March 25, 2021

When you look at Christmas lighting pixel controllers, today you see more options than ever before. In this video, David shows us how they are different, and how to choose the right type for YOUR needs!

When it comes to creating a Christmas lighting display you may see controllers of all sorts. It’s all about deciding which one suits your needs the best!

Types Of Controllers

At the end of the day you see all these types of controllers, so how do you go about figuring out what controller is right for you? Ultimately it comes down to a couple things, ease of use and reliability.

What To Consider

When choosing a controller, it’s important to look at the different spaces on the side of your house or business and decide how many ports you need and where. With any display there are multiple ways to split up the space.

Physical Locations

Location and spacing is often the first thing to look at when you’re decided on and sizing a controller. This ultimately will help you decide what controller or multiple controllers will be best for you.

In general when you’re coming off of your controller board and running pixels off of a controller output, from the green terminal block, whether it’s something like a Falcon F4 or F16 or F48 with receiver boards, you want to get your pixels and your lights within 25 feet; power often even closer to the control board.


Now that you’ve figured out where all your different ports are and where you want everything placed, the next important thing to consider is data. Most people run a wired network connection to their controllers because it tends to keep things simple and is a tried and true reliable way to get perfect timing. The other highly used alternative is to have a raspberry pie or a beagle bone running FPP running your show which you would place at your controller.

Difficulties of Wireless

Where wireless options start to become a little tricky is when you’re running a lot of data. This can present issues where timing is concerned because things can potentially get slowed down or lag behind depending on your connection. With smaller setups this isn’t generally an issue but as you expand it can definitely present a problem and is something to consider.

Pros of Wireless

Where wireless starts to become intriguing is with the new Falcon controllers and others like it which can run FPP on each controller. The benefit of this is that all that’s being sent between your different controllers are sync packets where each FPP has the sequence for part of your show on that particular controller. So ultimately all the information sent between the them works more like a running clock where they all stay in flawless sync. This requires significantly less data to have to be sent over your wireless network than if you’re running all of your data at once over your network and makes this a very viable option.


At the end of the day, choosing the right controller for you is not a one size fits all solution. There are tons of current options and the number of choices are only increasing with time. The key things to focus on are the amount of ports you’ll need, whether your ports short range, long range or a combo, and ultimately what makes the most sense to keep your lighting show running as smoothly as possible.

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