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Thread: Pixel Star Quick Question

  1. #1
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    Default Pixel Star Quick Question

    11/24/21 UPDATE - Before I rip my hair out... Ok, so I did the quick and easy, I purchased the Boscoyo 36" star, along with the 64 hole topper, and a couple of ESPartSticks, and a Mean Well 350. So for this year, all I want to do is just get the feet wet on the pixels for the star. 270 nodes. I had my son play with xLights while I was building the 2 stage ASAP Sr.

    Question 1 - I built an enclosure out of an Orbit sprinkler enclosure which (no CG available at the moment) and have the ArtStick inside with the MW PSU. The question I have is I am seeing firmware is supposed to be installed on the included 16GB SD card. Well, there was no included SD card on either of the ArtSticks I received. I stopped by BB and picked up a couple of 32GB SD cards (Black Friday sale right now for $7.99 if you need those) and for giggles put the .fseq file on it and tried to run it. All the pixels lit up but were orange and did not do anything else. So the question is, do I need to set parameters by wifi first before putting card in?

    Sorry for such a basic question, but I plan on deep diving into pixels in prep for the whole tree to be pixels next year.

    Also, I'd be happy to pay for a sequence for this star just so I can raise the tree this weekend. Didn't want to put on the star before testing and that is keeping me from finishing the tree along with other lights, not to mention the snow is about to start dropping. Lol. As far as paying, not much, I just want it to blink, fade, whatever, no music, I just don't want to spend time now ahead of the bigger picture next year. I'll pay you to make it blink for me! LMAO, yea, I know, pathetic, but, I'm good with that.

    Quick recap:

    270 Nodes (12v)
    Stand along SD card controlled with EspArtStick SD card
    Powered by Mean Well LRS-350-12
    Will inject (upon knowing the right way with MW PSU) after node 100 and also after node 200
    Using 18awg 12v pixels
    ESP is fused, will put fuse(s) on power injection line
    Will use solid copper 18awg sprinkler cable to go up from box to star.

    Another quick edit - I can control colors from wifi with the setup as is through the wled control panel. I was not planning on running wifi but will if easier. On top of that, all 270 nodes light without issue, and without injection. I can change colors easily on the color wheel but no animation whatsoever even through the "canned onboard" wifi portal. Disappointing to many, but not me! LMAO. All 270 nodes light up so I'll stick on tree topper tomorrow to raise and finish lights. If I don't figure it out, I'll just stay up 24/7 and change the colors every 2 minutes.

    Quote Originally Posted by 1pet2_9 View Post
    You're not worse than a beginner. Beginners think they know everything. And then you learn, and realize you know nothing.
    Perfect quote above. I know nothing and admit that... LMAO!

    Would love any help. Thanks!

    Jason







    Hello all! I plan and will do tons of reading but I was hoping someone would save me a little time by giving me a quick and easy way to accomplish a simple for most task. (Quick question at the bottom if you don't want to read the blabbering below.)

    Last year my son decided to dig a 2' deep hole in the ground, can't believe he didn't hit a sprinkler line, but I left that unfilled and covered it because I figured that it would be a good place for a future mega tree sleeve. Earlier this month I dug the whole down close to 4', about 14-18" wide and concreted in a nipple and coupler for 2" Ridgid conduit. I put a 3" sleeve over that and a 10" sonotube around the sleve, some rebar, and filled that up to the top with concrete at the same time as the bottom bell so it was all together. Backfilled and compacted around tube so should be nice and solid and topped off with valve box and cover flush with ground. First coupler is 2' below grade in the pvc sleeve. Figured that would give me just a little extra margin.

    Plans are for a 28' 360 degree tree. After jumping through various configurations on the calculator, what I think I need is not cheap. I am on somewhat of a corner lot but the 360 is mainly for viewing from inside the house. Tree will be (I need to verify) but I would say 50-75' from road and probably 40' from where you would see from our dining room. The last specs from the calculator was calling for around 9600 lights with around 6" or a little less at the bottom and I believe around 9 power supplies.

    So, with that said, I plan on doing the full blown tree for the 2022 season in order to space out the cost of this build.

    I started this year with getting the base ready and have also begun building the ASAP Senior Two Stage which is crazy in cost by itself thanks to the crazy pricing we have been paying for everything lately as you all know. Lol. I still need to drill the pin holes but other than that is is close to done, oh, and build the top ring but I'll do that out of plywood or something this year and whip it out on the cnc and let the machine drill the holes instead of me. . I'm using couplers and nipples a the top of the 2" conduit to make up for the 2' that is in the ground.

    This year I want get the ASAP pole dialed in and have exact measurements (before ordering final goal parts) and have a shopping list based on those dimensions to start my ordering right after Christmas. I'm also using our 15' trampoline frame for the base to keep the ring above the snow, and it will be tethered with anchors/straps. I just took it down for storage and moved the base to the mega tree area. So, this year I am planning to string it with regular LED strings, either C9 or C6 strings. I have a ton of lights, purchased thousands of lights that are Creative strings from some members here, but have not gotten into controlling them yet, or any lights really. The asap pole will also have guy wires. Future goal will be LED strings and pixel mix.

    Ok, FINALLY THE QUESTION!

    I ran across a LED star that my wife purchased from TSC quite a few years ago. Probably not big enough, but maybe it is (36"), but I'm going to use it as a topper for the mega tree this year. I'm going to pull the lights out of it, re-drill the holes, weld on a solid attachment to screw into topper, and insert some nodes just to get my feet wet with using xLights and pixels. Will be less than 100 nodes, I think there is 76 holes now but I can expand to 100 or keep the 76, whatever. Plan on just ordering a string or 2 from Amazon and doing bulk later from Ray. Either Alitove or some other brand with decent reviews.

    What would be the quick and dirty solution to fully program 100 nodes or less and not worry about running from a computer on network? PiCap? Would I need a power supply for less than 100 nodes?
    I guess the next question would be, would the quick and dirty just be wasting money not used later and should I just buy (assuming I can get one in stock) a better controller along with a power supply and make the statics go blinky as well?

    I have all the appropriate links saved and will be deep diving into everything to learn all I can real soon in plans for next year but really would like to dabble and get my feet wet even with such a small puddle this year. . And I promise I won't ask any questions about the next year display until I have done that studying and seek the forum Gods approval for my plans. . Thanks!

    Jason
    Last edited by Cajundude; 11-25-2021 at 01:29 AM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Pixel Star Quick Question

    This is just my opinion. If you're interested in getting into pixels but not ready to jump in head first, based on your post, I would get a Raspberry pi (3b, b+ or 4) a good power supply. No matter where you go with pixels, you will need these anyways. If your going to broadcast music, a USB sound device/FM Transmitter .

    The Pi can be used to run your show w/o dedicating a computer.
    The power supply can be used to power both the pixel strings and the Pi/controller. Make sure you get one that is high enough wattage for your strings and future expansion. As you add more strings, you don't want to run the power supply any more than 80% of its rated limit.
    If you're going to broadcast music, you'll need a USB sound device and an FM transmitter. If you're not broadcasting music, you won't need either right now.

    If you don't want to spend a lot of money on a controller just yet, you can get a Hanson RPI-28d. There's a video on the bottom of that page that describes the device, but you can buy them here: Wired Watts. If your willing to spend a little more and know how to solder, an E6804 Kit. This is a small but real, dedicated controller. I know the E6804 is capable of controlling upto 2040 pixels.
    With the Hanson device you'll need to figure out how you want to fuse the pixel strings where as the E6804 the fuses are built onto the controller. I have 3 E6804's and have had great experience with them. Either way, when you expand your pixel setup, you can always uses these for dedicated props if you like. I use my E6804 to run year round wall washer lights under my eaves for other holidays. Right now for Halloween, the are set to Red, Orange or Purple to color the house.

    Once you have your PI, sound, and power, you can upgrade the controller and add more strings as you progress in the hobby.

    Just my $.02
    Last edited by Cmndr Brain; 10-24-2021 at 12:10 AM.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Pixel Star Quick Question

    ESPixelStick Play an Fseq file from an SD card. Can play multiple files in a loop if needed.


    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

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Pixel Star Quick Question

    Awesome and thanks! I was looking at the Pi, but wasn't sure if it would be needed in the long term. If I can always use somewhere, I'm totally fine with getting one for my purpose now. Looks like the MW power supplies are mostly out of stock, at least for normal pricing, but don't mind spending a few bucks extra to get one to play with. All of my reading so far has led me to believe that Falcon is the way to go but that conversation can certainly wait until I do my own due diligence on the end goal. The one Pi I see for quick grabbing is the $99 kit, but I'll figure it out, like I said, just trying to scratch a quick itch to satisfy me this year regardless on how small of an itch it will scratch. LOL

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Pixel Star Quick Question

    Quote Originally Posted by MartinMueller2003 View Post
    ESPixelStick Play an Fseq file from an SD card. Can play multiple files in a loop if needed.

    I'll read into this, thanks!

    Also, in response to all, not looking for any audio transmitting this year for sure, but maybe in the future.
    Last edited by Cajundude; 10-24-2021 at 01:04 AM.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Pixel Star Quick Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Cajundude View Post
    I'll red into this, thanks!

    Also, in response to all, not looking for any audio transmitting this year for sure, but maybe in the future.
    For Audio, PI is the way to go. High quality from DAC PI Hat. Good quality from USB Audio adapter, low quality from PI built in audio.


    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

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Pixel Star Quick Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Cajundude View Post
    Awesome and thanks! I was looking at the Pi, but wasn't sure if it would be needed in the long term. If I can always use somewhere, I'm totally fine with getting one for my purpose now..
    I use an rPi 3B+ dedicated to running my whole show. It can definitely be utilized so that won't be a waste. rPi's can be used as a Master Falcon Player, Remote Falcon Player to areas you can't get a data wire to, used w/ a Hat for remote prop controller such as a tune to sign using P10 or P5 panels. Like MartinMueller2003 said, it's best for audio when you get to broadcasting.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cajundude View Post
    Awesome and thanks! Looks like the MW power supplies are mostly out of stock, at least for normal pricing, but don't mind spending a few bucks extra to get one to play with.
    Meanwell are great power supplies. Extremely reliable. But, you get what you pay for. Also, not necessary. I use MeanWell myself, but there have been several discussions on the forums that the "cheap chinese" supplies work just as well for most people. Then there's the debate about 12v vs 5v. I personally use 12v. That is a discussion that will start a war on most forums. Only you can decide.
    Amazon
    Wired Watts

    Quote Originally Posted by Cajundude View Post
    All of my reading so far has led me to believe that Falcon is the way to go but that conversation can certainly wait until I do my own due diligence on the end goal.
    Falcon are certainly great controllers. In another post, I described the SanDevices like a Jeep Wrangler, cheaper, gets the job done, reliable but more manual. If it breaks parts are available to fix it yourself. The Falcon controllers are more like Ferrari's. More expensive, lot's of bells and whistles, more power, but if you make a mistake an break it, most people don't have the ability to fix surface mount soldered parts. Not too much of a problem if your setup is properly designed for protection. But, mistakes happen. There are several other controllers out there (Kulp, Alphapix...), some good, some bad. I don't have experience with them so I can't comment.

    The beautiful thing about this hobby and going this route is, you can expand it steps. This year get a star working and expand to a full show a few years down the road. Be aware, besides the hardware setup and building, the software and making sequences will take a lot of your time. Some full sequences timed to music will take you upwards of 40 - 60 hours.
    Last edited by Cmndr Brain; 10-24-2021 at 08:31 AM.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Pixel Star Quick Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Cmndr Brain View Post
    I use an rPi 3B+ dedicated to running my whole show. It can definitely be utilized so that won't be a waste. rPi's can be used as a Master Falcon Player, Remote Falcon Player to areas you can't get a data wire to, used w/ a Hat for remote prop controller such as a tune to sign using P10 or P5 panels. Like MartinMueller2003 said, it's best for audio when you get to broadcasting.


    Meanwell are great power supplies. Extremely reliable. But, you get what you pay for. Also, not necessary. I use MeanWell myself, but there have been several discussions on the forums that the "cheap chinese" supplies work just as well for most people. Then there's the debate about 12v vs 5v. I personally use 12v. That is a discussion that will start a war on most forums. Only you can decide.
    Amazon
    Wired Watts


    Falcon are certainly great controllers. In another post, I described the SanDevices like a Jeep Wrangler, cheaper, gets the job done, reliable but more manual. If it breaks parts are available to fix it yourself. The Falcon controllers are more like Ferrari's. More expensive, lot's of bells and whistles, more power, but if you make a mistake an break it, most people don't have the ability to fix surface mount soldered parts. Not too much of a problem if your setup is properly designed for protection. But, mistakes happen. There are several other controllers out there (Kulp, Alphapix...), some good, some bad. I don't have experience with them so I can't comment.

    The beautiful thing about this hobby and going this route is, you can expand it steps. This year get a star working and expand to a full show a few years down the road. Be aware, besides the hardware setup and building, the software and making sequences will take a lot of your time. Some full sequences timed to music will take you upwards of 40 - 60 hours.
    Sounds like a vacation to me, can't wait! Thanks again to all! I guess at this point I will look for anything that works that is in stock. LOL

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Pixel Star Quick Question

    Bump up for update question added to top. Thanks!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Pixel Star Quick Question

    The wled software is being updated pretty regular so features may change.

    The orange lights mean something to wled. See the wled page. IIRC, it means the software is installed and running correctly.

    If you figured out how to load and run the color selector, the animations should be in the same place. Look at the bottom of the app for Effects.

    I remember there was an open issue of .fseq support. But I don't recall that they support it directly.

    You could put ESPixelstick firmware on your device and that would support fseq.

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