LED Lines

Christopher Palazini from Black Rock Church in Fairfield, CT brings us this great LED tape design, nestled inside PVC homes.

From Christopher: We installed this for a period of only eight weeks, but kept the infrastructure (wiring, power supplies and LED controllers) in place for whatever else we may come up with….which happened at Christmas.

Forty sections of various lengths were created by using 2″ ID schedule 40 PVC ripped the length, and the LED tape (RGB+CW) installed inside. Each of the 34 sections was individually controlled via DMX and our MA Dot2 console.

Additionally we purchased sections of black and white “spandex” pipe coverings to stretch over the sections to help diffuse the individual LEDs. Intially, we had opted for the black to help hide the strips when not in use, however the diffusion did not work as well as the white.

Materials:

41 responses to LED Lines

  1. What was the total cost? And do you have a pic of the fixture with the “spandex” on it?

    • Yes, that would be an interesting thing to see. Great work!

    • I’d have to look into the total final costs for you.

      One thing to keep in mind is that we have done a few other LED projects in the past, and that this time we installed the power, controllers and fixture wiring in place for future projects. In fact we utilized it during our Christmas celebrations this year.

      I will send along a few more photos and materials links to the website publisher to add to the story posting.

    • I believe when it was all said and done, about $2,000.

      But these are all items we will use again . . . the controllers are now being used on their third stage design, and will be used again for the next one.

  2. Hey!
    This looks fantastic!
    Can you post a link of the spandex coverings? I’m not sure that I understand how you utilized that.

    • Christopher Palazini February 5, 2019 at 7:17 pm

      Do you see how we used the spandex pipe coverings?

      Two photos show the original black, and a wide shot with the hanging pipes covered with the white after the first week.

  3. Hi .thanks

  4. I will forward a few additional photos to the site publisher to add to those already posted.

    But here is the link to the product we used to stretch over the PVC pipe sections and diffuse the LEDs.

    Again, initially we had used black to help hide the hanging sections when not in use, but we didn’t get the diffusion we needed and ultimately got by using two layers of the white spandex.

    We just just cut the lengths as we needed from the longer 20′ and 30′ pieces we had bought.

    https://www.eventdecordirect.com/catalog/30ft-spandex-pole-cover-for-upright-15ft-higher-white-p-8733.html

    I appreciate all the questions, and I will do my best to answer all the questions.

    I will also pass along a few more photos, as well as links to the products we used on the project.

    Blessings to you all in your service.

    “We serve to the applause of nail scarred hands.”

  5. Here is a link to the project photo album.

    There very well could be repeats of earlier photos.

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/8NjBYDujCcSPtsPy6

  6. Kyle Johnson –

    We have schedule 40 pipes hung to either side of our projection screen.

    I used generic paracord (from Home Depot) as each section didn’t weigh very much and the paracord won’t stretch.

    I drilled a hole on either side of the PVC sections and just threaded the paracord through it, and tied each section at the proper height to the pipe(s). Because it was just a loop of the paracord, it was basically self-leveling so they hung straight on their own.

    In hindsight, I would have – and probably still will – rig a shakle to each LED strip, and make it more convenient to put back up next time. With all the work we put into it, it will definitely be making another appearance.

  7. Christopher,

    Can you control the individual channels on the decoders or just the groups? Thank you!

    • HI Andrew –

      I don’t have it set up for pixel mapping, but I can control the individual LED strips (fade, color mix), but I do not have it set up for “pixel mapping”. I’ve not pixel mapping before and haven’t had time to investigate what I would need to do in order to accomplish that.

      Each one of the six LED controllers has EIGHT (8) 16bit controllers. Once you set the starting DMX address for each of the decoder/controller box, the remaining seven automatically get the next channel assignment.

      I’ll try and see if I have a video that shows this, but I’m not sure that I still have them.

    • BTW . . . We have “home runs” for each of the strips to the controllers backstage . . about 2,000 feet of 5-wire thermostat cable was used.

      • This comment answers my questions about voltage drop. The home runs would eliminate that. Let me make sure I understand. You can control each one of the eight individual controllers on the main LED controllers? or you can only control one control box as whole? So either you can have individual control over 40 individual strips or 6 groups of strips? I hope that makes sense?

        • Christopher Palazini February 7, 2019 at 4:59 pm

          So there are SIX LED controllers.

          Each unit has EIGHT DMX addresses
          (first one is assigned, the rest follow every 8. i.e. 001, 009, 017, etc.)

          For each of the EIGHT DMX addresses, there are 4 controllable channels. (RGBW)

          For testing purposes, beginning with address 513, there are a series of test modes built into each controller.

    • Did you have any problems with voltage drop. I am planning on doing this design but on a much larger scale. Any tips? Also, could you look at me design once I have it?

      • In the system we had setup, each LED strip/PVC section had its own power via the 5-wire 18 gauge thermostat wire, we didn’t have any issues with voltage drops – even with cable runs of about 80 feet in some cases.

  8. The additional pictures, that you provided, help immensely. I am planning on doing this at a larger scale. If I maintain the same pattern, I believe it should still work. I also see you linked the power supplies together to eliminate a bunch of cords. Did you have any problems with this? What size cord did you use? How did you wire them together?

    • Christopher Palazini February 7, 2019 at 5:06 pm

      I believe we used 14 gauge for the power from the supplies to the controllers.

      The power supplies each have three sets of output connections, and the controllers each have FOUR input connections.

  9. How did you affix new 5 pin ends on the cut portions of LED tape? I’m having a terrible time trying to find quick connectors that are the right size for 10mm tape.

  10. Also . . . we stayed as efficient as we could by starting out lengths using the ends that had connectors on them – cutting them as needed, then using the other ends on longer or shorter sections where we could.

    Yes, we had some waste/scrap, but we saved pieces that were worth saving of other projects where we had more time for more soldering.

  11. What type of cable did you use to daisy-chain dmx feeds to the decoders?

  12. How do you keep these from spinning and how did you rip the PVC?

    • We used a table saw to rip the lengths of pipe.

      When I hung the sections, I drilled two holes one each side about 1″ from the end. I hung these with Paracord that I threaded through BOTH holes and tied both ends to the supporting pipe above.

      Doing it this way served two purposes…

      It helps to keep them from spinning around, and they are sort of self leveling so that each of the sections will hang straight.

      Thanks for asking all these questions people!

      Keen them.coming.

      I think it’s a great look to leave in place for up to a year….ours was only eight weeks but we left the infrastructure in place and have the pipes in storage to hang them again ….. possibly for the summer.

      Have a great and Blessed day!

  13. Chris Palazini March 14, 2019 at 7:39 am

    If any of you put this up yourselves, I’d like to see how it came out.

    Email me at:

    cpalazini@blackrock.org

  14. How many power supplies will i need for 4 controllers?

    • You should use five supplies.

      Each controller has four inputs for power, and the supplies have three outputs.

      Use the drawing as a reference, and you’ll see and understand what we did

      The drawing isn’t complete, but it is a good reference.

      Your fifth power supply will only be powering one controller input, but it can act as a backup should you have any issues with other supplies.

      Good luck…. and thanks to everyone for all the questions. I’m glad to know that so many liked the design . I’d like to see pictures not what you’ve done when you are finished with your projects.

      Blessings to you all.

      Chris

  15. I am using this design at a large youth conference. At the conference my board of controllers and power supplies will dmx out to a dmx gateway that will be controlled by lighting team. They will have dmx board to control colors, etc. So, I don’t have to worry about that. However, I want to wire it up and make sure everything works before hand. Is there free software or cheap software for testing purposes? Also, what did you use to connect the controllers together? Could I use a regular dmx cable?

    • This may be a little over the top, but why not!. Do you have an Arduino? If so, get a DMX shield for it. I did this, worked up a very simple script to loop through the fixture channels, and away you go. Let me know if you need more details.

    • Christopher Palazini April 1, 2019 at 11:54 am

      Hi Andrew –

      To interconnect each of the controllers, we just hard wired well shielded audio cable to the screw terminals – instead of dealing with wiring a bunch of 3-pin XLRs. (the grey wires in the controller panel photo). Once you have each interconnected, you can make up a short (12 inch or longer) cable that is hard wired to the DMX IN screw terminals on the first controller on one end and a 3-pin XLR male connector on the other end that the DMX gateway will plug into.

      If you used the controllers that I has listed, if you set the DMX address to 513 or any address above that it puts the controller into a test mode for each of the controllers.

      Remember, that when you set the address for the controller(s), it is the STARTING address for the controller and that the remaining 7 built-in will following every FOUR addresses/channels.

      i.e. Set first controller for 001, the set the second would be 033, and so on.

      Thanks for all the great questions . . . . looking forward to seeing the final product when you have it installed.

      Please send pictures to cpalazini@blackrock.org

      I hope that your event will be a blessing and a time of renewal and growth to all that attend.

      Chris

  16. Hello. I was wondering why you needed multiple power supplies per decoder? They run on 12v don’t they? Looks like you brought it up to 24v? or something like that?

  17. Christopher Palazini April 4, 2019 at 6:43 pm

    The controllers are 12v/24v, and support up to eight 4-channel runs each

    Our runs were so long I wanted to be sure we had as little voltage loss as possible.

  18. I am wiring the power supplies together now. Can I use 14 ga to wire those together?

    • Chris Palazini April 13, 2019 at 6:32 am

      Are you asking in regard to the connections from the supplies to the controllers, or from the controllers to the LED strips?

  19. My question is about projection. How are you projecting that wide? Are you using two projectors? can you provide links of what projectors i’d need to do a wide aspect ratio like that? Thanks!!

  20. This is so Genius, thanks for answering the questions and posting this, i am not following the hook-up from the dmx controller to the cut pipes, is there a diagram you have? They are not all in sets of eight inputs to the controller?

    Thanks

    • Each controller unit can control eight of the sections. There are “home runs” (individual cables) running from the controllers to each of the LED pipes.

      RGBW+power

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