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

  1. #11
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    Default Re: So much information! Hoping for a little direction on my project.

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeKrebs View Post
    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.
    Ok, thanks. I'm looking at the Falcon PiCap and it appears to support two universes or two strings of 800 of WSs2811 pixels. I will have around 2,000 pixels. Would there be a way to daisy chain Hats/Caps so I can control all 2,000 without multiple PIs? I'll likely have to add a second power supply for power injection if not more due to distance. Hm, looks like it is 5v so need to continue looking maybe. From what I'm reading it looks like I'll need a separate controller board with more capability.
    Last edited by dagmandt; 10-24-2019 at 02:14 PM.

  2. #12
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    Default Re: So much information! Hoping for a little direction on my project.

    I am not aware of any RPI hats that have extenders on them. You would need two to drive 2000 pixels. But using FPP in the background (that means using sequences not programming), you will be able to sync the effects between the RPIs. One Pi acts as master and the other receives sync packets and keeps the sequences together.

    You could also look at the Beagle Bone controllers. A popular version is put out by Dan Kulp https://kulplights.com/product/f8-b/ Nice thing about this is that it also runs FPP setting you up for doing music sequences in the future.

    There are a few other controllers you could use and almost all have at least some selection of test sequences available.

    Remember that you can power most of these with either 5v or 7-24v (or something like that) and you could power the controller separately from the lights. If you power separately, a nice way to do it is to use a distro board and those are available from various suppliers both in our hobby and outside the hobby (cars for example).

  3. #13
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    Default Re: So much information! Hoping for a little direction on my project.

    A PI HAT can have in excess of 1000 pixels on each of its ports. However, the real limit is driven by the refresh rate. If you want 25ms (real motion) refresh rates then a single port can only output about 680 pixels (I limit mine to 600). A 50ms refresh rate (by far the most commonly discussed rate), would give you over 1300 pixels / port. Since you are not doing sync to music, a 50ms refresh rate should work well for you.


    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. #14
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    Default Re: So much information! Hoping for a little direction on my project.

    Ok, refresh rate is something I understand but was not considering since I'm not looking at any kind of animation/video. If 50ms will look good for fades and chase sequences with the lights then that is all I really need. Now I need to determine if the single hat will be in a location that can feed all the pixels. I'll have to get creative with null pixels and have been looking at power injection options. I'm going to have to go 12awg to reach what I need from a single power supply or will have to have a second supply at the other end of the house. I'll be designing that up after getting measurements this weekend.

    My intended features:
    1. Individual pixel control
    2. unique lighting, say red at the corners of the eaves with alternating red and white between to be changed as I see fit. Maybe chase sequence for the 4th of July with red white and blue
    3. Fade sequence between color changes for a nice smooth fade between colors.

    Would you recommend the Falcon PiCap or another? The F8-PB seems like a really good bang for the buck. Thoughts? https://kulplights.com/product/f8-pb/

    I'm trying to see which version of PI would be preferable with the above cap if that is one you would recommend.
    Last edited by dagmandt; 10-25-2019 at 10:26 AM.

  5. #15
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    Default Re: So much information! Hoping for a little direction on my project.

    I have one falcon PI Hat and two RONP PI Hats. Both work well. It looks like the F8-PB is out of stock.

    Personal Opinion: I would go with multiple separate PSUs. I find it easier to find mains AC hanging about than to run expensive heavy gauge wire all over the place. My injection runs tend to use 16AWG wire and I keep them (relatively) short. My roof line has three locations where I have PSUs stashed behind a prop (You would be surprised what can be hidden behind a snowflake or singing face).


    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. #16
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    Default Re: So much information! Hoping for a little direction on my project.

    Sounds good. The only issue for me is my display will be up all year so I need to be able to keep things hidden without props and keep it weather tight/ventilated for year round use intermittently. I want to also use throughout the year as white lighting for accent lighting here and there. I'm a little nervous about moisture if left out year round used occasionally. I can probably put the main box with controller/power supply in the garage but others will be outside, thinking hanging under the eave from the eave so it is hidden... just need to figure out how to get mains power to them in most places where I'd need an additional power supply or two I have no mains power and not sure I could run it through attic or crawl space.
    Last edited by dagmandt; 10-25-2019 at 11:27 AM.

  7. #17
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    Default Re: So much information! Hoping for a little direction on my project.

    Surface conduit painted the same color as siding and located in the crease between the soffit and wall or just behind the fascia gets you mains in lots of places.

    Bullet nodes with a good weatherproofing tucked up on the soffit will be relatively protected.


    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

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