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Pixel display board

Discussion in 'RGB Lights - Intelligent Pixels and 3-Channel RGB' started by burner, Jun 13, 2012.

  1. burner

    burner Full Time Elf

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    One of my customers has a Church Sign out the front of their site, that they manually change the display on each week to a month. They are now wanting to be able to change the sign from their office and have it setup with electricity/Lights.

    Looking at FastEddy's 20111 light show, it got me thinking that the display he has upstairs in the centre of his house might just do what they are looking for.

    The size is roughly 1.5m wide * 1m tall. I was thinking the 2811RGB Ray Wu strings @ $36 each.
    By my calculations, at 10mm width, I would need approx 100 lines of 1.5m (so 150m of lights) which comes to 30 * 5m lengths.

    I was then going to hotglue them onto some timber board and run it off a PC about 10m away, which they can RDP into.

    Is this the best way to go about it? Is there a pre-made ready to go option available?

    The customer has been quoted approx $20k for the board/post and installation (but no electrical works).

    Surely the RGB option would be a hell of a lot cheaper, not to mention low voltage and fully cusomizable with the colout options?
     
  2. David_AVD

    David_AVD Bite my shiny metal ass!

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    What software would you use to set the sign messages?
     
  3. OP
    OP
    burner

    burner Full Time Elf

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    I was hoping I could get away with Vixen, but was also wondering if there is a way to use a SD Card to host the display rather then using a spare PC which needs to run all the time.
     
  4. David_AVD

    David_AVD Bite my shiny metal ass!

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    You'll have to think carefully about the software unless you want to be responsible for creating the content and deploying it.

    Using a PC for a display that changes so infrequently was also in the back of my mind.

    Maybe pixel strip with one chip per LED would be easier to mount and service as required. I would also recommend good quality power supplies and some sort of ventilation as it will get damn hot in summer.

    There's also the question of how visible it will be during the day. If it is bright enough for day use, you may need to dim it at night time lest you incur the wrath of motorists and the local council.
     
  5. AussiePhil

    AussiePhil Dedicated Elf Administrator

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    Couple issues come to mind based on current direction.

    The cheap 2811 flex strip has a linear resolution of 100mm due to the 3 leds/IC spacing per metre. For a sign board using square "pixels" this could be too large depending on viewing distance.

    Even the proposed idea comes in at 1500 RGB nodes/4500ch - for display of text etc this would not be something for Vixen.

    Phil
     
  6. OP
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    burner

    burner Full Time Elf

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    Hmm, ventilation is going to be a bit of an issue. The board will face east, so at least it will only have the morning sun to deal with. Currently the manual board has 3 or 4 lines for writing. The staff need to walk to the other end of the site, and bring all the letters and swap the letters around (like you see at the service station) to get the new message up. With the daylight, there may need to be either 2 different sequences running (ie day mode and night mode), or a top and north facing barrier to create an after 10am shadow over the board.

    I thought about just sticking a plasma or LCD TV in there too, but am thinking it will disappear within a few hours when it gets dark.

    So, is it doable with LSP then? Can it be injected into a card reader and run without a PC? What sort of power requirements would I be looking at for this many lights in 12v?

    I haven't seen the quote from the other supplier, so not sure exactly what's on offer at the moment. I'll be back onsite tomorrow.
     
  7. David_AVD

    David_AVD Bite my shiny metal ass!

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    Don't discount the heat soak from the rear of the sign either. You really need to assume that it will cop full sun heat every day.

    If you only want to display text, there's probably better solutions than a PC driving 9 universes of pixels.
     
  8. Mike

    Mike CLAP infected!

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    Few things you need to find out is what do you want to achieve.

    Is it just scrolling writing or is it going to be animated with video or something like that?
    What resolution do you want?
    How far away do you want to stand to get a good picture?
    Does it need to be double sided?
    What are your mounting options?

    RGB screens are available but they can be expensive.
    They have stand alone controllers that have an SD slot. Some others have a wireless link for uploads or sending data. Some must be plugged into a host computer. Generally there is a program available from the controller manufacturer that lets you change what is shown on the screen.
    If it was just scrolling text it could be just one or 2 colours to keep costs down.
    Also some of these screens can be power hungry depending on resolution or configuration of the modules themselves.
    They come in modules so install is pretty easy depending on where its going to be (eg a wall or a post) and each one interlinks with the next. They can be quite heavy though, so the actual logistics of getting it where it needs to go has to be taken into account.

    On top of what Phil said too. If you used the 5v 2801 strip you would have a spacing of around 32mm per pixel.
    So as far as 2801 pixels go you wold be looking at
    31 pixels high by 47 pixels wide = 1457 pixels. Giving you a channel count of 4371 or 8.5 universes. This gives you roughly the size you would be looking at.
    Thats almost 50m of strip.
    Now power @5v would be close to 700w at full white drawing 140amp (giving a little head room here). As david said, you will need good quality ones like the meanwells.
    So you would need about 6x 5vDC 30amp PSU's to give you some safety factor out of the psu's.
    Power would need to be injected each line of the pixels basically or 47 pixels (usually 50 but to keep it simple it would be better to do each line.)
    With that amp draw you would have to take into consideration what controller you could use. Then you can determine how many pixels you could run in a universe (depending on max output load on the board).
    Then build your enclosure and make it waterproof but still allow for cooling as David and Phil have said.
    LSP could be used to drive it if need be.
    It can be done. But a ready made one may be a better option.

    HTH
     
  9. OP
    OP
    burner

    burner Full Time Elf

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    Ready made RGB screens might be the easier option (depending on cost of course). The customer is revising the location, after doing a quick drive-by (and being quoted 10k to run power to the existing manual sign). It looks like it will be mounted high up on a brick wall.

    They have been quoted for a 3 line display (single colour - orange) at 115mm high each line and 1.8m wide.
    I am able to get into the roof cavity (false ceiling) behind the brick wall, so all power supply equipment could be mounted in there, just behind the display.

    Any idea's on places that sell ready made RGB screens?

    Going back to the original idea, @ 3lines of 115mm high and now 1.8m wide, that would need 12 * 1.8m lengths per line * 3 lines, so 64.8m.
     
  10. David_AVD

    David_AVD Bite my shiny metal ass!

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    Looks like the reason behind the initial pricing is becoming clearer. :)

    I'm not trying to put you off, but you'd have to think really hard about how you go about this and what implications there are. Money, time, liability, future service, etc all play a part.
     
  11. smeighan

    smeighan Dedicated Elf

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    As far as programming, u could use nutcracker to produce scrolling text produce a *.vix file and then use slights to drive your controllers.


    Currently nutcracker has two lines of scrolling text. I coded three lines but never enabled it


    Also with that many pixels you could also display png,gif images.
     
  12. magii

    magii Apprentice Elf

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    Full RGB LED Pixel Matrix Sign

    Something like this might work and it's pretty affordable. Straight DMX so an SD card programmed to a driver would work. Pretty sure I've seen those for several pixel types. You'd just have to make up the matrix board, mine is acrylic and was cut on a CNC.

    Z
     

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