Author Topic: Hardware Help  (Read 678 times)

Offline Akareaper

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Hardware Help
« on: January 18, 2017, 09:52:35 AM »
Hi folks! First off, I don't pretend to be a bad ass or anything due to my user name, it was a nick name given to me long ago in the military that stuck. I seemed to always work fatal accidents as an MP, and made many a death notification, even a few in my civilian career when i was a police officer. Hence, Reaper.

Anyway, down to business. Over the past few years I have seen many a display, mostly static and a couple animated, and got the bug. For 2017 I was given a budget to put up lights at my suburban home. The picture is what I came up with. Now, I need to know the hardware requirements. I have selected xlights, have been playing with it for hours and hours. I am going to use falcon gear. based on my layout, and my proposed expansion past this year, what should I get?

Background: For 2017
I have about 150 feet to outline on the house and garage/door/window. Going with 6 inch spacing, C9 style.
9 mini trees, 100 pixels ea,
9 stars, 50 pixels ea.
4 arches (Matt Johnson design)
1 mega tree, 16 strands, 50 pixels ea, for 800 total.

For the following year I plan to add:
150-200 feet of C9 to outline yard area of display
5 snowflakes (over garage door)
1 wreath (over front window)
4 moving heads on ridgeline
4 singing faces
10-12 northpoles.

I know its a lot to ask, but any help on a hardware list falcon controllers, expansion boards, or whatever I may need would be great. The actual display area in the front yard, not including mega tree will be about 40 feet wide, 60 feet deep. 15 feet from front of house where I just had 6 outlets put in off of 3 20amp breakers I had left in my panel. Of course, FM transmission.

Thanks in advance.


Offline PeteyHall

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Re: Hardware Help
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2017, 12:42:58 PM »
Hi folks! First off, I don't pretend to be a bad ass or anything due to my user name, it was a nick name given to me long ago in the military that stuck. I seemed to always work fatal accidents as an MP, and made many a death notification, even a few in my civilian career when i was a police officer. Hence, Reaper.

Anyway, down to business. Over the past few years I have seen many a display, mostly static and a couple animated, and got the bug. For 2017 I was given a budget to put up lights at my suburban home. The picture is what I came up with. Now, I need to know the hardware requirements. I have selected xlights, have been playing with it for hours and hours. I am going to use falcon gear. based on my layout, and my proposed expansion past this year, what should I get?

Background: For 2017
I have about 150 feet to outline on the house and garage/door/window. Going with 6 inch spacing, C9 style.
9 mini trees, 100 pixels ea,
9 stars, 50 pixels ea.
4 arches (Matt Johnson design)
1 mega tree, 16 strands, 50 pixels ea, for 800 total.

For the following year I plan to add:
150-200 feet of C9 to outline yard area of display
5 snowflakes (over garage door)
1 wreath (over front window)
4 moving heads on ridgeline
4 singing faces
10-12 northpoles.

I know its a lot to ask, but any help on a hardware list falcon controllers, expansion boards, or whatever I may need would be great. The actual display area in the front yard, not including mega tree will be about 40 feet wide, 60 feet deep. 15 feet from front of house where I just had 6 outlets put in off of 3 20amp breakers I had left in my panel. Of course, FM transmission.

Thanks in advance.
How do you plan to power the lights around the garage? Do you have power outlets available on the far side?


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Offline Akareaper

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Re: Hardware Help
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2017, 01:42:34 PM »
I have an existing outlet there already, on its own circuit.

Offline zwiller

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Re: Hardware Help
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2017, 02:19:06 PM »
Hopefully he's got power over there.  (beat me, good deal)

Basically, there are 2 approaches.  Central or distributed.  Central uses less controllers but is more complex wiring coming from a central point.  Distributed is the opposite, more controllers/simple wiring at various locations.  Generally, the distributed method uses one port per prop.  Some consider this wasteful but I do not.  I took to the distributed approach and it has served me well.  Problem is that I envision you needing 5 controllers.  Another ROT I have (just came up with recently) is using simpler controllers with simpler props and vice versa.  In your situation you most complex prop is the mega so I would make sure I had a F16V2 or V3 there so I could do pretty much anything I wanted whereas the arches/stars/trees/outline are easy so it doesn't matter.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2017, 02:30:47 PM by zwiller »
Sam

Last year's video: https://vimeo.com/150560653

Offline esolo

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Re: Hardware Help
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2017, 06:01:12 PM »
To piggy back on the post above, I used the centralized approach and for some reason it seems more simple to me. 2016 was my first year using pixels and I purchased an F16V2-R with the differential board and 3 differential receivers. I placed the F16 inside my garage in the space right next to the garage door; mounted on the wall next to the 350W power source and RPi3 (since I have an electrical outlet there). I ported a 2" hole right above the controller at the highest point possible so from the outside it couldn't be seen and its hidden from the elements. Ran all my wiring through this hole and placed my differential receivers strategically around the yard (inside CG-1500 Boxes). Plenty of room for expansion as I didnt use all the outputs and I didnt need to do any power injection as I kept my runs to 125 pixels or less at 60% brightness. Pixels were purchased from Ray Wu (Technicolors for the roofline and bullets for other things).


Hope that helps. You have a lot to do so its good youre getting started now. Remember that if you estimate something will take you 1 week to accomplish, its gonna more like 2 weeks. I learned that I did not allow enough time to learning and correcting errors. Lesson learned!

Offline kentd

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Re: Hardware Help
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2017, 10:59:06 PM »
I have a question concerning your mini trees. Are these the 360 Dalek from Boscoyo? If they are I would suggest running them as 180 and only using 50 pixels and the stars on top only need 10 pixels not 20.
The reason I ask is I am running 10 of these trees with their star for two years and they have worked great in this configuration. Just a thought that will save you some pixels.
Kent Davis
Davis County UT

Offline Akareaper

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Re: Hardware Help
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2017, 07:52:58 AM »
Because of the viewing angles where the tree's will be, 180 was not going to be enough. I also wanted something a little taller so I custom welded some frames using 1/4 inch round (like tomato cages) to accommodate my height, etc.  I ended up with tree's that give me a 252 degree viewing angle, which is 7 rows of 14 pixels. Top is 4in, bottom is 18in. 28 inches tall as pixels are spaced at 2 in apart, plus I have 4inches of leeway at the bottom to bring them off the ground for snow issues.  That makes them 98 pixels each. When I make it back out to my farm I plan to take some pics. No stars on them this year, however next year I plan to do some custom ones, maybe 12 nodes to keep them smaller.

Offline Akareaper

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Re: Hardware Help
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2017, 07:57:23 AM »
On a side note, I have this years show, and next years plans laid out, I can get away with an F16v3, expanded to 48 ports and that will cover the elements planned. I have 3 20amp circuits being installed, and will be able to power everything with PSU's and PI points without a problem. Hopefully, lol.

 

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