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2013 Pixel Post Mortem

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Now that the lights are off for 2013 and the planning begins for 2014, some of us are wanting to take the next step into rgb pixels.  I was wondering how all the “early adopter’s that used pixels and strips in this year’s show held up???


Do you mind sharing the good and the bad (and hopefully no “bashing of vendors”)

What worked??

What didn’t work??

What was the environment that your pixels operated in (snow, rain, ice…?)

What would you/will you change??

Did you experience a “high failure rate”?? (like there is an acceptable standard)

How did the Technicolor Pixels survive??

Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

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I made a 24 strand 50 per strand ws2811 pixel tree. My main reason for doing this was so I could incorporate images into the display that highlighted various parts of the different songs, i.e. a gingerbread man, Santa, manger, Menorah, etc. I did spirals, snowfall and other effects as well. I always wanted to do something like Danny DeVito's character had and this was a close as I was going to get.


For me what worked is kind of what didn't work and that was the pixel tree. Not because of the bad pixels (and there were plenty of them) but because people seemed to focus on watching the pixel tree and not how the rest of the lights matched the music (or didn't match). I spent far more hours sequencing the 304 LOR channels and it almost seemed like I could just have them blink randomly and no one would have noticed.

I'm only a little disenchanted it will be back next year and other RGB elements as well.


My pixels were problems from the beginning and even 3 weeks into the season I had to cut out and replace pixels. Here in L.A. we only had 2 days of rain since I set them up, one day barely a drizzle and the 2nd quite a bit more but not a downpour by any means and that day I had many failures. Failure rate so far 90 bad out of 1300 and there will be more.

I will say I don't necessarily blame the vendor he is just our middle man but his factory needs better QC standards. I do think if he is going to have us continue to buy from him he needs to rectify the situation. Even with my issues I was going to buy from him again but have now decided to go with one of our U.S. distributors, at least with them we can make a phone call during the day and get someone (hopefully).


What I would do different? Once I figure out what elements, is add more pixels to highlight the edge of the house, roofline or something else to bring the attention away from the pixel tree and back to the entire span of display. These pixels are too darn bright and over power (attention wise) all my LED strands. Hopefully this will make the overall display better, well except for perhaps my lack of talent. :-)


One tip; I found with images bringng up the contrast and taking down the brightness and intenisty made a lot of images display better. This I believe is because the pixels are so bright many colors blended into each other. I used Corel Draw to do this but (and I'm not sure why) MS Paint seemed to do a better job when reducing the pictures down to 50 pixels than Corel. They seemed crisper with paint. I also think that saving them as a .png file they looked better.


Sorry to be so wordy.

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I used the ws2811/2812 strips and had no issues other then power. (My own fault). I do know that a friend of mine had a lot of problems with the 12vdc Technicolor square pixels. I believe it was an issue with the 12vdc to 5vdc converter each node has. He has spoken to the vender and is getting them replaced. There is rumor that a bad batch in one of the components that made up the pixel was to blame. He might chime in on here if he sees the post and shed some light on the issue. I will talk with him in the next week or so but he is very busy with his tear down right now.

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Jerry B


you hit the nail on the head when you said most people don't care if it is in sync or just blinking  I found that out over the years they in most part just want to see the lights  but what I do with my 12 ccr tree is I leave it out ever 2 or 3 song and hope people look at the rest of the display including blowmolds  and let me tell you i'm not good at doing sequencing but people like it just the same

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Dave H,

Mine were the square and I think water was my problem 3 weeks in, but not in the beginning, they were just bad pixels.

After the rain I cut pixles out that stayed light on white or caused the other to randomly flash and the ones that just stayed on in blue cleared themselves up after a couple days.



I think having off every few sequences is a good idea, thanks

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This was my first year to sequence and to use pixels.  I used the WS2811 5050 SMD strips from Ray Wu's store.  All my problems were self inflicted, including cable lengths too long (with no "null pixels" installed....) and poor soldering.  I had to cut my 5m strips into 2m segments to "fit" into my arches.  I had some water problems one night when it had rained fairly steadily all day and night; other than that no problems (of course these were the sealed strips and they were inside PEX tubing).


For 2014 I plan to:

Put the controller (an E682, which worked wonderfully) closer to the arches.

Add a pixel tree, probably with its own E682 and Renard (for strobes incorporated into pixel tree) controllers.  Haven't decided which RGBs I will use yet; thinking thru that and reading...  I have decided to go 360 degrees, so right now I think I will make it using 4m strips so my soldering can at least be minimized!!  Which would make it about 12-13' tall or thereabouts once it is "raised" off the ground about a foot.

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