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Thread: Mega Tree Converting to Pixels>>>>HELP!!!!

  1. #1
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    Smile Mega Tree Converting to Pixels>>>>HELP!!!!

    I've had an animated display for 8 years and decided to begin converting to pixels. I want to begin with my mega tree and need lots of help as I know virtually NOTHING when it comes to pixels. I believe in doing it right the first time regardless of cost so I don't have the expense of doing it over.Questions and thought
    -I'm looking to do a 180 pixel tree,string lengths will be approx. 16' based on 17' height and 8.5' diameter(2:1)
    -What is the best pixel spacing to give the best definition?
    -Is 16 strips enough to give good definition or do I need to go to 24/32?
    -Here's the controllers i'm looking at https://www.holiday-light-express.co...tock_printout=
    -Pixels https://www.holiday-light-express.co...tock_printout=
    -I read that pixels can be cut to length?
    -1 channel per pixel strip?
    -16 strips/1 controller 24/32 strips/2 controllers?
    -Can the data be daisy chained along with other LOR controllers or need to be separate?
    -Pixels and controllers are vendor I have bought from for years, any other suggestions?
    -Articles or video suggestions?
    -Many more questions to come from a pixel neophyte

    Thanks for all your help. Cliff

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Mega Tree Converting to Pixels>>>>HELP!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by dreamer78 View Post
    I've had an animated display for 8 years and decided to begin converting to pixels. I want to begin with my mega tree and need lots of help as I know virtually NOTHING when it comes to pixels. I believe in doing it right the first time regardless of cost so I don't have the expense of doing it over.Questions and thought
    -I'm looking to do a 180 pixel tree,string lengths will be approx. 16' based on 17' height and 8.5' diameter(2:1)
    -What is the best pixel spacing to give the best definition?
    -Is 16 strips enough to give good definition or do I need to go to 24/32?
    -Here's the controllers i'm looking at https://www.holiday-light-express.co...tock_printout=
    -Pixels https://www.holiday-light-express.co...tock_printout=
    -I read that pixels can be cut to length?
    -1 channel per pixel strip?
    -16 strips/1 controller 24/32 strips/2 controllers?
    -Can the data be daisy chained along with other LOR controllers or need to be separate?
    -Pixels and controllers are vendor I have bought from for years, any other suggestions?
    -Articles or video suggestions?
    -Many more questions to come from a pixel neophyte

    Thanks for all your help. Cliff
    Youíre doing exactly what I did 4 years ago. I had LOR 120v tree. Converted it to pixels. 1st 3 yrs had 16 2Ē spaced 91 pixel per strip tree. It looked ok. Last year I added 16 more strips for a total of 32. Made a huge difference in looks. I run the 32 strips off of an F16 v3. Yes pixels can be cut.I did 1 channel per 2 strips. Zig zag them. My controllers, Falcons, can be daisy chained but I do not daisy chain them. Yes you can run LOR controllers, Iím assuming your asking about your 120v ones. That requires a little more to do.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Mega Tree Converting to Pixels>>>>HELP!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by dreamer78 View Post
    -What is the best pixel spacing to give the best definition?
    Purely subjective. I use distance from viewer to control spacing. The closer the viewer, the closer the spacing. Up to 5m I use 1" spacing. 5m-10m I use 2" spacing. Beyond 10m I use 3" spacing. This is NOT a hard and fast rule. It is what looks good to me. You need to decide what is best for your show.

    Quote Originally Posted by dreamer78 View Post
    -Is 16 strips enough to give good definition or do I need to go to 24/32?
    My Pixel tree is 16 strings and 360 degrees and looks good. Having put it together, I cannot imagine doubling the density. Just the lift weight would become a PITA.

    Quote Originally Posted by dreamer78 View Post
    -Here's the controllers i'm looking at https://www.holiday-light-express.co...tock_printout=
    I use the Falcon series controllers. Rock solid and very flexible. Many others use the SanDevices controllers and seem to have good success (I dont have any).

    Quote Originally Posted by dreamer78 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by dreamer78 View Post
    -I read that pixels can be cut to length?
    You seem to be using the term strip but you are implying string. Usually we use the term Strip to refer to a flexible PCB with Tri-color LEDs soldered to it and ws281x driver chips to drive the LEDs. The WS2811 version generally comes in a 3:1 configuration (three sets of LEDs per driver chip) [these can be cut every three LEDs] and the ws2812 (and higher) versions have a tri-color LED bonded to the ws2811 driver chip [cut between any two pixels].

    Strings are a pixel driver chip and a tri color LED molded into a bullet or square shape with wires running between them. These can be cut at any point.


    Quote Originally Posted by dreamer78 View Post
    -1 channel per pixel strip?
    I think you are talking about an output port on the pixel controller. In general the number of pixels you can attach to a single string on an output port from a pixel controller is limited by two things (I will use WS2811 timing for my examples):
    • Refresh rate:
      • Real motion is considered to be 25ms per frame. This limits the number of pixels on a string to 680 pixels or less. I limit my strings to 600 pixels.
      • The next most popular refresh rate is 50ms per frame. This limits the number of pixels on a string to 1360 pixels or less.
      • The pixels do not care about refresh rate and are designed to have an infinite length. This means a refresh rat of once per day is possible but not useful for us.

    • Controller capacity. Most of the pixel controllers available today have a pixels per port capacity of 200 - 1200.


    Quote Originally Posted by dreamer78 View Post
    -16 strips/1 controller 24/32 strips/2 controllers?
    See above. I can do 6 legs of my tree on a single pixel controller port. I choose to do 4 legs per port because I like symmetry.

    Quote Originally Posted by dreamer78 View Post
    -Can the data be daisy chained along with other LOR controllers or need to be separate?
    Most pixel controllers are E1.31 based. This means you are setting up an Ethernet network to distribute the lighting data from the show player to the pixel controllers. Ethernet cannot be daisy chained. However, some pixel controllers have a built in Ethernet hub/switch which allows the E1.31 data on the network to be forwarded through a controller (kind of like daisy chaining).

    Quote Originally Posted by dreamer78 View Post
    -Pixels and controllers are vendor I have bought from for years, any other suggestions?
    Look at Falcon and SanDevices.

    Quote Originally Posted by dreamer78 View Post
    -Articles or video suggestions?
    AUSChristmas has a great primer on using pixels.


    2020 Full sized show reworked for the new location. Only adding (famous last words) 13 RBLs that I finally got converted to using 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. Dim show (3000 pixels) had regular visits most nights.
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyX...ttrsZNARkUce0Q

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Mega Tree Converting to Pixels>>>>HELP!!!!

    Tried to reply without quote
    Last edited by dreamer78; 02-06-2020 at 01:43 AM.

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    Default Re: Mega Tree Converting to Pixels>>>>HELP!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by TSL View Post
    You’re doing exactly what I did 4 years ago. I had LOR 120v tree. Converted it to pixels. 1st 3 yrs had 16 2” spaced 91 pixel per strip tree. It looked ok. Last year I added 16 more strips for a total of 32. Made a huge difference in looks. I run the 32 strips off of an F16 v3. Yes pixels can be cut.I did 1 channel per 2 strips. Zig zag them. My controllers, Falcons, can be daisy chained but I do not daisy chain them. Yes you can run LOR controllers, I’m assuming your asking about your 120v ones. That requires a little more to do.
    By zig zag, do you mean 2 strings soldiered together at the top with data pigtail at bottom of string 1?

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    Default Re: Mega Tree Converting to Pixels>>>>HELP!!!!

    Mine a connected with short Ray Wu 3 wire waterproof connectors at the top. About 4í of wire and Ray Wu connectors for the controller at the bottom. Data goes up string one and down string two. I didnít solder mine because, for me, itís easier to put up and take down. I have 32 strings using 16 ports. Keep in mind if you do it this way you will probably need to power inject into your strings. I need to on mine since Iím a 5v pixel user. I could consolidate them down even more if I would need the additional ports. But I donít right now so Iíll cross that bridge when I need to.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Mega Tree Converting to Pixels>>>>HELP!!!!

    [QUOTE=MartinMueller2003;522005]Purely subjective. I use distance from viewer to control spacing. The closer the viewer, the closer the spacing. Up to 5m I use 1" spacing. 5m-10m I use 2" spacing. Beyond 10m I use 3" spacing. This is NOT a hard and fast rule. It is what looks good to me. You need to decide what is best for your show.

    "Based on this, I can go with 3" spacing."


    My Pixel tree is 16 strings and 360 degrees and looks good. Having put it together, I cannot imagine doubling the density. Just the lift weight would become a PITA.

    "I plan to do a 180 degree tree with patterns and video clips. Using the mega tree calculator on another thread, I come up with about 4 1/8" between strings at the bottom and less than 1" at the top(based on 32 strings). Would this give good definition for video clips?"

    I use the Falcon series controllers. Rock solid and very flexible. Many others use the SanDevices controllers and seem to have good success (I dont have any).

    "I plan to use the Falcon V3 controller and two 350 watt Meanwell power supplies and 16 output ports. Would this work for what I am planning?"



    You seem to be using the term strip but you are implying string. Usually we use the term Strip to refer to a flexible PCB with Tri-color LEDs soldered to it and ws281x driver chips to drive the LEDs. The WS2811 version generally comes in a 3:1 configuration (three sets of LEDs per driver chip) [these can be cut every three LEDs] and the ws2812 (and higher) versions have a tri-color LED bonded to the ws2811 driver chip [cut between any two pixels].

    Strings are a pixel driver chip and a tri color LED molded into a bullet or square shape with wires running between them. These can be cut at any point.

    "I plan to use the 2811 STRINGS(learning terminology), so are you saying they can be cut anywhere between pixels(bulbs)?"


    I think you are talking about an output port on the pixel controller. In general the number of pixels you can attach to a single string on an output port from a pixel controller is limited by two things (I will use WS2811 timing for my examples):
    • Refresh rate:
      • Real motion is considered to be 25ms per frame. This limits the number of pixels on a string to 680 pixels or less. I limit my strings to 600 pixels.
      • The next most popular refresh rate is 50ms per frame. This limits the number of pixels on a string to 1360 pixels or less.
      • The pixels do not care about refresh rate and are designed to have an infinite length. This means a refresh rat of once per day is possible but not useful for us.

    • Controller capacity. Most of the pixel controllers available today have a pixels per port capacity of 200 - 1200.


    "So a pixel string of 50 is 50 pixels?"

    See above. I can do 6 legs of my tree on a single pixel controller port. I choose to do 4 legs per port because I like symmetry.


    Most pixel controllers are E1.31 based. This means you are setting up an Ethernet network to distribute the lighting data from the show player to the pixel controllers. Ethernet cannot be daisy chained. However, some pixel controllers have a built in Ethernet hub/switch which allows the E1.31 data on the network to be forwarded through a controller (kind of like daisy chaining).

    "So would need a separate ethernet cable running to my pixel controller?"

    Look at Falcon and SanDevices.
    Last edited by dreamer78; 02-09-2020 at 12:17 AM.

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