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Thread: Placing my first pixel order, have some questions.

  1. #1
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    Default Placing my first pixel order, have some questions.

    So i am ready to pull the trigger. I have decided to go with Ray Wu, just because he (or she?) seems to have a solid reputation around here.

    My soldering skills are bad/non-existant, so I would be getting custom lengths to align with my props and megatree.

    Should I get pigtails on both ends and cap one end or just on pigtail one end and seal the other?

    Any general advice for a first time buyer or things i should double, triple check before placing the order?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Placing my first pixel order, have some questions.

    A few suggestions, number one, learn to solder. It is not a hard skill to learn, there are videos and kits out there to help you practice. For pixels, you don't need to solder that much. An item I have been using is Heat Shrink Butt connectors, https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1 all that is needed is heat gun. But, by learning to solder you won't need custom lengths. Besides, Pixels will fail. What do you do when one goes out in the middle, throw the entire string away? No, you replace and repair. Again, going back to learning how to solder. Pigtails are not a bad idea they make you connections water tight. I generally build my props with pigtails on both ends. This way the ends can be capped as needed or daisy chain them together. If you decide to re-arrange your design is not fixed. Just be sure to keep you in and out pigtails the same on your props. My last suggestion is get extras. Because things can fail, it never hurts to have spare parts on hand. Even if it is to just replace one pixel.
    Last edited by mikeh65; 05-25-2020 at 12:41 PM.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Placing my first pixel order, have some questions.

    Depends...are you getting 12V or 5V pixels? How long are these strings? If you are getting 5V pixels, and your first pixel will be several feet from the controller board, or your strings are longer than 50-ish pixels, you'll want a pigtail on both ends for power injection.

    Also, you don't need to have soldering skills to lengthen or splice in pixels into your strings -- many people have used the marine grade wire connectors that have a little ring of solder and are heat-shrinkable, or the crimpable heat-shrink connectors. Here are examples:
    connector1.jpgconnector2.jpg

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Placing my first pixel order, have some questions.

    Since this is called 'do it yourself', I also suggest that you learn to solder. It is very easy, once you get the hang of what temp the solder melts at.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Placing my first pixel order, have some questions.

    Starting out is a wonderful place to be. Decisions to make that will help or haunt you for a while.
    What connectors are you looking to use? Ray's? xConnect? (Also available from Ray.) Others?
    I ask that question because if you are planning on using others (such as Delphi), then order your pixels without connectors.
    If you are going to use Ray's or xConnect - get the pixels with both ends on. Even if you remove them, you will have a stash of the removed ends for "future projects".
    Also consider using different connectors for different voltages. Standardizing on 5vdc or 12vdc is a good thing, but there are times when you will want to do something that the "other" does better.
    Don't discount having both voltage levels in your show.

    Now, have I stirred the pot well enough for you?
    Live, Laugh, Love.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Placing my first pixel order, have some questions.

    Quote Originally Posted by algerdes View Post

    Now, have I stirred the pot well enough for you?
    Al,

    How can you be so right and so EVIL at the same time?
    2012 - 1st year 64 Channels - 7500 LED lights - 5 sequences
    2013 - 128 Channels - 10,000 LED lights - 7 sequences (2 New)
    2014 - 201 Channels - upgrading 8 Arches to dumb RGB - 8+ sequences (1+ New)
    2015 - 240 Channels + 8 Universes - sequences TBD
    2016 - No Display
    2017 - Back in the Game - 240 Renard Channels + 12 Universes
    2018 - 256 Renard and 9 Falcon Outputs of Pixels - 16 sequences shown over 2 nights

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Placing my first pixel order, have some questions.

    Quote Originally Posted by TomL8345 View Post
    Al,

    How can you be so right and so EVIL at the same time?
    It is a gift! LOL
    Phil

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Placing my first pixel order, have some questions.

    Thanks all for the input. I will take what was said to heart and save a bit of cash by cutting and soldering my lengths instead of special ordering. Will pay off better in the long run, plus hey! new skill!

    I had planned to use both 5v and 12v. Some of my props use less than 50 pixels so no point really to use 12v there i can see. House outline, larger props, and megatree would be 12v.

    I havnt completely thought out pigtails, a lot of places seem to sell both. Is there a safer bet here?

    Since i am now planning on cutting my own, what are your thoughts on this spool for slicing and dicing my longer runs? Too much? Should I am for smaller lengths?
    https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4000...archweb201603_

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Placing my first pixel order, have some questions.

    Just a few notes:

    • Since the data lines on 5v and 12v pixels are compatible, you CAN have strings of mixed (5v and 12v) pixels without issues (but why?).
    • 5v pixels use less than 40% of the power used by 12v resistor pixels.
    • 5v pixels use 90% of the power used by a 12v regulated.
    • Why do you think you should use 5v pixels for short strings and 12v pixels for long strings?
      • To me this makes things more difficult. It is safest to use 12v or 5v. The results of plugging a 5v string into a 12v PSU can be expensive. Pick one voltage and go with it.

    • If you choose 12v make sure it is the "regulated" version and not the "resistor" version. If the regulated version is too expensive for you then go with the 5V 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

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Placing my first pixel order, have some questions.

    all i can said more than other have said is this .... get multicolored wire (RGB) yea going all black or white look cool but the fact is no one really see the wire ... but you will be happy you did it when its time to fix/replace a pixel ..it make it so easy to do then trying to find the + or - in the dark ,, as far connector i usually get them done from them so its a head hake less i have to do when the light show up at your door ... welcome to the crazyness

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