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New to Pixels


Cheski

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I have been using several LOR units for a couple of years and want to get into pixels.  I plan on starting simple with a 8' 180 deg pixel tree with 8 strings of 50 pixels folded in half, which will provide 16 strings.  I have received the pixels (12v ws2811, power supply, weather proof box, and just ordered a LOR Pixcon 16).  My LOR license is a Standard license upgradable to 4.1.2  at no cost.   I would prefer not to upgrade to the Pro level this year because of the cost.  How do I add the pixels to my current sequences and what software do I use to program them?  After I add the pixel tree to a few of my old squences, then I need to figure out how to hook up the Pixcon.   This is pretty much a begining to end question about pixels.  I apologize if this has already been addressed somewhere.  If so, please provide the link.  I am in the process of reading the manuals on the LOR Pixcon and S4 software, but thought I could get quick explanations through the forum.  I have also read through the Auschristmas lights 101.   Any help is appreciated.  

 

Thanks

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Ok, So I'll try to address things a little before the real experts get in there and get more information to you. I just bought a Pixcon16 as well but as of this moment, I'm traveling and didn't get to play with it when I had to leave suddenly on this trip. The pixcon16 will connect either directly to the RS485 LOR network or a E1.31 Network. You pick which you are going to use. Now, before going any farther, you MUST understand that the two are NOT compatible even though they use the same Cat5/6 cables. Cross connecting the wrong port to the wrong type of network will FRY things for sure. Most of us using a pixel controller will connect via the E1.31 TCPIP network to control from as its much faster than RS485. To accomplish this, you need to come off your computer from its ethernet TCPIP port to a "Switch" or in older slower devices, called a router. From there, you can do multiple different ways, but the goal is to connect a wire from the switch, to the pixcon16. You'll need to then establish communication with the card, from your computer's browser by typing in the IP address to the card. Please note that your computer's IP address must be in the same or similar realm as the card's address. You can change one or the other, or both, to whatever you wish, so as long as they communicate. Now as I said, I'm not in front of my show computer, nor am I in front of the pixcon16 card right now so I can't tell you how to configure it although you can download the manual from LOR. It will come with the card anyway.

 

You'll be configuring your card's "Universes" to match the sequence editor information that you create and enter which also must match the "Network Preferences" in LOR too. Once in the SE, you'll be able to go to the location of your choice and right click on the start of whichever row and "Add Device" either above or below, depending on your wishes. You'll tell the SE what type of device it is, universe number and how many channels you are adding. It'll do that almost instantly. You'll then need to convert those channels to RGB types and there's a process there for that too. Its fairly easy once you see it and do it. Sorry, I'm not in front of my show computer to step you through it. Once you've converted the channels, be sure to save the hardware configuration to a new name...SE's Edit, Save/Load Hardware or whatever it says. You'll be doing the network preferences I mentioned, then too.

 

Once you get it all configured and matching, its just a matter of editing. I've not yet learned the PE but you can use xLights for example or SS to create lots of effects that you can export in the LOR format and copy/paste into your sequence. To see them work on the pixels and/or the visualizer, you'll need to turn on the LOR control panel. Do not schedule a show or anything just turn it on, so that the listerner program starts up.

 

I know it comes across a bit daunting but once you see how it works, it becomes easy...lol, well, easier.

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The way I see the software comparisons, is that you are going to have to upgrade to at least the Advanced version to output native DMX, or do you have a SuperStar license?

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You need to upgrade. 

 

You need advanced for DMX/E1.31, and RS485 (LOR Network) is too slow.

 

You could, but you may have lag and other problems.

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Thanks for the help/advice dgrant, zman & lightfan.  I have experimented with xlights and vegomatic in the past.  I may try that route and see if I have any luck before I purchase the LOR upgrade.   I do have a SS level 4_CCR license.  My son purchased it for me not knowing I did not have any CCR's.  He thought I may purchase some in the future.

 

Thanks 

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So programming is not the issue here. The issue is outputting DMX or E1.31 from LOR. You can use Xlights to program, and then execute your show, but if you are thinking about importing that back into an LOR sequence, you still have the same issue.

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For Dmx and e1.31 you must have advanced level. Don't complicate your life with xlights. Stick with what you know and you will be happier.

If you use visualizer, without advanced you will not see those elements working in visualizer either.

Superstar is not just for pixels or CCRs. It is a complete sequencer. It can be used for all controllers...AC, DC, pixels, CCRs,CCPs, whatever. A very powerful tool in your hands ready to go. You should try it.

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Ok, so it seems to run pixels I will need at a minimum to upgrade to an advanced license.  Since I will probably run the pixels with E1.31.  I have not used SS to program, but have heard that it does not have many of the functions that xlights or LOR Pro.  May be LOR will give me a break on the price to upgrade to Pro since I just purchased a Pixcon.

 

Thanks again

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Super Star is for large pixel counts. Over 750 pixels and it is essential.

 

But, if you upgrade to Pro, you get the Pixel Editor, which does the same thing (Well, soft of) as Super Star but is probably quicker to program with. Effects are a little more limited; you can't design your own and do really precise stuff, but a great tool for sequencing. 

 

Are you doing this for 2015?

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Super Star is for large pixel counts. Over 750 pixels and it is essential.

This statement is just not true.

Superstar replaces sequence editor. Makes sequencing easier than ever. It can do everything the sequence editor can but faster and easier.

I get so frustrated seeing this comment that superstar is for pixels only. No. It is not true. I don't have a large pixel count display ....not one pixel tree or matrix. But once I started using superstar what I do have is a ton of time on my hand as sequencing is so fast and easy.

At least try the program.

Xlights and pixel editor are very much the same as one another but nothing like superstar. You can add effects. Want your pixels to have snow effect? Use those programs. The program will take your element and put the effect where it needs to go. You can not control how long or where so to speak. You can work to try to get it aligned to the beat of the music but it is a challenge

They are not easy to learn either. So don't get the impression that you grab the program and suddenly you are adding effects. No. It takes time to create and add all your elements. And with pixel editor...it is your pixels and RGB elements only.

In superstar, you use your visualizer file to import your entire yard. Now, program each element how you wish. Not by adding effects, but by sequencing as normal. Fades, chases, on, off, color fades for rgb, yes...pixel control. But you are controlling each element, each light. Rgb, pixels, AC strings....motors, fog machines, faces....you can control each of these in superstar. Then export and your done.

What makes superstar faster? Nudges are a huge time safer to start with. But you determine what effect you want, add the element and superstar does the correct fading, color change, chase or whatever for you. Morphs are such a time saver.

The list goes on and on. But if I only had one 16 channel controller....I would still program it using superstar.

Sax

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I agree with Sax. SuperStar is very versatile and you can do amazing things with it.  I still use the SE for some things as I'm still learning how to fully utilize SS.  My understanding is that the pixel editor is more macro where SuperStar gives you micro control.  Not having used Pixel Ed I can't say this from personal experience but that is the take I''ve gotten in reading other posts in the forum.  As I continue to learn more SS I expect my sequencing will gradually become more and more in SS and less in SE.  And SS is not just RGB.  I have lots of regular LED & Incan lights and I can sequence them in SS.

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Sax, I will give SS a try.  Yes LightFan, I am trying to do this for 2015.  I am using sequences from previous years and adding a small pixel tree this year.  Although, I am also behind on my Halloween animatonics.   I'll get done what I can and as they say there is always next year.  

 

Thanks again.  I will probably have a few more questions. 

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  • 1 month later...

I keep seeing that "LOR network is too slow."  Having never used E1.31 I have nothing to compare.  I do have a few CCR's and CCP's that I have on the high speed adapter.  If it's slow or lagging, I don't know it.  So my question is, since I'm considering a Pixcon16 and using it as an LOR network, will it be too slow if I use it on a separate HS adapter?  My desire is to build a 360 pixel tree.  At the moment I can't say how big or the number of pixels, I'm literally 15 minutes into the thought process of what I want to do next year!  But I guess since I brought it up, I should think about it more.  Maybe 12' tall...would that be 24 pixels per string (6" spacing)?  And about 20 strings to make a circle?  So about 500 pixels?

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Seems I am a bit confused.  Currently have:

Sequence Editor V3.8.0 Standard with Superstar demo. Know I upgraded software when I went from the basic package one controller to three controllers and the whole house sound transmitter. But NOT to Pro. Just sent in to LOR for the license check.

 

Want to add some Cosmic Color Pixel's, Looking at two of the - 2X50 string package with controller. Figured that would be enough to get started this year and don't want the ribbons. However I will want to expand down the road.

 

Looking at the LOR site it just shows daisy chaining the CCP controller in with the regular controllers. And that there is a way to open channels in the sequence editor to control the strings but I haven't read all the instructions yet. Just got done Halloween :)

But I'm reading here about the PIXCON 16. Is this a must?

 

As mentioned I have the Superstar Demo, not sure what that mans but have never used it or the visualizer. I have only used the sequence editor and show editor to do my work.

 

Thanks

Joe

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The Pixcon16 is not required for CCPs or CCRs. It is for non-LOR pixels. Cosmic Color Ribbons and Cosmic Color Pixels have their own controllers which connect to a normal LOR network.

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Thanks for that help. Seems like it comes down to how much work is needed to install it. LOR CCR's/P's are more expensive but there is no need to figure out all the extras. Power supply / jumping power / connecting ribbons / etc.

 

Looks like I will need to buy  the Superstar add on. It says in the text it can handle scrolling words & faces, which is my ultimate goal, but the example videos are pretty lame compared to those in the Pixel Pro section.

 

To figure my SS upgrade need-  it says "based on the number of 50 pixels strings you want to control" Yet the CCP's are sold as a set of two 50 string with 1 controller. So is that two channels in the software?

Can always upgrade later but looking at the 4_CCR license to start. That would control 4 (150 bulb CCR) ribbons but how many 100 pixel strings ( set of 2 @ 50, 1 controller)

 

How dense should the pixels be packed. Say - side to side - to get a good look when making a face or scrolling a symbol or word?

From reading it looks like 4" spacing of the bulbs is good for my display. 20' - 50' viewing range. But how many strings wide?

 

A lot of the tree's seem use 12 strips. My budget will not allow for 12 CCR's this year with all the controllers and software needed.

Looking at one set of the CCP set (100) bulbs will do two arches nicely. Rest of what I do is based on budget.

 

Thanks

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CCR,ccp and pixels all work like this where channels are involved:

Each pixel is a channel. Well, actually 3 channels. (Red, green, blue) But one rgb channel.

You don't have to have superstar to control them. But, I am a huge fan of superstar and I do recomend it to everyone. It just makes sequencing easier whether you have pixels or not.

CCR's and CCPs from LOR offer something else that you can't get standard from other sources. Macros. These are built into the controller and allows various things to be simply programmed. One of my favorite macros is controlling all pixels with only one line. There are more. Read the manual on how to use them.

When you get your CCP's you will have to set them up in SW. Use the import device function and include the macro channels. This will place all 100 pixels in your editor as a group. Open the group and see all the new channels. Macro channels will be at the bottom.

Text and pictures are possible with CCP's but you will have to make a grid of some sort. At least 5 pixels high. Otherwise the letters won't work.

One thing to keep in mind. CCPs each bulb is a pixel or channel. On a CCR 3 lights are a pixel. This effects resolution. A ccr is just over 16 feet long and is 50 pixels. A ccp will not line up to that....just remeber that.

Lastly, superstar license. How does it work? Well, it is based on CCR's. So if you are using something other than CCR you will have to use your math skills. 1 CCR is 50 pixels. 50 pixels is 150 channels. So a 4 CCR license is 200 pixels or 600 channels.

The way superstar works, you can create a visualization with as many channels as you want. Perform every task of sequencing you wish. But, superstar can not perform a show. So to do that you must export it to be ran in the sequence editor. During the export portion of your sequence is when the license is checked. If your visualization exceeds your license you will get a fault at this point.

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Getting close to understanding all and making my purchase.

- am using LOR stuff and SuperStar. Not a question.

- I get how pixels work, not a problem. Biggest learning curve will be SS and getting it into my sequences. Lots of online help for that so I'm not worried. Have all of November to program, becomes my full time job :)  I like to change my yard set-up and reprogram songs to match it.

 

- answer from LOR help desk - a CCR unit means a 50 pixel string. a 2_CCR unit is good for two 50 pixel CCRibbons or one 100 pixel CCBulb/pixel. Even they say it is confusing.

 

YET - SuperStar options: the 2_CCR version says 300 channels. and CCRibbons are sold as a 150 pixel strip (450 channels) with controller.

So, without the product in hand,  a  2_CCR version could handle ONE (package) 100 string CCPixel (2X50) with controller (300 channels)

 

QUESTION are both 50 bulb sections of the string being programed separately? or one 100 string? (When I'm working on screen)

 

AND how does it work for the 150 pixel ribbon? Need the 4_CCR version  right off, and have 50 left over, so are ribbons being cut into sections?

 

Sheesh, sry, but it seems I think I'm close till I try to write it out. I think I am just stuck at the ribbon part.

Ribbons sold as 150 pixels, but SS 2_CCR only handles 100 pixels

 

As for building my stuff it still comes down to cost:

Looking at one CCPixel string to do two arches.

One to do a tree topper. (and something else?)

 

Seriously considering 5 ribbons to make my word sections. Though I am not against building a grid and putting the pixel strings in.

Doubt I can spend enough for all 7 things plus license so have to think hard on what to cut.

 

Ribbons can not be bent in half so is there a way to make them more than one long 16 foot string?

 

Thanks for all your help, I hope I'm writing it all out so others may also benefit.

Edited by Psjoe
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