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Seeking help on controller layout concept for pixel/ac led light combo

Started by TRiddle1983, January 04, 2019, 10:13:00 AM

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Hello community,

Before I get into the crux of my subject title, I feel some finer details of my setup are in order.  I currently only run ac led light strings (with no programming).  For next year's upgrade, I'll be adding more ac led light strings plus diving into the smart pixel market (which is why I'm here as I've decided on using falcon controllers for the smart pixel aspects).  I really like the combination of both, so my ac lights are here to stay indefinitely while also adding more upgrades to that portion of the layout as well as more smart pixel projects.

I've decided on XLights for sequencing and have already been messing around with it, so no real issues as of yet there.  I've also messed around extensively with Raspberry Pi's, so no issues there either.

Some pertinent info about my house: while in college, I did low voltage structured wiring.  When I built my house 6 years ago, I wired it like none other.  I have more dedicated cat 6 wiring than probably will ever be necessary, but it's there and just waiting to be utilized for something.  It is homerunned nicely in the dead center of my house, and is easily accessible. 

So here is where I need some pointers/guidance/etc... I plan on going with the F48 as the "main" board as I like the idea of remote receivers (and I have a ton of wiring already existing that can easily be re-purposed to make this happen) for smart pixel control.  I'm aware that the F48 has the dmx outputs on the board, but is that the proper way to go about working with the ac lighting?  I have purchased zero controllers at this point so what I'm looking for help on is: given my current wiring infrastructure (and the ability to easily add more should I need to) what would you suggest for ac lighting control?  Also, am I overthinking how to manage the dmx outputs on the F48?  would I be required to "split" the output to feed multiple ac controllers or am I missing something?  For reference, I plan on having quite a few ac lighting controllers strategically placed because the amount of controllers is not an issue to me.  I'd rather buy another controller and build a case for it to remotely locate it rather than make what I'd consider an extraneous cable run.

I don't mind soldering as I've done it plenty, but I also don't mind paying somewhat of a premium for a product that is ready to go out of the box per se. 

Thanks in advance for any guidance! 


Here's my 2 cents.  If you are going to go with F48, I don't believe the receiver boards have an output for you to control the AC controller (whichever you choose).  I have a distributed set up like you describe and I use a Pi with some form of Falcon controller (F16, F4, PiCap) and a Lynx Express 16 Channel AC controller.  I have a master Pi in the garage hooked up to my FM transmitter and receiver only and the other Pis are remotes.  It's a little more advanced layout by some's standards but as you say, you haven't bought any controllers yet so thought I would throw it out there.
Bentonville Heart Lites (
This is just my opinion/suggestion/viewpoint.  Others with other viewpoints/experiences may have different advice.  I am a hobbyist with a couple years real world experience, not an expert.


Does an E1.31 bridge basically solve all of my over-analysis of this considering I have ample cat6 runs that can readily be utilized, or am I thinking about that wrong as well?


From my perspective, your difficulty is in trying to have e1.31 data and dmx (AC) data in the same place.  So while the cat6 runs will definitely help you are trying to run two different types of lights in the same location (like I do) if I am understanding you correctly.  You will either need double runs (if using bridge) or controllers that bridge to DMX (some type of DMX output).  Others may chime in with other help.
Bentonville Heart Lites (
This is just my opinion/suggestion/viewpoint.  Others with other viewpoints/experiences may have different advice.  I am a hobbyist with a couple years real world experience, not an expert.


Your DMX AC controllers will "daisy chain" so a single DMX output from a Falcon F48 could surely handle all of them (since the DMX chain could handle over 100 AC controllers). Depending on your layout, though, it might be more convenient to use both DMX outputs and have shorter daisy chains.

If you put that F48 near the center of your house where the CAT6 exits, you would have full IP access to it from indoors, either from a PC or from a RasPi running all your sequences and audio (doing audio?).
Long time Falcon, FPP and xLights user


Yeah the F48 will be for the most part centrally located (no audio yet, but probably will happen at some point).  The more I've looked at it, the more I think I can get away with using the ability to daisy chain the ac controllers (as was mentioned) from the F48. 

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