Can you plug lights into a controller already powered on?

daunce

Apprentice elf
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Jun 9, 2010
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78
Location
Ferntree Gully, VIC
I hope everyone's display is up, going up, or at least you have most of the bugs out and going forward.

I try and play it safe when it comes to power. I usually plug strings in, then turn on the power supply. Even when testing.

Question 1.
Is it ok to have power applied to the controller, and plug the lights in, so the lights will come on straight away? It's time consuming to test individual strings powering it off each time, but I'm not sure if plugging in strings with power running could damage the strings.

Question 2.
I have a pixel tester, and on the remote control it has an off button which turns the lights off (PSU still on), but if I then plug in a new string, I notice a pixel or 2 come on briefly. I'm curious why, and is it safe for the strings/strip?

Question 3.
Usually my PSU's are well away from people, but I'd like to run some lights in the house, but the existing PSU's are quite large and not totally protected. Is it possible to run a fully enclosed power supply like a laptop, network switch/modem power supply or even a phone charger? As long it's DC, the voltage is the same, and the Amps rating is higher than what the strings would draw?

I was thinking of running a small amount of pixels attached to a tester.

Cheers.
 

David_AVD

Bite my shiny metal ass!
Community project designer
Generous elf
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Jun 12, 2010
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4,081
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Victoria Point (Brisbane)
As for your Q3, you can certainly use a small plugpack / power supply to run a small number of lights. I have done that many times.
 

buzzdude

Full Time elf
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Oct 7, 2013
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Chrinside Park, Vic
Q1, No don't do it.... I have done this when I first started. It will blow the first pixel chip and you will spend your day cutting and replacing them. Took me three goes to realise... I never do it now.. :)
 

AAH

I love blinky lights :)
Community project designer
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Dec 27, 2010
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Eaglehawk
I swap pixels in and out while testing all the time. I've done it with 5V nodes and 12V modules and out of the few thousand times I've done it I've never had an output fail or a pixel fail. 12V nodes I have never tried.
 

tooms

Full Time elf
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Jan 2, 2015
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Kalgoorlie
I accidentally done it last week with about 10 props, I thought / assumed the power was off to a controller and started plugging stuff in, went to go turn it on at the power switch to realise it was already on! .. my boards are inside enclosures so I didnt see any lights as was just connecting props to pigtails, didnt seem to hurt anything, all 12V stuff.
 

ezellner

Apprentice elf
Joined
Feb 12, 2017
Messages
72
Location
West Bloomfield, Michigan, USA
Re: Q2 - when plugging in or unplugging pixels with power on, an interruption in the data while still partially powered can cause a pixel or two to come on momentarily. They go out as soon as fully power and data are achieved. There should be no damage as a result.
 
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