Author Topic: A bit confused.  (Read 385 times)

Offline Herschthorn

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A bit confused.
« on: December 02, 2018, 02:43:30 PM »
I won't be able to do anything till next year but I want to go ahead and plan for future investments.I am not sure if I should buy just the controller itself or the complete package? Which one would I need to future myself for years to come?I am also not sure when is the right time to start buying things as new technology is always being invented if anyone has any idea if there will be any new boards coming out next year that would be awesome advice.I also want to find a more in the states place to buy pixels but after watching quite a few youtube learning channels I see that Amazon pixels that are 2inch separated might not be a good idea. I am learning all I can till I get my show up and running about xlights and Vixen3 both of those are amazing learning programs. I am just so lost on what to actually buy and what should I aim budget wise for the first year. If it helps any I can put upwards of 200 a month up for this hobby... so in due time i believe I could have an awesome show but I want to get my first taste of the experience next year.

Offline jnealand

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Re: A bit confused.
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2018, 03:45:06 PM »
I have been doing animated Christmas lights for 12 years.  At this stage you should not be worrying about future proofing.  I have controllers and lights that are many years old and still work fine.  At one point I had fourteen 16 channel AC controllers.  As I got interested in moving to pixels I started selling a few AC controllers off and buying pixel controllers.  I also sold off a bunch of AC lights and bought pixel strings.  I've never felt that I wasted time or money on that technology.  You do not get 100% back, but I used those things for several years and I learned a lot doing it.  In fact I still have two AC controllers in my storage shed that have not been used in a couple of years.  and I still have some AC lights and inflatables and some other stuff that I could put out if I want to.  Sometimes I put the old stuff out in my back yard just to light up for my neighbors back that way.

You need to jump in and get your feet wet with some small stuff just to help your learning curve.  That way you will be more educated when you get ready to buy big.  Get your self a Pi, a Falcon PiCap, a 12v power supply, and two 100 node strings of 12 lights.  Build something, a mini tree, a window frame or just lay the lights on the floor and make them blink.  You will have fun.  Get started.  As they say waiting and reading and watching videos is good, but nothing beats hands on.  You can't wait to drive to work until all the lights are green or you will never get there.  Or watch for someone selling off their display and buy some used stuff just to get your hands "dirty".  You will not regret it.  I just bought a used falcon F16v2 to have for backup and to keep on my workbench to test things when all my newer stuff is out in the yard running a show.  You will get frustrated but have fun.
Jim Nealand
Kennesaw, GA all Falcon controllers, all 12v Master Remote Multisync with Pi and BBB P10 and P5

Offline johncoles

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Re: A bit confused.
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2018, 05:14:18 PM »
You need to jump in and get your feet wet with some small stuff just to help your learning curve.  That way you will be more educated when you get ready to buy big.  Get your self a Pi, a Falcon PiCap, a 12v power supply, and two 100 node strings of 12 lights.  Build something, a mini tree, a window frame or just lay the lights on the floor and make them blink.  You will have fun.  Get started...


...You will get frustrated but have fun....


Couldn't agree more! I've been watching online for years and I've finally got a setup this year. Learnt so much and am happy that I remembered little bits of information from years ago that have helped!


Good luck and I look forward to seeing what you create!

Offline Todd

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Re: A bit confused.
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2018, 06:22:16 PM »
The way to learn how to do it is to jump in, start sequencing, using pi's and fppd, mess it up and figure out how to make it right again. I learned more by trying to make it work and then making things not work, by accident, or nor work correctly and solving the issues.
Todd L.
Kimberly, WI

Falcon F16V3 F48, FPP, X-Lights, LOR, Pi 3B

Offline Herschthorn

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Re: A bit confused.
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2018, 07:43:58 PM »
Ugh now I am even more confused sorry guys I know you are all trying to help me but I am really trying to figure out if the complete ready to run with 1 power supply f16v3 is a better deal that piecing together the f16v3 board with the power and pigtails and cat5 cable from other retail stores. One is 380 comes with everything and only 1 power supply the other is 200 and from what I can gather online the stuff that comes with it will run me about 120 with 2 power supplies. Is it worth doing option A - 380 or option B - 200. I am wanting one of these two options due to the amount of pixels they can hold even though to get up to 16k pixels I will probably spend all of next year saving money for them..Just currently I have enough for one of these two options and am very confused on which to get.

Offline Bwinter

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Re: A bit confused.
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2018, 07:49:17 PM »
Ugh now I am even more confused sorry guys I know you are all trying to help me but I am really trying to figure out if the complete ready to run with 1 power supply f16v3 is a better deal that piecing together the f16v3 board with the power and pigtails and cat5 cable from other retail stores. One is 380 comes with everything and only 1 power supply the other is 200 and from what I can gather online the stuff that comes with it will run me about 120 with 2 power supplies. Is it worth doing option A - 380 or option B - 200. I am wanting one of these two options due to the amount of pixels they can hold even though to get up to 16k pixels I will probably spend all of next year saving money for them..Just currently I have enough for one of these two options and am very confused on which to get.

Without a plan of what youre doing (I.e., your layout), its hard to recommend exactly what to get.

Offline KBCoggin

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Re: A bit confused.
« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2018, 08:21:02 PM »
Ugh now I am even more confused sorry guys I know you are all trying to help me but I am really trying to figure out if the complete ready to run with 1 power supply f16v3 is a better deal that piecing together the f16v3 board with the power and pigtails and cat5 cable from other retail stores. One is 380 comes with everything and only 1 power supply the other is 200 and from what I can gather online the stuff that comes with it will run me about 120 with 2 power supplies. Is it worth doing option A - 380 or option B - 200. I am wanting one of these two options due to the amount of pixels they can hold even though to get up to 16k pixels I will probably spend all of next year saving money for them..Just currently I have enough for one of these two options and am very confused on which to get.
I can tell you I purchased the $380 RTR system, and if I could go back in time; I wouldn't have.  For my home, I would have been MUCH better off with a F48 Differential, multiple power supplies, and multiple Differential Receivers.  BUT that is MY home.  I have a very large lot and finding a central place to put the controller, didn't work.  Most of my strings are 70-166 pixels per string with cable runs of 30+ feet from the controller - too far.  The Falcon v3s are seriously bad ass.  I don't think you need to worry to much about them becoming "outdated" anytime soon; So I would not factor that worry into your decision.  Another thing to do, sorry to be blunt - do the math.  How many pixels are you planning for your 2019 show?  Will one power supply be enough? 0.06 amps per pixels at 100% brightness all white.  That means 100 pixels at 100% runs 6 amps, too much for one channel without power injection.  ~500 pixels per power supply.  I personally run my Bullets at 30% and my C9s at 50%, so a lot less power consumption there.  But I live in the mountains with zero light pollution; In the city you may need to run them brighter.  I needed 2 power supplies for 900 pixels due to the long rungs.  Next year I will be running a F48 and multiple power supplies, and a LOT more props.  There is a LOT to consider, but you have nothing but time on your hands, about 365 days ;)

Offline Herschthorn

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Re: A bit confused.
« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2018, 07:22:33 AM »
Well we have a very small front yard about a quarter of an acre. I will be putting back most likely enough to buy 500 pixels a month which is roughly 200 dollars. I want to build 1 12 foot mega tree with a 270 circle of about 10 mini trees around it.

Offline KBCoggin

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Re: A bit confused.
« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2018, 08:20:06 AM »
Well we have a very small front yard about a quarter of an acre. I will be putting back most likely enough to buy 500 pixels a month which is roughly 200 dollars. I want to build 1 12 foot mega tree with a 270 circle of about 10 mini trees around it.
You still have a lot of work to do.  You are in the dream phase.  You need to get into the design phase.  You still don't have the details worked out to start planning what to buy.  How many strands per tree? How many pixels per strand? How far apart at the trees? Where will your controller be? Still far too many variables to know what controller to buy.

Offline Bwinter

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Re: A bit confused.
« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2018, 08:37:13 AM »
As others mention, buy a single LED strand, a simple controller and a small power-supply to start playing and getting a feel of the whole process (that will also help you start planning the entire process).

Once you get a feel for the basics (software included), youll be in a more informed position to plan.

 

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