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Thread: Power injection for new pixel icicles

  1. #1
    Registered User Tripplett's Avatar
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    Default Power injection for new pixel icicles

    I need some advice. I want to order my pixel icicles from HolidayCoro.com either today or tomorrow. Their presale ends tomorrow at midnight. Each icicle segment will be 4' 8" long and is comprised of 20 horizontal pixels with each drop being 5 pixels for 100 pixels total. If you haven't seen my house i have one long 40 foot section across the front and that is where the icicles will go.

    PRE-SALE: 100 Count / 5 x 20 / Mini Matrix / Pixel Icicles (Ships June 2017)

    Now the questions. I don't want to do a ton of power injection. I will have a FPP with a PiHat feeding these 8 100 pixel segments. So obviously the FPP will be above the front door feeding 4 segments to the left and 4 to the right with one of them being reversed in XLights. I'd love to feed power at the start and end of each side of 400 but I'm not sure that would be enough power injection. That'd be going 200 bullet style 12v pixels before injection. Anyone ever done 200 on a run before? I mean I probably won't be doing much all white anyway. The other option is to feed in between segment 1 and 2 and then again in between 3 and 4. I'll represent this below for you:

    100Pixels = Inject = 100Pixels = 100Pixels = Inject = 100Pixels = FPP = 100Pixels = Inject = 100Pixels = 100Pixels = Inject = 100Pixels

    That was the most efficient way I could think of doing this but I'd be open to comment. I have a 6 port fused power distribution board and the PiHat has a buck converter so the PiHat would be feeding power to the first 100Pixel strings to it's immediate right and left as well. The four injection points plus feeding the Pi power will be five out of the six available ports on the power distribution board.

    Also, I'd love to get away with one 350w power supply but it looks like that is just going to be just under what I need. From their website: 36 - 40 Feet: 8 Strings (432 Watts / 35.2 Amps) Thoughts? I'ts frustrating to have to add 4 injection points instead of 2 and to have to run two power supplies instead of 1. Keep in mind that I've found reducing my pixels to 50% power or even less doesn't have that much of an effect on their overall brightness. With so many pixels in close proximity maybe I could run them at 30%? Sounds like I'm talking myself into 1 power supply and injecting every 200 doesn't it?

  2. #2
    Registered User EricR's Avatar
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    Default Power injection for new pixel icicles

    I will tell you from experience. 150 bullet nodes can be driven without injection and they are fine. This is with the Falcon boards set at 30-50%. Matt's mega tree was ran this way this last year. I have also done a bunch of testing and the 150 number is valid in my bedroom with 3 snowflakes connected by 3 feet of pigtails in between each flake and a 10-20' pigtail between controller and first pixel. I tried 4 flakes and it looked bad. My nodes are also 4" spacing. I highly doubt you can do 200 based on my testing but you will also have 3" spacing, so that could make the difference. The way you have yours drawn your last injection is going to be powering between 150-200 nodes, remember the power goes both ways when you inject. You are going to need to use some big (12-14 awg) wire to reach that last injection 15' away because of the voltage drop that will occur when you power 150-200 pixels. I tested and 18 awg wire going 20' had a drop from 12.02V to 11.65V without the pixels turned on. 12 awg wires only drops 0.08V when they are off. I have been told that the voltage at your last pixel needs to be north of 10.5 or your pixels will start to act unpredictably. However, those distribution boards don't fit anything bigger than 16 awg wire. Do you have 200 pixels nodes with 3" spacing you could test and see if it works without injection? That would be the best way to determine if this is going to work for you. I have some with 4" spacing you can borrow if you want to try it. Otherwise you are going to need to add another injection and do it every 100 for a total of 3 on each side. You could likely skip injection at the very end of the line because you would be powering in groups of 100. I have an 8 port distribution board if you are interested or several distro boards like you have.

    You will not tell the difference between 50-100% when side by side. I ran my stuff at 10-30% last year. 30% is just a little less bright than 50% when side by side but nobody will be able to tell. 10% is much less bright and I did that on my mega tree so I would not blast the neighbors bedroom window. In a Falcon controller the amperage used is pretty linear as you drop the % brightness.
    Last edited by EricR; 02-20-2017 at 11:37 AM.

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    Rebuilding for 2017 :-) kidcole's Avatar
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    Default Re: Power injection for new pixel icicles

    I need to build the exact same icicles, except I am thinking somewhere between 6 and 8 pixels down. I'll have RBLs under the eaves behind them and I think I might like the exaggerated size. I also need to take advantage of the great pricing. But this is a horrible timing. Bobby in college and other unexpected bills have me flat right now, or I'd join into this one. But I do want to participate in figuring this out! I wonder if Ray Wu's price (in a month or two) would be much more? I hope to order the icicle pixels along with the RBL rectangle pixels.

    I'd like to see this discussion on the Falcon Facebook site ! I find it to be 1000% easier to learn on Facebook than the Falcon forum. Mostly because Facebook is on my phone and I use my home computer for the forums .. did I mention that I absolutely hate TAPATALK ! <== that's probably the biggest reason I only do the forums on my home computer.

    Once we all agree on the injection scheme, I'd also like to go through what the power wiring looks like, including what connectors to use for the power. If we're limited to around 4 or 5 amps, then we'd need a fresh wire from the power supply, going to each connection. But another method might be to run a higher amperage heavier wire to a central point, and then fuse the legs to each string. My challenge is I want to premount all the pixels on PVC pipe, and ideally make them all the same. This means each pipe is also wired for the power. I think I'll need separate power connectors so that each PVC strip is the same. Everything will have to plug in as I install them, rather than running wires that bridge past each PVC section. Thus the power connectors would have to handle higher power, and inline fuses would have to be mounted at each injection point. I hope this makes sense.

    Don Williams' SPT1 wire group buy is starting to look better and better. 1000' of 18ga for $100 including shipping ! His group buy times out Saturday.

    @EricR - I plan to set my Falcon down around 30 or 35%. But can I over-ride that setting for some of the outputs ? For the RBLs I will need all the power slam I can push .. For open pixels I'll cut em back.
    Thanks,

    Denny Cole
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/Cole...ristmasLights/

    Moving to Xlights for 2017 !

    Falcon - 2 F16V3 & 1 PiCap, Sandevices - 2 E681 & 4 E6804, 256 Channels Lynx Express, 108 Channels DC DMX,
    10' Pixel MegaTree, CoroFlakes w/Pixel Modules, Pixel RBLs, 2 Pixel Matrix 16x25, 10" RGB Ornaments, 7x230 Pixel Icicle Matrix,
    Classic 20' AC Megatree, TIR Destiny RGB Spots, RGB Blowmolds, Wireframes, and Inflatables with External Light Control

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    Registered User EricR's Avatar
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    Default Re: Power injection for new pixel icicles

    Ray's icicles are going to be about the same price. Matt just paid $0.33 per node for icicles with 18 awg wire with pigtails attached. The spacing, pigtails, and wire gauge will ultimately make your price go up or down a little.
    @kidcole
    Falcon controllers you set each individual output. So you could set all of them different if you wanted.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    -f16v2r-1-port-config.jpg
    Last edited by EricR; 02-21-2017 at 12:40 PM.

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    Rebuilding for 2017 :-) kidcole's Avatar
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    Default Re: Power injection for new pixel icicles

    Quote Originally Posted by EricR View Post
    Ray's icicles are going to be about the same price. Matt just paid $0.33 per node for icicles with 18 awg wire with pigtails attached. The spacing, pigtails, and wire gauge will ultimately make your price go up or down a little.
    @kidcole
    Falcon controllers you set each individual output. So you could set all of them different if you wanted.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    -f16v2r-1-port-config.jpg

    Great info Eric. Falcon really covers the bases ! To clarify .. I am looking to make mine from standard pixel strings. Not from pixel icicles. I will zig zag mine, just like Petr does his.
    Thanks,

    Denny Cole
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/Cole...ristmasLights/

    Moving to Xlights for 2017 !

    Falcon - 2 F16V3 & 1 PiCap, Sandevices - 2 E681 & 4 E6804, 256 Channels Lynx Express, 108 Channels DC DMX,
    10' Pixel MegaTree, CoroFlakes w/Pixel Modules, Pixel RBLs, 2 Pixel Matrix 16x25, 10" RGB Ornaments, 7x230 Pixel Icicle Matrix,
    Classic 20' AC Megatree, TIR Destiny RGB Spots, RGB Blowmolds, Wireframes, and Inflatables with External Light Control

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    Registered User Tripplett's Avatar
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    Default Re: Power injection for new pixel icicles

    I ordered 9 strands of icicles (8 plus a spare), a bunch of 3' pigtails at $1.79ea (to cut smaller and use for power injection T's), 3 12v 350w power supplies (1 spare), 4 10' pigtail extensions (for some pixel snowflakes I'm doing too), and 350 12v bullet nodes with pigtails attached (in groups of 50). Wife's going to kill me when the bill shows.
    Thanks scottmcl thanked for this post

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    Rebuilding for 2017 :-) kidcole's Avatar
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    Default Re: Power injection for new pixel icicles

    Quote Originally Posted by Tripplett View Post
    I ordered 9 strands of icicles (8 plus a spare), a bunch of 3' pigtails at $1.79ea (to cut smaller and use for power injection T's), 3 12v 350w power supplies (1 spare), 4 10' pigtail extensions (for some pixel snowflakes I'm doing too), and 350 12v bullet nodes with pigtails attached (in groups of 50). Wife's going to kill me when the bill shows.
    Nice .. What wire size will you use to deliver the injection ?
    Thanks,

    Denny Cole
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/Cole...ristmasLights/

    Moving to Xlights for 2017 !

    Falcon - 2 F16V3 & 1 PiCap, Sandevices - 2 E681 & 4 E6804, 256 Channels Lynx Express, 108 Channels DC DMX,
    10' Pixel MegaTree, CoroFlakes w/Pixel Modules, Pixel RBLs, 2 Pixel Matrix 16x25, 10" RGB Ornaments, 7x230 Pixel Icicle Matrix,
    Classic 20' AC Megatree, TIR Destiny RGB Spots, RGB Blowmolds, Wireframes, and Inflatables with External Light Control

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    Registered User Tripplett's Avatar
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    Default Power injection for new pixel icicles

    I'm not sure. I'm also mounting mine on 1/2" pvc and plan to run the power injection wire inside the pipe. I think I have a small roll of 16 or 18 already. The wire will terminate in a pigtail T that will be just a few inches - maybe 4-6? They can stay with the pipe segment. Assemble it all segments and then just set the wires in the power distribution board.

    I'll either 3D print some 1/2" pvc clips or pick some up from a place like Holiday Coro. Those clips were just stay up year round.

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