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3200 pixel mega tree

Started by bobleeswagger, December 31, 2022, 12:31:54 AM

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Quote from: JonD on December 31, 2022, 01:16:12 PMTypically with addressable pixels, if one goes out, everything behind the problem is out as well.
There are basically 3 types of pixel failures.

1. One (or more) of the individual pixels will fail (RGB). Data is received and passed on and the only affect is that the individual pixel will not display the correct color in some situations.
2. The WS2811 chip will fail to output data. That pixel will display correctly but will not pass the data to the remaining pixels.
3.  The WS2811 chip will fail to process the incoming data. That pixel will not display correctly and will not pass the data to the remaining pixels.

If it is just a color problem, replacing the bad pixel is fine, but if it is a Data Processing issue, without a ton of testing, you don't know which pixel is bad, the first one that is working or the first non-working one. That is why the recommendation is to replace both in a Data Processing failure.
If to err is human, I am more human than most people.


Quote from: tbone321 on January 01, 2023, 09:40:28 AMWhat exactly does that mean? 
The average light string will support around 125 12v pixels at 100% brightness without power injection.  You can support more lights on the string, if you reduce the power consumption of the lights.  Reducing the lights to 30-35% brightness, in theory, you could support around 200 lights without injecting power.  Many variables such as wire gauge, type of lights, distance of cabling, and etc. will impact the amount of actual lights that can be supported.

Per page 19 of the manual.

The F16v4 supports a maximum of 1024 pixels per output port in some configurations.  Note that the power from the controller alone will be insufficient to control 1024 pixels and power injection will be necessary.  The actual number of pixels that can be powered without power injection varies with a number of factors including distance between the controller and the pixels, distance between pixels, intensity or brightness of the pixels, type of pixel, and voltage of the pixels.  As a general rule of thumb, approximately 50 of most 5V pixels or 125 of most 12V pixels can be powered directly from the controller at full (100%) brightness without power injection.  Note that this limitation is due to the power consumption of the lights and microchips in each pixel, not the controller itself.


For my mega tree (3200 lights), I run 200 lights per port (100 up and 100 down) @30% brightness, with a 36" 270 node star on top.
I run a F16V3 with expansion board, using 2ea 900W HP server power supplies.
Works like a charm.

IMO, for all my yard and house props I would rather use more controllers and more ports VS maxing out each port and using power injection.  It simply makes set up day(s) much shorter (just me on set up day).


Quote from: KitchenGuy68 on January 12, 2023, 01:07:18 PMIMO, for all my yard and house props I would rather use more controllers and more ports VS maxing out each port and using power injection. 

I don't mind power injection, I just don't like some of the failure modes when they happen with long strings.  This year, because of an emergency rebuild of my arches just a few days before opening night, I had two 450 pixel strings, but that was a very special case - and will be different in 2023.  In the past my longest strings have been 100 pixels.  Depending on how some stuff gets arranged in 2023 I could end up with strings as long as 300 pixels, but more likely, 150 pixels will be the max.
Using LOR (mostly SuperStar) for all sequencing - using FPP only to drive P5 and P10 panels.
My show website:



You will get no argument from me about more controllers/outputs with shorter strings of pixels.  

This past year we added two Hattitude Quartets and two Showstopper Snowflakes to the display that we installed a remote receiver card on each. That broke the number of pixels down to 188 or less per output, and I was still concerned that a single pixel could take out that much of each one. That broke the number of pixels on a string down to 188 or less. Thankfully, we only had two repaired pixels between the four of them this year. I have dreams (not nice ones) about what would have happened if all 700+ pixels on each of them had come off of a single output.  :(

I know there are many out there pushing the limits of each controller output, but my sanity and hair line (what is left of it) is precious to me.
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!


Quote from: bobleeswagger on December 31, 2022, 12:31:54 AM
  • Build a 3200 pixel mega tree.
  • One differential receiver to control/power the lights?
  • 800 pixels per port and I would power inject every 400 pixels.
A differential can handle 800 pixels per port, just depends on other configuration factors with your controller.

My mega tree is 2,400 pixels, with 800 on 3 ports and star on the 4th port.
2021: 1,384 pixels.



Something I posted awhile back on another website - this is how I did it with no problems.  

***WARNING*** - This is a long post and would probably only be of interest to those new to the hobby and looking at configuring a large (3,200 pixel) Mega Tree and Star.
I have read many posts on how to do this, all a little different and they all seem to work for those that posted. Thought I would add mine. I apologize if my description is hard to visualize.
I bought a Ready to Run controller that had only one Meanwell 300-watt power supply. I wanted to be relatively efficient with my controller ports and decided to delve into power injection.
STAR: Have a 36", 5-point, 270-pixel (or nodes if you prefer) star. I decided to connect the 270 pixels into one continuous string (downside to this is if one pixel goes out everything after that goes out). Port one from controller is connected to pixel one on the star with data and power [V (+) & V (-)]. I am power balancing by connecting port two from controller with power only [V (+) & V (-)] to the 270th pixel (spliced in a male connector at end of string). This may not be necessary but seemed like the right thing to do. All pixels bright and consistent. If you like you can pull the data pin on this male connector (HolidayCoro has a good video on power injection and pulling male "pins" on power tees (
) and a diagram on which pin is which [data, V (+), V (-)], (
), use the same process here. I disconnected the data wire (yellow) from the Phoenix connector on port two in the controller. This may not have been necessary as I am not telling the controller to send data through port two but seemed like the safe thing to do so data does not flow back to the controller. So, controller power supply is supplying power to the controller and the 270 pixels in the Star – more than enough power and data source.
Mega Tree: I have a 32 strand, 100 pixel/strand tree for 3,200 pixels. Before planning out the wiring diagram my thoughts were this:
1) how many pixels per port do I want to send data to (can go up to 1,024 pixels from main controller per port, but not advisable),
2) how do I want to power the 3,200 pixels (you can read numbers from 120 to 1,000+ pixels per 300-watt power supply, it depends on many things, % brightness, length of wire, gauge of wire, type pixel, how many power supplies the vendor wants to sell, etc.). I am using 30% brightness, pixels using 18 (20?) gauge wire, pixel uses 0.72 watts at 100% white, 10 feet between port and first pixel, 85% max watt usage factor per power supply. In reality, I hope you never run all your pixels at 100% white, all the time, so there is another built in safety factor.
3) how efficient on port usage do I want to be (efficient, but not push to the max)
I like symmetry, so I decided to divide my Mega Tree into 4-800 (4x800=3,200) pixel sections.
Data: I am using port 3 to send data to pixels 1 - 800 on my Mega Tree (remember I am using ports 1 & 2 for the Star). So, pushing data to 800 pixels (8-100-pixel strands making up 1 string). Port 4 pushing data to pixels 801 – 1,600. Port 5 pushing data to pixels 1,601 – 2,400. Port 6 pushing data to pixels 2,401 – 3,200.
Power: I decided to separate my power supplies between the controller/Star and my Mega Tree. The Mega Tree power calculator says you should be able to power a 3,200-pixel Mega Tree with 3–300-watt power supplies. I have seen posts that say they can do it with 2-300-watt power supplies. However, keeping with my symmetrical theme, I decided to have a separate 300-watt power supply for each of my 4–800-pixel sections. So, 4–300-watt powers supplies powering my Mega Tree. Overkill, but power is relatively cheap, and the symmetry keeps me happy.
To power balance each of my 800-pixel Mega Tree sections, I put a power tee on pixel 1. The power tee should have two male connectors and one female connector. Your controller pigtails and power supply/distribution board pigtails should be female to prevent shorting out by accidentally touching the male pins together.
To one side of the tee, I am bringing the data (yellow wire) and V (-) (black wire) from port 3 on the controller. I disconnected the power V (+) (red wire) from the Phoenix connector for port 3. This will separate the power from the controller/Star and the power injection to the first 800-pixel section on the Mega Tree. On the other side of the tee (pixel 1) I am bringing in power from a 300-watt power supply (separate from the controller/Star power supply). The power supply goes to a distribution board with fuses (you want this) and the pigtails come from the power distribution board. I connected the V (+) (red) and V (-) (black) wires to the distribution board's phoenix connectors but did not connect any of the data (yellow wire) of the pigtails from the distribution board. I have three pigtails coming from section 1's (first 800 pixels) distribution board. Pigtail 1 goes to the one of the male connectors on the tee going to pixel 1. Now, where the distribution board pigtail is connected to the power injection tee going to Mega Tree pixel 1 – you want to pull the male "data" pin. People go both ways on this, but my understanding is the data will try and travel back to your power supply (yellow wire not connected there so no problem with that) however, some people have reported that the data traveling back toward the power supply can act like an antenna and mess up the data going to the next strand of lights (??). I pulled the data pin to be safe.
To balance the power from section 1's power supply I put another tee between pixels 400 and 401. Pigtail number 2 from power supply for section one goes here. The leg of the tee going to the power supply has had its "data" pin pulled. Keep the "data" pins on the top of the tee between pixel 400 and 401 so data will flow. Pigtail number 3 from power supply for section one goes straight to pixel 800 and will flow back toward pixel 401. Depending on your set-up, you may have to splice in a male or a female connector after pixel 800. Pull the male "data" pin at pixel 800. This ends section one. Repeat 3 more times for the next three sections.
All the V (-) (black wires) are connected between all the power supplies with this wiring. All the V (+) (red wires) are only connected to their individual power supplies and never between different power supplies. Data flows (one direction) to the Star and each of the 4-800 pixels sections (from controller ports 3-6) on the Mega Tree. Power will flow in both directions (i.e., from pixel 400 towards pixel 1 and from pixel 401 towards pixel 800).
So, I am using 6 controller ports and 5 power supplies (overkill) for my 3,200-pixel Mega Tree and 270-pixel Star. It is not THE way, but A way.


Your power plan works as long as you keep the intensity percentage down.  I tend to operate conservative so no problems with what you did for that.  One thing to keep in mind with the long strings is that one of the pixel failure modes results in the entire string downstream of the failure running at 100% white (not 100% of your 30%).  If that happens with very much of the string lit, you will likely blow some fuses - which may be better than blinding white...
Personally I am not a fan of really long strings because of some of the failure modes.  Because of an emergency rebuild just days before opening this past season, I ended up with two strings of 450 pixels, but that is unusual for me and it will be less than that going forward.

Nice writeup.
Using LOR (mostly SuperStar) for all sequencing - using FPP only to drive P5 and P10 panels.
My show website:


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