Absolute beginner needs help....

ROCC

New elf
Joined
Oct 18, 2021
Messages
3
Hi

So my wife decided that we are going to have a talking pumpkin (and other lights) for Halloween this year.... so with a couple of weeks notice, I am trying to source the right kit to get something up and running!


I have a general idea of how things work and fit together, but I am struggling with some basic wiring concepts (since the most i have ever done in the past is wired a plug)! With that in mind, would appreciate if somebody could (in layman's terms) tell me what I need:

- What cable is required to connect my mac (running xLights) to the Falcon f16v4 controller
- Do I need to run power to my controller? I am running a 12v setup, can the controller power all the lights? I assumed I would be running separate power to each set of lights...
- The controller will be 5-10m from the start of most lights, is there specific type of cable that I need to bridge that gap - for a) tape LED's, and b) traditional lights (I think the latter is okay)
- What attachments do I need to adapt the existing LEDs/lights to the Falcon controller - looks like I need some sort of 'male' 4 pin interface, which doesn't appear to be on what I am buying
- for running additional current to lights (if I have some longer than 5m), again what type of cable do I need (I presume some sort of 2 wire cable, can I use the same 4 wire cable and just use 2 of the wires? - I presume this won't work with quick connectors)

BTW, my wife is Aussie and found your site, but we are based in England, so hopefully the naming conventions are the same across the globe!


Thanks in advance for help, any other tips welcome!
 

thewanderingpine

New elf
Generous elf
Joined
Mar 13, 2021
Messages
29
The 101 guide on ACL is great and a really good spot to start.
How many lights are you planning to run? The controller can power the lights — but will depend on how many.
Do you have everything already? Shipping anything at the moment could make this a no-go for halloween.
The Falcon supports a 4 wire output — but almost all pixels and strip is 3 wire. So the ones you have are probably fine — you’ll leave one of those outputs empty.

when you say “traditional lights” — do you mean existing LED lights you’ve bought from a hardware store or something? Because the f16 might not be able to do anything with those. (Again — the 101 manual is a good starting point)
 

ROCC

New elf
Joined
Oct 18, 2021
Messages
3
I have tried the 101 manual, maybe I missed the section on simple connections, so I will have another look....

Purchased the controller today, LED strips last night from Amazon (WS2815)... being in the UK, most things arrive pretty quickly (though, the shop i am buying from doesn't have a phone number which is a bit concerning)

For now, planning to have the talking pumpkin (i think has 3-4 sets of bullet lights) and 4-5 sets of strip LED along the roofline. The strip LED is 4 wire, but I need to extend the start point which is where I am running into issues... I am not sure if i will have these running as two strips from the apex, or 4 separate sections (this will require powering separately I believe)

I found this cable to extend... https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B08D89WPRP/ref=ewc_pr_img_1?smid=A3AI2UHNNZLT0Z&psc=1

I have these to connect two strips together... https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B08MX2XBX4/ref=ewc_pr_img_2?smid=A2PLVAPG1X06RJ&th=1

I'm assuming i need something like this to manually end the extension https://www.amazon.co.uk/Gasea-JST-...9KGQW5W,B07SS6PHPF,B08H81JRSQ,B08XWD4LDD&th=1
 

orchidman33

Apprentice elf
Joined
Jan 14, 2019
Messages
86
Hi ROCC.
The cable that you are looking at is a bit on the light side being 22AWG, 18awg would be the minimum ,this reduces volt drop. The connectors are not suitabile for outdside use, around here we get what we call pig tails on our strings and strip.These have a waterproof plug attached
eg; 1634629634266.png

 

thewanderingpine

New elf
Generous elf
Joined
Mar 13, 2021
Messages
29
So the ws2815 still really has 3 inputs. Positive, negative, Data. The fourth wire is a backup of the data.
This is neat in that if a Pixel dies - the strip still works. (I’m actually wishing I’d installed this on my roofline instead of sk6812)
 

ROCC

New elf
Joined
Oct 18, 2021
Messages
3
Orchidman - thanks for you feedback. I have a set of pigtails as well, that's what I am using on my pumpkin... but I like the effect and minimalistic look of the strip LED's which is why I thought I'd try them.

You mentioned AWG being on the light side - what does this mean, I haven't come across any videos which talk about the type of wiring, I'm assuming something to do with the thickness of the cables used? I did notice that the cable for the strip LED is so thin compared with the pigtails.

Still need a way to extend the start of the LED's to about 5m from where it currently is (all external)... so the strip may be out for that reason! what happens if a connection does get wet? (they are all under cover, so I am wondering if some heatshrink tubing and liquid tape may give enough waterproofing to suffice? (though UK is a lot wetter than Oz...)
 

i13

Dedicated elf
Joined
Jul 5, 2013
Messages
1,128
AWG being on the light side means that the wire is too thin. Higher AWG numbers correspond to thinner wire. Thicker wires result in less voltage drop and they can handle a higher maximum current compared to thinner wires.

The short section of thin wire on the strip itself won't stop you from having a 5 metre lead-in. Voltage drop happens over distance. If there's a short distance of thin wire next to the strip, there is only a short distance for voltage drop to occur within it so it won't cause much voltage drop. If you extend the thin wire with more thin wire then you've provided more distance over which the voltage drop can occur. It would therefore make sense to extend the thin wire using a longer length of thicker wire. You just need to be careful not to exceed the maximum current that the thin wire can handle.
 
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