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

Pixel based display element question

Discussion in 'Mega, Mini, Spiral & Pixel Trees' started by bob_moody, Dec 12, 2012.

  1. bob_moody

    bob_moody Apprentice Elf

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2012
    Messages:
    86
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Huntsville, TX
    Find Me On:
    Sandra and I are planning 2 or 3 pixel based display elements for next year. The more I look in to construction design the more I thought I'd better get some help, advise or at the very least an accomplice.

    First this is a rework of our Merry Christmas sign on the roof. It currently has 218 C9 incandecent bulbs. We had thought of coverting to LED Retro, but I think the cost per bulb makes them twice what I can do with pixels and clear faceted C9 covers (Ray Wu)... I'm pretty clear on this project ..

    The second project are 4 pixel based leaping arches and the third project is a pixel tree. I run these together becasue I think the question is going to be the same.

    I was convinced that the pixel tree would use strips (similar to LOR CCR's), I was thinking the same process for the arches. But what I'm seeing that a lot of folks are using the individual pixels attached to PVC, Aluminum, tape or some other medium.

    The arches I could see using the strip, but the problem I see is the pipe twisting and having to tie-wrap the strips which as I understand is just asking for troubles. The other issue I see in strips is what if a segment goes out or one of the colors in one pixel fails? Lot of maintenance to repair.

    The single pixel nodes would be simply to remove the defective node and replace it...

    Long way to get here but what are the pro and cons of strips vs nodes in my proposed projects? If you use them and had to do over what would you use?

    I can see having more control over lengths using nodes. For example if I want the tree to be 10' I just roll out 10' of nodes. Strips usually come in 5m lengths and would have to be cut. I also read about "folding" strips if creating only a 2D tree.. not sure how that would play out...

    I really appreciate you reading this long post and I hope to gleen some valuable info from the responses. If I rambled and didnt really state a clear question please ask for a clarification.. I really need to get a handle on this BEFORE, I start sending $$$ to China ...

    Merry Christmas...
    Bob
     
  2. jediknight2

    jediknight2 Full Time Elf

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2012
    Messages:
    196
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Here is my opinion, and its only one :) I like the individual pixels myself. To me, with the difuser, they look more like traditional lights to me and the misses. HOWEVER, the strips have their place so next year I will be using them around windows and doors, but NOT to do any trees or outlines of the house. Strips work like pixels though in that you can cut out a bad section and replace it with a good section or just solder it back together. If you are using it to write words, strips aren't going to have the flexibility to do it.
     
  3. fathead45

    fathead45 Fiedler Christmas

    Joined:
    May 19, 2010
    Messages:
    201
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    292 Winkleman Street Ottoville OH 45876
    Find Me On:
    the GE c9 lights from lowes have about the same cover as what ray has to offer. if they hit 50 or 75% off they are cheaper to buy those strings and steal the covers off them:). they are about the same price as ray but you save on the shipping which gets high on those and then you have white led strings.
     
  4. OP
    OP
    bob_moody

    bob_moody Apprentice Elf

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2012
    Messages:
    86
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Huntsville, TX
    Find Me On:
    Jedi,

    The Merry Christmas sign (please look at http://moodychristmas.weebly.com for pics) is the only thing that has words per se... but they are built out of 2'x2' squares of coro and the letters are formed by 5x7 dot matrix (like a printer). These are a PRIME candidate for nodes with C9 covers...

    After that .. the confusion begins ...

    Thanks for the feedback..


    Bob
     
  5. OP
    OP
    bob_moody

    bob_moody Apprentice Elf

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2012
    Messages:
    86
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Huntsville, TX
    Find Me On:
    I will have to check at Lowes... The closest one(s) to me are in College Station, Tx or Conroe,TX ..
    BUT .. you make a good point on shipping ..

    Thank you!!!

    Bob
     
  6. jediknight2

    jediknight2 Full Time Elf

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2012
    Messages:
    196
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    North Carolina
    You are going to have to go with what you think looks right for you. Some love strips, some love pixel strings. I just think the strips look to...continuous and straight...but thats just me....like I said, I am using strips next year around windows, pixel strings every where else.
     
  7. OP
    OP
    bob_moody

    bob_moody Apprentice Elf

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2012
    Messages:
    86
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Huntsville, TX
    Find Me On:
    You have NO idea how on the mark you are...
    Sandra (better half aka "she who has final say") has this thing about the strips and what she refers to as "laser beams".... She does not want the Star Wars light sabers in her display ...

    So .. considering your screen name.. I thought you could appreciate that the most .. hehehehehe...

    Bob
     
  8. fasteddy

    fasteddy I have C.L.A.P Global Moderator Generous Elf

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2010
    Messages:
    6,501
    Likes Received:
    22
    Location:
    Albion Park NSW
    Find Me On:
    I use strips for outlines because i like a nice clean looking straight line as well i like the fact that the strip is directional which means little wash back onto the house. This allows me to then use flood lights to then gain an extra effect like one colour for the outline and another colour for the wash.

    Now with elements that are 3 dimensional then i will use pixel strings due the being more visual in all directions. So a 3d pixel tree will be better off using strings and a flat tree like the one i have this year are better with strip

    I also prefer to use the 3 LEDs per section because it is 12VDC and this means less hassle with voltage drop, current requirements and power injection. Using 12vdc strings is innefficient.
     
  9. OP
    OP
    bob_moody

    bob_moody Apprentice Elf

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2012
    Messages:
    86
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Huntsville, TX
    Find Me On:
    Eddie,

    Couple of things... I'm not sure I follow you on the last line about 12VDC. I know I'm missing something in the translation but it appears that you endorse 12VDC then take it back?

    One other question to insert in to the conversation:

    A matter of density. Strips are usually 30 pixels per meter or 150 pixels in a full 5m strip. I dont know what the spacing on nodes are but from the pictures I would guess 150 nodes would be VERY long indeed...

    any comments on this? Lets assume I want to be able to use Nutcracker for scrolling text, gifs and animated images... strips or pixels?

    I think we are pretty solid on the upgrade to the Merry Christmas sign ... This leaves me the tree and the leaping arches.

    For the arches, I can see either. If I were to insert the strip in to opaque pipe (have some for testing but forget what it is called... it glows really nice and would make good arches if you can keep it from twisting. But I have seen the arches in nodes as well ...

    ARGGGGGHHHHHH ...

    Bob
     
  10. fasteddy

    fasteddy I have C.L.A.P Global Moderator Generous Elf

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2010
    Messages:
    6,501
    Likes Received:
    22
    Location:
    Albion Park NSW
    Find Me On:
    I was explaining why i use 12vdc Strips as apposed to using strings which can come in 12vdc and 5vdc, When using strings I will use 5vdc ones and not the 12vdc for the reason outlined in this thread

    As far as which way you want to go then i would just be looking at all the videos that get released over the next couple of weeks and see what catches your eye as we all have different tastes.

    If i was going to build a new matrix then i would be using these which is the 2811 60 controllable LEDs/m because there is little effort in making the matrix, but a bit harder to repair if a pixel is damaged and a lot cheaper than using pixel strings.

    But thats just my view, there are many ways to achieve what you want
     
  11. OP
    OP
    bob_moody

    bob_moody Apprentice Elf

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2012
    Messages:
    86
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Huntsville, TX
    Find Me On:
    I understand now Eddie.. Thank you Sir.

    I guess my questions are pretty "personal preference" specific.

    So let me ask this... If I wanted to build only a 2D tree. (I dont see the point of a 3D tree unless you have it placed where you have 360 degree viewing) and I wanted 12 strips.

    Then the strips you described would give me a 4 meter tree with 12 "rays" requiring 8,640 channels (or 17 DMX Universes) and draw 144amps @5VDC ...

    If I used the 30 pixels/meter then I would have a 5 meter tree with 12 "rays" requiring 5400 channels (or 11 universes) and draw roughly the same current(? dont have the spec on the 5v 30 pixel models handy)

    Can strings be split across universes? The 30 pixel wouldnt be issue I dont think since your talking 450 channels a string ... each on its own universe .. 12 universes.

    I'm confused on how to configure the 60 pixel/meter since that is 720 channels per string (assuming of course my original question regarding spanning universes in a single strip)

    I read your article. Thank you. It made perfect sense to me and explained alot.

    Next of course would be wiring requirements... 12 amps would require 14ga wire to power the strings?

    I appologize if every answer sparks another question. I do appreciate everyones time and effort in trying to explain and educate me.

    Bob
     
  12. fasteddy

    fasteddy I have C.L.A.P Global Moderator Generous Elf

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2010
    Messages:
    6,501
    Likes Received:
    22
    Location:
    Albion Park NSW
    Find Me On:
    Take a look at a quick small video of my 12 strip tree i built for this year using the 2811 30 LED/M 10 IC/M strip from Ray below. For me the audience is back in the street so 3 LEDs for every controlled section still works great and the strip is 12vdc. The 60 section LED/M strip and the 32 section LED/M strip are both 5vdc and require a lot more finances and design considerations to use.

    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/25894067/MOV00253.3gp
    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/25894067/MOV00254.3gp

    I should have proper video of it in action over the weekend hopefully.

    For the 60 LED/M you would be better off using a few ECG-P2 which have the ability to cross universes over an output (4 universes per output)

    Now you must consider the balance between having heaps of channels in a tree and the ability of the computer to drive this. And then there is the current requirements as you mention and thats part of the reason i use mainly the 10 section per metre strip because its 12vdc and its easier to manage in software and requires less controllers, power supplies and can be used with a lighter gauge wire as the current requirements of 12vdc is lower and finally its a lot cheaper and I doubt any of the audience would ever care or notice the differences with a higher resolution tree.

    So thats my reasoning why i use the 12vdc 2811 strip for my tree
     
  13. Bill Ellick

    Bill Ellick Full Time Elf

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2011
    Messages:
    279
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    NY
    I have been trying to work my way through many posts and digest information to make a decision about how I am going to integrate pixels into my display. This thread is a good one as to why I am starting to lean more towards the 12 volt strips for the tree.
    I want to build a pixel tree that I can get not only the multiple colors on but also to be able to display text on it as well so that I can get kind of the most bang for the buck out of it.
    I am going to go with an ECG-P12R controller and these strings:
    http://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/5m-led-digital-strip-DC12V-input-WS2811IC-256-scale-10pcs-IC-and-30pcs-5050-SMD-RGB/701799_568458133.html
    at this point. My concern would be, would I be better off since I am wanting to do text on the tree as well to go with some strip more like this:
    http://www.aliexpress.com/item/5m-WS2811-LED-digital-strip-60leds-m-with-30pcs-WS2811-built-in-the-5050-smd-rgb/653641294.html
    which has the 1 IC per 1 LED to get better resolution for text (the URL link says 60 LEDS but the page is 30 LEDs per meter with 30 ICs).
    I understand that the channel count is getting pretty high with this strip but would it be better to use?
    I do plan on the tree using the entire lenght of strip per string or 150 LEDs per leg/string/section of tree and probably 12 strings total. So this would be 5400 channels versus 600 channels for the other strip which is 10 IC per meter? A lot more to control as well as going to 5 volt for the 30 ICs per meter strip. So power injection, cable sizing, and a whole lotta love has to go into the thing! I would think that the 5 volt string would be more for a matrix style board rather than a tree?
    Or is the first strip with the 10 ics and 30 LEDs per meter going to be sufficent for a pixel tree with text? I don't need a high resolution sign, just some funky stuff like Merry Christmas and a few slogans running through it during the shows.
    I'm still confused but it is starting to make some sense if that helps - LOL.
    PS. I was thinking of doing the tree somewhat circular rather than just flat. Or would this tend to make text look "funny" rather than just a flat tree with 12 "spokes" at 5 meter long on it?
     

Share This Page