a lot of sense. Thanks for the info. I'm interested in the 6/4 drops for the same reasons you mentioned.
     
  10. ShellNZ

    ShellNZ Senior Elf

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2012
    Messages:
    848
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Karaka, Auckland, NZ
    Find Me On:
    My pixicles/order are on the way :)

    Looking at them being 2.5m wide (in reality closer to 2.6m?) Im just trying to work out whether to chop up or whether to bunch/stretch?

    Say I have a length of 4m that I need to cover, do I bunch up 2 sections of 2.6m long or do I space them all evenly and chop at the end? The reason I need to chop at the end is for storage purposes, each section will be on diff length of conduit.

    So Kitman, did you bunch/stretch or chop?

    Edit: I suppose I could wrap around. I just worked it out the squashing/stretching way and it turns out I havent ordered enough to do it that way. I have ordered 18 sets, sort of need 21 to do it that way. Looks like I have ordered it by measurement instead which would mean laying out all the conduit and zip-typing the pixicles along it non-stop (with connectors between sections of course).

    2 good things about that way, the pixicles are spaced evenly and its pretty darned easy lol. So just answered my own question, will have to do it that way and just inject power at the start of each section :) .

    2nd edit: Ugh, just relooking at my order, it seems at some stage when I was adding things in and taking things out of my order he has changed it from the 18 x 120 node strings to 23 x 100 nod strings so I need to work out on 2.4m lighted length now.
     
  11. OP
    OP
    Kitman

    Kitman Full Time Elf

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2014
    Messages:
    284
    Likes Received:
    15
    Location:
    Munno Para
    good old Ray making stuff up as he goes along.


    I didn't bunch or stretch any of mine, while I was running along the front of my house when I reached a corner I simply cut the conduit and then attached it on the other side. Now when I store it I have 4 full lengths and then 3 lengths where I have cut the conduit but the icicles are still connected to the conduit and I left enough space so I can fold the conduit over on itself and store it.


    Hope that makes sense if not I will take photos of how I did it.
     
  12. ShellNZ

    ShellNZ Senior Elf

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2012
    Messages:
    848
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Karaka, Auckland, NZ
    Find Me On:
    All good, thanks kitman. I am reusing the same conduit as my last pixicles so they are the perfect lengths, therefore I will just ziptie the sections along it "non-stop", plugging in and power injecting at the start of each run :)
     
  13. logandc99

    logandc99 Dedicated Elf

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2012
    Messages:
    1,079
    Likes Received:
    4
    Find Me On:
    I cut mine to fit the conduit lengths and then just hang the conduit in the garage from the roof for storage. But mine are just the standard 3,4,5.
    Using 6,4 sounds like to good idea as they would stand out more in the display being just that little bit longer.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro
     

Share This Page