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Thread: Starting my first set up with pixels.

  1. #1
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    Default Starting my first set up with pixels.

    Hello everyone! I'm wanting to start with a basic setup this year and next year if all goes well add a mega tree and a few more things. I'm looking for help on ordering everything for the setup that I'm including in the picture. I'm kinda lost at what chords and controller and all else to get. I'm getting the strings and not strips in 12V. I'm not sure if they will be 3" or 4" spacing so I provided info for both. I would rather just use the screw in chords that are waterproof to keep it simple. If someone could help me out and tell me what I need so I can get this ordered for this Christmas. I also will not be programming any music this year as I don't have the knowledge to do so yet and don't have enough time unless I buy a preset song or two to include with the lights. I'm needing to know everything I need to buy if anyone can look pass the newbie question and help. Thanks for your time!Christmas lights outline.jpg

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Starting my first set up with pixels.

    Cant help with a complete list but with your pixel count you can use a PI with Pixel hat to drive two strings for a total of over 2000 pixels. This meets your pixel count needs. Using 12V pixels you will need to power inject at least every 100 pixels (more often is ok). You need to plan the path of data through your pixels. You will need at least 700 watts from your PSUs. I would get three 360W PSUs and keep the load distributed. Some people like a huge central supply. If you go with that it should be greater than 900W.

    Once you plan your data path and create your power plan, you can figure out how much wire and how many connectors you will need.


    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

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Starting my first set up with pixels.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Starting my first set up with pixels.

    Yes BUT. They are 20AWG wire. That is almost useless for going any distance. The wire is way too thin to carry a lot of power more than a meter or two and even then you will bet a significant voltage drop. You will want to use 16 AWG or (even better for long distances) 14AWG wire to get power from the PSU to the injection points. You will also need "Tees" that have a connector that goes from one string to another and provides a power injection point. If you don't have a soldering iron then you will need to get one and learn how to use it. There are lots of videos to help with that. Working with pixels is rarely plug and play. There is a lot of tuning to your display that must be done.


    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

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Starting my first set up with pixels.

    So I've done a little more to the picture adding power supplies. Each location would have 360w. The two on the roof would be under overhang for the roof lights and the one below under porch would be for the windows. Would that be a good set up?Christmas lights outline.jpg
    Would all 3 power supplies go to one controller?
    Last edited by Cameron3395; 11-04-2019 at 04:24 PM.

  6. #6
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    Default Starting my first set up with pixels.

    Why not just one single power-supply?

    Have you actually calculated your power need?

    Figure your power needs for this set-up, double-ish that, then just get a single PSU.

    With three, youíre making things more complicated than necessary.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Starting my first set up with pixels.

    Also, thereís no need to hide that controller (and possible PSU) up on the roof like hat. Put them in places that are EASILY accessible.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Starting my first set up with pixels.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cameron3395 View Post
    Would all 3 power supplies go to one controller?
    If you choose the PI Hat, then no, they would not. Only one supply would go to the PI and the PI would only power the first 100 pixels. All other pixels need power injection from one or another of the three supplies. I personally would use three supplies and I make sure there is easy access to the supplies. Some people would use a single supply. That works as well but results in more (or thicker) wires coming from a central location. It is up to you to decide which works better in your situation. In all cases, assume you need easy access to the PSUs and the PI. You dont want to be climbing on the roof when it is cold and raining (snow is not so bad) to replace a critical component. Also make sure you have a spare PSU and a spare PI on hand in case something bad happens.


    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
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    Default Re: Starting my first set up with pixels.

    If youíre using multiple PSU, you have to power-inject carefully, so as not to have two (or more) PSU providing power to one strand. You need to know exactly when to combine the grounds, but split the V+. Itís not overly complicatedóbut given all the other nuances youíll need to learn (in a very short amount of time), itís certainly a consideration.

    This, in my opinion, is why a single PSU is better in this application. Plus, your distances arenít that great (not like your running power all the way across a large yard). Plus, on roof-layouts, you can generally optimize your power-injection points to when the strand come back around nearer the PSU.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Starting my first set up with pixels.

    This is what I have figured so far. I would like to have just one box with the power supply, controller, and Pi in it on the porch for ease of access. With all the lights I have drew up, running them at 50% it's 21 amps. I outlined on the drawing all the pigtail locations. 6 on the roof and 4 windows. Can someone kind of give me an idea how to wire them up? These will be 12V and I would like to use the screw in connections if all possible for the first year. Also, if I can get away with a cheaper controller for this year and then get a falcon v3 for next year. Any info on a controller to that will work with the Pi that's easy to configure and affordable. ThanksHouse layout with pixels.jpg

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