Author Topic: Running DIY Matrices Built with Strings/Strips  (Read 924 times)

Offline earsofvaal

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Running DIY Matrices Built with Strings/Strips
« on: May 10, 2018, 12:45:50 PM »
Hello- New member here. Am trying to plan how to run diy matrices (about 3) made of 600-1000 pixels (not P10 boards). I am using the F48 for my show. Question - What is the best control setup for the matrices? A slave FPP with a separate board? Will including them on my FPP/F48 setup directly slow my performance. How much load can a Picap take?


I realize these are noobie questions - any input is appreciated.

Offline taybrynn

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Re: Running DIY Matrices Built with Strings/Strips
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2018, 04:34:06 PM »
It seems like you could easily run them off the F48 ... and I personally wouldn't use a piCap when you have all this capacity in the F48.  I think the performance would be fine .. a non issue.   These DIY pixel based matrixes are a lot less demanding than a P10 matrix ... these matrixes of 512-1024 pixels each -- shouldn't be any worse than a 4-8 string display element.  Just decide on whether your going to inject power every 100 pixels or not) ... and then decide how many channels from there.  I don't inject, but can run a tm1804 for 128 pixels off a single channel ... so for me, I'd use 8 channels per 1024 matrix and 4 for a 512 pixel matrix.  If you decide to inject every 100, you could use maybe 2 channels (512 each) and just inject every 100.  I just don't inject so I use more channels, but keep it cleaner without having injection wires all over the place.  If I was starting over today, maybe I would inject and then that F48 goes a lot further.  But keep in mind when you get a bad pixel, larger pixel count channels, also experience larger failures.  My personal preference is for the small failures, as the show can easily go on in most cases.

Offline earsofvaal

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Re: Running DIY Matrices Built with Strings/Strips
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2018, 02:51:58 AM »
Thank you very much! I realize that my first year plans are ambitious but requiring separate controllers for each matrix might have been a deal-killer. I do plan to power-inject every 100 pixels. I think I will split the difference with the channels and use one 4 channel receiver board per matrix. Now I have to build them....

Offline Emuney18

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Re: Running DIY Matrices Built with Strings/Strips
« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2018, 06:18:36 PM »
Thank you very much! I realize that my first year plans are ambitious but requiring separate controllers for each matrix might have been a deal-killer. I do plan to power-inject every 100 pixels. I think I will split the difference with the channels and use one 4 channel receiver board per matrix. Now I have to build them....
Something you should consider because I did this last year is to try to run 150 nodes before injection.  This could reduce your injection points.  For the 600 node matrix you could use 1 board without injection. This should work with nodes if you turn the brightness on the controller to 30-50%.  Most people's eyes can't distinguish 50 from 100%.  You never said how far your spacing would be or how far the viewer is from the lights.  At 1-2" spacing you will be blinded and lose clarity of font and effects on the matrix if you run at full brightness plus it takes more power.  At 3" my guess is you'll be happy with the same brightness.  To test your lights plug 150 or more in and then see if you get flickers or reddish color towards the end.  Decreases the brightness and then determine what length you can do at what brightness without the lights acting erratic.  These numbers are different for everyone because it depends on a lot of factors.


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Offline earsofvaal

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Re: Running DIY Matrices Built with Strings/Strips
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2018, 08:22:47 PM »
Thank you Emuney. The insight about the brightness and the small difference between 50% and 100% was not something I was aware of. I have read plenty about people dialing down their brightness for various reasons. Of course - being new - the first impulse it to scoff at reducing the brightness in my soon-to-be-legendary display. It is good to have a veteran's advice.

Offline Todd

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Re: Running DIY Matrices Built with Strings/Strips
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2018, 04:59:48 AM »
 Another thing to keep in mind....the more the spacing on the nodes the further away the matrices need to be have the best result for the viewers of your show.


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

Offline earsofvaal

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Re: Running DIY Matrices Built with Strings/Strips
« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2018, 12:51:06 PM »
Looking at second floor windows so that gives me some latitude...

Offline algerdes

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Re: Running DIY Matrices Built with Strings/Strips
« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2018, 03:37:20 PM »
We currently have a matrix setup in our backyard, 30 pixels vertical by 58 pixels horizontal on 2" centers.  Driven by a F16V3, we had to turn the brightness down to around 20% last night.  During the daylight we pumped it back up to 30%, but at night back down to 20%.  The two power supplies pushing the matrix didn't even get warm after a full night of running sequence tests.  Note that the air temp last night started at around 78 degrees F and by the time we called it quits, was down to around 70.  No vents, no case fan. 


The "take-a-ways":  1) 20% brightness was more than enough to put on a great show for that prop.  2) Power consumption was way down.  3) Heat creation was extremely small.


FYI and YMMV.
Sequencers: Vixen3 and xLights
Players: FPP and xSchedule Controllers:  Renards - SS24/SS16; E1.31 - San Devices E682 - Falcon F16, F4, F48 - J1Sys - DIYLEDExpress E1.31 Bridges.  Much more!

Offline earsofvaal

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Re: Running DIY Matrices Built with Strings/Strips
« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2018, 05:57:23 PM »
I'm definitely doing some backyard testing. In retrospect, garage testing is not quite a good representative test.


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Offline algerdes

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Re: Running DIY Matrices Built with Strings/Strips
« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2018, 08:29:42 PM »
You should also know that the matrix is on the "roof" of the prop angled back as if it were the actual roof.  About 6 feet off the ground at the leading edge, and about 9 - 9.5 feet off the ground where the "ridge" would be.  (The garage isn't tall enough.  :(   )

Offline earsofvaal

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Re: Running DIY Matrices Built with Strings/Strips
« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2018, 01:44:05 PM »
While we are on the subject of spacing...what are everyone's thoughts on 12mm pixel spacing for roof eaves?

Offline algerdes

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Re: Running DIY Matrices Built with Strings/Strips
« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2018, 02:53:40 PM »
12mm, as in 0.47 inches?  Or did you mean 120mm (4.7 inches)?

Offline earsofvaal

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Re: Running DIY Matrices Built with Strings/Strips
« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2018, 05:09:23 PM »
Sorry - I mean 12mm as the size of each pixel fixture (those are the strings I have a lot of).

Offline Todd

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Re: Running DIY Matrices Built with Strings/Strips
« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2018, 11:05:35 AM »
I'm doing 2" spacing for this upcoming Christmas. I would say 2" minimum, 4" max with 12 mm. I like the 2", but it's a personal preference. I feel over 4" the effects start to lose it.

"If a little is good, more is better!"

Offline earsofvaal

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Re: Running DIY Matrices Built with Strings/Strips
« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2018, 12:10:29 PM »
I'm doing 2" spacing for this upcoming Christmas. I would say 2" minimum, 4" max with 12 mm. I like the 2", but it's a personal preference. I feel over 4" the effects start to lose it.

"If a little is good, more is better!"
That was my thinking. Just wondering if the over two-floor height would give me some savings via wider spacing.



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