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Thread: New 2018 setup -- Falcon or ESPixel?

  1. #1
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    Default New 2018 setup -- Falcon or ESPixel?

    I wasn't able to execute for 2017 so I'm continuing to plan for 2018. I have not yet purchased a controller and originally was planning on using Falcon (I have a ton of CAT6 on hand from building my house). However, I have a numer of lengthy runs and wanted to avoid signal voltage/signal drop and null pixels. So, I was thinking of using ESPixel for those long runs but then started considering whether I should just go all wireless and use ESPixel exclusively (about 40 of them, but not all maxed out). Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Last edited by kazanjig; 11-14-2017 at 05:41 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: New 2018 setup -- Falcon or ESPixel?

    The following is my opinion and the guidelines I use to lay out my show. Your milage may vary.

    The ESPixel sticks are great but suffer from one significant drawback: They use WiFi. As a medium, WiFi is subject to a wide variety of negative factors that are not present for CAT6 connected controllers. It is good for those places where wires are not practical, but for the bulk of the show, I use wired connections at Gig speeds. You can use smaller controllers like the F4 for sparse areas and the F16 for dense areas. NULL pixels implemented using buffer drivers or super long runs using the RS485 based pixel extenders do a good job of fanning out from central controllers.

    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.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: New 2018 setup -- Falcon or ESPixel?

    I was hoping to run everything from a single F16 for budget purposes rather than having multiple smaller controllers running simultaneously. That's what leads to some of the longer runs.

    I'm also concerned with how long the CAT6 will last exposed to the elements and the potential for critters. I understand the inherent signal issues with WiFi, but I also see wireless as eliminating a significant source of failure: wires. Presuming a solid WiFi signal, my hope was that ESPixel would be an elegant solution because I already have AC power run to the locations where I would start my strings (i.e., I could place power supplies locally).


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  4. #4
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    Default Re: New 2018 setup -- Falcon or ESPixel?

    My vote is Falcon with the majority of diff boards and Espixel for a few small out of the way props.


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  5. #5
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    Default Re: New 2018 setup -- Falcon or ESPixel?

    Mine is on the fifth season and going strong. I bought the good stuff.

    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.

  6. #6
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    Default New 2018 setup -- Falcon or ESPixel?

    Quote Originally Posted by MartinMueller2003 View Post
    Mine is on the fifth season and going strong. I bought the good stuff.
    What are you using?

    Edit: Nevermind, presume your using Falcon based on your previous reply.


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  7. #7
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    Default Re: New 2018 setup -- Falcon or ESPixel?

    I have three F16s, two ESPs, two PX1s, one Ren64, Two Ren8s and three Raspberry PIs. Two four port network hubs and a WiFi media box for access to my home network. None of the cables are up all year so they only get sun from September through January. I did damage one cable digging it out of the ice but I would not consider that a cable failure.

    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.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: New 2018 setup -- Falcon or ESPixel?

    Quote Originally Posted by MartinMueller2003 View Post
    I have three F16s, two ESPs, two PX1s, one Ren64, Two Ren8s and three Raspberry PIs. Two four port network hubs and a WiFi media box for access to my home network. None of the cables are up all year so they only get sun from September through January. I did damage one cable digging it out of the ice but I would not consider that a cable failure.
    Wow, that must be a complicated setup. This will be a completely new display for 2018, first one ever. 100% pixels, so that's why I was hoping to go all wireless. In all, 4000-5000 pixels across ~15 ESPixels so I figured it should work. Looking at the video of 720 pixels on one ESPixel, I think my biggest issue will be throughout on the wireless access point. But even then, we're not talking about a lot of data and there shouldn't be any issues with collisions.

    Anyone want to go in on a medium run off ESPixel Pops from OSHPark? 90 for ~$112.


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  9. #9
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    Default Re: New 2018 setup -- Falcon or ESPixel?

    14000 pixels. I do not fill all of the ports on each F16. I currently have 40% excess capacity. If one controller died I could shift the show to use fewer controllers.

    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.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: New 2018 setup -- Falcon or ESPixel?

    I have 2 F16 w/ 4 remote boards and 2 682's and a few T24's. I like the F16 becuase you can run the remote boards to long runs from the main controller. I use cheaper 682 for mega trees. I plan on getting a new F16/v3 and letting my kid have a falcon for their house.

    Long story short I think the Falcon is best if you have the $200, if you want to start cheaper and have the skills to build the 682 that's where I started.

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