Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 17

Thread: So much information! Hoping for a little direction on my project.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Posts
    8
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default So much information! Hoping for a little direction on my project.

    Hi everyone, I'm brand new and need a helping hand to point me in the right direction. I've been reading and there is so much information I am having trouble figuring out where I need to start and what I can maybe ignore for the moment as I work towards a design. I'm looking for some focus and hoping you can provide a little to get me started. I have experience with computer programming, soldering/electronics, home electrical, welding, woodworking etc... DIY is kind of my life.

    My project is a house outline, well just the roof line. I am hoping to use 8-12mm node pixels for individual pixel color control for static lighting display at Halloween and Christmas. I am considering mounting the pixels to aluminum extrusion just under the fascia boards (protected from weather) keeping the bulb portion visible but hiding everything else. The ability to chase, blink, fade, or produce other patterns is of interest as well but my main goal is permanent lighting that is mostly invisible during off season and the ability to change the light colors as desired for different holidays. I have about 500 feet of roof line in total with maybe 100 feet that is optional as it isn't terribly visible from the street. Once I have an idea where to start for materials and complexity I'll get my design started with the roof line.

    Is there a thread where someone has tackled a project such as this? I'm reading between work and chores but am finding a ton of information that is a bit overwhelming and I need to ground myself a bit so I can find a place to start. The Wiki and starting guides are great as well but also, a lot of info all at once.

    Once I start my project I'll likely create a thread where I can share my experiences and design step by step. I enjoy sharing what I have learned.

    Thanks! I'm searching and reading, I swear!

    Darren
    Last edited by dagmandt; 10-18-2019 at 10:51 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Sauk City, WI USA
    Posts
    1,173
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: So much information! Hoping for a little direction on my project.

    Just my opinions based on your desire to get started. Nodes are great. WS2811 is the standard but there is constant change in our hobby and the lighting world. Plan for power to go along with the layout. Use 12v. 500 feet at 3" spacing is about 2000 pixels. If you decide to sync to music, 680 is good limit for a line. plan your layout with that in mind. Get a controller sized for your layout. In this case, you probably don't need more than 4 ouputs. If you want static lights, consider an arduino to start with. If you think you are going to do sync to music, get a controller that can handle e1.31 input.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Hudson MA
    Posts
    3,825
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: So much information! Hoping for a little direction on my project.

    Raspberry PI with a Pixel PI hat is a simple combination to set up for a first round. Much simpler to work with than an Arduino. FPP handles the Pixel Hat using built in functionality.


    2019 - Just moved into a new home (yet another change of plans). Will be dim but not dark. Too much to do at the new place to leave time for a show.
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyX...ttrsZNARkUce0Q

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Posts
    8
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: So much information! Hoping for a little direction on my project.

    Thanks to both of you for the info. I have some experience with using PI devices for running 3D printers etc. so I might be more comfortable starting there with the idea that if this goes well I can consider something more elaborate for the yard displays. As noted, I just want to get a simple outline going with minimal abilities and no music or anything. I like simple and clean so this will be a fun project that I could maybe expand later if I plan ahead and don't go too far down a hole that prevents expansion.

    I definitely don't want to limit the possibilities but currently only need simple functionality with the idea that if I want, I can add more whiz bang in the future. I'll have to read up on Pixel PI hat and what power needs I'll need. I have an aversion to visible wires so will need to get creative with power and signal wiring.

    What does FPP stand for? I'm looking in the glossary but don't see it. Also, should I consider diffused or not? I want good output and diffused sounds like it might mute that a bit but want to be sure.

    One of the things that is discouraging me is power injection. If I can only run 150ish pixels before more power must be injected I am having a hard time imagining how that can be done with my size home. I can't imagine how I can inject power every 35 feet without having a ton of PSUs all around my house. I haven't yet figured out how long the data can run before I need a null pixel to amplify the signal as well... reading.

    Thinking maybe I should buy a string of nodes and a PI and anything else needed to start experimenting also so I can feel what it is going to take as well. Just not sure what that list looks like yet.
    Last edited by dagmandt; 10-19-2019 at 04:13 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Hudson MA
    Posts
    3,825
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: So much information! Hoping for a little direction on my project.

    12V pixels get you power injection every 100 pixels. It is a fact of life and a problem we each have to solve.
    FPP == Falcon PI Player. Now renamed to Falcon Player. You can download it on the Falcon Christmas site.
    Most pixels come with a diffusing lens. It helps mix the output from the three LEDs into a single effective color.

    A PI hat will get you two ports that can each support over 600 pixels (Some people have claimed over 1000 pixels on each port). The Falcon site store and the renard-plus site both sell versions of PI hats. Refresh rate becomes an issue when the string gets over 680 pixels. I limit mine to 600 pixels.


    2019 - Just moved into a new home (yet another change of plans). Will be dim but not dark. Too much to do at the new place to leave time for a show.
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyX...ttrsZNARkUce0Q

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Sauk City, WI USA
    Posts
    1,173
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: So much information! Hoping for a little direction on my project.

    FPP is primarily a show player. It has simple "test" functionality but its primary purpose is to play predefined sequences. Most of us use Vixen or xLights to generate those sequences. So depending on what you think you want your lights to look like, you would create the sequence in one of those and upload it to play on your lights.

    If you want to"program" your lights, you can use a pi with python or other software to more directly program them. Adafruit has an easy tutorial on that you could look up.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Posts
    8
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: So much information! Hoping for a little direction on my project.

    Thanks again guys. Great info. So if I went with a PI hat I would have the ability to run 1,200 pixels effectively with no issues with refresh rate. I read the renard info but some of the terminology is keeping me from fully understanding what I need. It seems I can daisy chain their boards so only one PI needed for 2,000 pixels, just not sure which board meets my needs due to acronyms and terminology I don't understand yet. It appears the renard controllers only have 8,16,32 etc... channels where I need thousands correct? I am wanting to control individual pixel colors for alternating colors if possible or controlling corner light colors. These are the details I'm having a little trouble working out but the responses here are helping quite a bit as I continue reading up.
    Last edited by dagmandt; 10-20-2019 at 03:16 PM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Hudson MA
    Posts
    3,825
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: So much information! Hoping for a little direction on my project.

    The PI has a built in scheduler. Once it boots it looks at the current time and does the right thing. FYI: The PI does not like having power turned off without telling the PI to shut down first. You should set up a cron job to shutdown the PI just before your power goes out.


    2019 - Just moved into a new home (yet another change of plans). Will be dim but not dark. Too much to do at the new place to leave time for a show.
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyX...ttrsZNARkUce0Q

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Posts
    8
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: So much information! Hoping for a little direction on my project.

    Great, thanks. I'm also looking at the scheduling in the falcon software for the seasonal on off settings. Will need to figure out off season just white lighting control for night time gatherings etc...

    Looks like I'm probably getting into this at the wrong time for getting hardware since I assume there will be a lot of people buying last minute but hopefully I can get a controller, some pixels, and a pi and start playing around. I know I'm too late for this year and that is ok. The part I'm going to have the most investment in is figuring out power injection and signal I suppose. Looks like I can run a single line injection and tie into it along the run of pixels but need to figure out wire size for voltage drop once I've started designing.
    Last edited by dagmandt; 10-20-2019 at 05:31 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Sauk City, WI USA
    Posts
    1,173
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: So much information! Hoping for a little direction on my project.

    Quote Originally Posted by dagmandt View Post
    Thanks again guys. Great info. So if I went with a PI hat I would have the ability to run 1,200 pixels effectively with no issues with refresh rate. I read the renard info but some of the terminology is keeping me from fully understanding what I need. It seems I can daisy chain their boards so only one PI needed for 2,000 pixels, just not sure which board meets my needs due to acronyms and terminology I don't understand yet. It appears the renard controllers only have 8,16,32 etc... channels where I need thousands correct? I am wanting to control individual pixel colors for alternating colors if possible or controlling corner light colors. These are the details I'm having a little trouble working out but the responses here are helping quite a bit as I continue reading up.
    Renard controllers are usually AC or DC - not pixel controllers. You use those with standard Christmas light strings. They are "low" channel count because they are switching mains electricity.

    Pixel controllers send data down a signal line and the pixel controller (WS2811 for example) at each LED reads the data, does what it tells it and passes the rest of the data down the line. When it sees no traffic for a period of time, it changes the LED to match what it received. The tech is totally different from switching a mains powered string of lights.

    A PI with a decent hat will drive pixels and will work great for you. And it puts you into position for sequencing to music someday.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •