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Need a little help from my friends please

Discussion in 'RGB Lights - Intelligent Pixels and 3-Channel RGB' started by Bill Ellick, Apr 22, 2014.

  1. Bill Ellick

    Bill Ellick Full Time Elf

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    I have some 42" tall mini tree frames that I got from Christmas-Leds.com http://www.christmas-leds.com/productinfo_v3.aspx?productid=MNTREES that I was thinking of using RGB on and making each "tree" its own self contained unit that would require just a cat 5 cable and 110 vac to each one.
    I was looking at using one string of these http://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/12mm-WS2811pixel-module-string-IP68-DC12V-input-full-color-100pcs-a-string-Square-Shape/221277_1597675383.html for each tree.
    I know that I will need a 12 volt power supply in each tree but my real question is what would be the best "controller" to put in each one to run just one string of 100 RGB Leds?
    Pretty much a "bang for the buck" question I guess.

    I will be using LSP for my sequencing program and show control for now.

    As it is I currently have 10 of these frames with 4 strings each of R,G,W,B 140 count strings on them that I use and 6 empty frames that I can build up with RGB now and then I will convert the 10 existing ones over later on as I incorporate more RGB into the display.

    So who has a good option for an affordable controller that I can use in each tree please?
    Thanks

    Here is a picture of the existing trees I have now with LEDs on them. I wrapped the frames with a bunch of garland strings and then the Leds over that. Probably used 300 small tie wraps on each tree!
     

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  2. ԆцряєсϮ

    ԆцряєсϮ Senior Elf

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    Not knowing how you intend to lay them out, I would use one ECGP2 and daisy chain each tree.
    1 X 350W 12V power supply would cover it, you'd just have to run an injection line to each tree as well to cover voltage drop.
    Only disadvantage to that would be the distance between trees as you may then need null pixels.
     
  3. OP
    OP
    Bill Ellick

    Bill Ellick Full Time Elf

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    No, that is not what I want to do. I change my display around every year and these trees can be anywhere from a few feet apart to over 50 feet apart!
    That is why I was looking to make each tree an individual item needing only the cat cable and power fed to each one.
    Really looking as to whether 12 volt or 5 volt would be better and need a small controller that can handle 100 RGB leds.
    That is what I want to do.
     
  4. AAH

    AAH I love blinky lights :) Community Project Designer

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    The little 3 channel dmx modules detailed on http://auschristmaslighting.com/forums/index.php?topic=5473.msg47605#msg47605 are probably a reasonable option. Info on the programmer for them is in the same thread.
    5V is probably the best bet as the leds themselves are only 3V(ish).
    Make sure you provide plenty of thick power cable to power the modules if the power supplies aren't going to be close nearby as you'll be pulling about 6A per tree when they are lit up white and there isn't a lot of voltage headroom to play with.
    You could use a 12V or 24V supply and feed out to something like http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/UN3F-DC-DC-Converter-Step-Down-Buck-12V-24V-to-5V-10A-50W-Car-Power-Adapter-/271251783088?pt=AU_GPS_Accessories&var=&hash=item3f27ddbdb0 to give you 5V at the tree.
     
  5. ԆцряєсϮ

    ԆцряєсϮ Senior Elf

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    Ok then Id stick with 12V as from your link you want to use 100 Ws2811 nodes so using 12V you should be able to not have to inject a 100 node string. If you went 5V you would probably need to inject in the middle and each end of the string.
    As for the controller, I dont know of any controllers smaller than the P2 or maybe an E6804. both will do 8+ universes but theres nothing that says you cant just run them with 1 universe so they'll do what you want.
     
  6. AAH

    AAH I love blinky lights :) Community Project Designer

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    Doh. I didn't look at the link as being 2811 pixels. I assumed that it was a string of 100 dumb rgb nodes.
     
  7. davrus

    davrus Silent Elf

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  8. AAH

    AAH I love blinky lights :) Community Project Designer

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    That's a nice little controller davrus but if he wants to use 100 2811 nodes per tree that will gobble 300 channels out of a 512 channel universe per tree so it would effectively mean 1 dmx universe being sent to each tree and there aren't many multiple dmx output controllers around.
     
  9. ԆцряєсϮ

    ԆцряєсϮ Senior Elf

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    Thats just a little flasher unit with built in sequences... not controllable with LSp like he wants to do.
     
  10. davrus

    davrus Silent Elf

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    DMX in - so it is controllable. Or am I not understanding something ?


    Actually, now I think about it, it does say "control max 512 pixels", which seems odd. And it doesn't have any documentation.


    I have one (to test it), but haven't done anything with it, as I am waiting for the firmware update to my PixLite to get the DMX output ports working.
     
  11. ԆцряєсϮ

    ԆцряєсϮ Senior Elf

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    it says:

    Speed+ speed increase
    Speed- speed reduse
    Mode+ light effect select(up)
    Mode- light effect select(down)
    Circulationall light effects circulation automatic

    Which says to me that its not addressable and therefore not controllable via normal DMX - it has built in effects
     
  12. OP
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    Bill Ellick

    Bill Ellick Full Time Elf

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    Yikes, did I stump you guys on this?

    I am surprised at that. I can't see where the little 3 channel DMX controllers would work on this for me. I am looking at 300 channels unless I increase the number of pixels on each tree, so those little things would not work.

    I will have a power supply in each tree so that is not a problem.

    I was looking at what controller to use per tree? Hate to waste the money on things like a P2 or 6804 or such on each tree as that would certainly be overkill. I was hoping that maybe there was a smaller similar style controller out there that would handle like one universe and stick one in each tree?

    Or perhaps I will be stuck using something like a P2 and then the repeaters/signal amplifiers to allow me to dasiy chain each tree along on a line if that is the best option?
    I am just concerned that I will have trees that can be over 100 feet apart possibly! Or maybe I will have to look at a redesign of the overall layout so that I can make a string of trees that is not so far apart and have several lines of trees going away from the house? That would keep the trees closer together for each line.

    I was just interested in having it so that I only needed an extension cord for power and a cat 5or 6 data cable going out to each tree from a network hub/switch for simplifying the setup. Also would make it easy to replace a dead tree quickly if need be during the season!
     
  13. Kaden

    Kaden Pixels! I need more pixels!

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    It would seem you need something like one central P12D with a PPD-X in each tree.


    Ed says he tested the PPD units at 200 feet away from the controller, you will have one central pixel controller using 10 of the 12 outputs, one for each tree.

    Cat5/6 is used between the controller and each of the trees (differential pixel data) and cat 5/6 as well from the controller to your network switch (e1.31/sACN)

    Total cost is probably a little over $300.
    Does that sound more like what you wanted?
     
  14. davrus

    davrus Silent Elf

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    1. The DMX unit that I mentioned is 512 channels (being 1 universe). If it does what I expect (and Kaden seems to think that it will not - so I need to check that out), but if is did do as advertised, then your next problem is how do you drive all those boxes, being 10 universes. You would need a controller that outputs that much DMX.
    2. This does achieve what you want, being 1 universe per tree. (Your 100 LEDS need 300 channels)
    3. Ahhh .... here you talk about a network hub - which means that you will be driving all this with E1.31. As far as I know, there are no cheap E1.31 controllers which output just one SPI string. So your choices then become using an E1.31 controller in combination with the P2's as mentioned by others, or by going down the DMX path.


    Here is another DMX => SPI controller, for WS2811 strings. ( $12 US)
    http://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/mini-DMX-to-WS2811-SPI-Converter-512-channel-output-max170-pixels-controlled/701799_907524551.html


    Your cheapest and easiest solution would be to use RGB pixels/strips. Thats only three channels per tree. You could have 170 trees in one universe. (using only one DMX port) One controller per tree ( $3.90)
    http://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/DM-103-3-channel-RGB-dmx-constant-voltage-decoder-DC12-24V-input-max-2A-3channel-output/701799_868042910.html#2040530086
     
  15. OP
    OP
    Bill Ellick

    Bill Ellick Full Time Elf

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    That first DMX controller you posted
    (http://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/WS2811-LED-pixel-light-controller-RGB-full-color-controlled-DC5-24V-input-max-control-512-pixels/701799_784738799.html)
    has some questionable things about it from a couple different places. I have asked for further information on it to be clear on what it can and cannot do before going any further with it.

    The second one you just posted
    (http://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/mini-DMX-to-WS2811-SPI-Converter-512-channel-output-max170-pixels-controlled/701799_907524551.html)
    looks closer to something that might work for this and I will look into it.

    I don't want to use "dumb" pixels and only 3 channels of control on these if I can help it. I don't go the least expensive route usually and will invest in things to make items which last, work great, and look good for a long time more often than not.
    These LED trees that I have now cost me approx. $245 each in materials alone to make each of them without and thought of the labor portion! But people are amazed at them being so "cool" and bright and colorful which is a good feeling for me. I like to make really nice stuff as long as I am going at it.

    That was just an "infomercial" to say that cost and time are way back in the line of concerns to me just for the record.

    I am really seeing if there is an easy way or at least a way to make a self contained tree with say 100 to 150 ws2811 style (although I have found out about Ink1003 style strip and will look into those closely), a power supply to run the pixels, and a small controller that can take in DMX, E1.31, or some format of control that will allow easy signal in and out to control it.

    This "thread" is pretty much about finding that mystery controller for me. Perhaps will have to see if someone wants to build one as a test and go from there. As I said it would have to:

    1. Control up to 170 pixels (one universe)
    2. Be capable of controlling 5 volt or 12 volt pixels
    3. Have both In and Out capabilities to allow daisy chaining it with others.
    4. I would "imagine" that having a 12 volt "feed" to it and on-board regulation down to 5 volt would be the easiest and best design method for it.
    5. The data stream format to it would be the biggest hurdle I guess as which way to go is always an object of contention with different people on which protocol is best, fastest, easiest, friendliest, etc.!
    6. Small and easy to package would be nice as well with probably screw terminal strips for connections on the board.
    7. A nice little weatherproof case with some form of quick connects (similar to Ray's 4 pin weatherproof connectors) would make it a nice option to allow easy insertion and quick replacement of a faulty unit.

    SO with that in mind, is there a controller that fits those basic features in mind to anyone?

    I have quite an investment in LOR now as I own 16 of the CTK-16 controllers that I use in my display. Hence I don't really want to throw that away as I move into RGB in the display. I would like the RGB to exist as best possible next to my LOR stuff for a few years at least if possible.
    I can't really think that anyone would want to just junk the existing stuff they have although sometimes it does get to the point where it is better to scrape stuff and replace old things to bring things up to modern times!

    I "await" the ideas and suggestions from all!
     

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