How Pixels Work

How Pixels Work

RGB pixels represent the ultimate level of control in computerized lighting displays. Pixels allow the lighting display designer to have the ability to control each individual light element separately, both brightness and color. You are no longer limited to controlling entire strings of lights, instead you have the ability to set each and every LED on each and every string to the specific color and intensity you choose. This allows literally unlimited creativity in display design.

The typical RGB pixel string is, in appearance, similar in many ways to a standard string of LED lights, but there are several important differences:
Each light actually has 3 separate LEDs inside, red, green, and blue. They are very close together so that by mixing these 3 primary colors, virtually any color in the spectrum can be obtained.
Each LED element is larger, because each pixel conntains a tiny circuit board with a small microcontroller. It’s that ‘chip’ in each pixel that allows each and every pixel to be controlled independently.
Pixel strings are wired with either 3 or 4 wires, depending on the type of control chips used, instead of just 2 wires.
Pixel strings don’t just plug “into the wall”, they have to be connected to a pixel controller.

That’s where the SanDevices products come in, they act as the bridge that allows the display software running on your PC to communicate with your pixels.

Though the technology involved is quite complex, putting together an RGB pixel system need not be. You need 4 basic pieces to make a complete pixel system:

A PC running lighting control software that is compatible with the E1.31 (sometimes called SACN) or Art-Net industry standards.
(see the lighting software tab for more information)

A pixel power supply, perhaps more than one depending on the number of pixels to be controlled and how they are arranged.
These will typically be either 5 or 12 volts DC, but there are 24 volt pixels also.

One or more pixel controllers. The controllers connect to the pixel power supply, your network, and the pixels themselves.

One or more strings of RGB LED pxels.