Author Topic: (Yet Another) Newbie Post  (Read 2972 times)

Offline L1011

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(Yet Another) Newbie Post
« on: December 14, 2015, 12:08:54 PM »
Hi everyone, my first post but I've been lurking for quite some time trying to learn as much as I can. Lots of great info on this site! I've been reading the wikis, the awesome powerpoints people have put together, etc. and really appreciate the information.

That said, I'm a newb to RGB pixels, RGB controllers, etc. and was hoping this particular forum was a good place to ask general questions about lighting.  I hope these aren't silly questions...

I'm having some trouble wrapping my head around some of the items I've been reading about here.

1. I'm confused about how Smart pixels are addressed at the network layer, particularly after they've been spliced apart.  Do the pixels themselves have IP addresses or do the RGB controllers hand those out?

2. I was surfing pixelsequencing's website and saw that a single 5m roll of 5050RGB's (2811's) uses 3.2Amps.  I'm not an electrician at all but it seems like I would need a LOT of 10Amp circuits installed outside to run a basic light show.   Do these lights really draw that much amperage?  (I'd link the site, but I'm new here and don't know the rules for posting other website links)

3. What is the difference between scheduling (Xlights) and sequencing (Vixen)?  It's my understanding (correct me if I'm wrong) that Xlights cannot "sequence".  I'm not sure which software is better for me.

Thanks everyone!

Newbie for 2016 using FPP, F16v2r, F4v2, and WS2811 bullet pixels.

Offline rlemery

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Re: (Yet Another) Newbie Post
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2015, 12:37:34 PM »
Welcome to the hobby.

On the first question the pixels use a take one and pass it along chip. It doesn't care how many are in a strand or were it's been cut.

Second. Those amps are either 5v or 12v amps run from a 12 power supply. So one 29 amp supply will run several strips and you can plug several into a 15amp 110v outlet.

As far as software I use xlights and love it. Never tried vixen.

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Offline tbone321

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Re: (Yet Another) Newbie Post
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2015, 04:29:05 PM »
1. I'm confused about how Smart pixels are addressed at the network layer, particularly after they've been spliced apart.  Do the pixels themselves have IP addresses or do the RGB controllers hand those out?

Smart pixels are NOT addressed on the network layer and they are not directly connected to the network.  They are connected to their controllers which may or may not be connected to your network, depending on the controller type.  If they are a E1.31 type controller, then they are connected to the network but if it is a PixelNet or DMX controller, then it is being driven by another device.  As for the pixels, they are on what I call the I'm first protocol.  With that, each node pulls the first three bytes from the data stream and pass on the rest to the next node so it makes no difference where in the string they are.  They always use the first three bytes and pass on the rest.

2. I was surfing pixelsequencing's website and saw that a single 5m roll of 5050RGB's (2811's) uses 3.2Amps.  I'm not an electrician at all but it seems like I would need a LOT of 10Amp circuits installed outside to run a basic light show.   Do these lights really draw that much amperage?  (I'd link the site, but I'm new here and don't know the rules for posting other website links)

The current being drawn is at the voltage that they run at which is usually either 5V or 12V.  In your example, if this is a 12V strip, it would be drawing 3.2A from the power supply which would be drawing about 350 mill (.35A) from your outlet.  This is adding an estimate of the loss that all power supplies have.

3. What is the difference between scheduling (Xlights) and sequencing (Vixen)?  It's my understanding (correct me if I'm wrong) that Xlights cannot "sequence".  I'm not sure which software is better for me.

The original version of Xlights was just a scheduler and a good one at that.  It then later joined with Nutcracker which was a sequencing addon that was configured to make working with RGB displays easier.  Nutcracker has also evolved into a full sequencer and has fully merged with Xlights so now, Xlights is a full sequencer and scheduler like Vixen.  They do have different ways of doing things and focus on different points so I would look at both of them to see what works better for how you want to sequence.

Offline jeff

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Re: (Yet Another) Newbie Post
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2015, 06:25:03 PM »
Many here start with the Raspberry Pi running FPP software. That is effectively the scheduler as it plays your sequences. Sequences are created by XLights or Vixen or some other sequencing software, but those two are popular free ones that have an army of developers keeping them current.

The Pi sends data out the Ethernet port to controllers that convert E1.31 (generally referred to as DMX over Ethernet) to a serial protocol the pixel strings need.

The networking and power injection aspects are topics to learn, but nothing that's too difficult and you can get many if not all of your questions answered here.

It is generally recommended to start small as a complete n00b, get a basic understanding of how this stuff works, then expand to your heart's (and wallet's) content.

While synchronizing your lights to music is popular, you don't have to go that far to have a very nice display. Plus, it's harder to pull off in a large city with lots of FM radio stations nearby (hard to find a free channel to broadcast your music).

I'm about a year ahead of you and have a modest display this year. Yes, I plan to expand and add music at some point, but I've already received compliments on the display this year which is really the ultimate goal for many of us - producing a display that people enjoy. Plus, we just like pretty flashing lights. :)

So, welcome and you've come to the right place. The folks here are great, friendly and have produced some stunning displays.


Jeff

Offline L1011

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Re: (Yet Another) Newbie Post
« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2015, 06:47:14 AM »
The current being drawn is at the voltage that they run at which is usually either 5V or 12V.  In your example, if this is a 12V strip, it would be drawing 3.2A from the power supply which would be drawing about 350 mill (.35A) from your outlet.  This is adding an estimate of the loss that all power supplies have.

I found this piece particularly interesting. I just assumed 3.2Amps was subtracted from my 15amp outdoor electrical outlet. I didn't realize amps were dependent on the voltage. Mind boggled :)

Thank you all for the replies! I'm looking forward to getting started

Offline needbrew

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Re: (Yet Another) Newbie Post
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2015, 05:50:28 AM »
So how does the controller know which universes are on which output ports?  If you take the F16-V2 it can have 680 pixels on a single output.  Is that done in the software or is it a controller thing.  Guess I am just missing a piece of the puzzle.

Offline jnealand

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Re: (Yet Another) Newbie Post
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2015, 08:31:01 AM »
Most every controller has to be configured.  Usually with a web interface or via a standalone program provided by the controller designer.   

We flash chips, we configure controllers and we program sequences.  Some people use the word programmed for all 3 items, but they are all unique steps and have to be done.
Jim Nealand
Kennesaw, GA all Falcon controllers, all 12v Master Remote Multisync with Pi and BBB P10 and P5

Offline needbrew

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Re: (Yet Another) Newbie Post
« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2015, 08:35:34 AM »
So on the controller you tell it what universes are on each output? 

Offline jnealand

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Re: (Yet Another) Newbie Post
« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2015, 08:38:04 AM »
It is called configuring.

Offline tbone321

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Re: (Yet Another) Newbie Post
« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2015, 09:08:03 AM »
So on the controller you tell it what universes are on each output?

That depends on the controller but for the ones that can be configured, yes.  And not only that, but on many you can also define what is output on those ports such as DMX, Renard, PixelNet, and others.

Offline needbrew

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Re: (Yet Another) Newbie Post
« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2015, 09:25:08 AM »
so if I was using a F16 V2 what would you be able to configure.  I am trying to plan out a display for next year and I think that knowing how/what the controller can do would help me witht planning the display.  I have a model in XL/NC of what I want to do, and a general idea of the pixels/strips I want to use.  I will be ordering F16's when they come available so any input on what you can do would be great.

Thanks

Offline tbone321

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Re: (Yet Another) Newbie Post
« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2015, 10:05:42 AM »
The F16V2 is a fairly advanced board.  It has a web page based config and is capable of sending out DMX, PixelNet, and Renard data streams as well as directly control RGB pixels.  I would poke around in the F16V2 forum and take a look in the WIKI to learn a little more about this board.  It appears that the documentation on this board is still a little thin at the moment but there is enough to get you started. 

 

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