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Thread: New to Pixels and Need Lots of Help

  1. #1
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    Default New to Pixels and Need Lots of Help

    I am sorry for such a long post, but thank you for taking the time to help me out. I just got a quote to put lights around the roof line of my house and it came in at almost $4800.00 and I thought I could do it for a fraction of the cost. I am new to Pixels and am looking to put WS2811 square node pixels around the roof line of my house. I want to make them permanent and adjust them throughout the year with different colors and sequences, so I could add on to things and eventually build full light shows with sound. Currently I am looking to have about 1400 pixels around my roof line. I am thinking about using a Kulp 16A-B controller. I am looking at using 100 square node pixel strings with xconnect connectors. From my research, I should be injecting power after each 100 pixel string and boost the data every 200 pixels (every other string) - is this correct? If that is the case, what size of power supplies will I need? I would also like to use my RaspberryPi 3+ to run FPP and use XLights to create the light show/colors/sequences - is this possible? I am not very knowledgeable with wiring, so any help with the best way to wire this is greatly appreciated. Thanks again.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: New to Pixels and Need Lots of Help

    what do you expect the "boost the data" operation is supposed to do? Since each pixel regenerates the data signal, you only need to "boost the data" in the space between two pixels if that specific space is "too long". the definition of "too long" is highly dependent on the wire you are using between those two pixels. Notice that there is no mention of a need to "boost the data" every N pixels because each pixel IS boosting the data on its own.


    2022 - Not sure yet. At least two new songs.
    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

  3. #3
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    Default Re: New to Pixels and Need Lots of Help

    Do yourself a favor. If these are going to be year round lights on the roof line, make sure you have a way to take them down. It is inevitable that a node will fail and soldering nodes on a ladder sucks. You might lose just 1 color or you might have a node that won't pass the data along to the next and only the first several nodes will light, while the rest of the string is out. I have "permanent" lights under my eaves and am going on 8 years. I've had to replace about 10 nodes. So, to make it easier, I have my lights attached to 10ft sections of 1/2 metal conduit that I've painted white. Then, I use 3, 1 hole conduit straps to hold them up. Each section has waterproof connectors. A 3 wire connector for power and data between the strings and a 2 wire connector for power injection.

    There is a lot of information about power injection. A lot of it depends on lengths, wire type, and voltage of pixels. Be aware that there are 12v and 5v pixels. 5v are more efficient but you need more power injection. 12v use a little more energy but you can go longer lengths before you need to power inject. Each pixel node "boosts the data". The only time you need to "boost the data" is if there is a long distance between nodes. I have a string that is 50ft from the controller to the first node. In that case, I have to "boost the data" with an f-amp to get reliable data to the first node. That string has 85 nodes and I have to power inject at node 65 due to the distance. Where as I have another string that is only 15ft from the controller and has 86 nodes. That string doesn't need a data boost or power injection. Once you start understanding how everything works, it gets easier.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: New to Pixels and Need Lots of Help

    I am planning on using 12V square node pixels spaced two inches apart. I also am planning on either using aluminum J Channel (I would drill the holes myself), PermaTrack (https://www.permatrack.us/shop/permatrack/), or the 2" product that TBL Products offer (https://tblproducts.company.site/Lig...ite-p311480238) and mounting it under the eves of my house. I am unsure whether to mount the pixels facing out, or facing down - what is recommended? I realize facing down will probably require the pixels to be brighter, which will mean more power. I agree that making the pixels accessible despite them being considered "permanent" is a great idea. Any other hints or tips are greatly appreciated. Thank you!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: New to Pixels and Need Lots of Help

    @Cmndr Brain Do you have any photos of your install and corners?
    Slowing moving from an all C9 show to Pixels, each year gets a bit more. "It feels like a carnival"
    https://www.facebook.com/ItsaDillonChristmas/

  6. #6
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    Default Re: New to Pixels and Need Lots of Help

    From what I've seen give the holiday coro's pixeltrak a gander. I just dropped a wad on Permatrack, but their pieces only hold 23 bulbs so you'll have to cut up strands or have strands span 3 pieces of trim. The holiday coro ones are longer and will hold 40 bulbs or so at 2 inches or 80 at 1 inch apart so you're cutting off less.

    You may decide splitting a 50 strand in half might be better. As I typed that, I'm thinking it is possibly better now. I might just cut them in half and keep 2 bulbs tucked up in each section and out of the way to account for losing pixels. That'll give me spares I don't have to solder in and shouldn't impact the show very much.

    Facing down will also color-wash the house a bit as well, so that could be a plus or a minus depending on your outlook.

    As a side note, I have found the Permatrack is designed to be used attached to a soffit. I do not have soffits, I've got open rafter bays with 2X4 rafters with a 4-inch fascia. As it came, the permatrack wouldn't be visible behind my fascia, so I'm 3d printing brackets to straddle the rafter and drop the mounting points low enough to clear the fascia. You could turn a 2x4 on it's side and run it under your rafters as an easier solution, but I got these brackets in my head and it justified my 3d printer purchase so I went that route. It's slow going though, I've been printing non-stop for days and have a dozen of the 30 I need done.
    Last edited by Custmguru; 11-16-2022 at 06:44 PM.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: New to Pixels and Need Lots of Help

    @Custmguru - Thank you for the HolidayCoro PixelTrak - I will look into it. I also found that Wally's Lights has an EZ Pixel Trim that is also longer and is similar to PermaTrack (only it comes in 1" or 2" pixel spacing - I am thinking 2" spacing will be sufficient for what I am looking to do). I have soffit on my house so that won't be an issue. My wife wants the pixels to point down to illuminate the house more, however I am thinking having them point out, which would allow for the pixels to not have to be turned up as high to get the effect we want.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: New to Pixels and Need Lots of Help

    Quote Originally Posted by xGROMx View Post
    @Cmndr Brain Do you have any photos of your install and corners?
    Even though my lights go from horizontal to vertical, I don't have any "corners" per se because of the eave overhang. But, there is no reason you couldn't use a 90° pvc connector. The 1st pic is how I attach my temporary holiday lights. I keep the c-clips attached year round, but the lights mounted to pvc just clip in (and yes, the do break once in a while). They are zip tied to 1/2" white schedule 40 pvc. The 2nd pic shows my gutter lights w/ the water proof connectors. I just use j-channel to hang the lights (which you can see to the right of the connector). Where there is a gutter nail, I v-notch the j-channel and that keeps the section from moving. Under those are my permanent wall wash lights. Those are mounted to metal conduit, painted white. Those also have the water proof connectors. 3-wire for power/data and 2 wire for power injection. For the actual injection, I use pre-made injection T's.

    c9clip.jpg
    wgutter.jpg

  9. #9
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    Default Re: New to Pixels and Need Lots of Help

    Thank you everyone - your information has been great. I also found some permanent mounting hardware on Wally's Lights, which are similar to the ones on HolidayCoro. I am looking to use 12V WS2811 square node pixels (the small bubbles, not the bigger bulbs). From your experience, would it be better to mount them facing down or out from the house? Thanks.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: New to Pixels and Need Lots of Help

    Quote Originally Posted by 1amCDot View Post
    Thank you everyone - your information has been great. I also found some permanent mounting hardware on Wally's Lights, which are similar to the ones on HolidayCoro. I am looking to use 12V WS2811 square node pixels (the small bubbles, not the bigger bulbs). From your experience, would it be better to mount them facing down or out from the house? Thanks.
    Good find on the Wally Light trim. I hadn't even heard of that site yet.

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