An LED Pixel consists of one or more LED elements, each connected to an integrated control chip. Multiple LED Pixels can be chained together, but addressed independently. When used together in large numbers, LED Pixels can create large-scale programmed light shows, synchronized to music with xLights software or even interactively controlled through the use of FPP.
xLights is a free and open source program that enables you to design, create and play amazing lighting displays through the use of DMX controllers, E1.31 Ethernet controllers and more. With it you can layout your display visually then assign effects to the various items throughout your sequence. This can be synchronized to music with beat-tracking built right into xLights.
Discover more here: https://xlights.org/ and please consider donating to them. The developers all work very hard to add features and really appreciate your support.
Essential Items For the DIY Light Show Enthusiasts
Okay yes, this list may be subjective. But below you will find a list of common items used in the hobby, and how they are used in various setups. If you have any other items we missed, let us know and we’ll add them to the list!
1/2 in. Electric Metallic Tube (EMT) Conduit
Lightweight and strong, EMT is often used to build framework to support props. Because it is “thin-wall” it is relatively easy to cut and drill.
- Zip-Tie your yard props to 1/2″ EMT and just slide it over 1/2″ rebar and you’ve got an easy and durable mounting solution.
- Use 3D-printed mounts or 1/2″ PVC fitting with 3D-printed bushings to create a strong support for large coro props on your house.
Home Depot Internet SKU: 100400405
1/2 in. Steel Rebar
*ESSENTIAL* Cheap and easy way to secure your yard props. Buy yourself a small sledgehammer and pound some steel!
- Raised ridges help grip the ground for reliability all season long.
- Zip-tie props directly to it, or slide any prop with a 1/2″ EMT framework over to secure perfectly and make for easy removal in the off-season
- Smaller 3/8″ rebar is a great choice for zip-tying candy canes and arches to. And it’s cheaper too!
Home Depot Internet SKU: 309328800
EMT Conduit Pipe Hangers
No need to 3D print custom mounts for your EMT supports. Just punch a hole in your prop and secure a hanger on the backside. Route the EMT pipe through and you’re all set!
- Best to buy in 5-packs, but some stores carry larger 45 quantity containers
- Home Depot hangers are recommended – as they have a threaded neck instead of requiring a wrench to hold a nut on the opposite side
Home Depot Internet SKU: 100130865
Zip Ties / Cable Ties
This one should be obvious, but some may not know that zip ties come in different sizes, colors, and even materials. Plastic is preferred however metal can offer additional reliability.
- Shorter Zip Ties can be combined together to lengthen them and create a single, longer zip tie.
- Don’t be afraid to buy an assortment of different colors. Black, White, Clear, and even colored ones like Red and Green!
No, it won’t run your show, but having a quick and easy way to send color patterns to your newly wired or repaired prop will save you possible headache later. It’s also a fun way to quickly showoff a new prop all lit-up without having to program any controller settings. This is a MUST HAVE for all lighting enthusiasts. Our pixel testers come with a power supply (our competitors don’t!) and come standard with an xConnect pigtail. You can find our pixel testers HERE.
18 Gauge Bulk Wire
Sure, most props nowadays are designed with very little jumping needed. But for things like house outlines and custom extension cable lengths, you will inevitably need to splice some of your own connectors. The color of the wire jackets is not important, as long as you stay consistent with your connections.
- Pure Copper 3-Wire stranded wire is best. Pure copper is a better conductor than other metals, which allows for better heat dissipation and a more reliable connection. Our recommendation for affordable bulk wire is MaxBrite found on Amazon.
UY2 / K2 Gel-Filled Butt Connectors
An absolute must! Perform a repair or splice without the need for soldering or heat shrinking. This is especially useful during field repairs or in areas where you cannot easliy use a traditional method of wire splicing. Best part is, the gel creates a waterproof barrier to keep moisture out. These are not a substitute for a proper splice, but can get your pixels back to blinking quickly!
- DO NOT strip wires before you insert into chamber. The wire jacket actually is what holds the teeth that crimp the wire.
- Use channel locks with an appropriate opening to create equal “flat” pressure along the crimp.