PixPlus USA sources Pixels manufactured in South Africa

MichaelF5

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This new PixPlus mob looks like it finally has a high quality product, photo's of the cable look light quite a step up. anyone have some on the way over?

most interesting is that the 12v sold out first, would love to see how the regulated version runs inc if it'll take 24v (spec sheet on the reg show up to 37v iirc)
 

darylc

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I've ordreed some pixplus for testing last year, I guess they will arrive this year. I only ordered 5v from memory though.
 

TerryK

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Did a little researching; they have a 5 pixel sample which I ordered. They currently have a bulk purchase window open that ends in March with a May delivery. Not indicated is if the square pixels are regulated. Wires for these is also on the side, not the back.
Edit: Overlooked adding their website for anyone interested. www.usa-pixplus.com or for Canada www.can-pixplus.com
Edit 2022Feb12: Received information from PixPlus that all 12 Volt pixels are regulated.


... to see how the regulated version runs inc if it'll take 24v (spec sheet on the reg show up to 37v iirc)
Their website indicates a 78L05. While there sometimes are or can be slight variations in ICs sourced from multiple manufacturers, a 78L05 has a maximum Vin of 30 Volt. So it should function normally on 24 VDC providing that internal power dissipation remains within functional limits.
 
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David_AVD

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Just because a linear regulator can take 24V in doesn't mean you can do that for every application. In a 2811 pixel it would be dropping 19V across the regulator. At even a 30mA current draw this would generate over half a Watt of heat which will see it shut down in seconds. The regulator can provide up to 100mA OR it can run up to 30V in, but not at the same time.
 

jreynozo

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Well, I just went "all in". Order 5000 nodes as part of the bulk pre-buy. I plan on using them for the Rosa Grande, 3 Hattitudes, and a couple of 7' Toy Soldiers that I want to add to this year's display. Fingers crossed
 

TerryK

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I ordered their 'sample' set. They arrived towards the end of last week. Haven't finished 'toying' with them yet. Andy had indicated that I was sent some 'pre-production' units so I'm a bit :cautious:.

Not much I can share yet. They are a bit shorter so less to grip if pushing them. Pixel bodies are better defined; round. Unlike some from China being oval or something. No epoxy drips or globs in the coro groove either. Pixel spacing seems to be at the wire solder points which is 'I guess' mid pixel body. That makes the practical pixel spacing in coro about 3.5 inch with a rather snug wire dressing. One thing I do like is the wires exit the body parallel not wopper-jawed like more than half of the Chinese pixels seem to be.

Cheers everyone.
 

TerryK

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Well, after procrastinating for several weeks, I finally have a few test results from the 12 Volt Regulated PixPlus pixels. I first should again mention that Andy (of PixPlus) had mentioned that I was sent pre-production pixels, so my comments and test results may vary from production pixels. They also looked good enough for me to order a number of 100 pixel 12 Volt Regulated strings from PixPlus. I missed their 'bulk-buy' that ended mid March but unless the ship date for the pixels I ordered slips, PixPlus indicates I should have the pixel strings by late June or early July.

For better or worse, my thoughts: I liked the molded body. It's well formed without any epoxy drips or runs and round front to back, not half mashed as are some of the Chinese pixels. Wires exit parallel and in the small lot I received no loops, twists, or turns to untangle. I do somewhat miss being able to see inside the pixel body but that is definitely a personal 'nerd' thing. DI / DO marking is a bit weak I think. The pixels I received only had a pair of out-bound arrows on the DO side. "Positive" and "Negative" are marked on the wires between pixels and there are '+' and '-' markings on both sides of the pixels. The Data wire which is in the center has some, in my opinion, non-relevant text markings. The wire markings are a bit light and I find somewhat difficult to see and due to the marking separation and cut wire length between pixels, not always fully there.

Pixel spacing is short in my opinion. 4 inch is stated but mounted in coro with sharp 90s on the wires only about 3 1/8 inch is possible. That's distance between the LEDs themselves. It's a guess but the 4 inch is I think cut wire length, that is solder point to solder point inside the pixel bodies.

I'm undecided about the shorter body. Less to grip when pushing pixels but then there's less distance hanging out the back. So depending upon usage, body length could help or hinder.

Wire gauge is supposed to be 18 AWG but I only had approximately 20 inch to play with so getting an accurate measurement for AWG resistivity was difficult. Wire AWG seems to calculate between 19 AWG and 20 AWG leaning towards 20 AWG. Again, 20 inch stretches the equipment I have as to measurement accuracy so I wouldn't read too much in the 19/20 AWG. When the ordered strings arrive later this year I'll test the AWG size again.

Amperage per pixel is a bit 'different'. I included a chart (below). For 100% white the pixel draws less that what I've seen in 12 Volt Resistor pixels. Certainly less than other 12 Volt Regulated pixels. This will need to be another 'verify the test data' when the ordered pixels arrive later.

And finally, I strapped one of these pixels and a 12 Volt Regulated WS2811 pixel from Wired Watts side by side and ran them through a variety of colors and intensities. Keeping in mind the eyes aren't exactly what they used to be, I think one won't be able to determine which is which. I also have RGB and visible spectrum sensors on the way to toy with.

2022Apr03: Charts Corrected.
 

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merryoncherry

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@TerryK, thanks for doing this. I took a gamble on some of these pixels during their preorder without knowing the electrical specs and so I'm really biting my nails.
I am having a bit of trouble understanding your mW/node in the table. I expected .1875A for 5 nodes is 37.5mA per node, * 12V = 450mW, but you are showing 1/5th of that? Any chance you divided by the number of nodes twice?

I've been trying out strings of 100 of the various pixels I have, and the resistors run 200-300mW (Less in longer strings, more if I loop power to the far end. Of course.) I got 610mW for my Wired Watts regulators.
 

TerryK

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Should have caught that. I'm getting sloppy in 'me' old age. I'll blame it on a rushed copy and paste of formulas from the mA to mW columns and leaving the '/5' in the calculations. The charts above have been corrected.

Actually, I give little attention to Wattage calculations as nearly with all the engineering power calculations over the years I design to produced/available and consumed/used amperage. About the only situation I consider Wattage is in a transition; transformers, supplies, and such where efficiencies, power factors, and those types of concerns need considered.

From what I've seen so far with the PixPlus pixels, the 12 Volt Regulated, that is if that is the type you ordered, you should be OK. The Wired Watts 12 Volt Regulated pixels I tested ran about 50 mA per pixel, your approximate 610 mW. 12 Volt Resistor pixels (from a couple different sources) were in the low to mid 30 mA per pixel, about 400 mW. 5 Volt pixels are nearly identical to the 12 Volt Regulated devices, about 50 mA per pixel. These are WS2811. Amperage requirements for other types such as the GS8208s and WS2815s are quite different.
 
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merryoncherry

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I understand. I've been looking at both amps and watts, because I was wondering about how many pixels I can put on a string (5A guideline) and I wondered how many watts because of my electric bill (in kWh). (I got to the conclusion that my electric bill cannot be explained by the peak usage of the pixels during the brief time they are on, but must be explained by the off state also.)

I like the low usage of the regulators when off, and how bright they are, but the strings only go 100ish before maxing out the amps. Somehow the newer resistor pixels seem a little wimpier, but they match the lower power waste when off, use less when full on, and so the string can be much longer. The voltage drop at the end is quite significant, but this actually ends up saving power and money (at 20' extension wire, uses ~2A for 100 pixels, and ~3A for 200), because less voltage is less so current wasted through the resistors is less and energy loss on voltage drops is less).

I ordered a lot of these pixplus strings before even measuring the current on the wired watts ones... then I measured the WW pixels and found they use twice the amps, and have been biting my nails ever since, as it will affect how many controller ports I'll need... sounds like more for the pixplus, but not as bad as the WW.
 

TerryK

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Hmm. Quite a number of thoughts buried in all that. Let's see...

"I understand. I've been looking at both amps and watts, because I was wondering about how many pixels I can put on a string (5A guideline)"
A combination of several limitations. First the maximum number of pixels the controller can drive on a port. Next the maximum number on a port that can be driven at the desired frame rate (FPS). And finally, maximum drive levels relative to voltage drop along the string. The 5 Amp mentioned insinuates no power injection.

"and I wondered how many watts because of my electric bill (in kWh). (I got to the conclusion that my electric bill cannot be explained by the peak usage of the pixels during the brief time they are on, but must be explained by the off state also.)"
I suspect it is less expensive than you think. To obtain a worst case number in the ballpark, sum the wattage of the power supplies and multiply by the number of days, hours illuminated, cost per KWH, and divide by 1000. Let's say 6 350 Watt supplies illuminated 6 hours a night for 6 weeks (a week in November and January and all of December and cost per KWH is $0.10. That's 6 * 350 * 6 * (6 * 7) * $0.10 / 1000 = $52.92. That's worst case. Now begin reducing that by the percentage of time when no, one, or only 2 colors are illuminated.

"I like the low usage of the regulators when off, and how bright they are, but the strings only go 100ish before maxing out the amps. Somehow the newer resistor pixels seem a little wimpier, but they match the lower power waste when off, use less when full on, and so the string can be much longer. The voltage drop at the end is quite significant, but this actually ends up saving power and money (at 20' extension wire, uses ~2A for 100 pixels, and ~3A for 200), because less voltage is less so current wasted through the resistors is less and energy loss on voltage drops is less)."
Not quite sure where to begin with all that. First, the power usage of any pixel will decrease as its drive level is decreased. Next, the pixels I've toyed with so far I would be hard pressed to say that within one type (WS2811 for example) one compared to another is brighter. The LEDs in strips, seed strings are different so one would see a difference in those. Waste of power is a bit difficult to quantify. Generally 5 Volt pixels are the most efficient as power is expended as heat across resistors (12 Volt Resistor pixels) and regulators (12 Volt Regulated pixels). The 12 Volt Regulated pixels are the most immune to voltage drop.

"I ordered a lot of these pixplus strings before even measuring the current on the wired watts ones... then I measured the WW pixels and found they use twice the amps, and have been biting my nails ever since, as it will affect how many controller ports I'll need... sounds like more for the pixplus, but not as bad as the WW"
As previously mentioned I think your concern is unwarranted. For the regulated pixels Wired Watts are about 50% higher in amperage compared to a regulated PixPlus pixel. And actually, the current draw for the Wired Watts Regulated 12 Volt pixel is quite typical of a regulated pixel regardless of source, bearing in mind as mentioned, all relative to WS2811 style pixels.
 

merryoncherry

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Sorry if I made my concern sound hypothetical, @TerryK. I did the same math you did regarding the operating power of the LED and it did not add up... not even close!

Sorry the pic is blurry, but that's my electric bill for the period from Nov 17 to Dec 20, about $300USD more than usual. Now bear in mind that I was a bit behind schedule, and did not start running the show regularly until Dec 5th. I have 200A service to my house. If I used ALL of it for this, 5 hours a day, that'd be 200A*120V*5hrs/day*15days = 1,800kVAh.

There are so many ways this doesn't align:
1. I used 2,500kWh more than usual for this period, compared to that 1,800kWh theoretical max
2. I did not use 100% of my 200A for the lights... I have a heat pump, a hot tub, lighting fixtures, refrigerator, computers, TV, etc., and I didn't shut them off when the show was on.
3. The power draw wasn't even across that time. I do have a time where I go full white when Clark plugs in his lights and it didn't trip ever. And there were a few minutes at the top of the hour when there was a break between shows.... etc.
4. The power supplies have a really miserable power factor, maybe .5, because they are an inductive load... so the amps at the breaker greatly exceeds what you'd expect for the wattage. (Hmmm. but what does the meter bill on, I wonder.. kVA or W?)

So the show itself, in that time, was likely responsible for less than 1,000kWh of the extra 2,500kWh used.

So the facts seem to get in the way of the theory, and we are on the hunt for another explanation. My hypothesis is wasted power. I have measured the most common pixel I have at 50mW when off. (Well, maybe it's receiving black. That's a distinction I didn't make.) I had about 35,000 like this. And some 15,000 pixels of LED strips, which I didn't characterize, but I do know I heard the power supply cooling fans on the controller driving those come on when they were "off". And a few rectangle modules and floods. And some regulator-style icicles. But let's ignore that and estimate - 50mW/pixel * 50,000pixel * 24hrs/day * >20days (they were up before they were on) = 1,200kWh. Now, that is based on power wasted at the pixel... the controller itself used some power, the power supplies are not 100% efficient, and so on... pushing us more toward 1,500kWh. And that is how I start to think that I have far more power going to waste than actually running the show.

So when I measure the pixel samples from this year and see 20mW black vs 50mW black, I like that a lot.


ElectricBill.jpg

ElecBillGraph.jpg

On the subject of the pixels being the same or different... again I didn't mean for that to be taken as hypothetical. The chips (or LEDs attached to the chips?) may not be the same. I was told by a pro that "regulators were better than resistor until last year, when they started making new, wimpier resistor pixels". I feel like my observations bear that out. Can you tell which is which? It's easier than Coke vs. Pepsi.
20220403_164451.jpg


P.S. The controller will run 680 pixels per port at 40FPS. I don't do that, except on the LRR ports. I am super lazy (err... under time constraints?), so if I need to power inject (which I do for the candy canes and the floods, not much else), I plug another controller wire into a T with the pin pulled out.
 

TerryK

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With a few assumptions on my part I am inclined to think that perhaps it does add up, or at least perhaps, close. First, the method of calculating approximate power cost that I indicated is accurate within reason. The reason being: power factor(s), various device efficiencies, and for the RGB loads, drive levels and colors (probably more but those will do for now).

In another Forum Thread, you had indicated 54000 lights (December 17 last year). An assumption here, WS2811 bullets (for the most part?), that quantity of lights on 100% White either 5 Volt or 12 Volt Regulated should draw about 2700 amps. Your posts seem to lean towards 12 Volt so using that, say about 32,400 Watt (5 Volt = 13,500 Watt). From the graphics, your cost per KWH is about $0.12 ($529 / 4429) and using your 5 hours and 15 days gives a light cost of approximately $290. Granted, that is full White which is not always the true; which is where other factors come into play. Was the residence heat pump run more during that month or interior lights on extended hours for the shorter Winter days? Point being: it does add up but something is going unnoticed that explains the higher electrical bill.

My perspective (and unfortunately it likely is cart in front of the horse) use 5 Volt pixels wherever possible. Even better, absorb the higher cost of the GS8208 strings to replace WS2811s where/when possible. They are 12 Volt but they utilize a different drive strategy for the LED. Use power supplies with PF Correction. I'm not quite sure how the utility meter will see it but also try to run the supplies from 240 VAC rather than the 120.

re: Pixels same or different; I'm not sure about 'wimpier' pixels, resistor or not. Pixels from different manufacturers do have sightly different component values in some pixel types but I've yet to notice a difference that matters. And using a WS2811 as an example there's just not that many components for a manufacture to vary. Stating one pixel is better than another needs to be quantified to the environment of its use. Or at least that's my opinion.
 
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