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Updating to Pixels - How to Alter Pixel Strings


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Up until last year my show was all AC Controllers (5 of them) and 1 Dumb RGB Controller (CMD24). I added in a pixie2 controller and pixie16. I also flipped my show to S5 last year... I basically left myself with little to no time to get everything working but I was thankfully able to get it working.

I am getting rid of the CMD24 this year and going full into the pixel world. I do have some questions that I cannot find the answers to. I tried searching for the answers and couldn't find anything but I wouldn't be shocked if that was because I wasn't using the right terminology!

1. Any advice for modifying Square Pixel Strings? 

2. If I only using 35 pixels off of a 50 pixel string can the remaining 15 be wired as their own new string or added to the end of a different string (assuming it doesn't exceed controller/voltage limits)?

3. On a 50 pixel string if I need a 5 ft gap between pixel 20 & 21, can I splice a wire (16-18 AWG) to create that extension without causing a sequence issue?

4. Do most people run separate networks between Pixie16 controllers? Last year I only had one pixie16 controlling 4 strings with 50 pixels per string and the Pixie 2 had 2 strings of 100 pixels. I had the Pixie16 and Pixie2 communicating on one Enhanced Network, communicating between each other on a CAT6 cable. With expanding on the Pixie16 controller (Some ports will have 100 pixels on it) and using both Pixie2s should I separate their networks now to save troubleshooting later.

4.B. Is there any brand of USB Hub that people have good experience with? I will need a USB hub as all of USB will be full if I need to separate my networks further.

5. I may need to buy some decent weather rated connectors if I start splicing the cables. What connectors have people been using that they have had success with? I believe I read a forum last year where someone recommended some automotive connectors but I cannot find that post now.

I am sure I will be running into other questions as I go. Bonus is I am starting much earlier than last year!! Any and all help is greatly appreciated.

Thanks

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2 minutes ago, roha0612 said:

Up until last year my show was all AC Controllers (5 of them) and 1 Dumb RGB Controller (CMD24). I added in a pixie2 controller and pixie16. I also flipped my show to S5 last year... I basically left myself with little to no time to get everything working but I was thankfully able to get it working.

I am getting rid of the CMD24 this year and going full into the pixel world. I do have some questions that I cannot find the answers to. I tried searching for the answers and couldn't find anything but I wouldn't be shocked if that was because I wasn't using the right terminology!

1. Any advice for modifying Square Pixel Strings? 

2. If I only using 35 pixels off of a 50 pixel string can the remaining 15 be wired as their own new string or added to the end of a different string (assuming it doesn't exceed controller/voltage limits)?

3. On a 50 pixel string if I need a 5 ft gap between pixel 20 & 21, can I splice a wire (16-18 AWG) to create that extension without causing a sequence issue?

4. Do most people run separate networks between Pixie16 controllers? Last year I only had one pixie16 controlling 4 strings with 50 pixels per string and the Pixie 2 had 2 strings of 100 pixels. I had the Pixie16 and Pixie2 communicating on one Enhanced Network, communicating between each other on a CAT6 cable. With expanding on the Pixie16 controller (Some ports will have 100 pixels on it) and using both Pixie2s should I separate their networks now to save troubleshooting later.

4.B. Is there any brand of USB Hub that people have good experience with? I will need a USB hub as all of USB will be full if I need to separate my networks further.

5. I may need to buy some decent weather rated connectors if I start splicing the cables. What connectors have people been using that they have had success with? I believe I read a forum last year where someone recommended some automotive connectors but I cannot find that post now.

I am sure I will be running into other questions as I go. Bonus is I am starting much earlier than last year!! Any and all help is greatly appreciated.

Thanks

Im starting a class here in a few minutes so no time to give a detailed reply but you can start here since you have pixies and I will check back later on.

You can cut and splice new wire in between.

You can cut off and reuse pixels.

Depending on how many pixel controllers and lights you may need additional networks and can be got using a powered USB hub.

JR

 

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7 hours ago, roha0612 said:

1. Any advice for modifying Square Pixel Strings? 

What do you mean by modifying?

7 hours ago, roha0612 said:

2. If I only using 35 pixels off of a 50 pixel string can the remaining 15 be wired as their own new string or added to the end of a different string (assuming it doesn't exceed controller/voltage limits)?

Yes.

7 hours ago, roha0612 said:

3. On a 50 pixel string if I need a 5 ft gap between pixel 20 & 21, can I splice a wire (16-18 AWG) to create that extension without causing a sequence issue?

Yes.  You can't go very far, so I would test it before installation to make sure it works.  If you need to go farther than it will work, you can add one or more null pixels that will each regenerate the data.

7 hours ago, roha0612 said:

4. Do most people run separate networks between Pixie16 controllers? Last year I only had one pixie16 controlling 4 strings with 50 pixels per string and the Pixie 2 had 2 strings of 100 pixels. I had the Pixie16 and Pixie2 communicating on one Enhanced Network, communicating between each other on a CAT6 cable. With expanding on the Pixie16 controller (Some ports will have 100 pixels on it) and using both Pixie2s should I separate their networks now to save troubleshooting later.

It all depends on how fast you are running each network and the number of pixels (controllers does not matter - pixels do).  The exact number also depends on how fast the transitions are in your sequencing.  The general rule of thumb is for a 1,000K Enhanced LOR network, you should be good with 2,400 pixels.

7 hours ago, roha0612 said:

4.B. Is there any brand of USB Hub that people have good experience with? I will need a USB hub as all of USB will be full if I need to separate my networks further.

Not a specific brand, but get a powered hub.  In other words, a hub that has a power inlet that you normally would connect to a wall wart to provide power to the hub - as opposed to a hub that depends on the USB port of the computer for power.

7 hours ago, roha0612 said:

5. I may need to buy some decent weather rated connectors if I start splicing the cables. What connectors have people been using that they have had success with? I believe I read a forum last year where someone recommended some automotive connectors but I cannot find that post now.

No.  Most automotive connectors are not waterproof.  If you are talking about the connectors on pixel strings, there are several standards.  Pick one and stick with it.  The three most common at "Ray Wu", "Paul Zhang", and "Z-connect".  Here is a web page that explains the difference:  https://www.wiredwatts.com/learn-connectors

7 hours ago, roha0612 said:

I am sure I will be running into other questions as I go.

You will.

 

Edited by k6ccc
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15 hours ago, roha0612 said:

 

5. I may need to buy some decent weather rated connectors if I start splicing the cables. What connectors have people been using that they have had success with? I believe I read a forum last year where someone recommended some automotive connectors but I cannot find that post now.

 

It's my first year trying this, but i added some custom props that required splicing in a few sections.   I found that the red (18-22) gauge self soldering connectors worked well (amazon).    They make a strong connection and are waterproof.    You can also just solder and shrink wrap them (good video on holiday coro site with their shrink wrap solder).  

 

Note that voltage plays a role in how long you can extend a string, 12V can go further than 5V.  

There are some examples of my props in the my links.

Edited by TexasLights
hit enter too soon
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Thanks for the responses.

All the pixels I am running are 12V. Is there a "safe zone" for how between pixels a string will work? I would like to not use a Null Pixel but could if I need to. 

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14 minutes ago, roha0612 said:

Thanks for the responses.

All the pixels I am running are 12V. Is there a "safe zone" for how between pixels a string will work? I would like to not use a Null Pixel but could if I need to. 

Test the pixels you have.  There are differences.  BTW, test at a somewhat longer distance than you will be using.  For example, if you will be using 10 foot spacing, test at 12 feet.  You don't want to test at 10 exactly and find that it works - only to have it work up to 10 foot one inch, until the parts age a little and half way through your show season, it only works to 9 feet 11 inches.

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