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kk6ou

Pixie16 vs PixCon16

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I finally have decided that I need more insanity in my life and plan on moving from a easy Gemmy Light Show with 12 channels to a configurable system.  My plan is to start with a LOR ShowTime Central starter kit.  I also want to purchase a RGB starter kit.  I was wondering if there was any reason to use the PixCon over the Pixie16 if I don't plan on leaving the LOR world(no DMX etc).   I was also wondering if I'll regret starting with a mini-director instead of the DC-MP3 director.   The more I look into this stuff the more unsure I get on what to start with :)   One last question.  Has anyone figured out if it's possible to use the GE RGB strings with a LOR controller?   

Really great to have so many people in this forum.

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If you don't plan on leaving the LOR world, you want the Pixie for sure.  The PixCon is a great board, however it is a 'professional level' board - it is highly configurable and can be used in many different ways.  In lay-person speak that means "Hard to configure unless you have a lot of time on your hands!"  Pixie on the other hand looks more like a regular LOR controller and is MUCH easier to configure.

Let me give you one warning in advance before you purchase the Showtime Central (since I don't want you to waste money).  Remember that the Mini Director in the Central will only handle approximately 2000-2400 total pixels before the one network is saturated.  If in the future you plan on having MORE pixels than that, you may instead want to piece together the parts and instead get the G3MP3 director with dual ports.  If you can spare a computer for this year, you may not want to order a director at all and then pick it up next year.

When running from the computer the same 2000-2400 pixel per network will apply, HOWEVER the computer will allow you to have up to 16 networks.

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Well it sounds like you are jumping into this for the long haul.

A few recommendations here: if you are going to use a computer then upgrade the USB485 to the high speed red one in the starter package as you will need it eventually anyways. Also, since you were talking Pixcon keep in mind that the Pixcon can only operate on an enhanced network (ELOR) if you stay in LOR and that requires a Pro level license. The starter package comes with a Basic license so that would need an upgrade.

One other thing, never say you are not going to do DMX or E1.31 as you will once you get into this hobby, most do. Some things are just easier to run on E1.31 and the savings are quite substantial.

Welcome, good luck and let the madness begin.

One more thing, get used to being broke, lonely, tired, and feeling like you are just going out of your mind. :D

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I read your post and it brought back memories cuz that's exactly how I started. 4 years ago I had one of those 12 Channel controllers now I'm at 12501 channels (I'm already planning more channels for next year):huh:

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Thanks for all the advice.  I went and ordered the Showtime package but this year I'll probably start pretty simple.  Anything will be better than the Gemmy I have now.  I've been doing a lot of reading in the forum about RGB (pixcon16) and not sure if I'm quite ready for that yet.  I'm still trying to grasp the setup for the pixel world....  nodes, segments, pixels, null pixels, power injection...   Think I'll do some more reading before dumping more money.  As far as being broke this isn't much worse than the other stuff I got into like Embroidery machines and photography.   At least I won't be bored when I retire :)   Thanks again for the replies, I'm sure you'll be hearing from me.  Oh yes, thanks for the advice on the computer.  I have a couple of Dells laying around that I can use.  Anybody using a mini PC? 

Edited by kk6ou
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Mini pc, yes. If you're talking about the Raspberry Pi. Thats maybe in the future for you, it's beyond what you're doing right now but it has a lot more potential. When you decide to go with pixels I guarantee that you won't start learning until you have the hardware in your hands and you start experimenting at that point it will click

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Well thanks for all the advice.  DevMike....  You were right I shouldn't have got the Showtime Central, I wasted my money.  Oh well.  I used it for playing around with and then decided to go with pixels and HV strings.  I bought a Alphapix16 from holidaycore.  I set things up using a Mac-mini running VMware with XP.  It worked for the most part but couldn't really handle the load so I had to switch to another computer I had laying around, an old Dell XPS giant PC.  Everything working now and I'm pretty happy.   People in the forums are very helpful and I hope to be able to be helpful to someone in the future.  I have been using LOR S4 and like it but I'm waiting for S5 before I decide if I'm going to switch to something like Vixen and the PI.  A few people I know are using it.  Next year I may attempt a megatree.   

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I don't have any personal experience with  Vixen , but I can tell you that I see a lot of people on the xlight Forum that are switching over from Lor and Vixen. Right now xlights and the guys at Falcon Christmas are working very closely together so xlights and fpp work together very well. I started off with light O Rama but as I grew I needed to make a change because sequence editor can't handle High Channel counts well and none of the light O Rama software works together seamlessly. (Plus you have to pay extra for something you would get Elsewhere for free). S5 rumors say that it's going to get better. I don't mind paying for software but not if it's just a bad copy of successful freeware. 

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Here's my two cents on it.  I don't have any issues with Sequence Editor since for all practical purposes, I don't use it.  I sequence EVERYTHING in SuperStar and export as intensity files.  Other than the intensity file data, in SE my sequences only have one channel (because you have to have at least one).  I also set a Windows command in SE that calls a batch file that is used for show logging.  I love SuperStar, and can't imagine sequencing large numbers of pixel with anything else.  I played with Pixel Editor (which it is my believing is very similar to xlights), and never could get the hang of it.  In fact I never could make it do anything useful at all - although I will admit that was during the beta period and the documentation was exceedingly limited..

Being that I sequence in SuperStar, I don't have any issues with the integration with the various LOR pieces working together.  I create two Visualizations and use those two to configure SuperStar (one for real and one for row).  Once a sequence is completed, I export that as an intensity file to a new .lms file.  Then open it in SE and add the windows command and I'm done.  One of the nice parts of doing it this way is that I can edit a song while the show is playing.  Edit the file in SSE, and export to the existing sequence file - MAKING SURE that the show is not playing that song at the time.  Next time that song is played, the changes are there.  The only time I use Visualizer to watch a sequence is while my show is playing (from another computer), I sometimes bring up Visualizer on my family room computer just to watch the show while I'm doing other stuff on the computer..

As for hardware, I make extensive use of E1.31 (five years now).  LOR did not make any E1.31 hardware back then so I'm using SanDevices controllers and very happy with them.  If I was starting now, I would likely have Pixcon 16 controllers operating in E1.31 mode.  For someone who does not want to get into E1.31, the Pixie looks great.  I also have five LOR controllers (plus spares).  I have always run my show from a computer, and prefer the capabilities that doing so offers.

 

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