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How to connect pixel strands to produce xLights layout

Started by awd_sr, November 06, 2020, 03:11:42 PM

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Hey everyone,

I'm new to FPP and xLights, but have FPP running on a Raspberry Pi 4 Model B, xLights installed on my PC, and have created a layout in xLights that I would like to install on my house. This year I will only be using ws2811 pixel strings, so the 2 GPIOs from the Pi will be enough (probably use just one unless it makes sense to use both). Anyway I have a couple of strands connected in the basement for testing purposes and have created a test sequence and confirmed it works, but this was just with the 2 strands connected in series.

I am attaching a pic of my layout, it is basically a house/roof outline. I used Single Lines in xLights to create each section and have been playing around with sequences, I just am a little confused on how to physically connect the segments so that the sequences will execute on the house as they do on the computer. Since I plan to use the single GPIO (pin 12/GPIO18), I imagine all the segments will need to be connected in a single, serial connection. I am not sure what sequence to connect them in to make sure things match up.

In the drawing I have labled the ends of each "run", which could be multiple strands. Can anyone shed some insights on the best way to connect the strands? My Pi will be installed in the garage, near one of the doors. Thanks for your help!


Running of a Pi is perfectly valid method that many people use.

I would recommend using any variations of the "PiHat" that are floating around.  It'll make your connections a lot easier (plus several other benefits, such as fusing, data buffering, and supplying power to your Pi)

For your layout, go ahead and use the two GPIO outputs that are available (either directly off GPIO18 and GPIO19 or through the two ports on the PiHat)—no reason not to, since it's there.  This will make your wiring simpler.

Start with planning the location of your controller.  Centrally located, and easy to access.  From there, you can decide exactly how everything else gets wired together (in one long chain or two).


Thanks Bwinter,

I'll look more into the PiHats, I'm sure they will allow me to expand in the future as I am sure I will want to once I get this first model up and running!

So does it matter the sequence I connect my strands, OR as long as I emulate that physical connection sequence in xLights when setting up the layout everything should work out?

For example, based on the layout I want on the house, I am thinking of using both GPIO outputs (either directly or via PiHat) and connecting the horizontal runs together from one output (Red arrows, dots would be the starting point, arrow heads the end), and the horizontal and roofline runs together from the other output (green arrows). Assuming I will be able to figure out how to set that second strand up in xLights :) what I see on the software should work out on the house? Thanks again.

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Some of the (many) reason I like the PhHat approach, is that it's an easy (and inexpensive) method for someone to get started, yet also very easy to expand if your show grows (I run 5-6 in my show, and others run many more).

You can physically connect your LEDs in any order you choose--just make sure that your xLights settings replicates that order.  What you have in your diagram is exactly what I would do.

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