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Building A Pixel Matrix


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Need more bang, so I am thinking of adding a pixel matrix over my garage door (area...not mounted to the door).  Not sure I want a "kit", as I have plenty of time to do the build myself, and the savings in doing so seems to be worth it. Thinking 24 x 50 (12v), since that seems to be a pop format, and will fit without too much fuss.   Better to use square nodes, or bullets?  Also,  do most use clear, or black net for windows/garage door covering, and what spacing would I use?  Any reason I couldn't hang it on the frame of the door, and fold it up (as much as possible) for storage?   Would love any input.  Thanks.

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Currently the only way to control a P10 or P5 panel is with Falcon Player.  Don't let that scare you.  Falcon Player can be set up in Bridge mode which make it simply appear to be an E1.31 controller

I run the strands up and down. (63 down, 63 back up, so 126 pixels per port)  The controllers sit hidden on the other side of the top ridge.  They are 12v 126 Pixel node strands, a custom length from

Yep. They are smart pixels. Commonly called bullet type.

Posted Images

I have a big (63 x 126) Pixel Matrix on my roof.  I use regular bullet style pixels (12v) with a black 3" on center net from Holiday Coro. Spacing will depend on the viewing distance as the closer you get, the more "Pixelated" the image becomes.  So closer spacing means a clearer image.  I have mine broken up into 8 sections that fold up for storage for the 5 months it's not on the roof.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VmdCNMbMaWQ

 

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5 hours ago, Scott Belanger said:

Very nice Little_b.  Are you using a pixie to drive the matrix? Do you use superstar or just Motion Effect rows?

Currently I am using 4 Pixcon16's and just using Motion Effects in S5.  It used to be just 2 controllers, but I doubled it this year to help eliminate all the null pixels and flickering problems I had in the past.

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On 1/2/2020 at 11:19 AM, Dcroc said:

Need more bang, so I am thinking of adding a pixel matrix over my garage door (area...not mounted to the door).  Not sure I want a "kit", as I have plenty of time to do the build myself, and the savings in doing so seems to be worth it. Thinking 24 x 50 (12v), since that seems to be a pop format, and will fit without too much fuss.   Better to use square nodes, or bullets?  Also,  do most use clear, or black net for windows/garage door covering, and what spacing would I use?  Any reason I couldn't hang it on the frame of the door, and fold it up (as much as possible) for storage?   Would love any input.  Thanks.

are you wanting to send effects to it or video?  If video then there are better options.

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19 hours ago, Little_b said:

Currently I am using 4 Pixcon16's and just using Motion Effects in S5.  It used to be just 2 controllers, but I doubled it this year to help eliminate all the null pixels and flickering problems I had in the past.

Are the 126 pixels horizontal as part of one port?  I'm guessing LOR bullets at 50 per string.  So you have cut them down or are 24 bullets turned off?  7938 active bullets?  Thanks, just trying to get ideas.

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I run the strands up and down. (63 down, 63 back up, so 126 pixels per port)  The controllers sit hidden on the other side of the top ridge.  They are 12v 126 Pixel node strands, a custom length from Ray Wu so I wouldn't have any connection points in the middle.  I connected each end to the connector then back to the controller or power distro board.  There is too much power being used to be able to run them off the controllers directly, so power (V+ and V-) comes from the power supplies, and data and V- from the controller ports.

It was a 3 year build that got bigger each year and at the time I was using Pixel node strands that were 50 pixels long and I just soldered ends together to make the correct lengths.  Because each section was a different batch of pixels, the coloring was never quite the same, so this past summer I re-did all the pixels and wiring to simplify it. And now the colors are all the same. 

Keep in mind if you plan to use SS with something this big, make sure to create the prop in the program before construction as I am/was unable to use my matrix in SS with 126 vertical strands.  The program had a limit.  Had I made it horizontal instead, the program could have read it.  I haven't looked into trying it lately so I don't know if this is still the case. 

Edited by Little_b
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On 1/7/2020 at 7:54 AM, caniac said:

are you wanting to send effects to it or video?  If video then there are better options.

Both.   I am aware of P10  panels, but not sure I want to get into the expense, or complexity.

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13 minutes ago, Dcroc said:

Both.   I am aware of P10  panels, but not sure I want to get into the expense, or complexity.

P10’s are cheaper than a boatload of bullets, not overly complex depending on how you build it.  Pi and cape to control vs 1-2 pixel controllers and power injection.  If it were that complex I wouldn’t currently have three.

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  • 6 months later...

Just found this and I have an idea on what your all talking about but the terminology I'm lost on. Anyone willing to guide a newbie?

I would love to build a matrix and display video.

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2 hours ago, rgardner518 said:

Just found this and I have an idea on what your all talking about but the terminology I'm lost on. Anyone willing to guide a newbie?

I would love to build a matrix and display video.

Depends on what you are wanting to build. More info on the specific type. If you want a TV outside go with P10 or that style. If you do not need the quality of a TV but still look great go with pixel nodes/

Also - if you are actually using v 3.10 you will need to upgrade. To keep it simple for you, Id go with S4 4.4.4 or 4.4.6 depending on controller you will need a pro license. If you use pixie series you will need a pro level license to run ELOR 500/ 1000 K which is requred.

Also if using pixies you will need at least 1 red HS adapter

JR

 

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2 hours ago, dibblejr said:

Depends on what you are wanting to build. More info on the specific type. If you want a TV outside go with P10 or that style. If you do not need the quality of a TV but still look great go with pixel nodes/

Also - if you are actually using v 3.10 you will need to upgrade. To keep it simple for you, Id go with S4 4.4.4 or 4.4.6 depending on controller you will need a pro license. If you use pixie series you will need a pro level license to run ELOR 500/ 1000 K which is requred.

Also if using pixies you will need at least 1 red HS adapter

JR

 

I do not need movie quality. My example would be if a sequence was going to the music of say frosty the snowman. I can have a clip play on the matrix for a fews seconds here or there throughout the song. So what are pixel nudes? Is that the things you push into the long rolls with holes spaced out?

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1 hour ago, rgardner518 said:

I do not need movie quality. My example would be if a sequence was going to the music of say frosty the snowman. I can have a clip play on the matrix for a fews seconds here or there throughout the song. So what are pixel nudes? Is that the things you push into the long rolls with holes spaced out?

You can buy matrix panels. I prefer the HolidaySequence panels 4x8 last I knew they were about $75 ea

24x50 nodes- 1200 total.

I use 2 pixies a pixie16 and a pixie8 for both

Go to HolidaySequences google 

You can get free sequences grim my great friend James here on the forums just search find the ones you want and reply within.

JR

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3 hours ago, dibblejr said:

You can buy matrix panels. I prefer the HolidaySequence panels 4x8 last I knew they were about $75 ea

24x50 nodes- 1200 total.

I use 2 pixies a pixie16 and a pixie8 for both

Go to HolidaySequences google 

You can get free sequences grim my great friend James here on the forums just search find the ones you want and reply within.

JR

If I use the pixie 16 for example. I'm looking at pixels and i see some are 4 wire and some are 3. What do I want?

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As I said in another of your posts.

Smart Pixels or strips, or nodes as they are sometimes called.

Data, Ground and Positive voltage. Any pixel, any color. They are digital devices.

Some, usually older type have a fourth wire for clock. Stick with WS 2811,  3 wire types. All smart controllers have Data, Ground, Clock, and + connections

 

Dumb pixels or strips have four wires and are analog devices. They have four wires.

One for each color and a a usually common positive. Red, Green Blue and Plus. The whole strip will be the same color.

You can light a dumb pixel with a battery, but not a smart pixel.

You CANNOT connect dumb pixels to a smart controller and vice versa.

 

The easiest way to get a handle on pixels is to  get a couple of strings ($50) and a smaller controller ($100) and play with them. Diving straight into a matrix is a pretty steep learning curve, especially this year.

I would skip dumb pixels or strips, except possibly for floodlights, and start with smart pixels. Remember if you want to simplify programming, you can make a string all one color if you want.

 

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13 hours ago, rgardner518 said:

Just found this and I have an idea on what your all talking about but the terminology I'm lost on. Anyone willing to guide a newbie?

I would love to build a matrix and display video.

two factors to consider when building a matrix, 1) viewing distance and 2) content resolution.  you have two methods to  use based on this.  If your viewing distance is 100ft+ then you might look at the pixel "nets/panels" that are currently out there.  I have used the Boscoyo products with great success.  Only down side I see is pixel density, they are 1 inch spacing and depending on the size you have to push the pixels.  First ten pixels are fun to push but when you get to pixel 10,000 your thumbs might hurt a bit.  Because of the one inch spacing there are limits on the resolution of the content you send (might be ok with cartoons and standard definition).

P5/P10 (the 5 and 10 signify the millimetres distance from one pixel to the next) panels offer another option if your viewing distance is less than 100ft.  They are purchased by panel and start at $11 for one 6" x 12" panel.  The beauty of this product is that you can clip 96 of these together and they can be controlled with a Raspberry Pi (costing $35) and running FPP) and a color light board ($25).  P10 panels can handle 720p content and P5 panels can handle 1080p.

Panels are cheaper than bullets and IMO easier to setup config.  One strand of bullets (50 pixels) is around $19 of 38 cents a pixel and you have to push into a panel.  One P10 panel is $11 and has 512 pixels (at a cost of around three cents per pixel), either plug into your colorlight board or into the next board depending on your configuration.  One P5 panel is around $17 and has 2,048 pixels in them for a cost of around a penny per pixel.

I currently run two P10's and a P5.  They work great and are easy to setup.

Only issue with any matrix IMO is how and where to mount, weather and your location can be a factor.

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5 hours ago, caniac said:

two factors to consider when building a matrix, 1) viewing distance and 2) content resolution.  you have two methods to  use based on this.  If your viewing distance is 100ft+ then you might look at the pixel "nets/panels" that are currently out there.  I have used the Boscoyo products with great success.  Only down side I see is pixel density, they are 1 inch spacing and depending on the size you have to push the pixels.  First ten pixels are fun to push but when you get to pixel 10,000 your thumbs might hurt a bit.  Because of the one inch spacing there are limits on the resolution of the content you send (might be ok with cartoons and standard definition).

P5/P10 (the 5 and 10 signify the millimetres distance from one pixel to the next) panels offer another option if your viewing distance is less than 100ft.  They are purchased by panel and start at $11 for one 6" x 12" panel.  The beauty of this product is that you can clip 96 of these together and they can be controlled with a Raspberry Pi (costing $35) and running FPP) and a color light board ($25).  P10 panels can handle 720p content and P5 panels can handle 1080p.

Panels are cheaper than bullets and IMO easier to setup config.  One strand of bullets (50 pixels) is around $19 of 38 cents a pixel and you have to push into a panel.  One P10 panel is $11 and has 512 pixels (at a cost of around three cents per pixel), either plug into your colorlight board or into the next board depending on your configuration.  One P5 panel is around $17 and has 2,048 pixels in them for a cost of around a penny per pixel.

I currently run two P10's and a P5.  They work great and are easy to setup.

Only issue with any matrix IMO is how and where to mount, weather and your location can be a factor.

Do you know where I can see a display that shows a pixel matrix vs another video showing P10?

I know its probably CGI. But I would like to show video "like" they do on the roof of this house here.

 

Edited by rgardner518
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7 hours ago, PhilMassey said:

As I said in another of your posts.

Smart Pixels or strips, or nodes as they are sometimes called.

Data, Ground and Positive voltage. Any pixel, any color. They are digital devices.

Some, usually older type have a fourth wire for clock. Stick with WS 2811,  3 wire types. All smart controllers have Data, Ground, Clock, and + connections

 

Dumb pixels or strips have four wires and are analog devices. They have four wires.

One for each color and a a usually common positive. Red, Green Blue and Plus. The whole strip will be the same color.

You can light a dumb pixel with a battery, but not a smart pixel.

You CANNOT connect dumb pixels to a smart controller and vice versa.

 

The easiest way to get a handle on pixels is to  get a couple of strings ($50) and a smaller controller ($100) and play with them. Diving straight into a matrix is a pretty steep learning curve, especially this year.

I would skip dumb pixels or strips, except possibly for floodlights, and start with smart pixels. Remember if you want to simplify programming, you can make a string all one color if you want.

 

So these would for for example?

Screenshot_20200726-034050_AliExpress.jpg

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14 hours ago, PhilMassey said:

Yep. They are smart pixels. Commonly called bullet type.

What's better? 50ct @ 5v or 100ct @ 12v?

If I'm using pixe 16 controller? The controller says "Voltage = 5V or 12V"

So can it do both at the same time? Like lets say 5 (50ct @5v) and 11 (100ct @12v)?

Or is it one or the other. Meaning 16 5v or 16 12v?

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The general rule for pixels is 50 pixels for 5v and 100 pixels for 12v on each port before needing to power inject. The limiting factor is usually the fuses on each port.

On my 24x50 matrix I use one Falcon 16 controller (E1.31) with 100 pixels per port (12v) which will cover two rows on a matrix with a zig-zag. I am using 12 ports on my controller with four to spare.

Edited by Mr. P
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3 minutes ago, Mr. P said:

The general rule for pixels is 50 pixels for 5v and 100 pixels for 12v on each port before needing to power inject. The limiting factor is usually the fuses on each port.

On my 24x50 matrix I use one Falcon 16 controller (E1.31) with 100 pixels per port (12v) which will cover two rows on a matrix with a zig-zag. I am using 12 ports on my controller with four to spare.

Can you share a video of the matrix? Not sure if i want to do pixels or p10 panel?

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Just now, rgardner518 said:

Can you share a video of the matrix? Not sure if i want to do pixels or p10 panel?

I don't have a video but a 24x50 matrix is usually the standard as there are tons of sequences out there for them. If you are going to go P5 or P10 panels then you would have to create your own.

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9 minutes ago, Mr. P said:

I don't have a video but a 24x50 matrix is usually the standard as there are tons of sequences out there for them. If you are going to go P5 or P10 panels then you would have to create your own.

Okay.. so them how does one display video images on the matrix like I exampled above? Or is that not possible?

Edited by rgardner518
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