Author Topic: Just starting  (Read 588 times)

Offline goverland

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Just starting
« on: January 30, 2017, 05:36:40 PM »
So been getting nudged into doing smart lighting by a co-worker and have just started to figure out what I want to start with.  Although every time I read something here I want to add things.  2016 was first Christmas in my new old home and only had Really Big Lights and virtual Santa. Just bought 12 30/10 strips and rectangular modules yesterday so my journey is beginning. 
 
I have a 1 1/2 story and plan to start simple with an outline of the front of the house and middle ridge lines, garage, windows, and door.  These would be with the strips attached to pvc.  The rectangular modules are for the Really Big Lights to upgrade them to giant RGB C9s, 4 modules per light.  The Really Big Lights, have 30 now, will be on the same roof lines as the strips.
 
So now I'm looking to get the rest of the hardware.  I'm planning on the F16V3 so I can grow my display.  The front yard is not suited for a Mega Tree, but I'm perhaps on the side in the future.  I like the idea of four or five mini trees in the front and was thinking of differential expansion and receivers for them or perhaps using Wi-Fi. 
 
As for software, I figured I'd try XLights and just downloaded it last night.
 
Looking forward to learning through my own trial & error and these forums.  Open to try any ideas that anyone has.
 
Greg
« Last Edit: January 30, 2017, 05:43:13 PM by goverland »

Offline Dabil

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Re: Just starting
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2017, 08:18:56 PM »
Welcome Greg. I am new to smart lights this year to. I have tried a number if sequencers so far. I tried HLS, Vixen 3, and Xlights 4. I have to say that I like xlights the best, although there are still some things I like better in Vixen 3, but that list is narrowing the more I learn about Xlights.

There seem to be a lot of different styles of lighting. It's really all about what you are into. Personally I wasn't planning on doing a mega tree either, but the more I played with different configurations I came to the conclusion that a mega tree is a must have. I really like the whole house effects, and without a mega tree, to me a lot is lost. So don't be afraid to try different configurations while you are learning xlights.

Everyone here seems to be super friendly and helpful. Hope you have fun with this. I know I am having a blast learning.

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Offline jnealand

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Re: Just starting
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2017, 09:24:07 AM »
Never say your front yard is not suited for a mega tree.  Just expand your thinking.  I have a friend with a really small front yard (a townhouse) where the mega just about takes up the whole yard.  I have seen flat mega trees that lean against the front of a house and take very little room and my own yard has a pretty good slope to it, but my 19' mega works just fine on it.
Jim Nealand
Kennesaw, GA
Lynx, Falcon, XL, FPP

Offline goverland

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Re: Just starting
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2017, 05:27:39 PM »
I think I might be able to do a mega tree on the side yard but I think in the front it would block the house to much.  Probably next year as I keep thinking I want to at least get something that looks good and that I can create a sequence for. 

I also realize I need some depth to the design so that was why I was thinking of some mini trees.  However, I was reading up on http://www.johnsonlightshow.com/ pixel tree and may try three of them this year or go a little easier and do three or four chromaglow presents from http://www.boscoyostudio.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=2_31&products_id=140.   

Just ordered the F16v3 and a PiCap so I can start to play in March while waiting for May.

I can see I'm going to be spending a lot of time in my new hobby and I still need to think about Halloween.  Being in a new neighborhood for only seven months I made, I think, a good impression with Halloween and Christmas 2016.  So now it's time to rock the socks off the neighborhood  this year.

Looking forward to more good advise, thanks

Greg

Offline goverland

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Re: Just starting
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2017, 05:36:42 PM »
Guess I need a better shot of the front, but attached is the problem with the front being small and the large tree.  I run a virtual Santa in the middle window.  On the left side of the driveway would probably be where a mega tree could go.


Offline goverland

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Re: Just starting
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2017, 05:13:50 PM »
Looking for suggestions for power supply for when I get my F16v3 in May, I'll probably two of them so at least I have a backup as this year, at least at the moment I don't plan on exceeding 350w.  I plan on placing the F16v3 in the garage so it will be protected from the elements.  Also do you use a surge protector with your power supplies?

Thanks,
Greg

Offline ChristmasDay

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Re: Just starting
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2017, 08:42:36 PM »
Hi Greg and welcome!

I'm new also and I'm planning my 2017 show...considering Halloween if I can get enough done between now and then.

One suggestion and two opinions.

Suggestion: if you're comfortable; list your city and state.  I immediately found a "mentor" that lives a couple hours away and his help has been invaluable.  I own him a case or six of his favorite libation when we meet.  I'd be lost without him.

Opinions:  First, I have a handful of the $18-$20 power supplies available everywhere and while I haven't run a show with them they work well on the test bench.  Second, you might consider positioning the controller on the porch instead of the garage; it will be mostly protected from the elements and centered between your display area to shorten runs from the board.  Just a rookie opinion FWIW.



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Offline JonB256

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Re: Just starting
« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2017, 10:06:13 AM »
Second, you might consider positioning the controller on the porch instead of the garage; it will be mostly protected from the elements and centered between your display area to shorten runs from the board.  Just a rookie opinion FWIW.


Putting things in the garage does two nice things - harder to steal or tamper with and you don't need to waterproof things.
But, it sure does add to the maze of wires.

Each year I get fewer and fewer power cords and CAT5 cables running from the garage.

Offline jnealand

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Re: Just starting
« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2017, 10:06:58 AM »
One of the good reasons to do at least something small for Halloween is to get some field testing done in a live environment before Christmas.  I put up all the lights ON my house (gutters, windows, porch columns) before Halloween and then turn the lights purple and orange and play some Halloween music from the FM transmitter to a boom box sitting on the porch.  I don't try to do a show because where I live no one stays at any house long enough to even finish one song.  But I have now tested my house lights, my Pi player, FM transmitter and maybe a schedule.  Then I turn it all off until the leaves are gone from the yard and put the yard stuff out the week before Thanksgiving.

Offline goverland

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Re: Just starting
« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2017, 05:54:12 PM »
I guess I forgot I also have some power supplies laying around in old computers.  I guess they would ideal for bench testing.  For my show I was thinking a good quality one wouldn't be a bad investment.

The garage was my thought for security aspect also. As for wiring I don't mind that at all, I've been in IT for over 30 years and can pull cable without a problem.  This being a 1 and 1/2 story the attic is right there above the garage so I have easy access to run wires to most everything. 

I was thinking about Halloween and I guess it is an ideal testing time.  I guess I'll throw in some pixel tombstones and might try some flood lights.  My Halloween will have a AtmosFX Hollusion and talking pumpkins done with projectors so I'll have to watch the lights and turn them down.  I like the idea of the purple and orange.

Well I guess I loss another month now before I put things out, but I see the advantage of the testing, especially as it will be all new to me. 

I take it most people use the EDM FM transmitter so I'm have to add that into the budget.  I was thinking getting my feet wet with a small matrix for the tune to sign.

Thank to all of you. 

Greg 

Offline jnealand

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Re: Just starting
« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2017, 07:17:57 PM »
There are lots of choices for radios.  I started with Ramsey 9 years ago and it still works great, but I bought a Rangestar CZH-05B for backup (also sold under other brand names).  Used it last year to try it out and it worked great.  EDM gets good marks as does a VAST, but the Vast seems to have some issues working with the Pi.  You will get lots of opinions on radios.

Offline goverland

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Re: Just starting
« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2017, 10:33:45 AM »
Well seems you all have convinced me, so a mega tree will be included this year.  Maybe a projector also as I'm loving the possibilities of using the HDMI virtual matrix with FPP.


I found an old PC with a 1993 power supply, works great 25a at 5v and 10a at 12v.  So I have a bench power supply.   This brought up a question, while I was going with Meanwell power supplies, why not use a new PC power supply and is their any downside?   Corsair SF600 is on sale at $109 and has the following output: 5v 20a 120w, 12v 50a 600w.  While it has limitation on size to fit in some enclosures at 3.94"x2.48"x4.92", it's not that big of problem.   For the price of a Meanwell you can get two PC power supplies that could provide some level of fault tolerance even if that is having a cold spear on hand.   Just wondering if there are any other considerations that I should be aware of?
« Last Edit: February 23, 2017, 10:52:17 AM by goverland »

Offline Todd

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Re: Just starting
« Reply #12 on: February 24, 2017, 05:42:48 AM »
I keep my trees trimmed in the area where my 20' mega tree goes. Every year I have to trim more to keep the branches out of the way and you don't even notice the hole in the trees in the summer.

 

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