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Thread: Newbie Starting Out

  1. #1
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    Oct 2021
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    Default Newbie Starting Out

    Hello everyone, I am new to the site and would like to get into the hobby of light shows. I come from a lighting background and trying to understand what controllers to get or try. Does anyone have any suggestions to what would be a good controller to start off with just to play with a few strings? Ive been looking at Falcon and Kulp, but have very little help trying to decide. Im not trying to create a huge show, just something simple to get my feet wet. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Also Im sure this has been asked before. Even pointing me in the right direction here on the site would help.

    Thanks again
    Diggable

  2. #2
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    Jan 2012
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    Default Re: Newbie Starting Out

    Diggable,

    Both the Falcon and Kulp controllers are great units, but if you really just want to get your feet wet with a few strings I would recommend a Raspberry Pi 3B+ with a PiHat or if you have some DIY skills another PiHat like this.

    I am using 9 setups like this in my display taking advantage of the FPP Master/Remote feature. This would be a great way to get started and still allow your show to grow over time.

    HTH,
    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
    2019 - 256 Renard and 9 Falcon Outputs of Pixels - 16 sequences shown over 2 nights
    2020 - Emergency Conversion to Falcon F48 with limited wireless

  3. #3
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    Oct 2021
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    Default Re: Newbie Starting Out

    Thank you for the info. Ive been looking for the Pi 3B+ and haven't been able to find any.. I know I picked the worst time to start, but I thought I would give it a try. Any suggestions on where to get one. I just want to plug in about 4 to 6 strings and play with it.

  4. #4
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    Newtown CT
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    Default Re: Newbie Starting Out

    FPP+Pi Hat is a greate starting point. Expand into a Falcon or Kulp 4 port controller and then take the leap to a 16 port controller. Dont worry, your budget can handle it. Who needs to eat anyway


    2021 New Tune-to sign. New 40x27 matrix at the house. Retiring the Strip based matrix. Updating some of the old window frames to the new house. Adding two new songs.
    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/user/MartinMueller2003

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
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    Default Re: Newbie Starting Out

    Although a little more $$ than a Pihat. Look into the SansDevices E6804. The kit is especially nice if you like to solder. I felt that this was a great starting point of me. Using the firmware helped me a lot when I started to learn about pixels, universes and how the whole light network is built. It will handle 4 strings up to 510 pixels/string. I do use a Pi 3B+ for my show but with the E6804 it's not necessary. You could run it off a PC directly using xLights. I'm not familiar with Vixen, I assume you can do that as well. If/when you eventually step up to a larger controller, you can still utilize this to run a prop like a mega tree. I have the SansDevices E682 for most of my show, but I have year round, under the eave modules for wall washer lights that the E6804 is connected to. Not only is it part the the Christmas show, the year round lights allow me to light the house for other holidays.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Newbie Starting Out

    Sounds great. So you can use controllers from different manufacturers on the same show? I come from a lighting back ground on lighting consoles for shows. I understand networking. Im just new to this aspect.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Newbie Starting Out

    Quote Originally Posted by Diggable View Post
    Thank you for the info. Ive been looking for the Pi 3B+ and haven't been able to find any.. I know I picked the worst time to start, but I thought I would give it a try. Any suggestions on where to get one. I just want to plug in about 4 to 6 strings and play with it.
    Try Vilros.com for the Raspberry Pi 3. They have good pricing and quick delivery.
    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
    2019 - 256 Renard and 9 Falcon Outputs of Pixels - 16 sequences shown over 2 nights
    2020 - Emergency Conversion to Falcon F48 with limited wireless

  8. #8
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    Oct 2021
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    Default Re: Newbie Starting Out

    Unfortunately Vilros is out of Stock.

  9. #9
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    Mar 2012
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    Lebanon, Illinois, USA
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    Default Re: Newbie Starting Out

    Yes, you can use different controllers from different makers. In fact, you can use different protocols (such as E1.31 and DDP) at the same time on the same wire!

    I too have stage tech and sound/lighting in my background. I'm amazed on a daily basis at what is being done in the DIYC world.

    Welcome!
    Live, Laugh, Love.

  10. #10
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    Oct 2021
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    Default Re: Newbie Starting Out

    So here is another question. Should I start of with 5v or 12v? I would like to run at least 20 feet to the controller.

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