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12 X 50 Pixel tree with 4 progressive star pattern

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This will be my first Mega Tree and I will be using pixels. I am looking for some experience advise for teh best way to configure my tree. I haven't used any RGB's before so any and all advise is appreciated. Just to throw in as much info as possible I am going to purchase the 12V Pixles from HC and haven't made the final decision on weather to go with the Pixel lite 16 of the e682 Sandevice. The rest of my display is all LED using two CTB16PC controllers. So I am basically starting over onthe whole knowledge of sequencing.

 

YES I have been doing my research for the past 3 months on which pixles, pixles vs ribbons, SSS, Nutcracker, etc. Just thought I would throw this one out since there doesn't seem to be too much info on the configuration preferences, processes, and designs. Hope this helps more than just myself

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This now just past season, I did my first ever 12x50 pixel tree. I used the JoshuaSystems ECG-P12S card instead of the others and it worked perfectly. I got so many compliments and truly the pixel tree was the hit of the show. Regardless of the pixels you select or the controller, the pixels need to be mounted to a frame of some sort. Wind, rain, snow, ice all have to be taken into account for your location. Strips are very fragile, basciallly semi-flexible curcuit cards. They will fail quickly if not supported. I elected to use the square base WS2811's mounted in 1 inch base aluminum channel material. It comes in 8 foot lengths so I just joined two pieces together to get 16 feet. The pixel nodes just get squeezed in. I used hotglue to hold them, but that wasn't really effective as the glue didn't stick. On the rear of these rails(as I call them) I used another piece of channel, at an angle across, zip-tied to all the rails to provide lateral support. Now one lesson learned was that the whole assembly needed to be higher off the street so people out there could properly see the lower portions of animation therefore this year, it'll be sitting on a stand about 3 feet tall. I'll also now use that stand to hide all the controllers under it. One last thing, I'm going to change mine to 16x50 for this coming season so that I can get a little better resolution. For pixel sequences, I highly recommend holidaysequences.com !!

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This has been my third year with my 12 string by 50 node pixel tree and like dgrant, I am using WS2811 square nodes that I got from Ray Wu. I am using a SanDevices E682 to drive the 12 strings of the tree and 360 pixels for the star on top. Also like dgrant, I am planning on adding four more strings for 2015. I have quite a bit of detail on how I built my tree at:

Http://www.newburghlights.org/pixel_tree.html

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Hey Jim, related question for you. Did you by chance see all the episodes of the Great Christmas Light Fight? There was someone this year who did a star that had softly pulsing colors inside. I'm thinking he/she did were pixels but truly I have no clue. I've got pixels on order from Ray Wu right now and will try this on the floor and see if I can achieve that effect. Any thoughts? It wasn't a dumb RGB and just changing colors...smaller and a lot more defined yet, soft.

Edited by dgrant

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WOW K6ccc I really like the way you setup the tree and all the detail. I am thinking of just using the pvc pipe and no hose to cover. I also like the unistrut and turn buckles to keep everything nice, straight, and tight.


Have both of you looked at Holiday Coro for your pixels, they are cheaper than Ray and have a big sale starting on January 29th.

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That was a lot of work on his! I wasn't sure if the top, if the pixels should line up or stagger to a point in the center? I did mine so they would line up for animation reasons but again, not sure. 

Here is one of mine:

http://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u236/dgrant3830/IMG_0873.jpg

The rails provided most all of the support.

Edited by dgrant

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WOW K6ccc I really like the way you setup the tree and all the detail. I am thinking of just using the pvc pipe and no hose to cover. I also like the unistrut and turn buckles to keep everything nice, straight, and tight.

Have both of you looked at Holiday Coro for your pixels, they are cheaper than Ray and have a big sale starting on January 29th.

 

 

Thank you.  I have been very happy with the tree and it is certainly the most watched and commented about part of the show.  As far as the point or not at the top, I did it the way I did because it largely mimics the way that Brian Bruderer does his CCR trees.  The turnbuckles has worked out great.  They do the job very well and are easy to use.

 

I take the tree apart for off-season storage.  I did that yesterday and it took about a hour.  I did a little more involved teardown than last year because I will be doing a partial rebuild of the star, and the addition of 4 more strings to the tree will require an E1.31 expansion.

 

And the pixels from Ray are only slightly over half the price of Holiday Coro's pixels.

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Interesting about the alignment of the pixels at the top or not. I use one of Brian's CCR sequences for my house but I use holidaysequences.com's ones for the rest. I didn't want them all misaligned for one type and not the other. Not sure which way to go but I'm leaning towards staying lined up at the top although, I didn't like line of lights at the top during portions of the sequences. What I should have done, was hide the very top line under the star which was crooked anyway...won't be crooked next year.

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In another thread, I just saw someone's pixel tree, using 32 strings, 65 nodes each. It was pretty impressive to say the least. The strings were not spiraled but the spiraling was done in the software as I thought might look nice, it does indeed. Now I'm not sure that doing a full rotation of 32 strings is needed for nodes but if they are hanging in such a way to insure they are viewable such as full wrap of LED's, then yes...a bit costly but it would be nice. Numbers speak, let's say, 32 strings, $20 each is $640 of strings, plus shipping. So not really bad considering my current megatrees both have $367 of lights on each, all multi's, so yes, an increased cost but huge increases in capability.

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It's only money and we can't take it with us, so why not light it up!!!

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As cool as it is and considering the animation capabilities, I'm wondering if slightly older-school is better? Each of us has our own ideas and thoughts of how things should look. I'm using just multi's on mine and for me, it looks really nice as opposed to electronic. Now my pixel tree, is electronic and is for animation only. I'll edit this and put in the link for that other thread so you can see his pixel megatree.

 

http://forums.lightorama.com/index.php?/topic/35013-my-first-year-with-rgb-leds/

Edited by dgrant

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I had actully just found it while you were typing, I commented on it. That full 360 does give it a cool depth look and feel. though it can get dizzy looking also. I will stick with the $180 as this is my first RGB project and I still have to figure out the best way to configure the channels so I can start sequencing!!! Long way to go and i't already almost February.

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Davidt, I used a circular saw that I C clamped upside down to a table so it became a cheesy table saw. I used a diamond blade because it would not snag the plastic. A real table saw would have been better, but I don't have one of those. The diamond blade made it easy. Took about 2 minutes per piece.

Don't cut your fingers.

Any other questions, feel free to ask.

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