Our Process - 24 Hour Testing

by Philip Brooks May 26, 2022

Here at Blinky Pixels we believe your show should be as enjoyable to setup as it is to watch. That's why we put our pixels through a rigorous 24 hour test before placing them into our inventory. This ensures the pixels are built properly and operate according to their specifications so when you unpackage them, they're ready to enter your show.



The Test Wall

The test wall is where all of the testing takes place. It is a grid system designed to operate up to 400 pixels per row with each row having a dedicated Meanwell LRS-350-12 Power Supply when testing 12 volt pixels and each 2 rows having a dedicated Meanwell LRS-350-5 Power Supply when testing 5 volt pixels. We keep the pixel count low per power supply because our test sequences operate up to 100% brightness and higher pixel counts could cause overload.

Test Wall With Lights Off

Your show will likely run at a brightness below 50%, so your pixel count per power supply will be higher, but the equations used below will be the same.

The math (12v system):
  • 0.02 amps per LED with 3 LED's per pixel gives us up to 0.06 amps per pixel at full brightness.
    • At 12 volts, 0.06 amps per pixel gives us 12 volts * 0.06 amps = 0.72 watts per pixel
  • The Meanwell LRS-350-12 can provide up to 350 watts, but we reduce that to 80% for a continuous load. That gives us 350 * 0.8 = 280 watts
  • 280 watts (power supply) / .72 watts (per pixel) = 389 pixels
  • We bump that up to 400 pixels, which puts our load around 82%, which is acceptable for our setup. 400 pixels * 0.72 watts = 288 watts, 288 watts / 350 watts = 0.82
The math (5v system):
  • 0.02 amps per LED with 3 LED's per pixel gives us up to 0.06 amps per pixel at full brightness.
    • At 5 volts, 0.06 amps per pixel gives us 5 volts * 0.06 amps = 0.3 watts per pixel
  • The Meanwell LRS-350-5 can provide up to 300 watts, but we reduce that to 80% for a continuous load. That gives us 300 * 0.8 = 240 watts
  • 240 watts (power supply) / .3 watts (per pixel) = 800 pixels
  • This is why we can use a Meanwell LRS-350-5 to power 2 rows for the 5 volt pixels.

Power Injection Tee's

Each power supply has a dedicated smart switch that allows us to power it down physically or remotely in order to change out pixels. The smart switches are plugged into a 20 amp power strip, up to 5 power supplies per strip.

Power Strip With Power Supplies

The data for the pixels comes from a single Falcon F16v3 connected to a Raspberry Pi 4 4GB running FPP.

F16v3 With Raspberry Pi


The Sequences

The sequences are designed to be more taxing on the pixels and less visually appealing. They run through a variety of colors and brightness levels from 0-100%. This gives us a chance to test each pixel to its maximum specification and allows us the opportunity to visually inspect the wall for any pixels that may have off colors, failed LED's, etc...

RGB Pixel Test Wall Lit Up

The playlist is comprised of 13 different sequences for a total duration of 9 minutes 20 seconds and this playlist repeats every 10 minutes for 24 hours. The 40 second window between "shows" gives us a chance to inspect for pixels that may be out of specifications while powered up but not receiving data.

WRGBYCM_Fade W_Gradient_Block Y_Gradient_Block Effects_Snow-Flakes
WRGBYCM_Solid R_Gradient_Block C_Gradient_Block Effects_Strobe
G_Gradient_Block M_Gradient_Block Effects_Color-Wash
B_Gradient_Block Effects_Pinwheel

 

WRGBYCM_*

These sequences run through White, Red, Green, Blue, Yellow, Cyan & Magenta. The fade fades into each color from black and back out to black. This runs the pixels through various brightness levels from 0-100%. The solid is a hard start and hard stop from black to the color and back.

*_Gradient_Block

These sequences run each row at the same color, but different brightness levels. For example, row 1 will be showing 100% brightness, row 2 will be showing 90% brightness, row 3 will be showing 80% brightness, etc... Each brightness level lasts for 3 seconds before they are rotated in round-robin fashion until all rows have displayed all levels of brightness.

Effects_*

These sequences are used to provide visual delineators between different sets of tests. They are more fun to look at and give an indication that there is no lag in the data flow and effects are running smoothly.



Conclusion

Once the pixels have run for 24 hours, each row is powered down and the pixels are moved to the workbench. At the workbench, they'll receive their barcode sticker and then a cozy home on our inventory shelves where they'll await being selected as an addition to your show! Our selection of RGB Smart Pixels.

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