Author Topic: Looking for Advice  (Read 114 times)

Offline melhath

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Looking for Advice
« on: August 14, 2019, 12:54:22 PM »
Hi I am starting to build a show on our house, hopefully in time for christmas :-), I will have the following props:


2 Mega Tree 180 degree with stars 1040 nodes each
4 singing faces 229 nodes each
2 spinners 240 nodes each
5 180 mini trees 105 nodes each
4 canes 48 nodes
1 star 270 nodes
10 Arches 32 nodes each


and several window outlines making a total of approximately 5500 nodes.


my question is what is the best way to control all of these props, would the f16v3 be ok on its own or would i be better off getting 2 expansion boards as well?


thanks


Mel

Offline jnealand

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Re: Looking for Advice
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2019, 01:36:54 PM »
There is no best way.  Lots of things would work, but you have to decide if you want to be

centralized or distributed,

have all your eggs in one basket, and

how you prefer to control the controllers - PC or Pi.

for any of us to voice an opinion we also has to know the layout, ie. how are things placed in relation to other things, etc.

For me I use decentralized and keep my controllers next to my props and run everything using Master/Remote Pis.  But that is my choice and I could do it many other ways.  Now you must make a choice.  That is a lot os stuff to do in year #1.  Not saying you can't do it, just a lot of things and choices to make with no experience.

Jim Nealand
Kennesaw, GA all Falcon controllers, all 12v Master Remote Multisync with Pi and BBB P10 and P5

Offline Poporacer

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Re: Looking for Advice
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2019, 01:51:21 PM »
There are so many options to consider. There is no "best" way except for the method YOU choose. There are several ways to get your show working and here are a few highlights. (power injection ignored here)
You mentioned expansion boards? But there are a couple types.

F16 Only
   F16 will need to be relatively close to the beginning of each pixel string (around 20 feet) unless you want to add F-Amps.

F16 with Expansion Board (Not Differential Expansion board)
   This gives you more total outputs (not the ability for more pixels, you are still limited to ~16,000, you have a long way to get there)
   This can help reduce power injection but still limits the distance to first pixel to around 20 feet.

F16 with one Differential Receiver and no Differential Expansion Board.
   You can run one Differential Receiver directly to the F16V3, this will allow you to add an additional 4 string connections (ports) up to 250 feet away from the F16. You will need to run Ethernet cable to connect the 2. You will also need a power supply at the Differential Receiver location

F16 with Differential Expansion Board.
   You can add a Differential Expansion board to the F16 and this will allow you to add up to 4 Differential Receiver Boards. Each Differential Receiver board will give you an additional 4 ports (again, not more total pixels, just pixel connections). Each Differential Receiver can be up to 250 feet away from the F16. Each Differential Receiver location will need a power supply and an Ethernet cable connecting it to the F16.
   You can add a second Differential Expansion Board in order to connect an additional 4 differential Receivers, and the same criteria applies.

There is another option and that is a Master/Remote configuration.
   You will need an FPP device (Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone, F16, etc.) at each remote location.
   Each remote location will need a power supply.
   Each remote FPP device will need a controller (with the new firmware for the F16V3, it can act as both an FPP device and controller). There are a few options for a remote controller. A Pi hat, and this will allow you 2 ports to connect pixels. There are several FPP/Controller options available at https://kulplights.com  The F8 PB and F8 are great options and I use several but he has many different controllers.
   The remote locations do not need Ethernet cables connecting them as they are all controlled wirelessly. This requires a decent wireless signal to all locations and most of the time no additional configuration is required.

I am sure there are more options and opinions, just figure out what is best for you for now and then go from there!

I follow jnealand's method, Master/Remote and life is simple for me!
   
   
   
 
« Last Edit: August 14, 2019, 05:08:43 PM by Poporacer »
If to err is human, I am more human than most people.

Offline melhath

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Re: Looking for Advice
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2019, 02:25:10 PM »
There is no best way.  Lots of things would work, but you have to decide if you want to be

centralized or distributed,

have all your eggs in one basket, and

how you prefer to control the controllers - PC or Pi.

for any of us to voice an opinion we also has to know the layout, ie. how are things placed in relation to other things, etc.

For me I use decentralized and keep my controllers next to my props and run everything using Master/Remote Pis.  But that is my choice and I could do it many other ways.  Now you must make a choice.  That is a lot os stuff to do in year #1.  Not saying you can't do it, just a lot of things and choices to make with no experience.


Yes I am beginning to think I have bitten off more than I can chew :-( but alas I will try my best. I was going to use the f16v3 and get a couple of expansion boards to give me the option of putting most props to their own port to make things easier.


Everything is very close to the house, the furthest being the hedge outline, small trees and canes that are about 10 feet away.


Iv'e attached my plan this time.




Offline k6ccc

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Re: Looking for Advice
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2019, 05:20:37 PM »
Honest opinion is that you have bitten off a lot for a short time frame.  Go live is just over 3 months away and unless you are retired, you have a lot to do in that amount of time.  Is it possible?  Yes, but you are going to have to really work at it.

Don't forget that in addition to all the construction, you have hundreds of hours of sequencing ahead of you - unless you are only going to start with a couple of songs.  That also depends A LOT on what you plan on doing and how easy it is for you.  Some people find sequencing easy and some find it very hard (I'm in the latter camp - I can make the software do what I want, but lack the creativity to know what I want it to do for the most part).

I'm not trying to discourage you, just being somewhat realistic.  If it were me, I would plan on a small subset of that for this year, and plan on what you have in your drawing for 2020.  For the full disclosure, in 2012, I started about this time of year, but ONLY built a 12 x 50 pixel tree and only did animations (no music) on it, and added that to my already existing year round landscape lighting.  I had no problem building the pixel tree in time, but knew I would not have time to sequence a musical show.
Using LOR (mostly SuperStar) for all sequencing - using FPP only to drive P5 and P10 panels.
Jim

Offline Emuney18

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Re: Looking for Advice
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2019, 06:40:57 PM »
That is a good summary above.  I personally am very similar to the other comments here in that I like lots of controllers running a master and many remotes and do very little power injection.  Do you want to do some power injection?  How much do you want to spend?  Each F16 is $200. Each F8 is about $90 with everything needed. A pi and hat would run about $80.  We dont really need to know your budget but those numbers will add up fast.  Because you could probably do 3 of the F8 boards from kulplights and put 1 at each tree and maybe 1 more in the center on the roof.  A lot of this would be determined by what all of the outlines are connected on the roof and where the strings start.   If you could draw over that picture where you think stuff would start or at least where you told xlights it would start we could help more.

Also, dont underestimate how much the stuff for your mega trees will cost and any other things you need to secure stuff to the yard or roof, cases, power supplies, wire, etc. 

Regarding time, I found it takes much longer to install my rgb lights compared to the incans and especially that first year.  It gets faster after the first year because you will hopefully put stuff away in a fashion where things can just be rolled out and plugged in.  For example I ran 3 differential receivers on my roof so that means cat5 plus some extension cords to power the boards.  The wires start out all together and then fan out 3 ways.  When I take it down now it all is 1 bundle of wires that I roll up and then unroll the next year on the roof.  10 times faster the second year.

Regarding the sequences there are a lot of free ones people have shared in the xlights sharing drive and several vendors that sell sequences.  But dont underestimate the time it takes to import someone elses sequence and put it on your layout.  If the props are the same and the layout is similar it can be very fast. If there are a lot of differences then the process still takes many hours but you dont have to be as creative. 


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Offline jem5136

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Re: Looking for Advice
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2019, 09:13:39 PM »
As stated above, it's really by preference. I use multiple controllers, each prop has it's own controller (4x F16V3 for the pixel tree, 4x Pi's w/PiHat to run the Poles, 2x F4V3 to run snowflakes and stars, and 1x BBB to run the matrix). I use this set up because I have to minimize then number of cords I have to run- my display is in a park and I cannot have ANY wires on the ground- it's easier to suspend a couple of Cat5 wires than dozens of RGB extension.


With that being said, you do have to think about sequencing. For many, this is a very difficult task, especially for the first year. There are many people that help with sequencing, myself included. If you need any assistance with sequencing, feel free to PM me.

Offline melhath

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Re: Looking for Advice
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2019, 04:01:42 AM »
Thanks for your posts guys. This isn't something that I'm just about to start, it has been on going for a while. I think I did things very back to front because I brought props and lights to build already and have already put together a 5 song sequence in xlights (hopefully it will work) so yes definitely a huge amount still to do but more the technical stuff. I would be happy to get some of it up this year then the rest next year. It's just the controller that is slowing me down as I do not know which way to go. For now I was thinking of the f16 with expansion boards then maybe finesse that for 2020. I don't mind just running data to the props and power injecting at the props if need be as that was what I had originally planned

 

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