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lightingnewb

Smart RGB -- Advice Needed

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lightingnewb    30

Hi all,

I'm not new to LOR (I've been a member of the forums for a while and have shared videos and advice in the past on other topics), but I've got a new area I'm unfamiliar with. I'm hoping someone with experience can help me out. I'll save you guys some time reading through all of this and I'll list out my questions and concerns below.

  • Pixel "Support" per controller. So... I see some controllers out there say something like "supports X Number pixels"... what does this generally mean? (Picture)
  • The difference between a CCD (Cosmic Color Device) and Intelligent Ribbon (this)
  • How this is managed in LOR S4... i.e. Pixel Editor, all that jazz.

Please either reply here at your convenience or email me at GoldingLights@gmail.com

Any and all help is appreciated. Thanks!

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Mr. P    303
1 hour ago, lightingnewb said:

Hi all,

I'm not new to LOR (I've been a member of the forums for a while and have shared videos and advice in the past on other topics), but I've got a new area I'm unfamiliar with. I'm hoping someone with experience can help me out. I'll save you guys some time reading through all of this and I'll list out my questions and concerns below.

  • Pixel "Support" per controller. So... I see some controllers out there say something like "supports X Number pixels"... what does this generally mean? (Picture)
  • The difference between a CCD (Cosmic Color Device) and Intelligent Ribbon (this)
  • How this is managed in LOR S4... i.e. Pixel Editor, all that jazz.

Please either reply here at your convenience or email me at GoldingLights@gmail.com

Any and all help is appreciated. Thanks!

Pixel support is the max number of pixels that each output can handle. Example: the Pixie4 can handle 4x100 as it has four outputs which can handle 100 pixels each for a total of 400 per card. This could be a string of 100 pixels or two 5m strips or a total of 300 channels per output.

The difference with CCD's and intelligent ribbon is that CCD's are proprietary to LOR. CCD's come with an LOR controller attached  to an intelligent ribbon where as just the intelligent ribbon you provide the controller of your choosing but they can both accomplish the same thing. Also, intelligent ribbons use an IC chip which talks to the pixels and tells them what to do. You can read more about the different types here:  

https://www.doityourselfchristmas.com/wiki/index.php?title=Different_Styles_of_Pixels

Management is easy, you can sequence them with anything LOR has, SE, PE or SS. However, SS and PE make it easier to sequence smart ribbons due to the high channel count.

Keep in mind that Dumb RGB uses three channels (R,G,B) to control an entire string of 50 as the entire string lights up in the same color, whereas smart pixels use 150 channels (three channels for each pixel) to control a string of 50 as each pixel can be its own color.

There is also a good controller comparison here:

http://www.xlights.org/16-port-rgb-pixel-controllers/

Edited by Mr. P
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lightingnewb    30

Wow. Mr. P, that was a lot of great information. Thank you for all that you provided to me. This community is incredible in the amount of support and knowledge it contains. So my thanks, while brief, stretch wide and far and hold great weight. I'm truly honored to be able to reach out to the more wise people in this group for their continual support.

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Mr. P    303
2 hours ago, lightingnewb said:

Wow. Mr. P, that was a lot of great information. Thank you for all that you provided to me. This community is incredible in the amount of support and knowledge it contains. So my thanks, while brief, stretch wide and far and hold great weight. I'm truly honored to be able to reach out to the more wise people in this group for their continual support.

Since it sounds like you are starting to get into pixels you may also want to study up on mapping and universes as well. The more you know before getting in the easier it will be. I see so many people jump into that fire with both feet and easily get lost.

The very first thing you want to do with pixels is decide if you want to stay completely with LOR  and their  Pixie/Pixcon/CCDs controllers or go E1.31 where you can use any of the other types of controllers. Each platform has its advatages and disadvantages, you will just have to decide from the get go which is best for you. Yes you can mix-n-match them but it is easier to start with one or the other as they can't be on the same networks or something may burn up.

I commend you for gaining the knowledge before jumping in as pixels can get confusing but they are pretty easy once you understand them and they look great.

Read the forums and ask the questions, there are many in here with more knowledge then me and they are all willing to help.

Good luck.

Edited by Mr. P

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lightingnewb    30

Thanks again Mr. P.

As luck would have it, I'm not implementing this immediately into my show. I'm going to buy some to practice and master before it gets into a show.

  • So let's say I'm buying the Pixcon 16 controller from LOR. Of the two offered in their store online, which would you recommend?

For the lights:

  • Can I buy this to work with my LOR Controller? (here)
  • Or should I buy from Holiday Coro?

Other questions:

  • Do I just daisy chain this controller into my current setup?

I know I'm going to have more questions to ask soon.

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Mr. P    303

You are showing two LOR controllers; the Pixie16 which will only work on the LOR network and the Pixcon16 which can work on both the LOR network or an E1.31 network whichever you choose.

Me personally, I would get the Pixcon16 since it works on both types of networks it just determines how you program it and gives you a little more flexibility for future expansion.

Both will daisy chain into the LOR network to make things easier  (pixcon16  needs to be programmed correctly for it) and the lights that you linked to will work with either controller.

If you have any more questions please ask, myself or someone else will gladly help you out.

Edited by Mr. P

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George Simmons    1,154

For ease of setting up, the Pixie controllers are definitely the way to go.  (If you only need a few pixels here and a few pixels there, the Pixie4 and 8 work great.)  The trade-off is that they're quite limited with fewer setup options.  High-speed LOR network required. 

The Pixcon16 is a LOT more persnickety to set up correctly.  (Definitely worse than either San Devices or Falcon, that's for sure.)  But more flexibility than Pixie.  A lot more.  High speed/enhanced LOR network required if you're not running E1.31.

From the been there, done that department - I recommend running the Pixcon16 in E1.31 mode.  (Yes, it's tougher to set up and you might need to consult your 11-year old grandson, but it's worth it.)  With only a fairly modest number of pixels (about 650) on a high-speed enhanced LOR network shared with only two CCRs, I was seeing an unacceptable amount of lag last season.  I had about 10 times that many pixels over E1.31 with absolutely zero lag. 

I'm not much of a bottom-feeder when it comes to pixels, but IMO you can do better than $39.95 per Ws2811 ribbon without having to sacrifice quality.

Edited by George Simmons

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lightingnewb    30
On 7/29/2017 at 10:41 PM, George Simmons said:

For ease of setting up, the Pixie controllers are definitely the way to go.  (If you only need a few pixels here and a few pixels there, the Pixie4 and 8 work great.)  The trade-off is that they're quite limited with fewer setup options.  High-speed LOR network required. 

The Pixcon16 is a LOT more persnickety to set up correctly.  (Definitely worse than either San Devices or Falcon, that's for sure.)  But more flexibility than Pixie.  A lot more.  High speed/enhanced LOR network required if you're not running E1.31.

From the been there, done that department - I recommend running the Pixcon16 in E1.31 mode.  (Yes, it's tougher to set up and you might need to consult your 11-year old grandson, but it's worth it.)  With only a fairly modest number of pixels (about 650) on a high-speed enhanced LOR network shared with only two CCRs, I was seeing an unacceptable amount of lag last season.  I had about 10 times that many pixels over E1.31 with absolutely zero lag. 

I'm not much of a bottom-feeder when it comes to pixels, but IMO you can do better than $39.95 per Ws2811 ribbon without having to sacrifice quality.

Thank you! I'll keep hunting for more ribbons/lights to use. I appreciate your assistance - I know July/August can be the beginning of crunch time for some people.

On 7/29/2017 at 3:41 PM, Mr. P said:

You are showing two LOR controllers; the Pixie16 which will only work on the LOR network and the Pixcon16 which can work on both the LOR network or an E1.31 network whichever you choose.

Me personally, I would get the Pixcon16 since it works on both types of networks it just determines how you program it and gives you a little more flexibility for future expansion.

Both will daisy chain into the LOR network to make things easier  (pixcon16  needs to be programmed correctly for it) and the lights that you linked to will work with either controller.

If you have any more questions please ask, myself or someone else will gladly help you out.

Thanks for your advice thus far. I look forward to getting this all together. :)

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George Simmons    1,154
On 7/31/2017 at 1:12 PM, lightingnewb said:

Thank you! I'll keep hunting for more ribbons/lights to use. I appreciate your assistance 

If you haven't found what you want, check with Roger Aubuchon at PixelSequencing.com 

I've gotten stuff from him that was good quality and warrantied at a fair price.

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lightingnewb    30

Thanks!

Does the Pixcon 16 require a power supply? Does it come in an enclosure? Or does someone sell it pre-assembled?

I know I have more questions coming soon.

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Mr. P    303

The Pixcon will require two power supplies if using the 350w/30a and you will need to buy the enclosure or two and put everything together. I think they sell it in a package.

Edited by Mr. P

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Vince4xmas    44

I have my Pixcon16 in a separate enclosure as well as the (2) DC power supplies are in separate enclosures.

This allows me to locate the power supplies closer to where my pixels are that need power injection.

I just have a cordset cable running from each power supply to the Pixcon16.

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sax    67

I started my smart pixels with a larger card. Sans e682.  Found that I prefer the smaller ones.  E6804.  I have recently went to the outdooor power supplies so I can use a small enclosure.  I am putting my controllers closer to the element. 

 

In my posts I have always stated central location due to theft or vandalism so this is new for me. But smaller enclosures are not noticable. 

I also advocate readily available easily implemented.  So nothing is power injected.  And all my cables are off the shelf premade. This makes life easier for me in setup and take down as well as build time.  

The reason I like the smaller cards is setup and take down as well as troubleshooting   16 outputs for one box is a nightmare  and when I had issues it was unpleasant to work on it in the Oregon rain.  4 outputs with 1 spare per element is working better.  Easier to get my hands in there...fewer outputs but also fewer interruptions if a failure occurs.

 

Anyone starting new in smart pixels I would recommend looking at smaller cards. Putting them closer to the element and reducing costs on power supplies and cables.   Plus easier setup and take down.

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Dennis Laff    103

I agree with Sax on a few smaller controllers spread out around the display is easier to setup and troubleshoot .   I use 1 E682 for a pixel tree,    and us 4  E6804 for smaller props .

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lightingnewb    30

Hi all, thanks again immensely to everyone who's responded - your feedback has been helpful!

Let me refocus this real quick, though.

I should have pre-framed this post with a notion that:
(1) I'm not implementing this into my show for a while so i'm looking to do a single-prop setup currently.
(2) I'm looking at buying up to 3-4 Smart RGB ribbons to start with, and expand from there.
(3) If LOR sells everything I need for a decent price, I'll buy from them. If not, I'll aim for someone else who can meet my budget.

Again, thanks to those of you who have responded kindly with so much information. I greatly appreciate everything you guys do (especially since you do it for free!).

Based on the information I was given I'll post later what I've drafted as a reasonable purchase, with expenses as well, so that someone could review and double check me.

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OzAz    27

good info @Mr. P  there's an alternate link to (16 ch) controller comparison http://nutcracker123.com/nutcracker/rgb_controllers/ if anyone's interested.

@lightingnewb  depending on what sort of props you're building and what sort of look you want; you might want to opt for pixel strings rather than strips.

 

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lightingnewb    30

I'm looking towards Holiday Coro for my pixels. I'm thinking of buying this controller and four or more of these ribbons to start.

@OzAz -A prop I'm thinking of designing is a leaping water-esque thing with pixels. It looks like lots of leaping arches in a circular shape. Like a leaping arch-star!

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Mr. P    303

Honestly, if you are going to spend that kind of money and defineitely want a 16 output controller I would not recommend the Aplhapix16 from HC. I have three of them and will not buy another. First, the Alphapix is an E1.31 controller only, it will not daisey chain into an LOR network.

If you are not going to go with the Pixcon16 which can do both LOR networks and E1.31 networks I would highly recommend the Falcon controller which is an E1.31 controller or a Sans device controller. They have better warranties and much better support.

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Mr. P    303

Also keep in mind that the Alphapix package only comes with one power supply and that card needs two. Figure it this way, the one power supply that comes with it is 350w and if you use 16 of the strips you linked they are rated at 36w each (36x16=576). You would need to cover at least 576w and you normally want 20% overhead so you would need two 350w power supplies for a total of 700w.

Edited by Mr. P

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B.Y.R.G.    87
57 minutes ago, Mr. P said:

Also keep in mind that the Alphapix package only comes with one power supply and that card needs two. Figure it this way, the one power supply that comes with it is 350w and if you use 16 of the strips you linked they are rated at 36w each (36x16=576). You would need to cover at least 576w and you normally want 20% overhead so you would need two 350w power supplies for a total of 700w.

Good advice if you will be running your strips at 100% intensity and that's how I originally approached the power requirements.  But after some experience and experimentation with strips and nodes I never run my strips or nodes above 50% intensity due to the fact they are so bright.  This allows me to get away with using half the power supplies needed and I also have a couple of back up supplies now.  Something to consider as you can always buy another power supply to meet the required wattage needed at 100% intensity.

Edited by B.Y.R.G.

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BMurray    55
1 hour ago, lightingnewb said:

I'm looking towards Holiday Coro for my pixels. I'm thinking of buying this controller and four or more of these ribbons to start.

I happen to have several of these controllers and all have worked well for me. No issues whosoever. I also have smart strips from HC as well going on 4 seasons this year. No issues with these either. Though because of cost I am using Ray Wu for pretty much everything except the controllers.  including upgrades to my shows this year for Halloween and Christmas.  I use Boscoyo Studios for the awseome props they have. It's all a matter of choice, opinion and personal experience with the product and customer service that determines the value of who you go with. Again, no problems with HC but there are several in this forum who have apparently had the worst experience of their lives (George). 

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OzAz    27
3 hours ago, Mr. P said:

.. the Alphapix is an E1.31 controller only, it will not daisy chain into an LOR network. ...

however, the alphapix does have dmx output and you could run your lor controllers in dmx mode (Falcon boards have the same capability) 

 

the wonderful thing about this hobby, so much to choose from and everyone has an opinion on which is best :lol:

I have no opinion, I just provide options :) 

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Mr. P    303

I personally have no beef with HC as they have a bunch of nice products. However, I own six of the Alphapix controllers in both the 16 and 4 and all six of them have bad outputs. I still use the good outputs but I have moved on to other controllers that I have found more reliable. I just can't recommend the Alphapix to anyone in good conscience.

In the past if you bought a controller at the HC pre-season sale in January the warranty only lasted until June. You could test it when received but until it was put into the show in December you really never knew if it was good. Now you can purchase a 1-3 year warranty but that doesn't do me any good for my six controllers.

Example: I purchased an Alphapix4 in January 2016, setup and tested off my computer when received in April and all was good. Come November I connected it into the show but it would not work going through a 16 port switch, warranty expired before I ever got to use it so I was SOL.

One more thing, if you sell something then you should support it and not charge the customer for support.

Edited by Mr. P

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Ebuechner    182

You will hear the Falcon controller come up several times and there's a reason for that.

The F-16 V3 and the F-4 V3 is where the smart money is at because they give the best value for the dollar with excellent support and features that no one else has even thought of yet.

Holiday Coro has support if you pay extra for it and chances are you will need it with their controllers. 

I bought a holiday Coro controller once and I was quite surprised when I found out that I paid for the privilege of being a beta tester ( I never recall volunteering for that position).

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k6ccc    500

If you are looking at E1.31 controllers, I have nothing but good things to say about the SanDevices E6804 and E682

http://sandevices.com/

 

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