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Mega Tree Recommendations

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Naturally, after my first year, I'm already ready to jump into next year :) I'm really wanting to buy a mega tree during the March mad grab sale. Trying to determine the difference between using square pixels versus a color ribbon. Does one have better benefits over the other? 

Also, thinking of upgrading the roofline to pixels as well. Would square pixels or a ribbon work best for this?

Edited by martsycart

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Mega Tree- IMO ribbon is better graphics/ images.

The Pixie16 kit is the easiest LOR offers

Roofline- I used grey pvc conduit, HC pvc clips and some rectangular pixels. I mounted the pixels to the pvc conduit and they just clip in place. They will stay up year round.

Find my greatest show thread here and you can see. They are actually 3 smart RGB nodes per light. Everyone of the LOR guys that I know and have seen the love them. About $150 for 500

During the daylight you can barely see the lights and that when you are looking for them. They are tucked up tight under my shingles/Eve. 

 

JR

Edited by dibblejr

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I assume you are talking about smart devices rather than dumb, however my comments apply to either.

The biggest advantage of pixels over ribbons is that repairs are FAR easier to deal with WHEN (not IF) a pixel fails.  With pixels, you cut the wires on either side of the failed pixel, swap the pixel and solder the wires together.  With ribbons, you cut out the failed section, carefully position the replacement segment, carefully solder bridge the pads together.  Then the fun begins trying to get it waterproof again.  If you look at the annotated photo below, you will see that in order to not block a single LED along the ribbon (it will be obvious if there is a missing LED), you have about an inch to work with.  If you are careful, you can use one layer of the heat shrink tubing that has the goo in it to cover the gap.  I prefer to put a second layer over the top and extended almost a half inch on both ends, but for this purpose, you don't have enough room to do that.  In the photo, you can see that the last LED is at least partially blocked by the heat shrink tubing.

Planter_strip_backfeed.jpg

Note BTW, that this particular strip is out of service this year because the silicon tube degraded and the ribbon was filled with water.

 

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Yeah, I tucked my light stripes this year right up under the shingles, worked perfectly. I would really like to get a more diffused look with the roofline though. Might have to do some experimenting. 

So for the mega tree, should I just bite the bullet and get the 16 Ribbon Tree - Pixie16 Controller? Any idea the dimensions of this after it's put up? 

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1 minute ago, k6ccc said:

WHEN (not IF) a pixel fails

Yeesh. How often do pixels fail? And yes, I was talking about smart devices.

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11 minutes ago, martsycart said:

Yeah, I tucked my light stripes this year right up under the shingles, worked perfectly. I would really like to get a more diffused look with the roofline though. Might have to do some experimenting. 

So for the mega tree, should I just bite the bullet and get the 16 Ribbon Tree - Pixie16 Controller? Any idea the dimensions of this after it's put up? 

At least 16’ and whatever you add as a topper.

I haven’t used a topper even though I have one. My 12800 led tree has a star so I feel I don’t really need a topper on the ccr tree

Its your $ and though others here will tell you how to spend it, it’s all up to you.

The Pixie16 16x50 is a good kit and if you get it on sale the most affordable if you want to stay all LOR

I like the K.I.S.S. Method myself.

JR

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13 minutes ago, martsycart said:

Yeesh. How often do pixels fail? And yes, I was talking about smart devices.

At least 1 every year. I have 3 sections/nodes  missing 1 color, I had the First SMART RGB on a string stuck on Red, everything else was dead after that.  I mostly run Bullets (I tried strips around the double windows on the porch. way too much effort to get reliable center strip)  BTW I used Gel filled 'beans' to splice the wires from the nodes, then a zip tie to hold them flat

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1 minute ago, TheDucks said:

At least 1 every year. I have 3 sections/nodes  missing 1 color, I had the First SMART RGB on a string stuck on Red, everything else was dead after that.  I mostly run Bullets (I tried strips around the double windows on the porch. way too much effort to get reliable center strip)  BTW I used Gel filled 'beans' to splice the wires from the nodes, then a zip tie to hold them flat

You have bad luck with the “at least 1 every year”.

I have my very first pixel strings that have been running 24/7 unless power outage for 2 years or so. No loss

Wish I could say that about the ribbons though.

You can get pre soldered low heat butt splice or bullet connectors with heat shrink. I use those in combination with marine grade heat shrink and 3M5200 to ensure no moisture can get to them. They are at least triple protected.

Them jelly bellies are what or similar to what the phone cable guys used to use.

JR

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7 minutes ago, dibblejr said:

At least 16’ and whatever you add as a topper.

I haven’t used a topper even though I have one. My 12800 led tree has a star so I feel I don’t really need a topper on the ccr tree

Its your $ and though others here will tell you how to spend it, it’s all up to you.

The Pixie16 16x50 is a good kit and if you get it on sale the most affordable if you want to stay all LOR

I like the K.I.S.S. Method myself.

JR

I like the KISS idea also. A  Pixie 16 is almost as easy as a pair of CMB24 (gives you 16RGB ports) to use. Plus each port can easily run a second 50 if you want to double wide your strands (150 might be possible since each channel is rated for 4A, but most strings only give White current. Also, I would Y feed anything over 100 as the strings voltage drop gets pretty bad)

 

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1 minute ago, dibblejr said:

 

 

 

Them jelly bellies are what or similar to what the phone cable guys used to use.

JR

I AM an old phone (and Alarm) guy. Emphasis on the OLD, But my first job out of High School was with Pacific Telephone. My pension is from Nortel

I am a tru phony 😛

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6 minutes ago, dibblejr said:

Them jelly bellies are what or similar to what the phone cable guys used to use.

Love them!  I stock UY, UR, and ULG jelly beans (different size wire).  I use them for quick repairs when standing 10 feet up a ladder.  Far easier than dragging a soldering iron and heat gun up the ladder.

 

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19 minutes ago, k6ccc said:

UY, UR, and ULG jelly beans

There's a UR UGLY joke in there somewhere 🤣

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35 minutes ago, martsycart said:

Yeesh. How often do pixels fail? And yes, I was talking about smart devices.

On my original pixel tree (12 x 50 so 600 pixels), I think I ran the first two years before I had a pixel ail.  Then a couple every year.  Had my first CCP fail in one of my arches this year (5th year in service).

Ribbons, not so well.  Most of my ribbons are dumb and generally I lose one color on one segment.  For example if you look at the strip in the background that is supposed to be white, there is a teal segment - where Red was missing.

Columns_lit.jpg

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5 minutes ago, martsycart said:

There's a UR UGLY joke in there somewhere 🤣

Could be.  But don't get too worried - based solely on your profile photo, you are NOT ugly in my opinion.

 

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54 minutes ago, TheDucks said:

I AM an old phone (and Alarm) guy. Emphasis on the OLD, But my first job out of High School was with Pacific Telephone. My pension is from Nortel

I am a tru phony 😛

I could scare you and tell you that I have an operational 1A2 key system in my house.

 

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1 hour ago, TheDucks said:

I like the KISS idea also. A  Pixie 16 is almost as easy as a pair of CMB24 (gives you 16RGB ports) to use. Plus each port can easily run a second 50 if you want to double wide your strands (150 might be possible since each channel is rated for 4A, but most strings only give White current. Also, I would Y feed anything over 100 as the strings voltage drop gets pretty bad)

 

We are talking “smart pixels”. Not for the CMB24- so not to confuse the op

JR

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1 hour ago, dibblejr said:

We are talking “smart pixels”. Not for the CMB24- so not to confuse the op

JR

<slap> I was thinking CMB vs AC.

Pixies are a lot more work to program (but just as easy to hook up as a CMB24)

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On 12/28/2018 at 1:34 PM, martsycart said:

Yeesh. How often do pixels fail? And yes, I was talking about smart devices.

I use HC smart/dumb pixel strips.   I am averaging a season, maybe 2,  out of each strip.  For whatever reason,  the red pixels go bad most.   It is usually so many per strip that repairing them isn't an option.  For this reason, and only this reason, I will be changing to square pixels next year.  I love the look of the strips,  but I can't afford to replace them every year.  I bought their pixel strip tree last year,  and sure enough,  every strip has a number of bad pixels this year.  I could see having to replace a couple each year.  Even a few.  However,  it is pretty much every strip,  every year.  Some stay out all year, and some, like the pixel tree,  are stored away,  so, that doesn't seem to have anything to do with it.  I believe I will be going with nodes for the tree and house,  and will add a 24x50  matrix to make up for the smaller node.   Even if they don't last any longer, at least repairing them is much, much easier.

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On 12/28/2018 at 11:22 AM, dibblejr said:

Mega Tree- IMO ribbon is better graphics/ images.

The Pixie16 kit is the easiest LOR offers

Roofline- I used grey pvc conduit, HC pvc clips and some rectangular pixels. I mounted the pixels to the pvc conduit and they just clip in place. They will stay up year round.

Find my greatest show thread here and you can see. They are actually 3 smart RGB nodes per light. Everyone of the LOR guys that I know and have seen the love them. About $150 for 500

During the daylight you can barely see the lights and that when you are looking for them. They are tucked up tight under my shingles/Eve. 

 

JR

Hey JR, that looks incredible.  If you don't mind me asking - what is your spacing for the nodes you used on the roof line? I am looking at using the rectangular nodes that HC sells for the same effect.

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2 hours ago, callmemike said:

Hey JR, that looks incredible.  If you don't mind me asking - what is your spacing for the nodes you used on the roof line? I am looking at using the rectangular nodes that HC sells for the same effect.

Those are not individual nodes.

A company I have purchased thousands of nodes from sent me a string of them as a test.

I ended up liking them and ordered 3000 of them.

They are rectangular about 3” long and have 3 RGB nodes per section.

 I have about 2” in between each section to allow for spacing give or take a little.

You can find the in Amazon. They have a hole in each end and I screwed them to 1/2” pvc pipe. They will stay up year round.

They survived almost 2 month of very harsh rain .

JR

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