Jump to content
Light-O-Rama Forums
Goldie1970

Pixel Ribbons vs bullets on a tree? Starting from scratch!

Recommended Posts

I’m really wanting to get into pixels this year, looking hard at all the options for pixel bullets. Now considering ribbons. I think I’m at a point where it’s “paralysis by analysis”!

From your experiences, what’s the most cost effective way to go for a 10-12 foot tree with 16 strips....starting ground up with limited soldering ability. Thanks all

Edited by Goldie1970

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First you need to ask yourself what are you looking for. A flat ribbon tree is better for graphics and wording. A more traditional round tree with pixels is better for designs and patterns that go around the tree.

Once you figure what you want you can spend a little more and buy a kit or by the parts, build you own and save about half.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I definitely will build my own, I’m handy enough to do that.  And I’ve got tools and time!  

More interested in effects and colors than in scrolling words. I wonder on a round tree if it’s not a good use of $$$ showing it on the back side. Our home is a drive past and watch show, not one where people will see all sides of it

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is my pallet to paint on, and a look at where I left off last year. Hoping for complete new layout this year

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well - I'm not sure that I completely agree on the graphics vs designs answer --- I have use both bullets and ribbons in my display and actually found them equally useful depending (and this is where I think the key point is) ... depending on the density of the pixels. Ribbons have a set pattern - they are what they are - you cannot make them any more dense  (or the length of the ribbon) - of course you can pace the ribbons closer together...but...those pixels are really 3-LEDs long so it's a pretty big pixel. The bullets can be placed close together or far apart. and that is where YOUR NEEDS come into play - sure if you expect to show TV quality video and graphics you better have a very dense grouping of bullets - but for a general display I think a couple (2-4) inch separation o those bullets will get you pretty darned good graphics unless your viewing public is right smack dab on top of it. In my case, from about 50-feet away 4" apart gave decent renditions of graphics...this year, however, because I want finer detail in my matrix, I am remaking that matrix with 2" separation. So, again, you have to decide what it is you will be displaying on the props to decide what is the better choice for you.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Goldie1970 said:

I definitely will build my own, I’m handy enough to do that.  And I’ve got tools and time!  

More interested in effects and colors than in scrolling words. I wonder on a round tree if it’s not a good use of $$$ showing it on the back side. Our home is a drive past and watch show, not one where people will see all sides of it

I have several smaller 360-degree trees in my display and I like that look because I see the display rom inside the house, too! LOL But truly a 180-degree tree may be all you need - again - depending on your options! Where is the tree viewed from - i only from a distance and not visible from behind - than 180-degrees is more than adequate - but i people can see the sides as they drive up maybe you want to consider 270-degrees or even the ill 360. 

Just my thoughts! Your mileage may (and no doubt will) vary!!! LOL

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

By the way - I like your last year's layout - and a ew pixels here and there can sure liven that up even more!!!!!

Again, let me say, it depends entirely on where you want to place things as to if you should use bullet, bulbs or ribbons. I have used all three --- the bulbs are GREAT around the eaves of the house, the bullets have worked beautifully in mini-trees and 6-foot pixel trees. The ribbons mad a great matrix (even though this year my new matrix will be square pixels at a higher density - I was very happy with the old matrix of ribbons).

If you go to YouTube, I have video there as "706 Lights" so you can see what my ribbon matrix looked like and my bullet mini-trees, too.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the feedback fellas. I have so many existing LED light strings that I will keep using them and phase in pixels over time. I was hoping to get a pre-made LOR controller (pixie 16). Figured it was long term cost effective to get that....or is that overkill?  Can I run a 12 or 16 string off a smaller controller?  So many questions!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well - the Pixie16 can run up to 16 100-pixel strings of bullets or bulbs - I haven't looked into what it can do with ribbons. I have two of those that I am using to drive my matrix this year.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Goldie1970 said:

Thanks for the feedback fellas. I have so many existing LED light strings that I will keep using them and phase in pixels over time. I was hoping to get a pre-made LOR controller (pixie 16). Figured it was long term cost effective to get that....or is that overkill?  Can I run a 12 or 16 string off a smaller controller?  So many questions!

The prebuilt pixie16's are a great bang for the buck and easiest to work with. A lot of people have problems configuring it, but that's where I come in and help those people out. Takes a little time but for me its a walk in the park.

Everyone that has posted are very knowledgeable and helpful. I agree with both of them.

Jamills706 makes a good point about the pixel node spacing. If you want to start out with a short 12' or so tree you can , depending on the node strings, use the average I believe about 10' at the spacing purchased. Or you can put 2 strings end to end and place the nodes closer together.

I do like the ribbons better for images and words , they appear less pixelated with ribbons, but that is a personal preference.

When I say prebuilt pixie16 is best for the buck. When I started with the pixies they didn't offer prebuilt. I got just the card and green connectors. I had to outsource for power supplies, a case (my first built was a 24X50 matrix) so I had to fit 1 or 2 power supplies and the two pcb's within. Power cables, a job in itself. And then affordable strips. In my case that took a lot of time and more money. And to me time is money so if I had the chance to purchase a prebuilt looking back on it, I would have been all over it.

JR

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To repeat a previous comment.  Pixels can give you whatever spacing you want.  My 12 x 50 tree has 2.5 inch spacing and my 2018 pixel tree will have 1.33 inch spacing between pixels on a 24 x 100 flat tree.  Pixels are also FAR easier to repair when (not if) a pixel fails.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One more note "limited soldering".

You can buy pre soldered/ low heat butt splice connectors. Put some heat shrink over the ends before you connect them. I use marine grade heat shrink tubing. I use a small one for the soldered wires. And a larger one over the set. I put 3M 4200 silicone Marine grade (5200 is to strong for this) over the pairs and then slide the larger shrink tubing over the set. Heat and as it shrinks the 4200 will come out thus giving you a water resistant seal.

JR

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Biggest advantage of 12 volt is longer strings without needing power injection.  However there is higher power consumption.

Biggest advantage of 5 volt is somewhat lower power consumption.  Downside is more of a need for power injection.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

5v pixels are also generally cheaper.  That said 12v is all I use to avoid injection.  Not that injection is hard but it’s another step. 

 

Also, I like bulbs over strips in my bushes and trees.  I can add depth to the prop by putting the bulbs in places other than just the front. I use my bulb pixeled trees and bushes to control what color rather than to send a message (texts and images).  

Strips are on the eaves. No depth needed there. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...