Looking for major advice for a MAJOR show

johnson8ryley

My idol is ɟɐsʇǝppʎ
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Both do 96 universes.
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fcf5U7XByfE

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EcAXycWNSxM

The thumbnail of the F16 shows many more expansion boards, it operates with pixels with just the one board.
The F48 needs additional receiver boards.

The F4v3 is like a mini version of the F16v3. It takes E.131 in and outputs pixel protocols.
The F48 takes in E.131 and outputs its own thing to the differential receiver boards which then output pixel protocols.
Okay great so my deduction was somewhat accurate!

While I like the fact that the F16v3, I'm thinking I would need a main F48 to be the main central unit and buy smaller F4v3's to scatter throughout the farm.
Then if need be, buy a F16v3 to operate say a pixel board or a giant pixel tree i would imagine.

I would run into power loss problems if I were to use a F16v3 as my central unit so I think an F48 coupled with F4's.
Is network speed specs with LOR's AC controllers something I need to worry about?

You guys have been amazing btw and that's why I've been a member since 2012+
 

Mark_M

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I have no idea about LOR networks.
But both F16 and F48 have 3 black RJ45 connectors at the top right which can output ro LOR.

Power loss is going to happen with any thing, this is where 'power injection is needed'. You just have to deal with it.

I think an F48 coupled with F4's.
Just remember the F48 requires differential boards to work, the F4 is a complete controller on its own.

You guys have been amazing btw and that's why I've been a member since 2012+
I won't mention how long i've been on here.........
I would of been 9 in 2012. That's a clue about my age.... might be about the same when you joined...
 

djgra79

My name is Graham & I love flashing lights!
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F48 cannot control lights directly off the main board, it need to be linked to receiver boards via cat cable, which can still be short (ie 1m or so) but the power is the fact it can get quite good distance away to remote props that the F16 (on its own) can't.
 

OzAz

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Some information no one has really touched upon is the commercial aspect of this project.

If this project is for a commercial environment then you might want to consider using more commercial grade equipment rather than DIY stuff. Whilst the Falcon is a good RGB controller, if you build it into an enclosure and wire it yourself, then you are probably more liable for anything that goes wrong with it, including liability if it causes damage to property or people. Whilst the same can be said for DIY home light shows, when people are paying to visit a light display, and are walking amongst the equipment, then there maybe a higher level of compliance required.

If I was doing a commercial fit out, and if someone else was paying for it :D ( as I assume they would be in your case @johnson8ryley ) then I'd be looking at the LOR Pro series controllers for all the AC props and for the RGB side maybe the Falcon Ready to Run Controller, or the Advatek PixLites , or probably more likely the Minleon range of products. @fasteddy is the Aus rep for Minleon, but they are also available in the USA from other distributors.

Yes, you will pay more for commercial grade equipment, like the Minleon products, or the LOR Pro series, but you will (should) get products that meet regulations. @fasteddy did work for the Hunter Valley Gardens in the past, so you might want to ask hims about what's involved in working in a commercial environment.

Disclaimer: I'm no lawyer, qualified electrician, or anything; just thought that anyone getting involved in commercial grade setups should make themselves fully aware of all aspects, rules, regulations and liabilities before they commit to a job.
 

johnson8ryley

My idol is ɟɐsʇǝppʎ
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Some information no one has really touched upon is the commercial aspect of this project.

If this project is for a commercial environment then you might want to consider using more commercial grade equipment rather than DIY stuff. Whilst the Falcon is a good RGB controller, if you build it into an enclosure and wire it yourself, then you are probably more liable for anything that goes wrong with it, including liability if it causes damage to property or people. Whilst the same can be said for DIY home light shows, when people are paying to visit a light display, and are walking amongst the equipment, then there maybe a higher level of compliance required.

If I was doing a commercial fit out, and if someone else was paying for it :D ( as I assume they would be in your case @johnson8ryley ) then I'd be looking at the LOR Pro series controllers for all the AC props and for the RGB side maybe the Falcon Ready to Run Controller, or the Advatek PixLites , or probably more likely the Minleon range of products. @fasteddy is the Aus rep for Minleon, but they are also available in the USA from other distributors.

Yes, you will pay more for commercial grade equipment, like the Minleon products, or the LOR Pro series, but you will (should) get products that meet regulations. @fasteddy did work for the Hunter Valley Gardens in the past, so you might want to ask hims about what's involved in working in a commercial environment.

Disclaimer: I'm no lawyer, qualified electrician, or anything; just thought that anyone getting involved in commercial grade setups should make themselves fully aware of all aspects, rules, regulations and liabilities before they commit to a job.
Honestly, @ozdude I appreciate this answer the most because this is something I have been thinking about. I'm majoring in electrical engineering with a minor in business. From both an electrical and business/liability standpoint, there is a lot of potential for something to go wrong here. I certainly don't want me, a soon to be licensed PE, nor the farm, liable if something goes wrong. There's going to be a lot of cables, a lot of power, and a lot of things that could go wrong. I'm sure the farm has a great insurance policy in place, but you're right. DIY posses a lot more potential for disaster. This is a risk/reward situation that I'm going to ask the owner tomorrow when I tour the farm.

As for the AC controllers, there was no doubt in my mind I would be going with the pro grade LOR controllers. I've only ever stuck with their pro controllers even for my own show. That and their pro controllers are UL 508 certified.

Thank you for the more professional DIY RGB options. You are correct in assuming the farm will be paying but again, this is where I plan to bring up the risk/reward conversation to the owner. Also tip of the hat to you for linking @fasteddy and his most recent commercial project. I definitely need to ask him some commercial questions. With my degree in engineering and business, I'm actually looking to use this opportunity to jumpstart a possible side business so for many reasons, I need this to be done the right way, and the safe way. (@fasteddy I would love to email you or call you sometime for a quick conversation).
 

keithsw1111

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A lot of what you think you know is just not true. Take the whole lag thing.

If you are using e131 then you can run about 500,000 pixels on a network before you are even close to having performance issues due to network capacity ... and that is using E1.31. Switching to one of the more efficient protocols and you can add another 30-40% again.

While remote sync is a way to remove much network traffic it comes with its own complexities which you need to weigh up.

I really think if you want help you have to stop thinking you know the way things are and start asking questions and listening. Right now you look to me like someone who is going to spend 4 times the money necessary to deliver a lesser outcome than could have been done.

The reality is there are many tradeoffs to make, many specifics of the show you need to take into account and the cost of change. It is entirely possible that using LOR software or LOR pixel controllers is the right thing for you ... but you should get there from a starting position of what is best. What you used to know using S4 and your older controllers is a factor ... but not the only one.
 

algerdes

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Your tag says you are from "Midwest USA". If you can make it to St. Louis March 19th through the 22nd come over to the Transworld Show at the Dome/America's Center. You will see and be able to talk to many that make or sell the items you are talking about. Most of which is "commercial grade".

You will also get to meet a bunch of the folks that make products for the DIY and commercial stuff - all from the same house.

Information is at their website, transworldchristmasshow.com. Reduced prices will end soon, so check it out now.

(I am not associated with any of the vendors, products, manufacturers or the folks putting on the show. The reference is from being at last year's show, and finding a lot to see and buy.)
 

johnson8ryley

My idol is ɟɐsʇǝppʎ
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I really think if you want help you have to stop thinking you know the way things are and start asking questions and listening. Right now you look to me like someone who is going to spend 4 times the money necessary to deliver a lesser outcome than could have been done.
I sincerely apologize if I have come off as such. I wouldn't have started this thread looking and asking for advice if I weren't, in fact, asking questions and listening. I've already flipped my opinion from using LOR's showtime editor to most likely using xLights. I also went from only being aware of j1sys pixel controllers to exploring my options and most likely going with a Falcon F48 as the master unit and multiple F4V3 as slave units. I even reached out to @fasteddy and contacted minleon last night per @ozdude recommendation. I am very appreciative of the feedback I've received so far! I understand much of my knowledge in my OP is wrong or misguided. If I weren't open to being persuaded and broadening my horizons, I wouldn't have made the OP in the first place.

come over to the Transworld Show at the Dome/America's Center
I've heard of the Transworld Show before I believe! Even before I took a hiatus from programming and designing due to college, I'm fairly positive it was recommended to me by many people that I attend the show!

I'm about a solid 6ish hour drive away from St Louis but being able to juggle my university work and attending the show might be a juggling act. But I can't imagine any other better way to learn about new products and see how far the industry has come than to attend the Transworld Show. Thank you for pointing this out @algerdes!
 

johnson8ryley

My idol is ɟɐsʇǝppʎ
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For everyone else reading and staying up to do, I met with the farm owner today.

While our hour spent together was mostly touring the farm, we did briefly talk about controller prices which I explained to him. As our tour of the farm went on, it became somewhat clear that their first year will be small. I'm guessing at most only needing 2-3 AC controllers and only a couple slave pixel controllers. He has plans for other barns to be lit up during christmas and other costly additions like drive through archways to be added later on down the road. I also unfortunately still don't know what I should charge for my programming, designing, and researching so if anyone has any suggested per hour rates or flat salary prices please share your ideas!

With the owner wanting to start small this year, this will actually give me a chance to thoroughly work on the project. Had he wanted to go as big as I thought he wanted, there was a serious chance I would've had to give up the project or hire a team. So in the end this works out beneficial for me and him while also leaving the door open for big leaps in the year to come.
 

keithsw1111

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F4v3 is not a slave to a f48. The f4v3 is a controller in its own right. The f48 drives smart remotes. You need to do you f48 research really carefully as designing an effective topology using one is not as simple as it first seems.
 

SAALTFAM

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only one thing I have to offer here PixLite have a long range board that is like a master for 8 remote boards with 2040 channels each or ?? (Have to look up the specs again) and a distance of about 300 ft or 300 meter cannot remember.
Live to Learn and Learn to Live.
There is always somebody better at doing something than you and you may be better than somebody else but always be humble.
My 2 cents worth
 

Mark_M

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With the owner wanting to start small this year, this will actually give me a chance to thoroughly work on the project. Had he wanted to go as big as I thought he wanted, there was a serious chance I would've had to give up the project or hire a team. So in the end this works out beneficial for me and him while also leaving the door open for big leaps in the year to come.
You'll get the hang of it with practice from your own display.
Keep trying out different ideas in your own display.
We're not all perfect when we come into this pixelated, money depriving, addictive, fun world of pixel lighting.

You've got an electrical engineers brain like I aspire to have, none of this made sense until I tried.
I'm still trying as I go, that's what makes it a hobby and motivates yourself to improve on each year :).
 

johnson8ryley

My idol is ɟɐsʇǝppʎ
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F4v3 is not a slave to a f48. The f4v3 is a controller in its own right. The f48 drives smart remotes. You need to do you f48 research really carefully as designing an effective topology using one is not as simple as it first seems.
Thanks Keith for clarifying this. You're right, I'll need to do some more research. I fully admit I haven't had much more than a day or two to really look into things, most of my time has been spent doing school work. I hope to set aside a weekend to fully read everything and come up with a solution.

I still have the original copy of the AUS Lighting pdf version 1 from 2011 on my computer lol. I downloaded version 3 yesterday and plan to read through it later this week.
 

johnson8ryley

My idol is ɟɐsʇǝppʎ
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only one thing I have to offer here PixLite have a long range board that is like a master for 8 remote boards with 2040 channels each or ?? (Have to look up the specs again) and a distance of about 300 ft or 300 meter cannot remember.
Live to Learn and Learn to Live.
I didn't get the chance to read much into pixlite this weekend. I was also a little scared away by their prices but obviously as I've admitted, I still need to do more reading before I can really asses the value of their products vs others. That being said, I didn't initially notice that some of their offerings had different distances so I appreciate you pointing this out to me! Again, once I can sit and read through everything and fully dedicate myself to it, I'll learn it. I'm trying to balance school full time, work part time, and this part time. I'm confident in my capabilities, I just need to put forth the time to get there.

There are some very smart people on here and it's amazing how far along the DIY aspect of RGB and pixels are now. I noticed on pixlite's website there's a portion about a product where it says "Receives differential pair signals and converts them back into SPI signals" and I sort of laughed because these are some of some things that we've learned in college while studying electrical engineering. It's funny to see what I studied in school being applied towards Christmas lights. If I would've stayed up to date with the industry, I'd probably know more about electrical engineering and signal processing from christmas lights rather than college itself ha.
 

johnson8ryley

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You've got an electrical engineers brain like I aspire to have, none of this made sense until I tried.
Check out my post above. At this point, some of these controllers are so technical that you almost have to have a degree in electrical engineering or a rather large background knowledge of signals, arduino's, controllers, etc. It's just mind boggling to me that I grew up at 13 programming a show with LOR. I slowly taught myself RGB and how to solder, wire, etc and program the network before I even got to college. Now, the industry appears so complex and indepth, it almost seems like you need to have an engineers brain to figure some of this stuff out lol.

Funny enough, I chose not to pursue a concentration in communications and signal processing (there's roughly 8 "concentrations" in electrical engineering) and instead chose electronics/materials and devices. Now I almost wish I would've pursued signals and communication. Regardless, I still could see myself making a living working in this industry or designing boards. That would literally be a childhood dream come true for me.
 
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