Infinity Spinner

New High Density Prop for 2024

I am currently working on putting “seed” pixels into a high density prop for the 2024 season.

So what is a seed pixel? Seed pixels are the same technology that we use for the vast majority of lighting in the display only they are much smaller and quite a bit lighter than a standard pixel bullet node. We can still control them individually and we can still do all of the same great effects. The challenges that I am finding with working with the seed pixels is the gauge of the wire is very fine. This makes soldering connections a much more difficult task. Seed pixels also must have a holder of some kind since many of the props have holes cut in them to support the 12mm bullet pixel. We use a holder that is that same 12mm size but has a number of notches to hold the seed pixel. We push the holder through the prop so the seeds basically function as if they were the bullet nodes.

And a high density prop?? High density props are props that have a large number of lights in a very small amount of space. Because of the density of the lighting it is easier to create shapes by lighting specific pixels all over the prop. For example you could make hearts, or faces, triangle and diamonds. I’ve seen snowflake arms and even fireworks and flowers. There are a number of challenges with high density props. Weight is one of the big challenges I have. When you get all of the bullet node pixels in a high density prop they can way upwards of 30-40 pounds. This is a consideration when it comes to mounting that prop on the buildings or in the ground. We are trying to mitigate this issue with the seed pixels that greatly reduce the weight. That same prop with seeds pixels may only way 18-20 pounds.

Another issue with the HD props is power and pixel controller ports. Each port on a controller is generally limited to about 800 pixels. This is due to the amount of data that needs to be sent and the frame rate of the display sequences (songs). If you get too many pixels on a port, it can’t keep up with the amount of data that it is receiving and will often “skip” so that it stays in sync. Most of the time the human eye doesn’t notice but if you start getting too many pixels on a controller port it can impact the look we are trying to achieve. We also have the issue with power coming from the port. The more pixels you have the more power that is going to be needed. Based on the gauge of our wires and the distances that we have to run we need to “insert” or inject power so that all of the pixels have the same brightness for their full length. We can solve some of this by balancing power with basically means that we are connecting the beginning of the string with the end of the string or some other spot in the string so that the voltages are not lost to the lighting of the pixels along the way. We still have to be careful that we are not overloading the ports and the power supplies. (In our case all ports are fused with 5 amp automotive 12 volt fuses to protect us from pulling too much power.)

Considering the limitations why would we want to even bother with High Density props. The simple answer is to provide the look we want to achieve. The fun spinners and talking faces you see in our show wouldn’t be possible without the high density props we have.

This year you will see our new Infinity Spinner and our two Mandala flakes on the left building. By far this is going to be our most high density area of the display because it will also contain the matrix which is the large flat television screen like thing that you see attached to the deck. Those 4 props alone will account for nearly 6000 pixels/seeds and will consume 8 to 10 ports on a controller and a number of additional power injection points to keep everything bright.

The pictures and video are of the Infinity Spinner that I am working on. It is nearly 4 feet across and will have a total of 1425 seed pixels. The video shows it running with my pixel tester but you can see some of the fun effects that it can have.

Love to hear your comments.

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