TLDR: how difficult would it be to model this pixel tree (https://www.riiishop.com/products/santas-best-360-degree-led-7-light-show-pixel-tree-w-remote-timer-reg-499) in xlights?
YouTube video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xx23Nta3OY)
I came across a YouTube video about a very expensive pixel tree (Santa's Best 360 LED Tree) that was always failing because of a bad controller, but lights were fine. The video showed how they swapped the controller for a cheap ws2811 one. Has anyone has seen one of these trees in person?
The tree came in 5ft (396 pixels) and 7ft (568 pixels) versions. The wiring is super neat and tidy.
I found the 7ft tree for $50 here (https://www.riiishop.com/products/santas-best-360-degree-led-7-light-show-pixel-tree-w-remote-timer-reg-499) (https://www.riiishop.com/products/santas-best-360-degree-led-7-light-show-pixel-tree-w-remote-timer-reg-499). It's an open-box return item.
Could this tree be modeled in xlights? Seems like an incredible deal for the price.
XLights can model that tree easily but the first step would be to see how it is wired and what voltage the pixels are. You will also need to determine what type of pixels they are to hunt down a controller that will work with them. Once you find a controller and test it to make sure the controller can light it up, you can create the model in XLights and sequence your heart out but the trick will be to find a controller. If they are WS8211, most controllers can handle them but if not, finding one may be a bit more difficult, especially this late in the season.
Xlights ideally likes so many rows wide by so many tall. 19x20 for example. This tree shows 19 rows, but that does not divide evenly by 396, or 568. I would think you could map it, but it may be a custom one light at a time.
The difference is probably in the star, What is far more important is the wiring of the nodes. If the nodes are wired around the tree, then there is an issue and would either require a full rewiring of the tree or a fully custom model. If it is wired like a conventional mega tree, then the only issue is where in the string(s) is the star. All of the rows are the same length so XLights will have little trouble mapping this if the wiring is conventional and the star can be moved to the beginning or the end of the string or completely separated and put on its own port if that is the only issue.
I counted 20 nodes in the star and if you subtract 20 from 396 or 568 it is still not divided evenly by 19, but the other models star count could be different. You would like to think that they are even with a simple controller, but you might want to make sure if it is a concern.
I did as well which is why I said that the wiring of the nodes is critical. Another trick is to count the number of nodes along the bottom ring and the number along the top ring and see of the number matches. If they do (which I doubt) and the wiring is running up and down the tree, then it is simple. Something tells me that there is an odd number of strings and they they are of two different lengths (probably 18 and 19 nodes) which would make mapping a bit more difficult and require a custom model.
The video linked to a controller that was definitely ws2811, so I'm quite certain his pixels are compatible with xlights. Later revisions of the tree may not be ws2811 compatible (see below).
I don't know if they're 5v or 12v, but I can deal with either.
One commenter on the video was very unhappy with the quality of his tree. Not weather proof. Lots of failed data lines.
The manufacturer switched from a 3 wire design to a 4 wire design, with 2 data lines in later a revision of the tree (one is a backup). Not sure how I would deal with a 4 wire tree. I only have knowledge of 3 wire ws2811. Not sure 4 wire even works with ws2811.
Looking at the tree in the video, that one appears to be wired correctly and as long as the strands are all the same size, XLights can model that tree easily. Unfortunately, he never did any closups of the top of the tree so there is no way to know if all of the strands are the same length but it looks like they are.
I actually have a couple of these trees. Fry's electronics was selling them at a heavy discount when they closed in Phoenix. The LEDs in the star aren't RGB. they are just cool white. There are as many LEDs per row at the top and bottom, sort of a classic mega tree layout (only shorter).