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Newbie Question

Started by HBB091117, November 30, 2021, 07:42:03 AM

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HBB091117

Hello All,

Newbie here that enjoys viewing other displays in my area and I've started investigating what it would take to make my own display.  Not doing anything but standard LED string lights this year, just immersing myself in it for next year or years to come. 

I have done some research starting with pixel types and 5V vs. 12V.  I have moved onto researching controllers mostly looking at something that is economical but will also fit current and some future needs.

One thing I cannot seem to find a good answer on or if I am just completely stupid on is having a main controller that is made up of just long range board(s) and a CPU.  My thought process here is it allows me to have 16 outputs that could be split up at different elements in the display.  I would just send data from the main controller to receive boards and I would power inject at individual locations in my display.  Mostly thinking this isn't standard as I haven't seen any ready to run panels with this configuration.

Again newbie maybe overthinking this but felt like this would be the right platform to ask the question as I haven't seen too much flake given to the newbies in this hobby. 

Thanks in advance,

Ryan

Poporacer

Quote from: HBB091117 on November 30, 2021, 07:42:03 AMOne thing I cannot seem to find a good answer on or if I am just completely stupid on is having a main controller that is made up of just long range board(s) and a CPU. 
You have to be careful here, there is a lot of marketing information out there from one company that makes it sound like their controller is superior to the others and spreading a lot of false information. For better support options and compatibility I would highly recommend using either the Kulplights.com or Falcon line of controllers.



Quote from: HBB091117 on November 30, 2021, 07:42:03 AMMy thought process here is it allows me to have 16 outputs that could be split up at different elements in the display. 
But how far away are each of those elements? If the elements can be laid out so that the first prop is within 40 feet of your controller and then chain them from there, then you might be overly complicating things!

This is one part that there is really no "best" way, but the way it is best for you and everyone had different needs and thought processes. Some people don't like Power injection, some people don't like network cables all over the yard and providing the protection needed for them, some people don't like the main controller in the yard, .... etc. So for the exact same yard, different people will design it totally different based on personal preference. 


There are 3 basic types of "show design" concepts and the nice thing is that you do not have to use just one of the design concepts (or maybe it is a bad thing since it gives more options to think about) You can use one concept in one area and other concepts in others depending on your needs and preferences.

There are some criteria that needs to be considered when thinking about your layout.

Voltage Drop- Voltage will drop as it travels through wire and 5v is more susceptible to voltage drop than 12V and that affects not only pixel strings but the extension cords for pixel strings and power injection wires.

Data/voltage transmission- There is no set rule due to the many variables out there but typically you can only run about 40 feet from a controller to the first pixel in a string and about 30 feet between pixels. But these are not hard values.

"Direct Drive" This is where you have your pixels connected directly to a controller. If you have a need for controllers in other locations due to needs/limitations, then you can connect them via network cables and possibly switches.

"Distributed" This is where you have a Main controller that will send data to several different receivers via network cables. Each receiver will typically have 4 ports to connect pixels, so you might need more than one receiver in each location to control the pixels needed. The maximum distance from the controller and receiver is about 300 feet. You will need an enclosure and power supply at each receiver location.

"MultiSync" This is where you have a controller at each "area" that needs pixel control and it is usually smaller controllers like the K8-PB and typically they all communicate via Wi-Fi so no network cables are needed for them to communicate. 

Your consideration might include which Player you are going to use, xLights or FPP.

Quote from: HBB091117 on November 30, 2021, 07:42:03 AMI would power inject at individual locations in my display.
Power injection is typically only needed if you have long pixel runs on a port (like 200 or more)

Quote from: HBB091117 on November 30, 2021, 07:42:03 AMMostly thinking this isn't standard as I haven't seen any ready to run panels with this configuration.
Because there are so many different methods, it is really difficult for a company to create cost effective "Ready to Run" controllers. You can save a TON of money by creating the controller that fits your needs. There are a bunch of resources to make this fairly easy. Jdeation.com is a great site to help out with your controller mounting needs.

Quote from: HBB091117 on November 30, 2021, 07:42:03 AMAgain newbie maybe overthinking this but felt like this would be the right platform to ask the question as I haven't seen too much flake given to the newbies in this hobby. 
Most newbies overthink it so no worries. Welcome to the hobby.
If to err is human, I am more human than most people.

HBB091117

wow @Poporacer there is a ton of information there that I do not think I have fully let soak in yet.  Thank you for that. 

In regards to your question about the distance of elements from the controller. The first year (2022) I was planning on just outlining my house (rough "sketch" attached) as you can see the runs from the controller are not overly crazy 20'.  Where I may have been over thinking it the most was for the 2nd year (2023) I would look at add yard props.  This is where I was mostly thinking of wanting to have the flexibility of long range as I live on a 1+ acre lot and any run to either side of the yard would be 150' from the controller location in the attached image.

In regards to the controllers you recommended, Falcon and Kulp were the two I had narrowed in on.  I am hoping after the holidays pass and I am ready to purchase there will be more of the kits in stock to build a controller.

Thank you again for your knowledge.

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