Mega-Tree to PixelTree


New elf
Feb 27, 2014
I have a 20ft Mega-tree that I am looking to convert into a Pixel Tree. I am new to the whole RGB experience, but I understand that will allow me to do all the effects that I want the tree to do. I want it to do up/down and spiral, like my mega-tree does now,but I also want it to go up and down and stack on top of each other and so forth. I just need to get more information on what I need to be looking at purchasing and what the options out there are. I also run my light show with LOR and right now I have 9 controller boxes and my lights are all LED.

Any guidance is appreciated.

James Van Horn


Apprentice elf
Dec 15, 2012
Hi James
The most user friendly software out there, and its free, is Nutcracker, which can do the things that you had mentioned, and it works well with LOR as that is what I have used, so comfortable in saying that. When it comes to the lights, you have to ask yourself how much you want to spend to convert to the RGB tree. Most of us here use Ray Wu for our pixels, as he is relatively inexpensive compared to the domestic vendors, but the shipping can eat away at that margin. So plan your buys accordingly, and don't ever order directly online as the shipping is more, figure out what you need, contact Ray directly as you will get a break on combined shipping..

Controllers, there are a few respected vendors out there, I personally have used Jim over at Sandevices...the 6804's and 682's are solid boards, you can get them already put together and tested, or buy a kit, which is a little cheaper, but you will need some soldering skills. Which controllers you buy from a capacity stand point, will be determined by how many universes you are running, irregardless of which brand you use. One type of controller may appear to be more expensive than another, but it may also run more universes.

Then you need to decide if you want to do nodes or strips, strips are a little more fragile, but tend to be a bit brighter. If you were building a Ray tree, which is 12 strings, most if not everyone uses strips, if you are doing more of the traditional where you will be going 180-360 degrees, you need to use nodes other wise you won't see the lights on the back side.

Do the power calculations to determine how many power sources you will need to run your strings. There is a must read tutorial on RGB lighting in the forums, keep the pdf file on your desktop, print it out, but have it accessible, it will answer the lions share of your questions. Everyone here is very very helpful, and even more so if you at least educate yourself on how to do some of the things instead of just saying, tell me how to do it.

Thats my 2 cents, there is more to it, but that will get you started....
So step one, get the manual in the getting started forum, 2nd, figure out your budget for what you want to spend on this venture, because you will need Controller(s) Lights, Power Sources, Connectors, (possibly heat shrink and solder, almost always will need those) your budget will tell you what you can and can't do. Third, go to Ray's site that I listed above, or other vendors to get familiar with the price points on the various light types. Look for IP 68 rated lights(thats explained in the RGB 101 manual)

And for God's sake...have fun!


Full Time elf
Dec 30, 2013
Eastern Washington
Welcome to ACL!

The learning curve on pixels can be steep.. so ask questions and don't feel discouraged!

I'll offer a counter point to nutcracker, Light Show Pro can import your LOR sequences and get you on a footing to use one program to do it all going forward into the thousands of pixels. You will find that you want to see how your whole show will look, and even though some others are catching up, none match LSP for seeing and controlling your whole show in one spot.



Michael Borg
Dec 28, 2011
claremont meadows
Welcome to ACL. I too am a fellow mega tree pixel tree convert. There is a great write up that Ruprect did on his pixel tree.


LOR user
Nov 8, 2011
Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

to ACL James

One thing to keep in mind, the controller boxes you used on your mega tree will no longer be needed, so if your not going to reuse them on other elements that will help a lot to offset the cost of the new controllers you will need.


Full Time elf
Aug 14, 2013
I echo the earlier post about using xlights/nutcracker. Last year was my 1st year to sequence and I included 4 RGB arches in my display. I used xlights to develop the arches' effects then I exported those into LOR. It was quite easy. However, I am moving from LOR to HLS this year as I have read many many posts about LOR getting really sloooow when you get to high channel counts, which doesn't take very long to get into with RGBs! I decided in Sep (2013) to add RGB arches to my display; that was almost too late for me to be honest--there was a lot to learn to get them up & running. It was well worth it though, as the RGBs were by FAR the best piece of my otherwise non-RGB display. Welcome to ACL and to this really great hobby!!!


Full Time elf
Jan 1, 2014
Welcome to ACL mate. I sort of thought a mega tree was a pixel tree. Two new terms this week, it's more than a bald guy can cope with. If you keep askin' the questions - I'll get wiser. Richard