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Anybody ever ask Ray to use heavier gauge wire?

Discussion in 'RGB Lights - Intelligent Pixels and 3-Channel RGB' started by nutz4lights, Jan 22, 2015.

  1. nutz4lights

    nutz4lights Full Time Elf

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    Honest question right? If voltage drop in the 5V compared to a 12V pixel string is due to the 20AWG wire, why not just ask for 18AWG wire to be used? I could see there being a challenge with soldering the larger wire down to the pad on the circuit board, but...

    I already emailed Ray, but does anybody have any thoughts on the matter?

    I went to an online calculator and punched in 20AWG wire, DC, 5V, 1.4A string current (what I have measured on my 50 count bullet style ws2811 strings running with white light) with a string length of around 9 meters... The calculator suggests that the voltage drop should be 0.8V so from 5.0V to 4.2V.... which would be great, but I'm seeing closer to 1.8V drop to 3.2V at pixel 50...

    If I fiddle with the wire gauge setting in the calculator, I see that the the voltage drop I'm getting would make more sense for a 23AWG wire... and I believe I have ready around here that someone had counted strands and measured diameters to find that the 20AWG was not really 20AWG...

    So, let's just say that the 20AWG used in the wire is really 23AWG... and we get a 1.8V drop... which requires power injection every 50 pixels for 5V applications... why not just bump up the gauge wire... I'm showing that a 16AWG wire should allow for 100 pixels of 5V with acceptable voltage drop (to 3.4V at pixel 100).

    Thoughts?

    -Louie
     
  2. AAH

    AAH I love blinky lights :) Community Project Designer

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    The Chinese understanding of specifications might be the problem.
    CE for most of the world is a quality standard that stands for Conformité Européenne . With budget priced stuff that comes from China I'm sure it just stands for Chinese Export.

    AWG is generally assumed to stand for American Wire Gauge. The Chinese equivalent is Any Wire Gauge

    :) :) :) :)
     
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    nutz4lights

    nutz4lights Full Time Elf

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    I understand all of that, but he sells 20AWG and 18AWG hook-up wire (should I say "20AWG" and "18AWG" ??) in his store... and appears to use "20AWG" in the light strings... even shifting to 18AWG.... sorry "18AWG" would be an improvement... and the cost difference between those two gauges seems minimal.

    -Louie
     
  4. gnarmstr

    gnarmstr Full Time Elf

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    Yes at least with Rays stuff the 18awg is bigger then the 20awg. They may not be equal to the CE AWG but at least the lower number is a thicker wire.

    Ray can have anything made so if there is something on the site that is 20 AWG then I'm sure he can make it 18awg.
     
  5. fasteddy

    fasteddy I have C.L.A.P Global Moderator Generous Elf

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    I think one of the issue may be that these are primarily designed around sign lighting which don't suffer from voltage drop issues due to the local nature of power supplies. The other thing that may be an issue is the moulding and the PCB and if they can adequately accept and use a thicker gauge, if they cant then this requires new moulds and investment for new tooling which may make this idea unfeasible in the eyes of the manufacturer. But no harm in trying to see if Ray would give it a go
     
  6. scamper

    scamper Senior Elf

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    The other factor that you need to consider is the drop across the pcb and components themselves, As you say the voltage drop is larger than it calculates it should be, I would hazard a guess that that is from the board and not the wire.
     
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    nutz4lights

    nutz4lights Full Time Elf

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    That could be confirmed with a non sealed string, which Ray and others on eBay do sell... off to ebay I go... good suggestion. I work in circuit board design and fabrication, so I may have to tear one of these down to look at copper weights, layer count, trace width, via size, etc...

    Louie
     

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