Planing, Pixel selection advice...

Bigwillystyle

New elf
Joined
Dec 14, 2016
Messages
37
Location
Gold Coast
Hey guys, Firstly thankyou so much to everyone for the Online Mini it was amazing.. I've been thinking about doing this now for 3 years and was always missing a few pieces of information to get started.. Now not only do I have enough information to be dangerous I also have the feeling that I'm part of a community with the zoom group..

I have been decided that 12v was the answer as far as pixels go as I felt that electrically it makes sense with less voltage drop and less complication with reduced power injection requirements. also higher voltage = less current draw.. Based on my experience of 14 yrs in car audio 12v is my happy place..

Then i Jump on Ray Wu site today and start looking at a shopping list.. I discover that 12v pixels are 2x the price of 5v ones.. so I can purchase 10k 5v pixels for the price of 5k 12v ones.. Am I missing something here?? I understand that there will be more work with power injection (not really concerned about additional cabling and soldering) the only place I can see this coming undone is the costs of the additional power supplies and the inability to run the power supplies in one central location as they will now need to be mounted much closer to some of the long distance elements?

This seems like a simple financial decision am I missing something??
 

Dreamin

Full time elf
Joined
Dec 28, 2016
Messages
135
Location
Sunshine Coast
Hi mate, my set up is mostly 5V. Yes power injection has to be done, but it's not that bad, even 12V needs injecting at some point. I'm in the process of reworking mine to inject every 100 pixels (it was second hand and only injecting at the beginning and the end based on 30% brightness). From the info I gained on the mini you can actually power more pixels with a 5V PSU and than a 12V powersupply, so less PSUs to buy.
A lot of people seem to see 5V as a PITA and that 12V is superior in some way, but it was quite interesting on Keiths explaination regarding wires and stuff on Monday because he explained how both worked, and if anything 5V seems to by pass a few headaches from what I could see. Like it either works or doesn't (no flickering) so that should make diagnosis a little easier. I dare say everyone has a different opinion, but I don't think either or is any different, they both have their own issues, and sometimes having one voltage for this and one voltage for that has advantages. Maybe post up what you want to do with you pixels... mega tree or trim etc etc.
 

Cranzy

Apprentice elf
Joined
Dec 24, 2018
Messages
96
Location
Perth
Not sure where you are seeing double the price.
On Ray's site:
100 12v 18awg pixels are US$18
and
50 5v 18awg pixels are $US8

So the 12v vs 5v price = US$18 vs US$16
 

djgra79

My name is Graham & I love flashing lights!
Generous elf
Joined
Dec 27, 2011
Messages
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Cranbourne West
Ray's website is a mess and very tricky to search/navigate. It's not always obvious the difference between listings.
If you find an item you are interested in, use the URL and send him an email asking for a quote with shipping.
It will save you a couple of $$ from the Aliexpress site directly. And with the USD the way it is, every bit will help!
 

franky_888

Full time elf
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Dec 31, 2013
Messages
107
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Medowie
These were the 5v ones i was looking at.. $5 USD for 50??
Yes, but as above you are getting 100 12v nodes for $18.. about $2 difference :)

Also:
the only place I can see this coming undone is the costs of the additional power supplies and the inability to run the power supplies in one central location as they will now need to be mounted much closer to some of the long distance elements?
5v requires less power supplies than 12v for the same number of lights:

350W / 12V = 29 Amps
350W / 5V = 70 Amps

So you will need around double the power supplies if you went with 12v. But yes, you will need to inject more, and with the cost of the higher gauge wire being higher, it might work out more cost effective using more 12v power supplies anyway. A few members are now using server power supplies (1/1.2 kW @ 12v) with break out boards.

Just making you aware as it was something I overlooked when I was evaluating early on.
 

djgra79

My name is Graham & I love flashing lights!
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Joined
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Love these, my roofline and many other props have them. With smart wiring (eg tying start and end of prop together) you can get by without as many power injection points as you might think.
 

Bigwillystyle

New elf
Joined
Dec 14, 2016
Messages
37
Location
Gold Coast
Yes, but as above you are getting 100 12v nodes for $18.. about $2 difference :)
Am I missing something?? 5 USD for 50 is 10 for 100. 10 vs 18 is 8 bucks cheaper.. that's 80% more for the same price?

or is there a reason not to use something like this??
 

Bigwillystyle

New elf
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Dec 14, 2016
Messages
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Location
Gold Coast
appreciate the information on the power supplies something I wasn't taking into account is the efficiency of a 5v pixel over a 12v one..
 

Dreamin

Full time elf
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Dec 28, 2016
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Sunshine Coast
Also I remember seeing on here to watch the wire they use on the "specials" because it's cheap. You might be better off with a better quality wire for a long term investment. Just another thing to consider. lol. It makes my head spin!
 

BAZMick

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Nov 26, 2019
Messages
31
Am I missing something?? 5 USD for 50 is 10 for 100. 10 vs 18 is 8 bucks cheaper.. that's 80% more for the same price?

or is there a reason not to use something like this??
Yes there is, I bought these"promotion!" Pixels last year. The wires inside them is as fine as silk and only about 10x strands so to try and solder new pigtails on them is like performing micro surgery... when you're not a doctor. The ones I bought I didn't double check and they were only 70mm spacing and just didn't quite go into the third hole of the boscoyo strip. Had 1x strip of 50 that failed to light up and several lone nodes lose one of there colours.
But in saying that I did get them to work in my show last year and they looked ok.
But I won't be buying them again, I'll be spending the extra $6 or $8 and buying the better quality ones.
 

djgra79

My name is Graham & I love flashing lights!
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Joined
Dec 27, 2011
Messages
1,519
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Yes the wire is thin, yes the spacing is perhaps smaller than what some people require based on the props being built.
But they work fine and for dense props with close spacing they are perfect (less wasted wires hanging out the back)
This is why there are many different options out there to suit individual needs, not bevause these are bad as such.
 

Cranzy

Apprentice elf
Joined
Dec 24, 2018
Messages
96
Location
Perth
So you will need around double the power supplies if you went with 12v. But yes, you will need to inject more, and with the cost of the higher gauge wire being higher, it might work out more cost effective using more 12v power supplies anyway. A few members are now using server power supplies (1/1.2 kW @ 12v) with break out boards.
Yes :) Server power supplies are great and you can get great deals on them.
 

Bigwillystyle

New elf
Joined
Dec 14, 2016
Messages
37
Location
Gold Coast
Awesome advice, I'm looking at my house and window outline to start with, what is the generally accepted spacing for this?? my roof line is 2 story and viewed from downhill so not super visible except from the other side of the road and in the park..

Working with small wire is not something i'm scared of (I have built a few racing drones) as long as the wire is silicone shield it's pretty easy. From what i believe the method is for the larger straight line stuff on outlines they tend to be mounted in 25mm conduit so are less likely to suffer movement like a mega tree prop would.. I understand this is the cheap option and i'm probably not going to get 5 seasons out of them but is it a good way to soften the blow when i'm looking at 500ish pixels?? and maybe get some better ones down the track and move those to other ground level props in future years?? or is it more the point of poop people pay twice and when something goes wrong in November/December I'm shagged?

Another thing I have noticed is that there seemed to be hate towards using strip light because of reliability of joins, However almost every one of the talks @ the minis i have listened to on the ACL YouTube mentions that they use Strip on their roof outlines??
 

franky_888

Full time elf
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Dec 31, 2013
Messages
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Medowie
Another thing I have noticed is that there seemed to be hate towards using strip light because of reliability of joins, However almost every one of the talks @ the minis i have listened to on the ACL YouTube mentions that they use Strip on their roof outlines??
It's personal opinion and how much effort you want to put into a) handling the strip carefully and b) repairing the strip. Repairing a string of nodes is magnitudes easier than strip, but doesn't look as nice (again in my opinion). I currently have use strip almost exclusively on my house, but after only seasons the silicon tube that the strip is housed in is pretty much cooked (full of holes) and rather than replace something every 2 years I'm considering lumping the lot and putting up with the 'inferior' look of nodes, just so that I don't have to replace everything so frequently.

There's a saying getting around which is 'friends dont let friends buy strip' and I think this is true for those who have next to no electrical experience as yourself. Before you go all out, why not buy 1x 5M length of strip, 50 nodes and a few pigtails just to try out. Put the pigtails on the ends of the strip and water proof them, add the pigtails to the nodes and see how different the process is. Then, cut a node out of the middle of the 50, and cut a 'pixel' (3 LED's) out of the strip and re-waterproof/heatshrink. Then you can see what you're up against and then work out what you'll be comfortable with long term.
 
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