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wensteve

Driveway Arches

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We want to have arches for our 30 ft wide driveway using RGB.  This would be our first of anything RGB and are a little lost on what we should and need to buy.  I see with the Mad Grab sale there are 100 count Cosmic Color Pixels for $139.00.  We were thinking of starting with 3 arches this year and then adding to them in the next few years. I realize the controller for these lights are in the middle of the set but we already have a plan to attach them to the arches.

The length we figure is going to work with these but we are a little confused by RGB.

Can they all be controlled as one unit or is it going to be too complicated to make the arches all work together?

Do they plug into a CTB16PCg3 and are sequenced similar to regular lights?

 

 

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Ill answer the last question.

They the controller  are RS485 (LOR network), they connect via CAT5. Just daisy chain it with your other controllers.

Question: you are going to span a 30" drive 3 times.  (6 strings)

1)Each arch will be LONGER than 30'. Do you plane on centering the pixels (leaving the bottoms dark?  Controller Weight in the middle is not easy to support., remember you also have AC Power, 1 or 2 CAT5:in and Out

2) distance  between arches . The reason I ask is you might want to use one of the other Pixie controllers (more centralized , near middle arch) to control a)all arches. b)longer strings (more than 50)  c) longer wires (with power inject optional

I am still learning. I just Mad Grabbed 2 Pixie 4 to add to my existing 2 AC controllers show

 

 

 

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We were going to start with 3 strings, 3 arches.  I didn't think the controller would be too heavy to attach to the PVC but maybe it is.

 

The driveway is 30ft but the arch would be longer.  We would make it the exact length of the set of lights.

 

We haven't thought of the distance between the aches, it would depend on a few things, cost of PVC, extension cord lengths, wires...

Edited by wensteve

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9 minutes ago, wensteve said:

We were going to start with 3 strings, 3 arches.  I didn't think the controller would be too heavy to attach to the PVC but maybe it is.

 

The driveway is 30ft but the arch would be longer.  We would make it the exact length of the set of lights.

 

We haven't thought of the distance between the aches, it would depend on a few things, cost of PVC, extension cord lengths, wires...

A 30' wide drive requires 47.123'  long (simple 1/2 circle) arch. and you would need to drive in the center

Or did you mean that your drive is 30' Long and single car wide? (??') You would not be able to drive under it with most cars, let alone a SUV or camper

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Arches over a 30 foot wide driveway would likely look awesome, but you will need to pay attention to the mechanical engineering part of it.  Assuming you still want to drive cars on both sides of the (I assume two lane) driveway to make that span will result in an arch of close to 50 feet in length  That will require some effort to keep it in place - especially if you have high winds to contend with.

The CCP controller plugs into a LOR network just like any other controller.  The CCP controller when used with two strings of CCPs, has two useful modes: Normal and Dual Normal.  In Normal Mode each controller has a single ID with 320 channels for all 100 pixels plus the Macro channels.  In Dual Normal mode, each controller will have two IDs with each string of lights having a separate Unit ID.  Either way works, and there are advantages and disadvantages to each.  In my arches, I have a string of 50 CCPs on each arch and the controllers are setup in Dual Normal mode.  Therefore, arch 1 is Unit ID 21, arch 2 is Unit ID 22, etc up to arch 6 is Unit ID 26.

As for sequencing, I'm going to assume you are sequencing in Sequence Editor for this description.  Here is my recommendation for creating the channels in SE.  Go to the channel directly above where you want to add the CCP controller.  Right click on that channel and select Insert Device.  when the sub menu pops up, select Insert Device Below.  The second line is Device:.  Select Cosmic Color ribbon (or bulb).  then in the lower left corner, select CCB with 2 strings.  then click the button for Show Advanced options.  the first couple options you can likely leave alone.  Under Base Unit ID Mode, select Native mode - DON'T select Legacy Mode unless you are insane, or using an INCREDIBLY OLD version of LOR software.  On the right side, you can select "Channels continue using base Unit ID" of "String 2 has own Unit ID".  This needs to match what you set or plan to set in the hardware utility setup of the CCP controller.

Let me explain the String 1 and String 2 orientation part.  Again, this MUST match how you set up the actual pixels using the Hardware Utility.  In your case, you will have a single arch with 100 pixels.  If you leave both strings set to the default of "Channel 1 near controller", you will have and arch that is from left to right (for example), Unit ID 1, channels 50 - 1 and then Unit ID 2 channels 1 - 50.  It will work fine that way IF you set everything up to match that way, but it's confusing to us human beings.  Much simpler if each arch is channels 1 - 50 and then 1 - 50.  If all this does not make sense, after you receive at least one controller, lay them out on the floor and drive them with both the Hardware Utility and a test sequence with the settings in different modes, and see how both HU and SE control the lights.  Make sure you understand it BEFORE you start writing sequences.  Personally I don't like the way SE handles that, but I don't sequence in SE (I use SuperStar).

 

 

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20 minutes ago, k6ccc said:

Arches over a 30 foot wide driveway would likely look awesome, but you will need to pay attention to the mechanical engineering part of it.  Assuming you still want to drive cars on both sides of the (I assume two lane) driveway to make that span will result in an arch of close to 50 feet in length  That will require some effort to keep it in place - especially if you have high winds to contend with.

The CCP controller plugs into a LOR network just like any other controller.  The CCP controller when used with two strings of CCPs, has two useful modes: Normal and Dual Normal.  In Normal Mode each controller has a single ID with 320 channels for all 100 pixels plus the Macro channels.  In Dual Normal mode, each controller will have two IDs with each string of lights having a separate Unit ID.  Either way works, and there are advantages and disadvantages to each.  In my arches, I have a string of 50 CCPs on each arch and the controllers are setup in Dual Normal mode.  Therefore, arch 1 is Unit ID 21, arch 2 is Unit ID 22, etc up to arch 6 is Unit ID 26.

As for sequencing, I'm going to assume you are sequencing in Sequence Editor for this description.  Here is my recommendation for creating the channels in SE.  Go to the channel directly above where you want to add the CCP controller.  Right click on that channel and select Insert Device.  when the sub menu pops up, select Insert Device Below.  The second line is Device:.  Select Cosmic Color ribbon (or bulb).  then in the lower left corner, select CCB with 2 strings.  then click the button for Show Advanced options.  the first couple options you can likely leave alone.  Under Base Unit ID Mode, select Native mode - DON'T select Legacy Mode unless you are insane, or using an INCREDIBLY OLD version of LOR software.  On the right side, you can select "Channels continue using base Unit ID" of "String 2 has own Unit ID".  This needs to match what you set or plan to set in the hardware utility setup of the CCP controller.

Let me explain the String 1 and String 2 orientation part.  Again, this MUST match how you set up the actual pixels using the Hardware Utility.  In your case, you will have a single arch with 100 pixels.  If you leave both strings set to the default of "Channel 1 near controller", you will have and arch that is from left to right (for example), Unit ID 1, channels 50 - 1 and then Unit ID 2 channels 1 - 50.  It will work fine that way IF you set everything up to match that way, but it's confusing to us human beings.  Much simpler if each arch is channels 1 - 50 and then 1 - 50.  If all this does not make sense, after you receive at least one controller, lay them out on the floor and drive them with both the Hardware Utility and a test sequence with the settings in different modes, and see how both HU and SE control the lights.  Make sure you understand it BEFORE you start writing sequences.  Personally I don't like the way SE handles that, but I don't sequence in SE (I use SuperStar).

 

 

Thank you for your reply, I appreciate any and all help with this.  Sounds a little confusing but I thought the same when I bought my first LOR Controller 4 years ago.  I like your idea of laying it out on the floor and testing them first before I start actually sequencing.

 

Edited by wensteve

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22 minutes ago, TheDucks said:

A 30' wide drive requires 47.123'  long (simple 1/2 circle) arch. and you would need to drive in the center

Or did you mean that your drive is 30' Long and single car wide? (??') You would not be able to drive under it with most cars, let alone a SUV or camper

The driveway is 30 ft wide and about the same long I think.  We need to be able to still use the driveway but only for one vehicle at a time.  We plan on using 2-3 ft rebar for the ground stake which will have a 4-5 ft long 3/4 PVC go into the rebar and then 1/2 inch PVC into the 3/4 PVC for the arches.  The 3 arches will have 3 braces which will also be 1/2 PVC using a T or + to connect them all together.  My husband seems to think this should hold it all together nicely. The length between each arch will depend on the strength of the whole thing I guess.  The closer they are to each other the better probably but not too close to make it look odd with just 3 arches.  I'd like to eventually get to 6-8 arches but our budget this year won't allow for such an expense.

Edited by wensteve

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I think adding these arches will really give our display the "Wow" factor I've been looking for without breaking the bank too much.

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24 minutes ago, TheDucks said:

A 30' wide drive requires 47.123'  long (simple 1/2 circle) arch. and you would need to drive in the center

Or did you mean that your drive is 30' Long and single car wide? (??') You would not be able to drive under it with most cars, let alone a SUV or camper

Camper?? lol I'd never have a camper in the middle of my driveway during the holidays, unless it was also covered in lights.

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Using Dual Normal or Normal and reversing strings will work in any combination as long as the software and hardware are thinking the same.  And more important getting YOU to understand it so you sequence it right.  far better to figure that out in May than put everything up in November only to find out that it's not what you expected!

 

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4 minutes ago, wensteve said:

We plan on using 2-3 ft rebar for the ground stake which will have a 4-5 ft long 3/4 PVC go into the rebar and then 1/2 inch PVC into the 3/4 PVC for the arches.  The 3 arches will have 3 braces which will also be 1/2 PVC using a T or + to connect them all together.

I am NOT a mechanical engineer, but I see a couple flaws with this.  Unless you are setting the 2 - 3 foot rebar into concrete, that's not long enough.  At three feet long with half of the rebar in the ground, that's only 18 inches in the ground.  Unless it's damn near solid rock or concrete, with a 25 foot lever, that wont stay put.  I'm using two foot sections of rebar into dirt to hold my arches, but each arch is only a 10 foot piece of 3/4 inch PEX, and they get almost no wind because they are sheltered in front of a block wall.

The braces between each arch will stiffen the whole thing, but I would suggest one or more guy ropes on each end pulling the whole array tight so it can't wobble back and forth.  With about 50 feet of 3/4 inch PVC you will get A LOT of movement.  As a a little test, put 50 feet of 3/4 inch PVC together (just the pipe - no lights) and have you and your hubby each grab an end and bend it into an arch and get it into position while holding it only 18 inches from the ground (the length of the rebar above ground).  See how much it wiggles and flexes, and how much force you need to apply at that 18 inch point to fight any wind.  Have a third person try to push it over and see how much it flexes and how much force you have to apply to keep it up.

My somewhat educated guess is that you are going to need to use heavier pipe.  BTW, if you can get schedule 80 or even 120 pipe (not what Home Depot carries), your chances are better.

 

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2 minutes ago, k6ccc said:

I am NOT a mechanical engineer, but I see a couple flaws with this.  Unless you are setting the 2 - 3 foot rebar into concrete, that's not long enough.  At three feet long with half of the rebar in the ground, that's only 18 inches in the ground.  Unless it's damn near solid rock or concrete, with a 25 foot lever, that wont stay put.  I'm using two foot sections of rebar into dirt to hold my arches, but each arch is only a 10 foot piece of 3/4 inch PEX, and they get almost no wind because they are sheltered in front of a block wall.

The braces between each arch will stiffen the whole thing, but I would suggest one or more guy ropes on each end pulling the whole array tight so it can't wobble back and forth.  With about 50 feet of 3/4 inch PVC you will get A LOT of movement.  As a a little test, put 50 feet of 3/4 inch PVC together (just the pipe - no lights) and have you and your hubby each grab an end and bend it into an arch and get it into position while holding it only 18 inches from the ground (the length of the rebar above ground).  See how much it wiggles and flexes, and how much force you need to apply at that 18 inch point to fight any wind.  Have a third person try to push it over and see how much it flexes and how much force you have to apply to keep it up.

My somewhat educated guess is that you are going to need to use heavier pipe.  BTW, if you can get schedule 80 or even 120 pipe (not what Home Depot carries), your chances are better.

 

My bad, I meant 3-4 ft of rebar sticking out of the ground.  The 3/4 inch PVC is only going to be used to go into the rebar and then the actual arch will be 1/2 inch PVC.

I like the testing the strength idea...we may do that.

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1 minute ago, wensteve said:

My bad, I meant 3-4 ft of rebar sticking out of the ground.  The 3/4 inch PVC is only going to be used to go into the rebar and then the actual arch will be 1/2 inch PVC.

I would be EXTREMELY concerned about 50 feet of 1/2 PVC being able to hold itself up in an arch, let alone with lights and a controller in the middle.

3 minutes ago, wensteve said:

I like the testing the strength idea...we may do that.

Please do so you are not in for a huge surprise in November!  If the arch will hold itself up, tie a brick to the middle and try again.  Although a CCP controller is not as heavy as a brick, but the time you include the lights, it's pretty close, and you don't want it to be "barely strong enough".

 

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3 minutes ago, wensteve said:

http://store.lightorama.com/12ritrpico.html

Would this work better?  

Anyone know how long each strip is?

They are five meter strips (16 feet 4 inches).  Two would not be long enough for your project.

 

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I can tell you from experience that 1/2 inch PVC will not work. At 50' the top center of the arch will sag and fall, ask me how I know. I know because my arches last year were 31' total and the sagged and fell with 3/4 inch PVC so I laid them out on the ground and ran them, I called them flat feet because they were fallen arches. They looked good on the ground and we got many compliments but nobody knew they were fallen arches.

I will be using 2 inch PVC this year and at 31' it will be quite a bit shorter then your 50'.

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I was going to suggest !" SCH40  PVC minimum .

I installed a lot of irrigation in my life.. A Horizontal 20' length of 3/4 Sags many feet at the other end when loading on the roof rack... That is WITHOUT any other weight. You plan a controller and 3 Cables to the Mid point.

The use of 1/2" as Tie bars in the center is fine for short spans, (5"), again, it will sag under its own weight.  for longer runs.

Get materials, make a prototype withOUT lights.  see how that stands. Now add K6CCC's brick.

BTW PVC can be (carefully) heated and bent while soft. I watched 2" being reformed to go around a Redwood  (barrel) Spa  A 5' length (finished) took a30+ minutes. Do a section, move forward,out of the heat tube, bend wait to heat,, repeat

 

 

Edited by TheDucks

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My driveway arch spans approximately 16 feet with 1" sch40 PVC with 3/4" solid shaft 4 feet in the ground and 4 feet up on each arch for support.  I attach the PEX tubing to the 1" PVC.    I have guy wires as well.  An arch over a 30 ft driveway is no easy chore. Especially as an entry level RGB project.  You could bend EMT, but I don't know if I would even trust EMT for this.  That's a long span... 

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Wendy don't hesitate to give me a shout or stop by as I have all the devices you are considering and it will give you some ideas on weights, lengths and installation options. I did attempt some driveway arches last year with similar widths as your driveway but struggled getting PVC supported.  You may want to consider looking to buy a used pop up garage as the support piping tends to be more rigid and is built to be set up / taken down and secured easily.

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On 4/15/2017 at 7:12 AM, Marty Belisle said:

Wendy don't hesitate to give me a shout or stop by as I have all the devices you are considering and it will give you some ideas on weights, lengths and installation options. I did attempt some driveway arches last year with similar widths as your driveway but struggled getting PVC supported.  You may want to consider looking to buy a used pop up garage as the support piping tends to be more rigid and is built to be set up / taken down and secured easily.

A pop up tent is actually a good idea.  We plan on buying the supplies needed for one arch this summer and testing it out to see if it will stand and how much movement there will be.  Maybe when we do this we could have you over to give us some tips Marty :)  

Do you think you will attempt driveway arches this year?  Its pretty much the only space you have left without lights and would look amazing.

We only bought the 8 pack of RGB Floods this sale but hopefully at the next sale we will grab what we need to have RGB arches.

Thanks Marty!

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Watch info mall for used pop up as the supports are often still ok. You bet let me know if you want to brainstorm. No plans to do arches as it may block my matrix above my garage door.  Your going to love the floods as they create great lighting with many options for installation. This was also my first RGB device. Watch out its addicting 

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