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I am planning to buy pixels for the first time. Besides the 20 pixel strips that I want to buy, what is a typical starter shopping list? Controller, software, accessories, strip holders for 12-strip tree, arch bases, etc... I need to consider everything! 

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Yes besides the lights, you need a controller, software, a way to hold the lights, extension cords.

That said, there's a big range of controllers and software depending upon what you want to do. You can go get simple controllers like wLED which has it's own software - but you'll be pretty limited in what you can do. You can go with more formal controllers which some have their own software or you can use something like Vixen3 or xLights for software. I've done a DIY solder board when I got started 10 years ago for dumb strings which worked well and was pretty inexpensive. But I've been using holiday coro for most of the stuff most recently because I don't have time to solder anymore. It's not cheap but it's priced decently and almost one place stop shopping. 

If you're doing a mega tree you need a pole and a method to hold said pole. Some people use buckets of sand, other put it right in the ground or use PVC/Wood structure. Extension cords are a must unless it's going to be close enough to your outlets. I prefer the heavy duty green cords. Depending on what you get, you may want some enclosures (holiday coro comes with them if you get them preassembled) and/or some small plastic bins. I had wires running everywhere and we can get a lot of snow/rain thru the winter. Anywhere I had to plug a cord in I put it inside a small plastic bin. I cut a small hole on the side to let the cord in and out and it gave me a tiny bit of peace of mind that it won't trip the GFCI.

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Thanks for the tips. I was checking out the HolidayCoro website. I do like some of the all-in-one kits that they have available. I have some experience with the original LOR controllers and software, so I won't be completely in the dark. But the whole pixel thing seems a bit intimidating with all of the options.

Edited by jaypelham
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It's a lot easier than you think, but it's definitely more complicated than just turning lights on/off and dimming. The bigger challenge is distance from controller to first light. 20ft without an amplifier is typically what I've seen as the max depending on voltage and wiring. 

Most of the software now comes with pre-built patterns. So you're not having to sequences each node (pixel with 3 channels for red, blue, and green) separately. You tell the software the universes/channel ranges and the number of nodes on the string. Then you drag/drop the pattern you want on top. With multiple strands/strips you can group them to work together. For example, with a megatree you specify the universes, channels, and the number of strands in the tree. place the tree in your preview. 

The sequence will give you 1 line for your megatree. You can expand it and set each string or each node on the string separate. Or you can simply drag an effect on the tree directly and the software will push down the settings tot he strings/nodes appropriately. Here's an example.  

 

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if i was to do it over again i would  go with xlights and falcon controllers the new ones  or light o rama and  S5 now is the time to start either one  search those 2 out on you tube 

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16 hours ago, sysco said:

if i was to do it over again i would  go with xlights and falcon controllers the new ones  or light o rama and  S5 now is the time to start either one  search those 2 out on you tube 

why falcon? Not that they aren't good controllers. Holiday coro strong point for me is they're more expandable and flexible for daisy chaining. So for a small contained display probably doesn't matter much, but anything beyond that I would lean holidaycoro. What are your thoughts?

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This was also the big confusion for me... not understanding the intricacies of the controllers, I am still researching what makes sense for me. But, Falcon seems to be the standard for most people. Another big factor for me is support... What kind of technical support do you get from the companies? 

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Well i use  lor and have been since 2005 you cannot beat there tech support they have a help desk on line to answer your questions  and i use super star as an add on to lor  and Brian is the owner  always aviable to help he reads the forums and always answer all replies go to the lor forums and ask questions all kinds of help there also i use lor because of the ease of plug and play  a little more cost but saves  time  the big thing also are you capable of building your own controllers do you have the knowledge to sequencing  what type of controllers ect there is a lot of questions you have to ask yourself there is a steep learning curve no matter which way you go 

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I just checked my old LOR software license, and it seems that I can pay a discounted renewal price to upgrade from my original S3 software to the newest S5 version. Then, I guess I would need to add the SuperStar Add-On, and of course buy the lights. I'll head over to the LOR forum and continue my research.

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