Things You Will Need To Get Started With Pixels

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Alot of people just starting to look at pixels are wondering what you will need to get started. Well i hope this list will help out and get you going in the right direction.

List of things needed for pixels

  1. Pixel type of your choice - Click Here for more information about the different types of pixels available. (ie: GECE, WS2801, 6801, 3005, RJ Smart Strings, etc)
  2. Controller of your choice that works with pixels you chose - Click here for more information about the types of pixel controllers availabe. Make sure it will work with your pixels. Many Pixel Controllers use E.131 ethernet connection with the computer. Click here for more info on E1.31 Setup
  3. Power supply - most strings are 5v but there are some 12v. Each pixel will use 60ma with full on white. So Each 50 pixels will use 3 amp. It is best to get one that is a little bigger than what you need to have some head room. ***Most pixels will need power re-injected after 50 pixels to make sure they work properly*** There are a lot of different types of power supplies you can choose from too. So it really comes down to what you want and what your looking to spend. The waterproof power supplies cost more but less headache since you don't have to worry about moisture getting to them. Also try to find a quality supply as some cheap knock offs might cause EMI.
    Click here for info on Power Supplies
  4. Sequencing Software - There are quite a few pieces of software out there now for Christmas lighting. Some are better than others. You will need try to find one that suites your needs. When using pixels your channel counts will go up dramatically. You need to make sure the software is easy to use with RGB channels.
    Common software includes:
    Free Software
    Vixen which is available in two releases Vixen2, and Vixen 3. Vixen 3 was designed to be pixel aware from the start.
    HLS Hinkle's Lighting Sequencer was also designed to be pixel aware from the start.
    Nutcracker Nutcracker is a special effects editor that generates various pixel effects.
    xlights xlights is a multiplatform (Windows, Mac and Linux) sequence playback engine.
    Paid software $
    LightShow Pro (LSP)
    Lightorama (LOR) S3 Advanced
    Commercial software $$
  5. Power wires and Waterproof Connectors - Since pixels use low voltage power (typically 5-12vdc) it is necessary to use heavy gauge wire to connect the power supplies and controllers and pixels together, especially if they are separated by more then a few feet.
    Click here for info Pixel Connectors
    Click here for info about wiring and Power Injection

This is just the basic's you will need to start using pixels. Hope to add more information as time permits.

Read The Pixel Newbie for step by step information about setting up your first pixels.

Related Links

Different Styles of Pixels
Dumb RGB or Intelligent Pixels??
Pixel Wiring Colors
Power Supplies
Pixel Connectors
Choosing a Pixel Voltage: 5V vs 12V
Power Injection
Waterproofing Pixels
E1.31 Network Setup and Configuration