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Pixel tree specifications

Discussion in 'Mega, Mini, Spiral & Pixel Trees' started by Bill Ellick, Jan 30, 2013.

  1. Bill Ellick

    Bill Ellick Full Time Elf

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    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. 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. But I do want this to be something that is designed for the long haul and will be around for quite a while.
    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?
    Also is it betty to use the strips rather than the pixel strings? I see Walter Monkhouse's pdf for his pixel tree uses pixel strings with banding material to keep them orientated out. So what are most people using with the strips or strings to keep them stiff and facing the right direction?
    I have thought about using the pixel strings with the C9 covers to get a more traditional look to the tree but then if I want text it seems like the tree will have to be mroe of a somewhat conical shape for a 180 degree tree? Or would strips work better for keeping them flat and pointed out? I see where there are strings that have a rectangular base on them that looks like it would help with mounting and then use the C9 cover on each.
    So many options that it is a headache just to come up with a basic start point for designing the darn thing not to even think of the programing challenge ahead yet !!
    Well thanks for any advice, pointers, links, or offers for aspirin!!
    Oh and just for fun to add another point - 5 volt or 12 volt? I seem to lean towards 12 volt as that "appears" to be the method of choice for the most part that I have seen for trees like this?
     
  2. fasteddy

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

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    This is a hard question to answer as there are pros and cons to using strip, pixel strings, 5vdc and 12vdc, in the end you have to look at the application you want and the desired result. You have to look at things like construction difficulties, cost, channel management, and effects just to name a few.

    I can tell you why i chose the tree design that i used. I prefer 12vdc as its much easier to manage as far as voltage drop and current requirements but i dont like pixel string a great deal because of the value you get from them, Strip is far better value on an LED/$ cost than using strings. I was also limited by space so a flat tree made sense for me.
    I also believe that the audience really wont care for the tight resolution because the tree already has the ability to do effects and animations just not as high resolution as if using individual pixel control, but the lower resolution has allowed me to create animations for my tree which were much easier to create than if it was a single pixel control.

    If doing a 1/2 tree then the strip would be my choice, but if doing a 360 degree tree then the pixel strings would be my choice.
    As far as which strip you should use the 3 LEDs per section allows easier management and is 12vdc, but the single LED per section strip allows a much higher resolution but is 5vdc and is lots more channels which means more controllers and more computer horse power but will do text better than the 3 LED/M strip.

    As far as using 12vdc compared to 5vdc strings then you may want to take a look at this thread if you havent already which explains some of the differences.

    So as you see everything has a trade off, there is no perfect pill, what you need to decide is what is important to you and what will fit your application best, because whats important to you may be very different to me.
     
  3. dpavisic

    dpavisic Full Time Elf

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    I have a 16 strip megatree made from CCRs (which is got 2 years ago before I realised that there were more cost effective options. I regret the wasted $ now, but it is 360 degrees and does look great, especially from a distance.

    I cable tied my strips to 8mm flat fibreglass rods which I got from a company that makes spars for sails (cant remember the price but I think it was reasonable). The fibreglass keeps the strips oriented and provides some protection in the wind but the strips are so bright that in my display it doesnt really matter which way they are facing as you still see them.

    Mind you I have not really synchronised to the music, just lots of differnt effects with the music in the background.
     
  4. fasteddy

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

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    Do you have video of pics of it as i have not really seen how a 360 degree strip tree looks, the reason why i didnt think it would be my choice for a 360 degree tree is that for me the tree would only ever be viewed from one direction. so seems like a waste of strip pointing the other way
     
  5. dpavisic

    dpavisic Full Time Elf

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    Sorry Eddy I dont know how to post the video within ACl so here is a link to youtube.
    http://youtu.be/CB89U_FzEBM


    I agree with the waste, and if I had my time again I would also do the 180 degree version. I had not even thought of that before I saw yours.

    I am thinking of either redoing it as 180 degrees or using the strips for something else (matrix??) and using pixel strings which I have just started looking at.
     
  6. dpavisic

    dpavisic Full Time Elf

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    Well bugger me, know I know how to post the video in ACL :)
     
  7. fasteddy

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

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    Easy as putting in the link to the video as that will show video from youtube and vimeo. Issue for me is i cant see youtube here until i get home :(
     
  8. OP
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    Bill Ellick

    Bill Ellick Full Time Elf

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    Thanks Eddy
    Yes it is a tough thing to figure out especially when you have not even looked at or held a strip or string of the intelligent pixels yet !!
    But asking questions and getting different answers is how we all come up with the answers to our problems and possibly the new great innovation or idea. I like lots of ideas to help show the different ways to do things as well as it can bring out some problems that one may not even consider at the moment.
    I suppose the easiest answer that I can come up with for me would be to build a slightly lower resolution one using the 3 leds per IC on a flat or at least very low curvature 180 degree tree for now and then build a higher resolution matrix later on if I really want to do text and/or video. This would allow me to get a pixet tree in the works as well as the fun effects that it can provide for a year or two while I build other projects to enhance the tree and display and expand things. by then the world of materials will have changed as well so probably something newer will be on the market to provide us with a new WOW factor.
    We all want to make the most things and get the biggest and wildest display to have out there but it is also prudent to consider the costs, time, materials, and how intricate we want to get with things. I have time to consider stuff to build as well so will just keep doing the research and see what comes about as time passes.
    I appreciate the suggestions and answers though to help point me in a direction.
     
  9. OP
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    Bill Ellick

    Bill Ellick Full Time Elf

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    That looks nice Danny. You did a good job on things with your display.
     
  10. fasteddy

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

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  11. OP
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    Bill Ellick

    Bill Ellick Full Time Elf

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    I have looked at those as a possible stock item for the store. I am going to order a couple of strings soon to check them out. I have a couple of other ideas for them that will be interesting to try out.
     
  12. dpavisic

    dpavisic Full Time Elf

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    Thanks Bill
     
  13. fasteddy

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

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    Yes looks great Danny lots of lights in your display
     
  14. Mimir

    Mimir New Elf

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    I used some of the 12 volt strips for my mini mega last year. If you are wanting to display text, then you do not want the 1 ic per 3 led strips as it will be impossible to display text on them. I am going to get the 5 volt 1 ic per led strips this year.
     
  15. Greg.Ca

    Greg.Ca Apprentice Elf

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    The smartest thing I have read on these forums: See above!! If you want to display text (and who doesen't) then you do NOT want to get the pixels strips that have 3 LED's per 1 IC (12VDC strips). If you DO want to display text (and everybody does) then get 5VDC strips!!! That's why I am buying only 5VDC strips!!--Greg--
     

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