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  1. #1
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    Default Underground Null Pixels

    Hello everybody! I've a first time poster though I've been on the threads for over a year now. I have an unusual lighting display that is setup in my 3 acre backyard. It involves 250 Pixels, moving lights, and fog machines. I use two easypix controllers and 3 USB dongles connected to Vixen to run the show.

    Now for the problem. Because of the long distances between trees and bushes (where the pixel strands are), I bury the cables and null pixels underground. Every once in a while and becoming more often, I get a nasty flicker and color change throughout all of the pixels on a particular strand. The flicker seems to reflect a signal issue. My thought is that water is screwing with the underground connections of the null pixels (which are soldered and heat shrunk). Am I missing something or does that sound right to everybody else?

    Thanks,

    Ben

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Underground Null Pixels

    You stated that they were soldered and heat shrunk. What kind of heat shrink?
    "Never Give Up. Never Surrender!"
    Capt Tagert - Galaxy Quest.
    Al Gerdes - Christmas Lighting Nut!

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Underground Null Pixels

    That is a great question. I didn't know there were different types of heatshrink! I have a variety pack with different sizes of tubing. It was the cheapest stuff I could find at the hardware store.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Underground Null Pixels

    There are several types of heat shrink, 2:1, 3:1, 4:1. Plain and Adhesive Lined. Single Wall and Double Wall. For an underground application I would recommend a good quality 3:1 Adhesive Lined Heat Shrink. First, solder and heat shrink each conductor using 1/8", then cover all of the conductors with a long piece of 3/8". Be sure that the Pixels you are using are waterproof also. (RobG's Null Pixel/Pixel Extender would be a great way to go) That should solve your issues.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Underground Null Pixels

    Thank you! I will try the new heat shrink this weekend and let you know how that goes. Of course all of the connections are important, but I'm assuming the Data connection is the one I should pay the closest attention to? The flickering would normally get better if I touched the wires, which made me wonder if there's a grounding issue. The pixels I'm using for repeating are the holidaycoro rectangle modules, which I believe are waterproof. I suppose I could throw some extra silicone on them to be sure.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Underground Null Pixels

    You would be better off using the pixel buffers. They draw less current and have better drive characteristics. And yes, if touching the wires makes the issue stop then you most likely have a loose connection or a ground problem. Put the pixel buffer or null pixel in a small pill bottle and fill the open end that has the wires with silicon.

    2017 adding 2 more candy canes, 7 Mid trees and a Halloween show. Removing most 2812 strips and replacing them with bullet pixel mounting strips. Replacing many buck converter waterproof bags with printed boxes.

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  8. #7
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    Default Re: Underground Null Pixels

    I would use a 4 or 6" peace of 1/2" PVC with end caps and wire coming out of both ends with Silicone
    KEEP HI AND DRY

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  10. #8
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    Default Re: Underground Null Pixels

    Quote Originally Posted by bob81354 View Post
    I would use a 4 or 6" peace of 1/2" PVC with end caps and wire coming out of both ends with Silicone
    Never got to use my Pixel Show, but this is what I'm doing for Pixel Garden Lighting.

    Another technique I have used with other waterproof connections is to fill the heat shrink with silicone before shrinking.
    No display again in 2016
    Just too much going on to get things going the way I want. So continuing the hiatus
    www.ChristmasInKentucky.com[/SIZE][/FONT]

  11. #9
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    Default Re: Underground Null Pixels

    Many of us are converts to adhesive lined shrink tubing. If it goes outside, in any form, it gets adhesive.

    In cases where submersion is a possibility (laying on the ground where water could be involved), I double up the shrink tubing. The outer layer covering more area than the inner. Not sure how the double wall would do in comparison.

    One thing that we haven't done yet is to bury a shrunk connection.

    Any real life examples would be welcome.

    FYI- The suggestion to use a physical covering, such as the pill bottles, is a very good idea. This is how I used to do it and it worked great. The only problem I ever ran into was if the seal was cracked for any reason (such as shallow burial, and big feet crossing the yard).
    "Never Give Up. Never Surrender!"
    Capt Tagert - Galaxy Quest.
    Al Gerdes - Christmas Lighting Nut!

  12. #10
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    Default Re: Underground Null Pixels

    OR you could convert to a controller that is made for the application.. something like the Pixlite Long Range with receiver boards.. then you can do what you want to do without nulls.

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