We get asked a lot of questions, and thought it may be helpful to share some answers to the common ones, so here is the Build A Light Show FAQ!
How do I get started? What do I need to buy to make a light show?
There is no real starter kit, as every house, every skillset and every budget will differ. We suggest that you take a look through our resources section, look to join the Facebook group, and look to join the weekly training sessions. This will enable you to understand more about the almost infinite number of options, choices, and design approaches you could take, and help you get a good base understanding of what you need to get your very own show up and running!
What is the difference between normal and regulated pixels? What type should I buy?
Typically 95% of people only need normal resistor pixels. There are some advantages to regulated, but they also come with some pitfalls.
Here is a really helpful article on regulated pixels!!
Written by Ken MacMaster at WiredWatts.com https://buildalightshow.com/content/9-regulated-vs-resistor-pixels
I have just bought a Gilbert Engineering Prop from the store, and I need to know what order to put the pixels in. Where do I get a diagram to know how it should be done?
Here is a short "how to" guide on how to get props into xlights, and get their wiring diagrams
I bought some extension cables with pigtails on and some of the ends are squashed in storage, how to do get them to be usable again?
The plastic which the pigtails is made from has fantastic shape memory properties. If you put the rings in some very hot water (as hot as you can bear to touch, and definitely not boiling), and leave them there for about 20-30 seconds, you will find the rings will regain their shape all on their own!
If you try to use heat guns, hairdryers or other direct heat sources, you will often find that you can warp or melt the ring. Lastly, if you try to use pliers or grips to forcibly reshape the rings, you will more than likely crack or shatter the ring.
What colour does what on the pigtails?
There are 2 variants of the pigtail:
The first type is as follows (using all commonly used terminologies)
The second type is:
Why do I have to pay £8.50 for items that only cost a little amount of money?
This is so hard for us as a small business. We pass the costs from our couriers and packaging suppliers on at cost or more often than not, a loss. We also have to pay for the boxes and packing material. Many of you ask why we cannot use Royal Mail, or My Hermes, and the answers are simple. We have a small team and visiting the post office to post a few select items can take us over an hour on a round trip. The second reason is that the cover and delivery service we get with Fedex and DHL is far superior to Royal Mail or My Hermes. We are ALWAYS reviewing shipping costs, suppliers and methods, we want to be able to offer free shipping, but we are happier to provide more compelling pricing on products than factoring in shipping to each of those items prices, it is likely that the cost of goods would go up. With international shipments, the prices vary wildly, so we have put conservative pricing in the store. Where there is a big difference in what we charge and what we pay, we will always refund the difference to you!.
Why does the store say "Free shipping", and then at the end add a cost?!
This is a very very annoying "feature" of the website software, where it will assume the lowest possible cost (collection in this case), until you request it to be shipped. We are actively working to get this resolved. It is by no means intentional, or intended to mislead, we can only apologise.
Brexit! I live in the EU, will I pay more?
Well, this is a fun one, and we are learning more each day. Every country is handling the situation differently but here is what we know.
All shipments to the EU from us are now treated as exports, so you will no longer pay UK VAT. The pricing you see will be adjusted when you register your shipping address on the site.
The UK has a Free Trade Agreement with the EU, which means you will not pay any duty on imports from us for goods originating in the UK - but you could for goods originating outside the UK. So, our coro products (GE not the remaining Boscoyo) are manufactured in full in the UK, so they would not carry duty risk, but Pixels and Controllers originate from China and the USA respectively so "could" incur duty charges. The application of duty fees has not been consistent, we have seen many many customers receive their deliveries with no duty fees, and that doesn't mean that won't change in the future, as the systems and approach taken from different countries border agencies change and adapt.
What will more than likely happen is though, is that you will pay your country' local VAT cost. This will be charged and paid by the courier on your behalf, and you may need to pay and admin fee to the courier (typically between £8 and £11, but can vary).
Ultimately, some of our customers have seen a net saving, some have seen a small increase. It is hard to say, but we will continue to offer the best pricing and service that we can. We are also investigating opening a branch and fulfillment centre within the EU to help alleviate these issues.
UPDATE: With the new EU changes on VAT, and the introduction of IOSS, we can no longer ship orders under £150 to the EU. Orders over £150 will be shipped, but the buyer/recipient will have to pay any Duty & VAT as per above.
How can I change settings on my pixel tester?
You can read about how to make settings changes here!
How do I wire the seed/pebble lights I have bought, I cannot see any markings and there is no pigtail?!
When you buy our Seed/Pebble lights, they come in a bundle or spool, with no pigtails or seemingly obvious markings.
In the picture below you can see a close up photo of the wires. The middle wire is always data, no matter which way you look at the wire.
The ground/negative wire is plain/unmarked
The positive (5-12v) wire has a very faint red/pink tracer running in a spiral around the jacket - we have drawn some lines on the photos to help you identify them.
The data direction is unmarked, but if you do not succeed by putting data up the data wire in one direction, you will by using the other end!