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Pixie16 vs Pixcon16


scodavis
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I am seeking advice.  I am planning to expand my show with features that are decorated with pixels (most of my show is standard string lights).  Come the summer sale, I plan to buy a set with a 16-channel RGB smart pixel controller and 16 x 100 pixels.  I am currently trying to decide between the Pixie16 and the Pixcon16 option.

I know that the Pixcon gets a reputation for being more advanced because it supports E1.31 (which doesn't bother me).  I work in I.T. for my full-time job, so working with networks is not a problem for me.  My question is - which device will give better performance?  I want to make sure my show remains lag-free.

Right now, I run my show on three LOR networks - one for string lights, another for additional string lights and some RGB dumb pixels (flood lights), and one for my pixels.  My pixel network currently controls a total of 500 pixels, a mix of CCB and CCP attached to three different Pixie2 controllers.

Feel free to ask questions.  Thank you!

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In your case, I would go with the Pixie 16 and add a separate ELOR network to drive it.  I am assuming that you are running the show from a computer rather than a director since you said you currently have three LOR networks (and the 4 port director did not come out until recently).  1600 pixels on a 1000K ELOR network should be fine.  The Pixie is considerably less expensive than the Pixcon, and far easier to set up.   In my case, I would be using E1.31, but the vast majority of my show is already E1.31 - and some of it can not be run any other way. 

 

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@k6ccc Yes, I am running my show from a computer.  My non-pixel networks are running at 500K.  My pixel network is running at 1000K non-enhanced (I didn't like the way that the Enhanced network handled the shimmer effect compared to the non-Enhanced networks).  How many pixels can be on a single 1000K network - is adding yet another network absolutely necessary?  Obviously I want to do this the right way and not have problems later.

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The last general rule of thumb for a 1000K ELOR network is 2400 pixels.  Non-enhanced would be lower.  Keep in mind that using Pixel Editor requires ELOR.  SuperStar in S4 still allows legacy mode so you COULD run that on a non-enhanced network.

Interesting that enhanced vs non-enhanced would have any effect on shimmer - it shouldn't at least as I understand ELOR.  Switching to DMX or E1.31 DOES have an effect on shimmer and twinkle.

 

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Believe it or not, my preference for pixel programming is directly within the S4 Sequence Editor.  I don't use Pixel Editor or SuperStar at all - I find them limiting to the way I like to program.

I have no problem with creating a new network - whether E1.31 or LOR.  I just want to make sure I'm doing this the best way possible.

Another related question - what is the maximum length of a pixel extension before voltage drop becomes an issue?  I was thinking of having my Pixie/Pixcon power pixels on quite a few different features, spread out across my house.

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if you are using 12v pixels it's not so much the voltage drop that limits you on distance it's the data signal. Today's pixel controllers are much better then a few years ago and have probably doubled the data range and most new controllers can handle 40-50 feet. However, if the data range becomes an issue then you can always add a null pixel to extend the range.

I always try to avoid one large controller to handle many props especially if spread out and prefer several smaller ones spaced out.

Edited by Mr. P
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How many channels are you running on the AC and dumb networks.One option might be to combine them and free up that network for a red enhanced adapter for your new pixels.

If you think your pixel content is going to explode over the coming years, I would go E1.31.

I also like to do a lot of old school sequencing for pixels, but I also recognize the merits of motion effects, which are a lot more versatile in S5.

I keep my lead ins as short as possible and place my controllers near the prop. 12V pixels can get flaky after 30ft depending on a number of variables.

For 5V pixels, you can approximately halve the number of pixels and distance.

Wire size, the thicker the better, Number of pixels, 100 is considered the max before power injection becomes needed. 

Controller type.

Intensity, if you want to run at 100% ( blindingly bright) wire length will be more of an issue. 30% intensity, (quite bright enough, thank you) is more tolerant of wire length.

I do occasionally hit a full white at 100% for impact but it's brief.

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1 minute ago, scodavis said:

@Mr. P Null pixel?

A null pixel is just an ordinary pixel placed inline to regenerate the signal and pass it on. If your first pixel in a string is say 60' away then you add a null pixel at the 30' mark and it will regenerate the data signal and pass it on. You just need to program the null pixel in the controller configuration.

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@PhilMassey My current configuration is as follows:

Regular Network:  North Side Flood Controller (CMB24D), North Side AC Controllers (16 Total), and Garage AC Controllers (3 Total)

Aux A:  Pixel Controllers (Pixie2 w/ 200 Pixels, Pixie2 w/ 200 Pixels, Pixie2 w/ 100 Pixels)

Aux B:  South Side Flood Controller (CMB24D)

I could change the South Side Flood over to Regular Network (with some creative rewiring) which would then free up Aux B entirely.  All three networks are using USB-RS485 Isolated adapter with booster.  I would not be running any more than 100 pixels per controller output.

I don't think I'm going to have a ton of future pixel expansions, but I was considering E1.31 due to the number of pixels and the significantly higher speed of Ethernet.

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If you go with a pixie16 you must use 500k and Enhanced. Means Pro License. Sorry in phone so can’t see your license level.

Also Null pixels do not work with the pixie series controller.

As far as distance.

While Beta testing Pixie16 v1 the distance had to be short. About 40’

With the v2 it increased to 60-80 and with the newer ones I have a few that have at least 120’ from the lights.

These operate my roof outline and the controllers are mounted outside because they also control other lights. For the roof lights my peak is 60’ from ground.

The cables run from outside, through the brick wall, up inside the Sheetrock through the studs and supports all the way to the 3rd floor attic and then iver to the light strands.


I actually made a test video with 120’ of cables connected to lights on the floor of my garage to show just how far the pixie series have come and to ensure I could reach that distance without failure.

There is a new device coming out called the pixielink , it will allow pixies to run in e1.31. The manual is out but they have not sent it to beta yet.

I love the pixies for its ease of use.

I have the setup step by step or the much faster video guide for the pixie series controllers in the General Hardware section of the forums at the very top of the page.

I can’t link it but you can find it or someone can link it for me.

I found the pixcon16 very difficult and had it not been for Mr. P a few years ago I would not have ever figured it out.

I was only repairing it for another member here. At the time I sent him a pixie16 to play with until I returned his pixcon

Best of luck and if you go with the pixie you can always reach out to me for questions.

Most people get wrapped around the hexideximal unit ID’s.

Let the HU set the pixie up for you, you select the first unit ID and it sets the rest.

Do not try to manipulate the unit IFs it will and does not work.

Best of luck.

JR

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@dibblejr Thank you so much!  That is some excellent information.  I know that the Pixie controllers support 500K and 1000K, but why your statement that Enhanced is required?  By the way - I do have a Pro level license.

And yes - if I go with Pixie16, I plan to set the first one at Unit 50 and let the rest be 51-5F (I do understand the hexidecimal numbers).

My other three pixel features are done with Pixie2 controllers so I do have that experience.  I also work in IT, and LOR has made their products quite friendly.  Helps a LOT.

-Scott

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2 minutes ago, scodavis said:

@dibblejr Thank you so much!  That is some excellent information.  I know that the Pixie controllers support 500K and 1000K, but why your statement that Enhanced is required?  By the way - I do have a Pro level license.

And yes - if I go with Pixie16, I plan to set the first one at Unit 50 and let the rest be 51-5F (I do understand the hexidecimal numbers).

My other three pixel features are done with Pixie2 controllers so I do have that experience.  I also work in IT, and LOR has made their products quite friendly.  Helps a LOT.

-Scott

1000k is questionable.

When you go to NP  the 1000k is dedicated to Pixcon16 only.

I helped a member out just a few days ago on the phone.

I had him change that to 500k and he had lights.

I have no need for 1000k never tried it though another member said it worked. But to my knowledge it doesn’t.

If it does work not sure why it didn’t work a few days ago on the other members controller.

JR

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1 minute ago, scodavis said:

@dibblejr Not sure what NP is, but I run all of my Pixie2 controllers at the 1000K speed (non-enhanced) and they work great.  My AC controllers, of course, are set to 500K.

Possibly the pixie 2’s are older but the 16’s are required to be on the ELOR. Personally all of mine 2-16 and I have a bunch are all on ELOR. Been that way since beta.

NP- Network Preferences. You would have to go there to set the nw speed. You will see the pixcon16 only for 1000k.

Im not a system builder I only know what I tested and what the manual and software says.

JR

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Page 5

edit- during testing it was noted that some people were able to at least test pixie16’s without ELOR or the red adapter.

However during show time and a multiple of controllers all bets were off.

Therefore LOR says “the enhanced network is pretty much required”. 

http://www1.lightorama.com/PDF/Pixie_Man_105.pdf

Edited by dibblejr
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4 minutes ago, scodavis said:

@dibblejr So it sounds like the general concensus is that I should go the Pixie16 route, and combine networks so I can make my Aux B network a dedicated ELOR for the new pixel controller.

 

4 minutes ago, scodavis said:

@dibblejr So it sounds like the general concensus is that I should go the Pixie16 route, and combine networks so I can make my Aux B network a dedicated ELOR for the new pixel controller.

Correct but any G3 controller will work with the pixie on the ELOR network. I have 12-14 networks all ELOR

Just for ease the pixie may be the best option.

If you go over 100 pixels per channel you will need to set that pixie up as a pixcon16 and use the same unit ID you assigned to the pixie16.

This will allow you to select 101-170 pixels per port

JR

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1 hour ago, scodavis said:

@dibblejr Not sure what NP is, but I run all of my Pixie2 controllers at the 1000K speed (non-enhanced) and they work great.  My AC controllers, of course, are set to 500K.

I run all of my Pixie2's at 1,000K, Enhanced and I just bought them this year in 2020, they were part of the Singing Christmas Tree packages I purchased, Ralphie and Zuzu, and they worked just fine at 1,000K Enhanced, I tried non-Enhanced and I didn't have the RGB lights working on them at all.   I am also running my shows from the newest N4-G3 [G4] MP3 Director unit I also purchased this year in 2020 as well.   Worked great from it at 1,000K, Enhanced, Aux B settings, but again, did not work if the network was NON-Enhanced or was extremely erratic when it tried to work with that setting.   Kind of surprised it's working for you, but could depend on computer system settings too I suppose.

 

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3 hours ago, Orville said:

I run all of my Pixie2's at 1,000K, Enhanced and I just bought them this year in 2020, they were part of the Singing Christmas Tree packages I purchased, Ralphie and Zuzu, and they worked just fine at 1,000K Enhanced, I tried non-Enhanced and I didn't have the RGB lights working on them at all.   I am also running my shows from the newest N4-G3 [G4] MP3 Director unit I also purchased this year in 2020 as well.   Worked great from it at 1,000K, Enhanced, Aux B settings, but again, did not work if the network was NON-Enhanced or was extremely erratic when it tried to work with that setting.   Kind of surprised it's working for you, but could depend on computer system settings too I suppose.

 

Yes, non enhance means no lights for any pixie controllers. Or at least as mentioned above "in most cases".

However as we have discussed before the 100K says "for pixcon16 only". Perhaps there is a difference in the pixie 2 but 3 or 4 days ago the guy I helped had no pixel tree until he turned off 1000K and set it to 500K enhanced of course.

JR

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On 8/20/2020 at 11:28 PM, dibblejr said:

Yes, non enhance means no lights for any pixie controllers. Or at least as mentioned above "in most cases".

However as we have discussed before the 100K says "for pixcon16 only". Perhaps there is a difference in the pixie 2 but 3 or 4 days ago the guy I helped had no pixel tree until he turned off 1000K and set it to 500K enhanced of course.

JR

What I find amusing it does say that in the Network Configuration utility, but in the HUB, it says the Pixie can run at 1,000K.  Wonder why those 2 programs don't agree? LOL   But I could set the Pixie to 1,000K in the Network Config and it worked, even though it says 1,000K is only for PixCon16 only.   Does make you kind of scracth your head and go hmmmmm? LOL

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11 hours ago, Orville said:

What I find amusing it does say that in the Network Configuration utility, but in the HUB, it says the Pixie can run at 1,000K.  Wonder why those 2 programs don't agree? LOL   But I could set the Pixie to 1,000K in the Network Config and it worked, even though it says 1,000K is only for PixCon16 only.   Does make you kind of scracth your head and go hmmmmm? LOL

Even more amusing is that if you look at the LOR network speeds page:  http://www1.lightorama.com/network-speeds/

Scroll down to "Pixel Controllers" and you'll see a blue checkmark in the 1000K column for every type of Pixie device.

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