Newbie wanting to start

Bighorse_85

New elf
Joined
Dec 23, 2019
Messages
7
Hi all, Im after some solid advice on where to start with all this as i have been interested in int for a while now. I have been trolling the forum for setup guides and examples on where to start etc and have had some major insight reference power injection, though the electrical side worries me a little.

Id like to start with something basic with the ability to expand if/when i want to. was hoping to start with 5v setup with a couple of arches and some landing strips for driveway and guttering etc (start off with the basics).

have seen that the mean well power supplies seem to be the bees knees and the pixelite16 isa good start for expansion in the future. Just what sort of lights are best and where to get them from is my question and is there some wiring diagrams around for the power supplies to the lights etc with power injection? (im more a visual learner)

Once i get started i should be good to go, any advice though would be greatly appreciated.
 

NFI

New elf
Joined
May 19, 2018
Messages
16
Location
Coombabah QLD
What area do you live? you might find a member close by who still has their lights setup that can walk you through the setup
 

Bighorse_85

New elf
Joined
Dec 23, 2019
Messages
7
im in the riverina, NSW, there is a guy here that has done it but not the friendliest type.
 

deanneat

New elf
Joined
Jan 3, 2019
Messages
25
Hey Bighorse, just did my first display this year and stumbled through a few issues, but got there. I must admit that it is a time consuming hobby and I didn't really appreciate the time, effort and planning, but oh so worth it standing on the corner with a beer watching our display for the first time.

Definitely read the manual 101, and youtube "Canispater Christmas" - a knowledgeable person and easy to watch.

I decided to invest in the Falcon f48 with receiver boards - with the intent of expanding my display each year.
Another reason for the F48 was voltage - I can use both 5V & 12V on my display.
I use xlights to programme and xsheduler to run my show (I have an office computer that never turns off, so no brainer for me) but I will be playing with Raspberry Pi and FPP when I pack up this year.
I purchased strips from Ray Wu Ali express and had them cut and soldered in specific lengths for a matrix (but didn't use them for a matrix), but in hindsight should have stuck to standard products (easier to replace if needed) I also purchased bullet pixels for the roof lining and will be getting more for Christmas 2020.

I live in Darwin, so I need to take more care waterproofing my connections and lightening caused me grief this year - on Christmas eve........... so Christmas Day I had to cut off the first 2 pixels from the strips to get it all working again, so will be investigating a way to protect the pixels for next year (and I will be replacing all the strips with bullet style pixels - so much easier to bypass/replace a broken pixel), and speaking of spares.......... have a spare pixel string, bullet pixel, power supply - because if you lose something, it can be really disappointing not being able to run it properly

I will be starting a lot earlier 2020, like August - so much cooler and I want to get the power supplies, control components properly organised in our home ready for Halloween - I will be running 1 or 2 power circuits specifically for the Pixel display with a RCD (I'm a sparky, so easy for me)

Also keep in mind - your lawns etc - you need to mow them, so do some planning how to run your wires, makes live easier in the end, I did see a post here where someones neighbour let their kids run around on someones display......... sheesh don't know how you stop stupid.......

I would like a mega tree and will be using the palm trees and other trees around my home for 2020.

That was my learnings for 2019

will be back for 2020 a little wiser, better organised :)

also - don't be afraid to ask, there are lots of smart people here that have all "been there done that"
 
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GPScreepers

New elf
Joined
Mar 6, 2019
Messages
13
Hi Bighorse, I did my first display this year so happy to share my experience. Certainly the manual 101 is required reading, and the videos on this site. It is a good idea to decide on the display you want then think about the technology. I have 220 pixels in 3 Christmas shapes (coro) all on a 5V, and on 12V I have 100 pixel candles (C9) and 5 floodlights on the house. I probably would have had all 5V but the floods only came in 12V. I am pleased with the result - not too much work or $ and looks good, and I like playing around with tech stuff. The family even got involved in the sequencing of the lights... mainly because they didn't like how I had done it. Next year I would like to have a mega-tree but I'm running into headwinds on that one - maybe I'll just decorate one of my real trees.

Here is my parts list:

Network cable to the garage where I mounted my controllers and power supplies
Raspberry Pi B+
Hanson Electronics rPi-28D cape (from Hanson Electronics)
Fuse board (hexfuse PCB from Hanson) + fuses
5V power supply (Meanwell is the best but Chinese knock-offs from eBay are a lot cheaper)
12V power supply (eBay again)
Cables
Connectors, end caps
Pixel strings, floods
Coro shapes
FPP software for Rasp Pi (free)
Xlights software for sequencing (free)

I'm planning on putting all this in a blog/Youtube but that may be a few months away yet.
 

Bighorse_85

New elf
Joined
Dec 23, 2019
Messages
7
Hi Bighorse, I did my first display this year so happy to share my experience. Certainly the manual 101 is required reading, and the videos on this site. It is a good idea to decide on the display you want then think about the technology. I have 220 pixels in 3 Christmas shapes (coro) all on a 5V, and on 12V I have 100 pixel candles (C9) and 5 floodlights on the house. I probably would have had all 5V but the floods only came in 12V. I am pleased with the result - not too much work or $ and looks good, and I like playing around with tech stuff. The family even got involved in the sequencing of the lights... mainly because they didn't like how I had done it. Next year I would like to have a mega-tree but I'm running into headwinds on that one - maybe I'll just decorate one of my real trees.

Here is my parts list:

Network cable to the garage where I mounted my controllers and power supplies
Raspberry Pi B+
Hanson Electronics rPi-28D cape (from Hanson Electronics)
Fuse board (hexfuse PCB from Hanson) + fuses
5V power supply (Meanwell is the best but Chinese knock-offs from eBay are a lot cheaper)
12V power supply (eBay again)
Cables
Connectors, end caps
Pixel strings, floods
Coro shapes
FPP software for Rasp Pi (free)
Xlights software for sequencing (free)

I'm planning on putting all this in a blog/Youtube but that may be a few months away yet.
Thanks for the advice, where did you get all you items from? im wanting to start getting involved in it now so that im not rushed later on in the year.

I was given a raspberry Pi today, so that is easily done, i have a spare router which i can use, just dont know where to start with the rest of the items. where is the best to get lights from, is the san devices board better than the falcon etc....
 

Bighorse_85

New elf
Joined
Dec 23, 2019
Messages
7
Ok, so here is my mockup of our font yard.

Plan is to house everything in the garage on the left of the image and run lines out to all the objects.

This year my focus is to get the icicles, arches, stars and the 6 straights completed.

Hoping to be able to get aways with just the F16v3, just not sure on how to inject power to the display though, all connections, networking i can do myself, just power tends to throw me a curveball.

The matrix, tree and spinners will be a future project as i have an idea how to integrate the spinners to be something cool.

I am planning on using raspberry pi, to F16v3 board with power supply attached to it. then wiring them sounds straight forward, not 100% if power injection will be required.

any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Gregor_Mockup.jpeg
 

GPScreepers

New elf
Joined
Mar 6, 2019
Messages
13
Thanks for the advice, where did you get all you items from? im wanting to start getting involved in it now so that im not rushed later on in the year.

I was given a raspberry Pi today, so that is easily done, i have a spare router which i can use, just dont know where to start with the rest of the items. where is the best to get lights from, is the san devices board better than the falcon etc....
Here is my list again, this time with supplier.

Network cable to the garage where I mounted my controllers and power supplies (Cat 6) [Bunnings]
Raspberry Pi B+ [ebay]
Hanson Electronics rPi-28D cape [Hanson Electronics]
Fuse board (hexfuse PCB) [Hanson] + automotive fuses [ebay]
5V power supply (Meanwell is the best but Chinese knock-offs from eBay are a lot cheaper) [ebay]
12V power supply [eBay]
Cables [power cable (size depends on your requirements, need to do some calcs!) from ebay, signal cable (automatic sprinkler solenoid cable) from Bunnings]
Connectors [ebay], end caps [Ray Wu's store on AliExpress]
Pixel strings, floods [Ray Wu's store on AliExpress]
Coro shapes [I bought at the Sydney mini, also available at extremelightingdisplays.com.au]
FPP software for Rasp Pi [download free]
Xlights software for sequencing [download free]

My first items were the coro shapes from the Sydney mini, then started gathering the rest starting in June including my first order to Ray Wu (then second order to Ray in July for the items I forgot/got wrong the first time...). Didn't get the cable until November when I had done the calcs. Ray Wu's store is strongly favoured by this group and I had a good experience myself. I strongly suggest doing a lot of reading/youtubing before buying anything.

I got the rPi cape instead of the Falcon etc because it's a lot cheaper and does well with simple systems like mine, and can go over 1,000 pixels.
 

djgra79

My name is Graham & I love flashing lights!
Generous elf
Joined
Dec 27, 2011
Messages
1,424
Location
Cranbourne West
If you want to save some money it can pay to shop around sometimes for some hardware and peripherals.
For example, a 20m cat6 cable from bunnings is $32. I get my cat6 cables from https://www.homewired.com.au/shop/cables/cat6-cables/cat6-cables/ and a premade 20m is only $18.70 + $11 regular shipping. Sure its only $4 but if you need to buy a few different cables it can add up.
Please also be mindful of ebay sales. Some people have had no issues, others have. You can buy cheap PSUs from the likes of Ray Wu who is a trusted pixel supplier.
 

Bighorse_85

New elf
Joined
Dec 23, 2019
Messages
7
Here is my list again, this time with supplier.


My first items were the coro shapes from the Sydney mini, then started gathering the rest starting in June including my first order to Ray Wu (then second order to Ray in July for the items I forgot/got wrong the first time...). Didn't get the cable until November when I had done the calcs. Ray Wu's store is strongly favoured by this group and I had a good experience myself. I strongly suggest doing a lot of reading/youtubing before buying anything.

I got the rPi cape instead of the Falcon etc because it's a lot cheaper and does well with simple systems like mine, and can go over 1,000 pixels.
Thanks for the reply, i was wondering how the rPi B+ fit into it all, but makes sense now. bit cheaper to start with, great start, i think i can do all that, it will be the wiring that i have difficulty with now. like i said, my networking abilities is above par, electronic abilities is far below, so little unsure of how the fuse board is inserted into the setup... I understand why there is a fuse board but not sure how its wired in.
 

GPScreepers

New elf
Joined
Mar 6, 2019
Messages
13
No prob Bighorse, can help you with the wiring, there’s not much to it really, even the injection. I can send you a diagram of my wiring including the fuses. I plan to cover all that in my blog/YouTube when I get around to it hopefully in the next few months.

To djgra79’s post, I have chosen to take the risk with cheaper components so I can get more stuff for my budget but knowing there is more chance of failure which would end my display for the season cause there would not be enough time to get replacements. Just my choice really.
 

Mr_prr008

New elf
Joined
Jan 3, 2020
Messages
10
Hey Bighorse, just did my first display this year and stumbled through a few issues, but got there. I must admit that it is a time consuming hobby and I didn't really appreciate the time, effort and planning, but oh so worth it standing on the corner with a beer watching our display for the first time.

Definitely read the manual 101, and youtube "Canispater Christmas" - a knowledgeable person and easy to watch.

I decided to invest in the Falcon f48 with receiver boards - with the intent of expanding my display each year.
Another reason for the F48 was voltage - I can use both 5V & 12V on my display.
I use xlights to programme and xsheduler to run my show (I have an office computer that never turns off, so no brainer for me) but I will be playing with Raspberry Pi and FPP when I pack up this year.
I purchased strips from Ray Wu Ali express and had them cut and soldered in specific lengths for a matrix (but didn't use them for a matrix), but in hindsight should have stuck to standard products (easier to replace if needed) I also purchased bullet pixels for the roof lining and will be getting more for Christmas 2020.

I live in Darwin, so I need to take more care waterproofing my connections and lightening caused me grief this year - on Christmas eve........... so Christmas Day I had to cut off the first 2 pixels from the strips to get it all working again, so will be investigating a way to protect the pixels for next year (and I will be replacing all the strips with bullet style pixels - so much easier to bypass/replace a broken pixel), and speaking of spares.......... have a spare pixel string, bullet pixel, power supply - because if you lose something, it can be really disappointing not being able to run it properly

I will be starting a lot earlier 2020, like August - so much cooler and I want to get the power supplies, control components properly organised in our home ready for Halloween - I will be running 1 or 2 power circuits specifically for the Pixel display with a RCD (I'm a sparky, so easy for me)

Also keep in mind - your lawns etc - you need to mow them, so do some planning how to run your wires, makes live easier in the end, I did see a post here where someones neighbour let their kids run around on someones display......... sheesh don't know how you stop stupid.......

I would like a mega tree and will be using the palm trees and other trees around my home for 2020.

That was my learnings for 2019

will be back for 2020 a little wiser, better organised :)

also - don't be afraid to ask, there are lots of smart people here that have all "been there done that"
Just read it comment its great feedback for a newbie on things that u experianced and happened.
 

GPScreepers

New elf
Joined
Mar 6, 2019
Messages
13
Hi Bighorse, here is the wiring diagram for my power and control board with the power supplies, rasp pi, fuses etc. Here is a photo of it on my garage wall - backing made from old bed slats. Here are the calcs for the field wiring... please don't be put off, I'm planning to make a simplified version. I've noticed that most people do the wiring quite differently. Happy to go through anything.
 
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