Request for review before first order

Kjax

New elf
Joined
Jul 15, 2019
Messages
11
Hi, all -
I'm brand new to this and I've already found these forums really helpful, and I'm hoping that someone might be willing to review my plans before I start ordering parts.

I've got (what I think are) pretty modest plans for Year 1.
Right now, I've got my basic layout mocked up in XLights (and I've had a lot of fun playing with sequences!)


I'm intending to order a Raspberry Pi and an F4V3 Falcon Pixel Controller (https://www.pixelcontroller.com/store/index.php?id_product=51&controller=product)

Super roughly, the wiring layout looks like this, where each color is mapped to an output. (Note, I live in a 2-story townhouse, so this is roughly the 1st story only, just to keep it manageable. Maybe I'll extend to the 2nd story next year. However, there's no outdoor power on the front of the building, hence why I'm running wires through a window...)


Right now, my biggest question is lights. I've got two alternative plans, depending on whether I go with 5V or 12V. It seems like this is the most often asked question in this forum, so given everything I've learned so far, my biggest criteria was to try to keep it simple and have everything at the same voltage this year - but I'm open to adjusting that if it makes sense.

5V setup
12V setup
Once I settle on lights, I'll spec out power supplies. I'm thinking the 350W MeanWell power supplies that many of you listed seem reasonable, just need to figure out if I need 1 or 2.

Does this all seem reasonable? Thank you so much in advance!!
 

uncledan

Full Time elf
Generous elf
Joined
Dec 27, 2014
Messages
212
Location
Buellton California
Welcome to ACL. Looks like a decent plan to me for year one. F4v3 is a great little controller that you can expand in the future with a F4v3 differential expansion and two receivers if you need to. I have 4 of them and love them. The infamous 5v-12v debate... Mo volts is mo betta! You can probably do your whole display with no power injection if you use 12v. There are pros and cons to both. 5v costs less, uses less power but requires more power injection. Its a personal preference really. I would advise using either bullet or square nodes for everything but the arches. The 2812B 5v strip would work great for the arches. They make a 12v version with built in 5v-12v DC converter but its only cuttable every meter. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32313871852.html?storeId=701799&spm=2114.12010612.8148356.7.61092c9cx80S14 Boscoyo makes several products for Icicles. Heres one https://www.boscoyostudio.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=6&products_id=121 The Meanwell LRS350 is a great power supply and what many of us use. Sounds like you're on your way! Drop by chat and ask questions. Someone is usually lurking in there.
 

AAH

I love blinky lights :)
Community project designer
Joined
Dec 27, 2010
Messages
3,381
Location
Eaglehawk
I'm not a fan of 12V 2811 nodes as they use more than double the power for the same amount of light. If you want to go with 12V for the sake of not having to look after the power as much with power injection then the GS8208 pixel is a great alternative. It has lots going for it. It has a peak current of 18.5mA compared to WS2811 having a peak of 55.5mA. It has an inbuilt test mode so the lights will go and do their own thing if you haven't got the pixel controller sending out data. It has a data backup line which is designed to pass data to the next pixel if 1 fails and the final feature is something that I am yet to test myself. I am told that if 1 of the 3 coloured leds fails the 3 will all turn off which means you have an off pixel rather than 1 that shows up the wrong colour.
 

Kjax

New elf
Joined
Jul 15, 2019
Messages
11
F4v3 is a great little controller that you can expand in the future with a F4v3 differential expansion and two receivers if you need to. I have 4 of them and love them.
Great to hear :) That said, I'm already rethinking whether I need something larger...mostly because I realized that my indoor tree is right next to this window, so it would be easy to wire it up with pixels and combine the displays. I can already see how this hobby rapidly becomes addictive...

The 2812B 5v strip would work great for the arches. They make a 12v version with built in 5v-12v DC converter but its only cuttable every meter.
This is really helpful - thank you! I hadn't done a lot of digging into differences between the 281x pixels, but it definitely looks like the 2812B has advantages - just to make sure I understand, it sounds like there are differences into how many pixels can be controlled at once based on the number of LEDs and the number of ICs? Anyhow, I think 12V makes sense, and I have flexibility in how big the arches are, so cutting in increments of a meter should be fine.

Thank you!!
 

Kjax

New elf
Joined
Jul 15, 2019
Messages
11
I'm not a fan of 12V 2811 nodes as they use more than double the power for the same amount of light. If you want to go with 12V for the sake of not having to look after the power as much with power injection then the GS8208 pixel is a great alternative. It has lots going for it. It has a peak current of 18.5mA compared to WS2811 having a peak of 55.5mA. It has an inbuilt test mode so the lights will go and do their own thing if you haven't got the pixel controller sending out data. It has a data backup line which is designed to pass data to the next pixel if 1 fails and the final feature is something that I am yet to test myself. I am told that if 1 of the 3 coloured leds fails the 3 will all turn off which means you have an off pixel rather than 1 that shows up the wrong colour.
Wow, that seems like a crazy difference in power use. I'll definitely look into that. On a quick search, the main downside I can see is that there seem to be fewer options, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Also, the GS8208 strips don't seem to have the same power difference, at least in the specs. Though they're at least cuttable every LED.

As an engineer, I may end up buying a couple different types, just to test them out (although I can imagine that rapidly becoming impractical...)

By the way, GS8208 doesn't show up in ACL101 (although it's on the wiki) Too new maybe?

Thank you so much!
 

AAH

I love blinky lights :)
Community project designer
Joined
Dec 27, 2010
Messages
3,381
Location
Eaglehawk
Wow, that seems like a crazy difference in power use. I'll definitely look into that. On a quick search, the main downside I can see is that there seem to be fewer options, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Also, the GS8208 strips don't seem to have the same power difference, at least in the specs. Though they're at least cuttable every LED.

As an engineer, I may end up buying a couple different types, just to test them out (although I can imagine that rapidly becoming impractical...)

By the way, GS8208 doesn't show up in ACL101 (although it's on the wiki) Too new maybe?

Thank you so much!
The GS8206 and GS8208 are too new for the latest ACL101. They haven't been around that long and it was either 1 or 2 years ago that Ryan and I did the last 101 update. The GS8208 does have a lot going for it and I imagine it will eventually become quite popular. It's a bit more expensive than WS2811 and WS2812 but that's more than made up for by it's advantages in my opinion. It's connection method to the leds is a little strange compared to other styles but it does allow for the reduced current which is a big win.
 

abundy

Apprentice elf
Joined
Dec 27, 2011
Messages
52
Al, are the 8206,8208 based on the same protocol as 2811/12?
Or are they different. Reason I ask is that I have pixelite controllers and they can only do one protocol on the controller.
 

dkulp

Apprentice elf
Joined
Jan 2, 2013
Messages
62
Location
Framingham, MA
The automatic test pattern thing is a deal breaker for me. Otherwise I like the other aspects of the GS820x chips. Some controllers don't send any data out if there is no data to send. Those would definitely cause the LEDs to start there color cycle. (example: all Hats/Capes for Pi's and BBB's). I have some DMX controllers and floods that do that if the signal is lost. Drives me crazy. If a controller goes down, I'd rather have that part of my show stay dark than start doing random butterfly effects or whatever.
 

AAH

I love blinky lights :)
Community project designer
Joined
Dec 27, 2010
Messages
3,381
Location
Eaglehawk
The protocol is the same/equivalent to WS2811.

From datasheet. It's a bit Chinglish
Internal control patterns
GS8208 gets into RGB test mode right after power on. If the device does not receive the external display data for a long time, the chip will go into the built built-in display pattern patterns mode. Pattern on a total of six categories of 32 series , including integral color jump,integral color gradient, meteors, waves, colorful gradient, color jump of water circulation.It is 10 minutes about about, and the image refresh frequency is 100 hz.
Under the internal display mode, the first chip’s SDI/SDI2 needs to be connected to GND.
 

drakky

Full Time elf
Joined
Dec 2, 2012
Messages
395
The automatic test pattern thing is a deal breaker for me. Otherwise I like the other aspects of the GS820x chips. Some controllers don't send any data out if there is no data to send. Those would definitely cause the LEDs to start there color cycle. (example: all Hats/Capes for Pi's and BBB's). I have some DMX controllers and floods that do that if the signal is lost. Drives me crazy. If a controller goes down, I'd rather have that part of my show stay dark than start doing random butterfly effects or whatever.
I'd have to agree with Daniel
 

Kjax

New elf
Joined
Jul 15, 2019
Messages
11
All - thank you again for the help!

For anyone who is interested (as well as for my own history keeping), here's what I ended up going with. I decided to go 12V but experiment a bit with some different protocols based on what I learned in this thread:

12V WS2812B strip: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32313871852.html
12V WS2811 pixels: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32599191945.html
12V GS8208 pixels: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32876963386.html
12V WS2811 icicles: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32310871722.html
12V WS2811 floodlight: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32827247145.html

I also ordered some waterproof pigtail connectors, and a cheap tester for the WS2811 and WS2812B strings/strips (https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1993970620.html).

Beyond that, I've got my 12V 350W Meanwell power supply on order from Amazon Prime (along with a soldering iron). And I've got an F4V3 controller on order, but it looks to be backordered at the moment.

Now begins the waiting! (And sequencing while I wait!)
 
Top