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Thread: help with changing over

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    New Member jfougerousse's Avatar
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    Default help with changing over

    hi everyone I am new here to post but have been reading for years on everyone's experiences. I got started with lor and 32 channels and have grown each year trying to add items. 2015 for some reason I cannot communicate with my lor controllers anymore and lor is not able to help so instead of just using the 225 channels of dumb rgbs I am not going to run a show this year. I am however in process of ordering 5000 pixels and starting on my 2016 show running vixen instead of lor. my question is about the mega tree. I have a 20 ft tree that is incan but will convert to a 20ft 180 degree tree with 19 strings of 70 pixels each. the controllers I am looking at purchasing will control up to 640 pixels per output. so if I start at string one on the ground and go up.. then I need string 2 to start at the top and come down then string three up and so on.. I can't find in vixen3 how to invert every other string to keep the pixels in line.. is this a concern.. when I do a standard element chase on vixen it goes ground up 1 ground up 2 and so on. it seems like you would almost need a patch wire from the top of one to the bottom of two but that would be a voltage killer.. any help would be greatly appreciated

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    Senior Member mpurser's Avatar
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    Default Re: help with changing over

    my sandevices give you the option to zig zag the strings just enter the number of the pixel for the turn arround
    Last edited by mpurser; 12-20-2015 at 08:08 AM.
    are you sure we checked every pixel?The Home of North Carolina's Largest tomato cage pixel tree.http://www.thelightsonpurserroad.com

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    New Member jfougerousse's Avatar
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    Default Re: help with changing over

    So its actually in the controller? I am going to use alphapix controllers

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    Havin fun ! kidcole's Avatar
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    Default Re: help with changing over

    I am not aware of anyone using those controllers here. We are mostly Sandevices and J1Sys controllers here. And we have a few guys who are expanding with Pi gear, so I expect some Falcons to show up in some yards. Mike's "sandwich" as he calls it .. is a Sandevices E682. I think he meant Sandevices but these darned auto-correct features can ruin a good sentence !

    I am wondering if your best bet might be to post your discussion on DIYC DoItYourselfChristmas.com ?? You may find more AlphaPix users there. Or just post the question directly to Alpha .. Keep us posted tho. It's always good to know how all these different units contrast and compare.
    Thanks,

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

    Back to Work <unretired> so I went Static in 2017. Planning xLights when I retire <again>. Maybe 2019 ?

    Falcon - 3 F16V3 & 1 PiCap, Sandevices - 2 E681 & 4 E6804, 288 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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    New Member jfougerousse's Avatar
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    Default Re: help with changing over

    I was inder the impression that the samdwich was a komby controller. I have kept researching and from what i have found alpha pix does support reverse or zig zaging. If everyone is using san devices i may need to look i to that. The alphapix 4 did look nice with so many output pixels on each spi and i have a small yard but thank you for your reply

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    Registered User JediKnight2's Avatar
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    Default Re: help with changing over

    I think you have two options...buy an F16v2...the Cadillac controller...or an E6804...for a tree the E6804 would be my suggestion. A Komby Sandwhich only does one universe...170 pixels. PM me if you want...I have experience with most of the controllers.

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    Registered User Tripplett's Avatar
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    Default Re: help with changing over

    I also use Vixen. This is done at the controller level, not Vixen. I have leaping arches that are fed in the middle so one is reversed, very easy to do. I read through the specs of the AlphaPix controller on Holiday Coro's site and it does list that it can reverse a string. Keep in mind that you will probably have to reverse an entire plug at once. You want 19 strings so that may be a problem since the AlphaPix has 16 outputs. Actually I just checked and it supports zig-zag so you should be able to specify when a strand reverses. I use a Sandevices E682 for my pixel tree but I see no reason you can't use the AlphaPix controller.

    From the site:
    Software Features
    • Firmware setting adjustments - Most settings via LCD interface, all settings via standard web browser on most devices
    • Firmware updates - PC (web browser) - no charge
    • Null/Ghost pixels (start of string)
    • Reverse DMX addressing (start DMX addressing at end of string instead of at start)
    • Zig-Zag / Matrix Addressing
    Likes mpurser liked this post

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    Senior Member mpurser's Avatar
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    Default Re: help with changing over

    here is a screen shot of the unit that controls my matrix while it does not show a zig zag my matris uses pixels that self number on power up 18 to the row so no zig zag needed hope this helps well i tryed to upload the pic but upload will not work sorry
    are you sure we checked every pixel?The Home of North Carolina's Largest tomato cage pixel tree.http://www.thelightsonpurserroad.com

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    Registered User mschell's Avatar
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    Default Re: help with changing over

    My display this year was extremely limited. New House, so new display components. Didn't get started soon enough, and bought a Falcon F16v2 late in the season. It ran my 180 degree pixel megatree, which was the only animated item in the display. Everything else is static, including 10 or so inflatables.

    I do have all three of the mentioned pixel controllers - SANdevices, J1sys, and the Falcon. XLights ran the tree, which was NOT synch'd to music. That's the plan for next year, to start the sequencing again with the new canvas.

    Alphapix controllers have gotten mixed reviews in my reading, but may just be fine and work well. But they are not time-tested as any of the other mentioned controllers.
    Mark

    New location - new display. Looking forward to 2015 season!

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    New Member jfougerousse's Avatar
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    Default Re: help with changing over

    Quote Originally Posted by mschell View Post
    My display this year was extremely limited. New House, so new display components. Didn't get started soon enough, and bought a Falcon F16v2 late in the season. It ran my 180 degree pixel megatree, which was the only animated item in the display. Everything else is static, including 10 or so inflatables.

    I do have all three of the mentioned pixel controllers - SANdevices, J1sys, and the Falcon. XLights ran the tree, which was NOT synch'd to music. That's the plan for next year, to start the sequencing again with the new canvas.

    Alphapix controllers have gotten mixed reviews in my reading, but may just be fine and work well. But they are not time-tested as any of the other mentioned controllers.

    Upon further reading and research i do think i will use san devices. My next question is realistically how many pixels will 1 e682 run. Thanks

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    Registered User Tripplett's Avatar
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    Default Re: help with changing over

    Per the manual in unicast mode it is up to 12 universes or over 6,000 channels.

    E1.31, streaminmulticast mode, up to 7 universes, or a total of 3570 DMX channels.

    E1.31, streaming DMX over Ethernet (SACN), unicast mode, up to 12 universes or 6,120 channels.

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    New Member jfougerousse's Avatar
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    Default Re: help with changing over

    Thanks for the confirmation happy new year i will be ordering 1 682 and 2 6804

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    Registered User Paul Lowe's Avatar
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    Default Re: help with changing over

    Sorry i missed this thread prior.

    Im using a mix of pixlite, alphapix-4 and alphapix-16 controllers.

    You can indeed do the zigzag on the alphapix....

    However, If I was buying a new controller for 2016, Id be looking really hard at the falcon above the alpha or the sandevices....

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    Havin fun ! kidcole's Avatar
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    Default Re: help with changing over

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Lowe View Post
    Sorry i missed this thread prior.

    Im using a mix of pixlite, alphapix-4 and alphapix-16 controllers.

    You can indeed do the zigzag on the alphapix....

    However, If I was buying a new controller for 2016, Id be looking really hard at the falcon above the alpha or the sandevices....
    When I went through the large controller comparison, the Falcon was a clear winner for capacity for the $$. It is a little expensive at $200 for the 16 port V2, but then only $50 more for a second 16-port daughter card.

    During our TASL tour, Sam Johnson mentioned that he is driving pixel lead wires of nearly 100 ft using the SanDevices controllers. He does this by replacing the bridge resistors to increase the drive strength. They are a simple plug-in strip that anyone can do in a few second. Do we know if the Falcon allows those to be replaced ? How about Pixlite and others ?

    UPDATE: Here is the link to the controller comparison:

    http://nutcracker123.com/nutcracker/rgb_controllers/

    If you look WAY down several pages, it does show that Sandevices and Falcon players have plug-able resistors. Now that I see Sam driving 10' wires with no issues, I think this is an important feature. The pixlite and Alphapix do not allow you to change theirs.
    Thanks,

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

    Back to Work <unretired> so I went Static in 2017. Planning xLights when I retire <again>. Maybe 2019 ?

    Falcon - 3 F16V3 & 1 PiCap, Sandevices - 2 E681 & 4 E6804, 288 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: help with changing over

    Quote Originally Posted by kidcole View Post
    When I went through the large controller comparison, the Falcon was a clear winner for capacity for the $$. It is a little expensive at $200 for the 16 port V2, but then only $50 more for a second 16-port daughter card.

    During our TASL tour, Sam Johnson mentioned that he is driving pixel lead wires of nearly 100 ft using the SanDevices controllers. He does this by replacing the bridge resistors to increase the drive strength. They are a simple plug-in strip that anyone can do in a few second. Do we know if the Falcon allows those to be replaced ? How about Pixlite and others ?

    UPDATE: Here is the link to the controller comparison:

    http://nutcracker123.com/nutcracker/rgb_controllers/

    If you look WAY down several pages, it does show that Sandevices and Falcon players have plug-able resistors. Now that I see Sam driving 100' wires with no issues, I think this is an important feature. The pixlite and Alphapix do not allow you to change theirs.
    Ok I have to throw my opinion in here. And keep in mind that this is my opinion. We all look at this hobby differently.

    I am intrigued by this Falcon controller. I love the idea that you can define your output type on EACH of the 16 outputs. Sandevices is 4 banks of 4 for a total of 16 - you have to define a bank of 4 as a type. The ability to tie it into a Raspberry Pi running Falcon Player isn't as appealing to me. I just don't see the reasoning. What is the difference between a Falcon board with the Pi attached and a Sandevices with a short CAT5 cable to the Pi? Maybe there is more to that than I've been able to figure out - and I've spent a good deal of time trying to figure it out.

    I love to tinker. I'm a firm believer in DIY. Most of my stuff is as home made as I can make it. To that end I also build all my controllers. I actually found it kinda fun. Granted, my display isn't as large as some of the others on this board. So to compare my price on the Sandevices as a kit is $109 + 9 shipping = $118. I can almost buy two for the price of one Falcon board.

    On another note, I've gone the route of having controllers less centrally located. I don't want one controller in the middle of the display driving 32 outputs. This puts me in the position to run 16 (or more) cables out in a wagon wheel fashion to all the display elements. That could be quite a ways. I'd rather have 1 CAT5 cable coming from a central hub out to remote controllers near the elements. For instance - I have a small network hub under my pixel tree in a box with a e682. The e682 feeds the pixel tree nicely off of 12 of it's outputs + 2 for the star with no power injection. I have two CAT5 cables that come out of that hub. One feeds the controller near my arches and the other feeds the controller by the strawberry sized lighted tree and my floodlights. I don't have to worry about long runs, null pixels, changing resistors, or injecting power. Now granted I have more controllers to worry about. I think both ways have their pluses and minuses but for me I don't want so many wires. Plus 500 ft of CAT5 cable was $31 at Amazon. The pixel 3 or 4 wire extensions are much more expensive and I want to put the money where it will do the most good for me.

    Again, this is my reasoning and opinion (and in hindsight should have probably been placed in another thread on the debate of less controller central thinking vs more spread out controllers). In thinking of my display for 2016 one of the things I am really interested in doing is putting display elements on my roof. I don't want unsightly wires all over so I want to do this wireless. I can do this using a $40 slaved Raspberry Pi with a $10 Wifi USB dongle running Falcon to lets say a e6804. To kick it up a notch the Pi can even drive a limited number of pixel strands right off it - no controller needed (I believe it is 2 strands but I'm having problems finding supporting information). The Beaglebone Black can do even more with it's extra horsepower and output functionality.

    After all that long winded response I WOULD buy the Falcon controller today if I was building another pixel or mega tree and wanted one controller under it to drive all the strands.

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