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Thread: Since Nutcracker has become real, I want pixels!

  1. #1
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    Default Since Nutcracker has become real, I want pixels!

    OK, so this great app shows up. It makes pixel megatrees look so easy. I don't have pixels, so I have tons of questions and since this is a How Do I part of the list, I'm asking all of the questions at once.

    What's a "standard" number of strands (meaning spacing between strands) on a megatree when using pixels? Let's assume a ten foot tree for now. This would give me an cost estimate just for the lights. There also must be a standard way of assigning addresses for each pixel, I'm guessing. For instance, pixel one is probably next to pixel two, but is it the next one down or the next one over? For Nutcracker to work, I'm guessing it has to know this.

    What's a good selection for hardware to do this? I'm still hoping to understand how to get from a pc running Vixen to a lit pixel on a display in my front yard. There seems to be a few standard boards but I think I'm confusing protocol and hardware nomenclature. Pictures and/or diagrams are always helpful to us really old farts. I'm not asking about the little controller chips on the pixel strings here, but the boards I'd use to connect the pixels to and the device needed to get the signal from the pc to next piece of hardware. Hence my hardware cost estimate.

    It's expensive, at least for my current budget, and there doesn't seem to be a true DIY solution anywhere. There are build-yourself boards and pixel strings that I can cut and connect, but again, recommendations or examples of what others have used might be nice. It's probably not something I can "experiment" with and buy different hardware over and over.

    I know there's a wiki started somewhere on this, or at least it was supposed to be started. I've not looked real hard yet, but I will. So please, pictures, videos, and diagrams of complete solutions that have already been done.

    Once I get the hang of it, I can start venturing into something that might not be "standard", but for now, I'd really just like to get a working model.

    Thanks as always.
    Last edited by Blackbeard; 03-16-2012 at 08:52 AM.
    steve_

    [I]I really enjoy being in the over-60 age group. I can get grumpy, assertive, and opinionated and not feel too guilty about it.[/I]

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Since Nutcracker has become real, I want pixels!

    How I costed mine for about a 12ft to 13ft tree with a good covering of pixels (Electrical items only the tree stand / frame and wires are not included).

    Pixels:
    42 per strand * 32 strands = 1344 pixels / 50 (qty sold in) = 27 strands.
    http://www.aliexpress.com/fm-store/7...ull-color.html = $26.32 / strand * 27 strands = $710.64 + shipping.

    Power supply:
    Pixels require 0.06A * 1344 pixels = 80A.
    http://www.aliexpress.com/fm-store/7...-approved.html will do 40A so = $20.21 *2 = $40.42 + shipping.

    Connectors:
    32 pairs (can miss out if you want).
    http://www.aliexpress.com/fm-store/7...nd-female.html = $0.86 * 32 = $27.52 + shipping.

    Hardware pixel controller (or protocol converter):
    http://www.sandevices.com/E681info.html will run 680 pixels so 2 needed = $109 (in kit form) * 2 = $218.00 + shipping.

    The ideas, software, and help and support of DIYC. = Priceless.

    So $710.64 + $40.42 + $27.52 + $218.00 = $996.58 + estimate of about $200 for shipping = $1200
    You can save on that – don’t use connectors – use the E680 – only have the front half of the tree (halves the price)– make the tree shorter – etc.

    The 'Color Motions Tree' thread (in the mega trees forum) has some good discussion on fixing methods for the pixels. Hope that gives you something to work with.

    Note: These are examples of equipment and devices to give you an idea of costs. There are alternatives to all the items that I have listed – some of which I’m sure will be better suited to your application. I don’t advise ordering the materials listed above tomorrow (but if you did you’d end up with a nice tree).
    Last edited by Barnabybear; 03-16-2012 at 11:23 AM. Reason: note added.
    2 X E681 running 8 universes of 3001s as a 32s x 42p mega tree or a 96s x 14p matrix hanging from my guttering.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Since Nutcracker has become real, I want pixels!

    Thanks, that's basically what I was looking for.

    BTW, I've revisited the wiki and there seems to be a lot more in there than a short while back. It's getting better and I found a lot of info there.
    steve_

    [I]I really enjoy being in the over-60 age group. I can get grumpy, assertive, and opinionated and not feel too guilty about it.[/I]

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    Default Re: Since Nutcracker has become real, I want pixels!

    Quote Originally Posted by Barnabybear View Post
    How I costed mine for about a 12ft to 13ft tree with a good covering of pixels (Electrical items only the tree stand / frame and wires are not included).

    Pixels:
    42 per strand * 32 strands = 1344 pixels / 50 (qty sold in) = 27 strands.
    http://www.aliexpress.com/fm-store/7...ull-color.html = $26.32 / strand * 27 strands = $710.64 + shipping.

    Power supply:
    Pixels require 0.06A * 1344 pixels = 80A.
    http://www.aliexpress.com/fm-store/7...-approved.html will do 40A so = $20.21 *2 = $40.42 + shipping.

    Connectors:
    32 pairs (can miss out if you want).
    http://www.aliexpress.com/fm-store/7...nd-female.html = $0.86 * 32 = $27.52 + shipping.

    Hardware pixel controller (or protocol converter):
    http://www.sandevices.com/E681info.html will run 680 pixels so 2 needed = $109 (in kit form) * 2 = $218.00 + shipping.

    The ideas, software, and help and support of DIYC. = Priceless.

    So $710.64 + $40.42 + $27.52 + $218.00 = $996.58 + estimate of about $200 for shipping = $1200
    You can save on that – don’t use connectors – use the E680 – only have the front half of the tree (halves the price)– make the tree shorter – etc.

    The 'Color Motions Tree' thread (in mega trees) has some good discussion on fixing methods for the pixels. Hope that gives you something to work with.

    I plan on building my Tree using RJ's controlers. http://www.diylightanimation.com/wik...#Smart_Strings

    I believe i am going to get 16 strings with 128 pixels each. I will also only build the front half of the tree this year to save money and i will fold each string in a UP/DOWN next

    RJ's smart string controllers last year were about $11 for each string

    16x$11=$176


    RJ has a DMX hub that is DMX in and his protocol out. One hub supports 16 strings.
    1x$49=$49
    Here is link to the coop they an last year for the smart string controller and hub. http://diylightanimation.com/index.php?topic=4408.0


    I have ordered his Pixelnet EtherDongle , E1.31 DMX ethernet controller, Coop was here http://diylightanimation.com/index.php?topic=7866.0

    1x$93

    The RGB strings come from Ray Wu in China
    25ct: $15 http://www.aliexpress.com/fm-store/7...odel-IP68.html
    50ct: $28 http://www.aliexpress.com/fm-store/7...odel-IP68.html
    75ct: $43 http://www.aliexpress.com/fm-store/7...odel-IP68.html
    100ct: $56 http://www.aliexpress.com/fm-store/7...odel-IP68.html
    128ct: $70 http://www.aliexpress.com/fm-store/7...odel-IP68.html

    16 strings x 1280 ct = $1120
    Shipping for 16 strings
    16 x $26 = $416. This is taking the single shipping price times the quantity. I have been told Ray reduces shippign when you order a lot, i am going to guess in half? so call
    shipping $200.

    You need one ATX PC Power supply to plug into the hub. In RJ's design he drives with 12V , so you dont need to inject power into this long string.
    I think these are around $20

    Also , everything connects with RJ11 connectors.
    I need 20-30 RJ11 connectors, haven't looked them up

    for cases
    The smart string controllers are inserted into thin wall PVC pipe with end caps on them
    E!.31 ethernet controller and 16 port hub needs a case, i havent looke dthem up

    This tree , folded is going to be 15' high, 8' wide.
    It is roughly
    $176+49+93+1120+$200+20 + 50(guess on cases and connectors) = $1708

    I did mention i wanted to have a tree, that uses less hardware, but still cool effects
    The above tree is 16x128 folded to give 32x64. And using those for only half a tree means i will model a 64x64 dense tree and only activate the front half.

    Now lets try only a 2x128 string tree.
    Lets fold each string 8 times with 16 pixels in each fold (i call this the strand of the tree)

    First the cost

    $22+49+93+140+$50+20 + 40 (guess on cases and connectors) = $414

    This would give me a half tree that is 16 strands x 16 pixels

    How big would this two string be? 46"

    So for about $400 = 4' tree
    $1700 = 16' tree

    Pick how much money you can afford and build that the first year.

    So for our 4' tree






    [img]http://meighan.net/nutcracker/effects/workspaces/2/AMINITREE+GARLAND0_MINI.gif[img]


    Maybe someone could size and cost this tree using Renard or other controller hardware.

    thanks
    Last edited by smeighan; 03-16-2012 at 01:25 PM.
    Sean
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    Default Re: Since Nutcracker has become real, I want pixels!

    Quote Originally Posted by Barnabybear View Post

    So $710.64 + $40.42 + $27.52 + $218.00 = $996.58 + estimate of about $200 for shipping = $1200
    If Mrs. Dirk ever found out that I was planning to spend that much money on a single display element, whether it was "really, really cool" or not, when I came home from the office the next day I would find that the garage door opener had been reprogrammed and the locks to the house changed.

    www.diychristmas.org

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    Default Re: Since Nutcracker has become real, I want pixels!

    Quote Originally Posted by dirknerkle View Post
    If Mrs. Dirk ever found out that I was planning to spend that much money on a single display element, whether it was "really, really cool" or not, when I came home from the office the next day I would find that the garage door opener had been reprogrammed and the locks to the house changed.

    Let me know when that day is, I think I might be able to pick up a lot of good deals in the following yard sales! I'll let everyone else know after I leave.
    www.diyledexpress.com

    Backup your sequences and sync them to multiple computers with Dropbox.

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    Default Re: Since Nutcracker has become real, I want pixels!

    Thats 2/3 ways - i think it's safe to estimate that a 32 strand tree @ 4" pixel spacing is about $100 per foot (ok there is a minimum cost - you can't do a 1 foot tree for $100).
    If you only do a half tree (the front half) the cost halves to $50 per foot.
    2 X E681 running 8 universes of 3001s as a 32s x 42p mega tree or a 96s x 14p matrix hanging from my guttering.

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    Default Re: Since Nutcracker has become real, I want pixels!

    Quote Originally Posted by dirknerkle View Post
    If Mrs. Dirk ever found out that I was planning to spend that much money on a single display element, whether it was "really, really cool" or not, when I came home from the office the next day I would find that the garage door opener had been reprogrammed and the locks to the house changed.

    Geez, you've got more than that tied up in X-Bee's alone................

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    Default Re: Since Nutcracker has become real, I want pixels!

    Quote Originally Posted by rstehle View Post
    Geez, you've got more than that tied up in X-Bee's alone................
    SHHHHHH!!!
    www.diychristmas.org

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    Default Re: Since Nutcracker has become real, I want pixels!

    Quote Originally Posted by dirknerkle View Post
    If Mrs. Dirk ever found out that I was planning to spend that much money on a single display element, whether it was "really, really cool" or not, when I came home from the office the next day I would find that the garage door opener had been reprogrammed and the locks to the house changed.

    My wife would do the same to me, so far I've stuck to incandescent bulbs

    David

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