This is an update to my RGB Pixel Basics series about using music in your display. We cover FM transmitters, finding an open frequency near you and uploading a video of your display to YouTube.
I’m rebuilding my main RGB pixel power and data distribution box, leaving room for expansion for next year.
I try to run most of the lights from a central controller box underneath the mega tree. I created a box last year that worked great, but did not have room to expand so I rebuilt it this year using some lessons learned form last year. I also got some new cable glands to hold onto the wires protruding from the box. They don’t make it water tight, but they do hold onto the wires well so they won’t get pulled away from the controller if I happen to accidentally trip over the wires.
I also used a different layout for the internal components. I left room for expansion as I’m sure I’ll add more pixels next year and will need more power supplies. All electronics are mounted to a 1/2″ piece of MDF. The board can not be removed once the wires are attached, but provides a solid base for everything and adds a little weight to the box.
I mounted the controller and expansion board to a piece of PVC “wood” left over from the P10 sign build and oriented that vertically to save some room. It makes it a little hard to make connections, but since that won’t happen a lot, I felt the tradeoff was worth it in space saved. The box is tall enough to add a second controller on top if needed.
I used fuse blocks for power injection distribution for safety. Last year, I totally bypassed power distribution on the controller, but felt I could use it this year for props that don’t need power injection. It does make managing power among the four power supplies a little trickier, but given enough thought and planning, it can be done.
I’d still like to build a small cover for the box as I’m using trash bags and straps to secure it. A cover in the shape of a Snoopy house or Christmas present would hide the box and provide some protection from rain or snow.
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We went to a polo match last weekend and we continue sequencing the song we started last time. Set your clocks back an hour and we have less than three weeks to get ready for showtime!
Richard left a comment on the previous video to use two or three layers of random effects so I add those in this video. Excellent suggestion. It gives xLights the opportunity to fill in more effects when it chooses one that is probably better suited for adding on top of another effect as opposed to acting as a complete effect.
I also completely changed out some effects and created a standard pattern for parts of the song that repeat – like the chorus. In other words, the same group of effects are used in the song where the melody repeats. It sounds the same and looks the same.
As happened last time, I needed to go through and tweak some of the settings for effects. xLights randomizes everything and with some effects, some settings either don’t do much or look weird when set “incorrectly.” Fortunately, you can see what changing a particular setting does in the preview window for immediate feedback. Very quick and very cool.
I play the full sequence again at the end so you can compare the two versions. I may make a few tweaks here and there once I look at the sequence on the display, but I will run this as is in the show this year.
This technique is new to me this year, but I do like it as adding props simply requires a re-render to get some pattern on the new props (which usually takes seconds depending on the length of the song). I hope this helps.