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View Full Version : Matrix build - is there a matrix wiki entry? :)



rjchu
12-27-2013, 10:41 PM
I have 5 large palms each that I currently cover with 2400 mini lights. This looks nice but it's heavy, prone to string failures, etc etc etc. I'm planning on building a new 'rig' of sorts for next year. Each tree will have three corocanes on it going up the length of the tree and have a matrix of some size (right now I'm thinking 2'x4' or 10x20 pixels) at the very top so that I can display messages, graphics, and sweep effects from one tree to the next. The thing I'm trying to figure out is, how do I plan the layout of the matrices from a controller perspective. I was originally planning on having an E6804 controller for each tree and running the three corocanes as one 'string' of pixels off of one output port and possibly running some pixel stars as a second string off a second port on the same controller. The question is, can/should I run 200 or even 400 pixels off of a single port/output on an E6804? I know it's possible since I'm currently doing this with 450 pixels (3 flex strips) on a single E6804 along my lower roofline but I've also noticed in the E6804 configuration webpage that the refresh rate is fairly low as a result....though I haven't observed any refresh issues on the pixels themselves.

It'll work, but is it advisable to run higher pixel counts off a single port or should I split the matrix across two (or more ports)?

Thanks,

-joni-

Macrosill
12-28-2013, 08:44 AM
There is no Matrix wiki page. Maybe you could start one and add to it throughout your Matrix adventure? Hint hint, wink wink.

ronp5683
12-28-2013, 01:53 PM
I built two matrix displays last year 20x16. If your displays are up separate trees, I would recommend using RS-485 to drive the pixel data.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtcHOCe2EzPl5sUIH-nFQXw

Your best bet to get an idea of how to lay them out is to use xlights/nutcracker. After you define your matrix in your show model, there is a tab to display the node layout.

Ron

rjchu
12-29-2013, 02:31 AM
I built two matrix displays last year 20x16. If your displays are up separate trees, I would recommend using RS-485 to drive the pixel data.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtcHOCe2EzPl5sUIH-nFQXw

Your best bet to get an idea of how to lay them out is to use xlights/nutcracker. After you define your matrix in your show model, there is a tab to display the node layout.

Ron

I was thinking of getting some pegboard and using that to play with various spacing as I could zip tie the pixels via the peg holes. The final product will probably be coro with 1/2" square sticks for reinforcement to keep it lightweight.

Re the comment about RS485, why? I have E6804's that I connect via wifi/Ethernet bridges. Any reason that wouldn't work well?

Brian, wink wink acknowledged. ;)

Thanks,

-joni-

ronp5683
12-29-2013, 11:14 PM
Re the comment about RS485, why? I have E6804's that I connect via wifi/Ethernet bridges. Any reason that wouldn't work well?



If you look at the back of my display, there is only a power supply and an RS-485 receiver (dual for two universes). This reduces the cost of the sign, since I can just run an Ethernet cable to the back of the display for control of the pixels. You can do the same thing with the Sandevices controller with RS-485 buffers/receivers. My point is that it costs you more money to put a controller and wifi bridge with each sign, when you could have a $5 receiver board running the sign. With 12 universe available on the Sandevices, each could drive six 2 universe signs, or my controller driving 16 signs.

rjchu
01-24-2014, 03:32 PM
Ok, so I finally got around to starting to play with this and I like Ron's sizing of 20x16 so I'm going to start there.

I also opted not to go with pegboard for prototyping because all the zip-ties or taping would be a pain. I remembered I had a few extra wire shelves in the garage and it turns out, they're the PERFECT size to hold the square pixels in place. Here are some pictures of the first test run with just half of the pixels in. I'll do the other half and then see how I like it, this spacing is looking pretty good so far so I might not need to take a second stab at it but at least I know my test rig serves its purpose and allows for easy and fast reconfiguration should I want to play with other spacings. Once done I plan on putting them into holes drill in coro.

22852

22853

Thanks,

-joni-

Electrified3
01-24-2014, 04:00 PM
Matrix test on a pegboard was VERY Easy!! I made one up to test spacing, used a unibit to drill them out to the pixel size, just popped them in, no wire ties, tape needed. Had it built and running in less than 2 hrs. This first test was 2" x 2" spacing (2'x4') with 12 x 24 pixels installed. For what I am looking for it was too far apart, but here it is with #10 Bold Times New Roman digits displayed as well.

Can get plastic and metal pegboard now as well which would be suitable to go outdoors as well.

Electrified3
01-24-2014, 05:22 PM
If it helps at all, here is an excel sheet I made up to map out pixels for fonts/sizes based on a model I tested with in post above. I was modelling it to display a countdown, DDd HHh MMm SSs. In the option tab I had broken it out to try to reduce the overall length but be able to display all of those characters in a #9 or #10 Bold Font by mapping the day to the top and hours, minutes seconds below it.

Might help if trying to figure out how big to make a matrix to display text.

It is not perfect but could be a start point, would be great if we could create a collaborated one with things others have done and experimented with as a reference for building a matrix.

rjchu
01-24-2014, 06:04 PM
I

It is not perfect but could be a start point, would be great if we could create a collaborated one with things others have done and experimented with as a reference for building a matrix.

I agree. Glad the pegboard worked out so nicely for you. As I said, I had the shelves already and was too lazy to make the trip to Home Depot. :) The pegboard results in your post look like it could actually be your final solution!

Thanks,

-joni-

FIRECOP252
01-24-2014, 07:33 PM
I am also in the process of starting to build mine. I bought black coro for the pixels but I am wondering if anyone has any experience with black vs white coro. Which one would look better ie glow on the white vs the not as much on the black. Anyone mess with the different colors and have any advice. Thanks.

Electrified and Joni thanks for the info and pics. As soon as I start playing with the build of mine(maybe tomorrow) i will try to get some pics up so it might benefit us all. I am going to be doing 1.5" spacing.

Electrified3
01-25-2014, 07:04 PM
Okay, had some time to do some playing today, tore down the 2" x 2" matrix and rebuilt to 1" x 1" (25 x 18 pixel) matrix today, here are some pictures of it. 18" height, 25" width (a little more with extra width and length I left on the pegboard for wiring and so forth) 9 strings of 5 VDC bullet style pixels, standard 4 3/4" spacing. Believe me it is a nightmare of wiring and weighs a ton! Think my thought of doing it this way is going out the window and strips are the best choice for what I am doing!! FYI I am trying to create "phenomes" to do animated faces with.

Here are just some shots front and back of the matrix. I also did a quick test with 2 rows of text at #8 Bold font, attached it as well.

Electrified3
01-25-2014, 07:11 PM
Started to try to figure out facial expression and phenomes today, this will take "ALOT" of work from what I found out today!!

Uploaded wrong pics, see next post

Electrified3
01-25-2014, 07:13 PM
Oops, picked wrong pictures from above

ronp5683
01-25-2014, 08:30 PM
I am thinking of doing a tune to sign out of these for next year. The cost per pixel is way lower than using the normal pixels, but the pitch is really small. With my $50 controller I can do 16x128 or 32x64 for a sign. I will probably do 16x64 for my tune to sign, which I figure will cost under $100.

Also, Xlights/Nutcracker is really nice to experiment with different sign sizes.

http://www.aliexpress.com/item/10mm-pixel-full-color-module-indoor-semi-outdoor-hub-75-1-8-scan-320-160mm-32/524672520.html

Electrified3
01-25-2014, 08:53 PM
I am thinking of doing a tune to sign out of these for next year. The cost per pixel is way lower than using the normal pixels, but the pitch is really small. With my $50 controller I can do 16x128 or 32x64 for a sign. I will probably do 16x64 for my tune to sign, which I figure will cost under $100.

Also, Xlights/Nutcracker is really nice to experiment with different sign sizes.

http://www.aliexpress.com/item/10mm-pixel-full-color-module-indoor-semi-outdoor-hub-75-1-8-scan-320-160mm-32/524672520.html

Let us know how you make out, it would really help to put some pictures up as well when you get testing with it. Think the big point we are after is sharing information to develop a bit of something to help newbies into pixel matrices with.

I think alot of people are trying to understand a matrix and how to best build them for their needs, there are so many options and ways that it is a very confusing display to consider.

In what I am doing, it is "phenomes" which is dramatically different than text but is closer to effects. Most building for text also would like effects. Some building tune to signs also want to do more than just display a radio station. There are a bazillion options and capabilities and alot of people want to build something versatile within their budgets that can have more purpose then just display text.

So it all comes down to what you want. Might want to determine if your $100 option gives you those options or if you are just a tune to sign, is it role specific or versatile. I think these are alot of the questions out there and would be good to collaborate it together so new comers can learn from what others have done, what the options available are and help them determine their best direction to take for what they want to achieve.

Let us know how you make out, pictures and descriptions are a great help.

Christmasgeek
01-25-2014, 09:30 PM
Electrifried, once you have the animation figured out for mouths it can become addictive especially when people go how did you do that !!
Joe's done an awesome job with it!

Gary

Electrified3
01-25-2014, 09:55 PM
Electrifried, once you have the animation figured out for mouths it can become addictive especially when people go how did you do that !!
Joe's done an awesome job with it!

Gary

Gary,

This is definitely challenging to say the least, I have a new respect for everyone who has done this before. I am trying to apply it in a method using papagayo as the basis but it is tough to say the least. I managed to get about 5 facial expressions today, but overlapping them seems to be my challenge right now, integrating 10-12 phenomes that overlap each other is crazy. Now that I have a test matrix on and can apply them and test them should help alot. Looks like you need to integrate phenomes into others, so all phenomes build off of the smallest element, so your smallest display is a "piece" of your largest display, will be a challenge, but I like a challenge.

I am working on developing all my phenomes in excel to my images now then pile them on each other to determine their interaction to each other. This will be definately a long adventure but the end effect should be awesome, that "How did you do that" will make it all worthwhile!

If anyone else has advise on developing phenomes I am all ears, after my testing today I am realizing how tough this can be!!

Electrified3
01-25-2014, 10:09 PM
I am thinking of doing a tune to sign out of these for next year. The cost per pixel is way lower than using the normal pixels, but the pitch is really small. With my $50 controller I can do 16x128 or 32x64 for a sign. I will probably do 16x64 for my tune to sign, which I figure will cost under $100.

Also, Xlights/Nutcracker is really nice to experiment with different sign sizes.

http://www.aliexpress.com/item/10mm-pixel-full-color-module-indoor-semi-outdoor-hub-75-1-8-scan-320-160mm-32/524672520.html

Was just looking at your link, is that matrix 32x32 - 128mm x 128mm? That is like 5" x 5", if so you would need about 18 of those to get to 25" x 18", but have incredible pixel resolution, like 160 x 160, but also pay over $700 for that size plus shipping, then need to make it weatherproof unless I am missing something there? Looks like something to play with though!!

Christmasgeek
01-25-2014, 10:43 PM
Posts:198Post Thanks / Like ::::


Default Re: Matrix build - is there a matrix wiki entry? :)








Quote Originally Posted by Christmasgeek View Post

Electrifried, once you have the animation figured out for mouths it can become addictive especially when people go how did you do that !!
Joe's done an awesome job with it!

Gary
Gary,

This is definitely challenging to say the least, I have a new respect for everyone who has done this before. I am trying to apply it in a method using papagayo as the basis but it is tough to say the least. I managed to get about 5 facial expressions today, but overlapping them seems to be my challenge right now, integrating 10-12 phenomes that overlap each other is crazy. Now that I have a test matrix on and can apply them and test them should help alot. Looks like you need to integrate phenomes into others, so all phenomes build off of the smallest element, so your smallest display is a "piece" of your largest display, will be a challenge, but I like a challenge.

I am working on developing all my phenomes in excel to my images now then pile them on each other to determine their interaction to each other. This will be definately a long adventure but the end effect should be awesome, that "How did you do that" will make it all worthwhile!

If anyone else has advise on developing phenomes I am all ears, after my testing today I am realizing how tough this can be!!



I can try and help, as I posted video of a singing mega tree and I am currently working on a Halloween animation w/ 4 synced pumpkins, all 4 coming in at different times and a big monster singing solo all to Bohemian Rhaspody.

I found it easier when figuring mouth positions and channel assignment, I plot it out on a dot matrix graph I made (make lots of blank copies before using if you try it, for me the left side is you pixel the bottom is the string, this allows me to draw a face, assign the pixel channels (I write them on the paper for easy reference). I know Joe talks about how to modify the DSP but personally I run the audio at 3/4 and pause at the start of the word, start again, I don't stretch out the words (which requires listening again, actually I probably listen to the song way way more then I need but I like the mouth to move as close to sync as possible) until I he them in their start place. Just seems to work a bit easier at least for me.

Again any help I can offer ask away

Gary

FIRECOP252
01-26-2014, 12:54 AM
I didnt get a whole lot done today but i did load 50 nodes in a peice of black coro and power them up to see what they look like . Heres a couple of pics in 1.5" spacing
http://img.tapatalk.com/d/14/01/26/u7a5u6er.jpg
http://img.tapatalk.com/d/14/01/26/evagemud.jpg

somewhere in the Show Me state

FIRECOP252
01-26-2014, 12:55 AM
Here is one with them powered
http://img.tapatalk.com/d/14/01/26/da3epure.jpg

somewhere in the Show Me state

ronp5683
01-26-2014, 01:11 AM
So if you are doing animations on your display there is a good free software that you can use. You can import the pictures into your show using picture in nutcracker.


http://www.humanbalance.net/gale/us/

Electrified3
01-26-2014, 05:58 PM
Had a little time today to play with the matrix, defined a few eye rolls and blinks as well as the basic phenomes for text animation. Not sync'd to any sound yet, still playing with the phenomes to get them where I am happy with them. Sorry the video is moving around a bit, left it at 100% brightness so had to stand way back and zoom in to video it.

Just a start, a long way to go, but thought I would share my progress so far. Have a few more phenomes to put in and tune the others then start looking at timing and sequencing, but is a rough idea of where I am heading, still not sure if 1" x 1" will work for what I want or if I need to tighten it up even more yet. Also can clearly see I haven't done any power injection yet but needs that as well.

Here is the video, let me know what you think.

https://vimeo.com/85101943

toozie21
01-28-2014, 09:29 PM
I built two matrix displays last year 20x16. If your displays are up separate trees, I would recommend using RS-485 to drive the pixel data.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtcHOCe2EzPl5sUIH-nFQXw

Your best bet to get an idea of how to lay them out is to use xlights/nutcracker. After you define your matrix in your show model, there is a tab to display the node layout.

Ron

(sorry for the slight hijacking)
Ron, what did you import into NC for your pictures? Were those sprites you drew yourself?

ronp5683
01-29-2014, 03:53 PM
Started out using MS paint and just importing the pictures.

I actually ended up doing a song with over 200 pictures last year. So I found sprite editor and used this to generate all of the pictures. It would be nice if nutcracker could import the native file instead of putting over 200 pictures into the sequence one at a time.

http://www.humanbalance.net/gale/us/

OriginalHotrodder
01-29-2014, 06:30 PM
I think it. looks good Electrified3. Great animation.

Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk

dmoore
03-06-2014, 09:01 PM
Here is a blog article I put up about general issues to consider on Matrix builds:

http://blog.holidaycoro.com/2013/12/factors-to-consider-when-designing-rgb.html