Author Topic: Car Setup?  (Read 550 times)

Offline MrDaddyHill

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Car Setup?
« on: October 31, 2018, 08:59:13 AM »
OK so I want to do a setup that's in a car.  Planning on using a Pi Zero running FPP...  So here's what I want to do, I want to have all of the power come from the car.  What controller could/should I use and how would I do that?  I would prefer to not have to use a AC to DC inverter...  Thanks in advance!

Offline aERonAUtical96

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Re: Car Setup?
« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2018, 09:59:36 AM »

The better educated/more experienced individuals will likely chime in here, but I'll give my .02...

How many pixels do you want to run?  Is the car going to be sitting or driving (alternator engaged or draining battery)?  Expected run time?


A quick solution is to run a Raspberry Pi with a Falcon PiCap.  Both of these can be run off of the 12v system in car.  You can buy car adapters to drop voltage from 12 to 5 to power the pi (cigarette lighter to mini usb or just bare wires to usb converters).  You can then provide a 12v source from the car to the PiCap that will power the pixels.

Online Bwinter

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Re: Car Setup?
« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2018, 10:21:42 AM »
Dont all PiCaps drop the 12v to 5v for the Pi?  Or is that unique to the PiCaps Ive been using?

Offline MrDaddyHill

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Re: Car Setup?
« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2018, 10:32:08 AM »
So I don't know how many pixels as of now...  I've only ever done LOR/Lynx controllers before but moving to FPP I realized that with pixels I might be able to do things on my car for say a trunk or treat...  Not many really?  (I know that probably doesn't help)

The main thing about power is I would probably be going from battery...  So I'm open to ideas!

Offline JonB256

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Re: Car Setup?
« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2018, 11:18:40 AM »
The Pi Zero needs 5vdc. Anything above 6vdc will kill it, so you will need a 12vdc to 5vdc "Buck Converter" to supply the Pi Zero.

The Pi Zero can drive two strings of WS2811 based pixels. Hundreds in each string. If you are powering from a car's 12v (actually 13.2v) system, you could use 12v pixels or use 5v pixels and more Buck converters.

You may find that 12v pixels may stay "pink" all the time at 13.2volts, but it would be easier and perhaps cheaper than providing 5vdc at many injection points along the strings.

Online Bwinter

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Re: Car Setup?
« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2018, 11:28:04 AM »
The Pi Zero needs 5vdc. Anything above 6vdc will kill it, so you will need a 12vdc to 5vdc "Buck Converter" to supply the Pi Zero.

The Pi Zero can drive two strings of WS2811 based pixels. Hundreds in each string. If you are powering from a car's 12v (actually 13.2v) system, you could use 12v pixels or use 5v pixels and more Buck converters.

You may find that 12v pixels may stay "pink" all the time at 13.2volts, but it would be easier and perhaps cheaper than providing 5vdc at many injection points along the strings.


Exactly.  But the original recommendation was to get a PiCap and then find a separate method to drop the voltage for the Pi (Zero or other version).  PiCaps should already do this (unless there are versions out there that don't).

Offline JonB256

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Re: Car Setup?
« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2018, 11:36:07 AM »

Exactly.  But the original recommendation was to get a PiCap and then find a separate method to drop the voltage for the Pi (Zero or other version).  PiCaps should already do this (unless there are versions out there that don't).

My usage of a PiZero and pixels never bothered with a PiCap. I soldered my Data and Ground wires directly to the GPIO holes. Ran pixels and PiZero from 5vdc battery packs. 

The PiCap (Falcon one, anyway) does include a voltage regulator to drive the Pi with 5vdc. You just need to solder on a set of header pins for the PiCap.

Offline Emuney18

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Re: Car Setup?
« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2018, 07:08:43 PM »
I have never done this but I hear people just using the cell phone battery packs for lights on floats that are running a Pi.  If your car is not gonna be running and it sounds like not many lights, it might be worth it to do 5V lights and a setup like that.  Just a thought.


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Offline MrDaddyHill

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Re: Car Setup?
« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2018, 05:54:11 AM »
I have never done this but I hear people just using the cell phone battery packs for lights on floats that are running a Pi.  If your car is not gonna be running and it sounds like not many lights, it might be worth it to do 5V lights and a setup like that.  Just a thought.


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That actually sounds like the perfect option...  What controller would you recommend?

Offline JonB256

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Re: Car Setup?
« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2018, 06:48:54 AM »
I have never done this but I hear people just using the cell phone battery packs for lights on floats that are running a Pi.  If your car is not gonna be running and it sounds like not many lights, it might be worth it to do 5V lights and a setup like that.  Just a thought.


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That actually sounds like the perfect option...  What controller would you recommend?

You've never really described how you want to arrange lights on your car so that could impact the controller choice. Hopefully it is NOT a fiberglass or aluminum body, so you can use small magnets to hold things.

Using a PiZero may be the cheapest option but you would be limited to 2 "strings" of pixels. Depending on how you route and attach, 2 strings might be great but maybe not.

If you used something like the 8 output Pocket Beagle board, you could run 8 strings of pixels instead of 2. The Pocket Beagle is also 5vdc and uses very little power itself.

Depending on layout and budget, you could even go with a Falcon F16v3 board. It can run on 5vdc and with the latest Beta firmware (which I'm using and having no problems) it can run standalone with wireless access to stop and start and switch sequences, just like you could with the PiZero or Pocket Beagle. It also has an "out of box" advantage that your Pixel strings don't need to start as close to the controller. You could put the controller inside the car or trunk and run longer wires out to where the pixel strings actually begin.

So now I've turned your simple project into a potential Science project. Lighting can be like owning a boat. It just eats up any available cash. :)

Offline MrDaddyHill

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Re: Car Setup?
« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2018, 09:06:38 AM »
I have never done this but I hear people just using the cell phone battery packs for lights on floats that are running a Pi.  If your car is not gonna be running and it sounds like not many lights, it might be worth it to do 5V lights and a setup like that.  Just a thought.


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That actually sounds like the perfect option...  What controller would you recommend?

You've never really described how you want to arrange lights on your car so that could impact the controller choice. Hopefully it is NOT a fiberglass or aluminum body, so you can use small magnets to hold things.

Using a PiZero may be the cheapest option but you would be limited to 2 "strings" of pixels. Depending on how you route and attach, 2 strings might be great but maybe not.

If you used something like the 8 output Pocket Beagle board, you could run 8 strings of pixels instead of 2. The Pocket Beagle is also 5vdc and uses very little power itself.

Depending on layout and budget, you could even go with a Falcon F16v3 board. It can run on 5vdc and with the latest Beta firmware (which I'm using and having no problems) it can run standalone with wireless access to stop and start and switch sequences, just like you could with the PiZero or Pocket Beagle. It also has an "out of box" advantage that your Pixel strings don't need to start as close to the controller. You could put the controller inside the car or trunk and run longer wires out to where the pixel strings actually begin.

So now I've turned your simple project into a potential Science project. Lighting can be like owning a boat. It just eats up any available cash. :)


lol!  The Falcon F16v3 board is probably the safest bet really...  I've not quite looked at how I want to arrange them yet, my initial thought was to put the pixels inside those foam pumpkins and make them sing.  That's probably the tip of the iceburg so to speak.  With a year to plan I guess I do have time to figure that out.  I just kind of wanted to start ordering parts so I could move forward lol

I have a Halloween Display and a Christmas Display, I'm running both of them through FPP on a Pi and using LOR controllers with an Open DMX dongle...  Pixels is my next big project but I like to plan out 2 years in advance so I wanted to do the Trunk or Treat thing next year to "dip my toes" first.

Offline robbiet

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Re: Car Setup?
« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2018, 12:42:51 PM »
This is great info. I think Im getting volunteered to light a boat for a Christmas in July boat parade next year. Thinking pontoon boat megatree?


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Online Bwinter

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Re: Car Setup?
« Reply #12 on: November 01, 2018, 12:58:17 PM »
I would recommend designing what it is you want to do (i.e., the lighting design of your car--how many, what type, etc.).  From there, you can properly select your controller AND power requirements.

 

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