Still Photos

No video yet, but here’s some stills I took of the house. The purity of the LEDs’ color cuts through the darkness like a razor.

Current count is about 612 RGB pixels, driven by 3 Art-Net bridges. For convenience, the patch is spread over 6 universes of DMX.

Rough calculations say that at full brightness, the lights draw 60 mA per node –> 36.7 A at 5V –> ~160 watts total.

Note that the two pixels on the balcony which appear to be ‘dead’ are actually blocked by the balcony’s iron handrail.

Many of the blue / purple pictures are actually part of a longer ‘plasma’ sequence which features red, blue and purple blobs sweeping across the entire house. It’s pretty neat looking in real life.

Click to enlarge.

Complete 2008 Point Source Pixel Rig For Sale

EDIT 3/9/09 —— The System Has Been Spoken For.  Thanks! ——–


So I’m working on some new ideas for the 2009 Christmas season.  To get everything R&D’d I need to free up some capital.  And though my wife thinks I’m crazy, I’ve decided to sell the entire rig used for the 2008 build.

At its most basic level, the system includes

  • 200 Point Source pixels, assembled and tested & guaranteed to run.

These little friends have been selling briskly in our online store at $7.50 each.  By my calculations, that prices the bare pixels – wiring, connectors and programming time excluded – at $1,500.

However, I’m reluctant to break up the system.  So to sweeten the deal, I’ve decided to add the following bits and pieces:

  • One Isolated DMX splitter with XLR-5 ‘in’ and ‘through’ jacks, plus 8 output drivers and custom wiring harness tails.  These have been selling well for about $80 each.
  • One Isolated DMX splitter with XLR-5 ‘in’ and ‘through’ jacks, plus 4 output drivers and custom wiring harness tails (my rig used two DMX universes, hence the double splitters).  Retail price is $60.
  • 6 Data /  Power cable harnesses, each measuring between 80′ and 160′ long.  I paid $0.60 per foot for the two types of wire, plus about $4 for the polarized, locking Molex connectors on either end.  Total wiring harness length is very close to 600′.
  • 6 DMX Splitter / Ribbon cable feed boards.  These convert connect the power cable harness to the ribbon cable runs and ensure that power and data are cleanly distributed.  They probably cost $15 each to build and test. 
  • 6 sets of ribbon cable with connectors mounted on 8″ centers.  Each cable contains between 10 and 42 point source pixels.
  • One +12v @ 12A switching power supply – more than beefy enough to run the entire system – with custom wiring harness pigtails.  Cost me $30 at a few years back.


  • I’ll re-flash each of the pixels with our brand-new firmware.  It will take about 3 hours, but I think it’s worth it.  The new firmware allows the a pixel to be re-addressed in the field – without using a computer.  It also boasts a 150 Hz refresh rate on the dimming routine.  This is 50% faster than the current firmware allows, and it makes fades and chases even more smooth.


  • I’ll throw in a brand-new hand-held pixel Programmer / Tester module.  It contains a tiny LCD plus several pushbuttons for easy navigation.  Setting and confirming a pixel’s address takes only a few seconds.  Once I get these assembled in bulk, they’ll be priced at $48 in our online store.  

So when the dust settles, this is a complete, ready-to-install RGB lighting package.  Everything is included and easy to configure.  You just provide a stable source of DMX and some imagination.

The system is guaranteed to arrive in working condition.  Your purchase also includes unlimited tech support via email, plus 5 hours of live, on-the-phone troubleshooting if you get stuck for any reason at all.

If I add up the prices of everything listed above, the total very nearly reaches $2,150.

However, I’ve decided to let it go for $1,839.  

I have to move quickly because our accountant will be very, very irked if he finds out what I’m up to.  

You should move quickly because things for sale here often don’t last long.  In fact, I’ve already emailed everyone who is a member of our exclusive ‘Insider’s Club’ (you can join at the top right corner of this page) and fully expect that one of them will swoop in and grab the gear at an incredible discount. 

So if you’re interested or have more questions, send me an email and we’ll talk.  Address is ‘john AT’

* Note that there’s still some snow on the roof here, and I’m not going up to retrieve the high bits until everything is bare and dry.  It shouldn’t take more than another week if the current weather trends hold.

Below are a couple photos which show the wiring harness and ribbon cable adapters in more detail.  Click a photo for more.



Point Source Pixels – Fully Installed!

What a day!  This morning I drove downtown to get another 200′ of power and data cable.  I’d previously used 400′ of each for the two lower rooflines, the arch and the garden lanterns.

I finished and tested a second 8-way DMX splitter, because the upper and lower runs are assigned to separate universes.  Then, I weathersealed the remaining 100 or so pixels for the three upper runs.  

We started installing at 5:30 and were finished a few hours later.

The test pattern we ran during installation – and which is shown below – toggles between green with red sparkles, red with green sparkles and blue with white sparkles.

All told there are about 200 point source pixels and 19 ‘classic’ pixels mounted in the garden lanterns.

Click a photo once for medium size, then a second time to see in a larger size.

Will post video clips once I’ve found a 3-CCD camera that has decent dynamic range.

Point Source Pixels – Halfway Installed

Here are some pictures I grabbed halfway through the installation.  

The low parts of the house are done.  The high parts of the house are terrifyingly out of reach.  Will work on those later this week.

There are 100 point source and 19 standard pixels in the garden lanterns installed so far.  That makes 357 channels of DMX-512.

Click a photo one for medium size enlargement, then a second time to see it full size.

Pixel Installations in the Field

Here’s a small (but growing) collection of projects which include our DMX pixels.

mrpackethead from New Zealand sends this photo and video clip.  Pictured are 160 of the ‘classic’ RGB Pixels, based on daisy-chaining cat5 network cable.

If you’ve used pixels in a creative or exciting way, we’d love to hear about it.  Send your pictures, links or video clips.

Still Photos – 2005 Project

(Note that the 2005 project still lives (but is no longer maintained) at #mce_temp_url#


This was the first incarnation of the project, back in 2005.  These pictures were mostly taken on the balcony of our condo.

Testing Various Colors on the Bench






Pixels Running Color Patterns via the Jitter Patch





Outside Hanging from the Balcony




Hacking the Garden Lights


Since I had a stack of pixel circuit boards from the factory, I decided to make some Halloween lights for the trick-or-treaters.

Solar powered garden lights are nothing new. Contrary to the marketing copy on the box, they cast their pale yellow or blue glow mere inches across the yard. It was time for a change.

I chose 16 of these lanterns, which complemented the lighting package on the rest of the house. They’re spaced about four feet apart along the sidewalk and driveway in front of the house.

I inserted an RGB lighting engine into each chassis, connected them together with CAT-5 cable, ziptied the cables to the lantern stand, and voila:

YouTube Video Clip:

Warning: My camera isn’t so great. For some reason, the brightness levels have been heavily quantized. In real life, the fades are very smooth and clean. The flickering amber flames, in particular, are very realistic.

RGB DMX Controlled Garden Lanterns