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A couple of beginner pixle questions


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I recently picked up 3000 pixles to make a new matrix and I wanted a double check on power needs.

Each pixle on white at 100% needs 0.6w. So max power need would be 0.6x3000=1800w is that correct? Continuing on that would mean I would need (amp=w/v) 1800/120=15 amps? 

Second question I have is there aa specific brand of power supply I should pickup?

Third question should I go 4 500w or 6 350w supplies?

Fourth what box are you guys using to keep stuff dry?

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4 or 6 PSU's for what?

Not close to needing that unless you are making 2-3 matrix's

Remember there are a lot of variables. Not all pixels consume the same power. Since it is a matrix the proximity of the psu's also come in to play. My matrixs have the controller (psus) bolted to the frame of the matrix. Low power pixels are available.

Testing is the only way to be certain.

All of my builds , whether for myself or others have at least 2 400 or 500 PSU's. 

Any generic brand will work.

I have an entire build list if you are interested and videos'

Also 30% intensity is plenty, not 100%. Along with that, most people do not use 100% white for very long.

HolidayCoro SC2500. As stated above I have an entire parts list.

Shoot me a PM.

JR

 

Edited by dibblejr
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Public Service announcement.  In that first video, and you wouldn't believe how many times I hear it, that "chirping" you hear in the background is YOUR SMOKE DETECTOR telling you that the battery needs replaced!!  I can't believe people leave that thing chirping for days, weeks, months!

So, learn something from the video besides lights, you hear any chirping in your house, go find out which smoke detector it is and change the battery.  We don't want to have a video where testing lights turns to calling the fire department!

Otherwise, enjoyed the video.

 

As far as boxes people use to keep things dry, I use the CableGuard 1500.  Don't pay more than like $20 for one though as they are available in a ton of places for under that.  Different model numbers are different sizes if you need something else.  The 1500 is big enough for two power supplies.  I don't combine my card and power supplies in the same box so my matrix has four (explained below) boxes, two for just the controllers and the other two is the power supplies.

Also, to make things easy for me, I just use one power supply per bank.  So, since a Pixcon16 has two banks, I just go ahead and use two power supplies.  I know I'm not using the power supply anywhere close to the 80% load that you shouldn't go over per power supply.  My matrix is 24 strands of 50 pixels each so based on that, I use three power supplies.  Like I said, probably overkill but since power supplies cost so little, I don't see any reason to do anything different.

Edited by BluMan
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My pixel tree and star is very close to your 3000 pixels - 2,600 for the tree and 270 for the star.  In my case they are all 5V pixels, so figure 5 volts x 0.060 amps per pixel equals 0.3 watts per pixel.  That is a worst case as the pixels are between 55 and 60 mA per pixel, but I use 60 mA for the math.  BTW, one of the big advantages of 5V pixels vs 12V pixels is that the current is about the same for both, so the wattage is far higher with 12V pixels.  Also as was already noted, there are low power pixels available that draw about half the current.  However the vast majority of the WS2811 pixels out there for sale are the high power versions.  The list 0.6 watts per pixel is most likely assuming 12 volts at 0.05 amps per pixel.  Don't trust the spec.  MEASURE the pixels after you receive them.

I am feeding the pixels as 29 strings of either 100 pixels (the tree) or 90 pixels (the star) - each from one port on a Falcon F16v3 controller or expansion board.  Therefore, I have four power inlets, and each is connected to a 350 watt power supply.  None of the supplies are heavily loaded, but it was just convenient to use four.  Two supplies would not have been enough.  For 2020, I ran the tree at 30% because I could not go any higher without having low voltage issues at the ends of the 100 pixel strings.  I intended to add power injection when I did a major re-build of the tree, but ran out of time.  For 2021, I will have the power injection and expect to jack up the levels in the controller.  The 90 pixel strings of the star already had power injection (it was needed).  Also note that a 100 pixel string (of high power pixels) in 100% white for an extended duration will blow the 4 or 5 amp fuse that is normal on pixel controllers (although it will take a while).  And it will exceed the ratings of the controller.

BTW, before someone says "wait a minute, at 30% you could have run with two power supplies", that is correct.  However, the 30% was only because of low voltage causing problems due to the lack of power injection on the 100 pixel 5 volt strings.  I power plan on the ability to run every pixel at full white indefinitely - even if I will never actually do that.

 

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12 hours ago, BluMan said:

Public Service announcement.  In that first video, and you wouldn't believe how many times I hear it, that "chirping" you hear in the background is YOUR SMOKE DETECTOR telling you that the battery needs replaced!!  I can't believe people leave that thing chirping for days, weeks, months!

So, learn something from the video besides lights, you hear any chirping in your house, go find out which smoke detector it is and change the battery.  We don't want to have a video where testing lights turns to calling the fire department!

Otherwise, enjoyed the video.

 

As far as boxes people use to keep things dry, I use the CableGuard 1500.  Don't pay more than like $20 for one though as they are available in a ton of places for under that.  Different model numbers are different sizes if you need something else.  The 1500 is big enough for two power supplies.  I don't combine my card and power supplies in the same box so my matrix has four (explained below) boxes, two for just the controllers and the other two is the power supplies.

Also, to make things easy for me, I just use one power supply per bank.  So, since a Pixcon16 has two banks, I just go ahead and use two power supplies.  I know I'm not using the power supply anywhere close to the 80% load that you shouldn't go over per power supply.  My matrix is 24 strands of 50 pixels each so based on that, I use three power supplies.  Like I said, probably overkill but since power supplies cost so little, I don't see any reason to do anything different.

This drove my friend the famous Chuck Smith from LOR crazy to. I sent him videos of my work for LOR and he said he looked all over his house for his smoke detector before he realized my video.

I have a substantial hearing loss so i didn’t hear it LOL until his email.

A CG1500 is not large enough to fit 2 psu’s and safely mount a controller and all cables. I’ve been building controllers for a long time.

IMO having a card in a box is just clutter.

Not sure why you think you need 3 psu’s for 2 banks esp for a 24x50 matrix . That would mean you are bridging one power supply in to 1 or Both banks. Not needed at all.

JR

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11 hours ago, k6ccc said:

My pixel tree and star is very close to your 3000 pixels - 2,600 for the tree and 270 for the star.  In my case they are all 5V pixels, so figure 5 volts x 0.060 amps per pixel equals 0.3 watts per pixel.  That is a worst case as the pixels are between 55 and 60 mA per pixel, but I use 60 mA for the math.  BTW, one of the big advantages of 5V pixels vs 12V pixels is that the current is about the same for both, so the wattage is far higher with 12V pixels.  Also as was already noted, there are low power pixels available that draw about half the current.  However the vast majority of the WS2811 pixels out there for sale are the high power versions.  The list 0.6 watts per pixel is most likely assuming 12 volts at 0.05 amps per pixel.  Don't trust the spec.  MEASURE the pixels after you receive them.

I am feeding the pixels as 29 strings of either 100 pixels (the tree) or 90 pixels (the star) - each from one port on a Falcon F16v3 controller or expansion board.  Therefore, I have four power inlets, and each is connected to a 350 watt power supply.  None of the supplies are heavily loaded, but it was just convenient to use four.  Two supplies would not have been enough.  For 2020, I ran the tree at 30% because I could not go any higher without having low voltage issues at the ends of the 100 pixel strings.  I intended to add power injection when I did a major re-build of the tree, but ran out of time.  For 2021, I will have the power injection and expect to jack up the levels in the controller.  The 90 pixel strings of the star already had power injection (it was needed).  Also note that a 100 pixel string (of high power pixels) in 100% white for an extended duration will blow the 4 or 5 amp fuse that is normal on pixel controllers (although it will take a while).  And it will exceed the ratings of the controller.

BTW, before someone says "wait a minute, at 30% you could have run with two power supplies", that is correct.  However, the 30% was only because of low voltage causing problems due to the lack of power injection on the 100 pixel 5 volt strings.  I power plan on the ability to run every pixel at full white indefinitely - even if I will never actually do that.

 

Not sure why uou can’t get better results out of the popular falcon controllers.

Remember my Pixlite test?

I run 625 nodes on 2 ports of my pixlite for my singing pumpkins all Halloween at 30%
 

I believe 545 is My highest count per port for last Christmas

But here is the pixlite test, 12v low watt pixels, 450 each on 1 port, no pi, 30%, and 2 500w psu’s. No blown fuses.

I built that for a guy after he had problems with a single psu pixlite. Now he is a believer. Funny the pixlite 4 comes with 5 amp dues but the pixlite16 comes with 4 amp fuses.

 

Edited by dibblejr
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11 hours ago, dibblejr said:

Not sure why you think you need 3 psu’s for 2 banks esp for a 24x50 matrix . That would mean you are bridging one power supply in to 1 or Both banks. Not needed at all.

haha!  No, I like wasting money so for my 24x50 matrix, I use two Pixcon16 cards, one utilizing both banks and one using only one banks (8 channels).  So I'm actually using three banks so that's why I have three PSU's.  So technically, I could expand my matrix by another 8 channels since I have another power supply doing absolutely nothing. Like I said, I know it's a waste of money but I just never can comprehend all this electrical amps/watts talk so I just do what I know.  I'm envious of those who can understand that but either I'm too stupid to or I have never been able to focus enough to grasp it. haha!  Like testing the draw of a set of lights...I feel like that's up there with flying a plane.

People say it's simple but never use simple terms to make it understandable.  haha Again, probably just me.  Let me give you an example of how scared/stupid I am with electrical stuff.  I bought some wifi controlled light switches for my porch lights and I just about had an anxiety attack just taking off the old switch and putting on the new one.  I got it done and proud/amazed that I actually did it.

Edited by BluMan
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11 hours ago, dibblejr said:

IMO having a card in a box is just clutter.

I agree that it's not the best utilization of a box but again...with my train of thought...the box is plastic and doesn't conduct electricity so I just mount a pixcon16 all by it's lonesome in a 1500 box (I guess I could use a smaller box but some company out there makes a mounting plate that makes it so easy).  I know for a fact that I could reduce the amount of boxes I use for my show but, I'm just too afraid to do it. haha.

 

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Nothing at all wrong with the way you are doing it.  There is a lot to be said for keeping it simple.  And one string per output is keeping it simple.  My pixel tree is the same way - one string of the tree per controller output.  Except in my case each strings is 100 pixels.  May not be the most efficient use of controllers, etc, but it works and should be very reliable.

 

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11 hours ago, dibblejr said:

Not sure why you can’t get better results out of the popular falcon controllers.

The controller has nothing to do with it.  It's current and voltage drop in the pixel wiring.

11 hours ago, dibblejr said:

12v low watt pixels, 450 each on 1 port, no pi, 30%, and 2 500w psu’s. No blown fuses.

Let's see, 12 volt, low power pixels, and 30%.  Let's do the math.  Low power pixels as I recall are about 30mA at 100% full while, so running them at 30% is about 35% of the current or just a hair over 10mA per pixel in white.  450 pixels comes out to 4.725 amps.  That will likely work, and your demo video only runs full white for about one second at a time on a 25% duty cycle - the other 75% of the time is a single color.  No problem at all.  And because it is 12 volt pixels, there is more wiggle room for voltage drop in the wiring.

By comparison, I am running 5 volt full power pixels, so 100 pixels comes out to almost 6 amps.  It's actually less than that because the voltage is so low low at the end due to resistance in the pixel wiring that the end pixels are not drawing full current (and look like crap).  The Falcon controllers come with 5A fuses, as opposed to the Pixel controllers that come with 4A fuses, but 6 amps of continuous load will eventually blow either one.  it will take quite a while for either one, but longer on the 5A fuse.

 

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On 4/29/2021 at 10:42 AM, k6ccc said:

The controller has nothing to do with it.  It's current and voltage drop in the pixel wiring.

Let's see, 12 volt, low power pixels, and 30%.  Let's do the math.  Low power pixels as I recall are about 30mA at 100% full while, so running them at 30% is about 35% of the current or just a hair over 10mA per pixel in white.  450 pixels comes out to 4.725 amps.  That will likely work, and your demo video only runs full white for about one second at a time on a 25% duty cycle - the other 75% of the time is a single color.  No problem at all.  And because it is 12 volt pixels, there is more wiggle room for voltage drop in the wiring.

By comparison, I am running 5 volt full power pixels, so 100 pixels comes out to almost 6 amps.  It's actually less than that because the voltage is so low low at the end due to resistance in the pixel wiring that the end pixels are not drawing full current (and look like crap).  The Falcon controllers come with 5A fuses, as opposed to the Pixel controllers that come with 4A fuses, but 6 amps of continuous load will eventually blow either one.  it will take quite a while for either one, but longer on the 5A fuse.

 

As always I prefer actual testing than numbers. There are always variables.

I made that video due to all of the misguided information from when pixels were first introduced “ any number over 100 pixels require PI”.

You know I got tired of that since it is a false statement. As with a lot of statements concerning pixels.

Until last year switching to S5 all of my pixie controllers were all ran at 100% because that was the only option.

Even with 170 pixels per port at full white for my Sia Snowman song I never popped a fuse. 
 

I have only blown 1 fuse since I have started using pixels and that was because I cut an end off a string and forgot to silicone it. At one point during a matrix test the + and - wires arced causing the failure.

I found that for me testing was more important than the numbers as mentioned above. But I also have only 12v pixels with no need of 5v.

JR

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On 4/29/2021 at 10:08 AM, BluMan said:

haha!  No, I like wasting money so for my 24x50 matrix, I use two Pixcon16 cards, one utilizing both banks and one using only one banks (8 channels).  So I'm actually using three banks so that's why I have three PSU's.  So technically, I could expand my matrix by another 8 channels since I have another power supply doing absolutely nothing. Like I said, I know it's a waste of money but I just never can comprehend all this electrical amps/watts talk so I just do what I know.  I'm envious of those who can understand that but either I'm too stupid to or I have never been able to focus enough to grasp it. haha!  Like testing the draw of a set of lights...I feel like that's up there with flying a plane.

People say it's simple but never use simple terms to make it understandable.  haha Again, probably just me.  Let me give you an example of how scared/stupid I am with electrical stuff.  I bought some wifi controlled light switches for my porch lights and I just about had an anxiety attack just taking off the old switch and putting on the new one.  I got it done and proud/amazed that I actually did it.

That makes more sense, was trying to determine why 3 psu’s on a 12x50 matrix

Now if you are using S5 you can cut that down to 1 pixcon16 and still have 4 extra ports.

Then only need 2 psu’s.

From your post that would actually net you 1 additional pixcon16 and the 4 remaining ports.

Or a larger matrix.

JR

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20 minutes ago, dibblejr said:

That makes more sense, was trying to determine why 3 psu’s on a 12x50 matrix

Now if you are using S5 you can cut that down to 1 pixcon16 and still have 4 extra ports.

Then only need 2 psu’s.

From your post that would actually net you 1 additional pixcon16 and the 4 remaining ports.

Or a larger matrix.

Wait...let's talk...you mean a 24x50 matrix right?  I'm converting to S5 this year so please tell me how it can be done because I'm in need of another Pixcon16 for my light tunnel.

You have my interest.

 

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40 minutes ago, BluMan said:

Wait...let's talk...you mean a 24x50 matrix right?  I'm converting to S5 this year so please tell me how it can be done because I'm in need of another Pixcon16 for my light tunnel.

You have my interest.

 

Use the “fold” strings effect within the prop definition when designing the preview.

it is that easy

I don’t have a pixcon16 but if I recall you have the ability to use the “fold” in the pixcon.

If so you can use that  in S4 as well.

You can also Lower the intensity but  you  can already do that with a pixcon16.

JR

*add

You will have to remove your current pixels, connect 2- 50 strings together to make it 100

Do that aftet you decide where you want your controller and first pixel tI be

it will look Something like this

100———————51

1————————-50

Of course the open end is where the fold is.

Prop Def would be

100 nodes per string

11 folds

 

 

 

 

Edited by dibblejr
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