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Controller on pixel lights heating up, is this safe?

Discussion in 'RGB Lights - Intelligent Pixels and 3-Channel RGB' started by Toni, Oct 17, 2018.

  1. Toni

    Toni New Elf

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    Hi Guys,

    Thanks to all for the recommendation of Ray on alibaba.

    I've ordered 5m strands of 18AWG DC12V 12mm WS2811 pixels with custom 20cm spacing (25 pixels in total on the 5m strand) from Ray and tested them running on this controller:


    https://www.aliexpress.com/store/pr...l?spm=2114.12010615.8148356.57.616654ff00TdQw


    Connected with a Jaycar brand Powertec Plus 2.5A 12VDC PSU, input: 100 - 240VAC 50/60Hz



    My questions are:


    1. The controller feels slightly warm after running the lights for 30+minutes - I presume this normal and safe and it's because of the thinner type of wire the controller uses compared to the 18AWG on the pixels?


    2. Is the controller above taking full advantage of the number of modes and colours available on these pixels? If not what would be a more suitable wireless controller under $10 - $20?


    3. Assuming wires are soldered and heat shrinked correctly is my current setup safe all round? OK to wrap around a christmas tree and leave powered on for days/weeks?



    [​IMG]

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    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    Cheers
     
  2. AAH

    AAH I love blinky lights :) Community Project Designer Generous Elf

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    The wires look pretty skinny coming out of the controller.
    Are the wires getting warm or the controller or both?
    It's possible to power the controller from the output side which removes the power handling capability of the controller itself.
    Electronics are "generally" okay to run up to the point where they are too hot to hang onto for an extended period. Personally I don't like to design or run anything above body temperature but sometimes that can't be helped. If the temperature is above body temp but not "hot" then you should be good.
     
  3. OP
    OP
    Toni

    Toni New Elf

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    Only the controller is getting warm. The controller wires and pixel wires are cold.

    The controller certainly feels warmer than body temp but doesn't feel like its going to burn my fingers.
     
  4. OP
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    Toni

    Toni New Elf

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    Any idea what the current ratings of my controller would be?
     
  5. AAH

    AAH I love blinky lights :) Community Project Designer Generous Elf

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    Based on similar type tester devices I would think that it's probably good for maybe 5A or 100 pixels. Any more than that I'd be powering the pixels and the controller from the output side, potentially from the power injection wires that are quite commonly supplied.
     
  6. OP
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    Toni

    Toni New Elf

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    Thanks.

    Ray informs me that these controllers are only really good for testing but it's okay to run one on 100m of WS2811 pixels. Thoughts?
    https://www.aliexpress.com/store/pr...l?spm=2114.12010612.8148356.15.7abb678aDvRKXi

    Can you suggest any premade and preprogrammed controllers where its powered from the outside?

    I'm after cheap and very simple controllers pretty much ready to go right out of the box that will support the following different strands:

    5m - 23 pixels
    10m - 46 pixels
    15m - 69 pixels
    20m - 92 pixels
    50m - 230 pixels
    100m - 460 pixels
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2019
  7. David_AVD

    David_AVD Bite my shiny metal ass! Community Project Designer Generous Elf

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    For the larger counts, just wire it so the power for the pixels is fed directly from the power supply instead of from the controller output.
     
  8. AAH

    AAH I love blinky lights :) Community Project Designer Generous Elf

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    Yeah. Like David says just power them downstream of the pixel tester/controller. I control up to 1000 pixels by connecting to the power injection wires that are at the start and ends of strips and nodes. For those longer runs you'll either need multiple power supplies or HEAVY cable just due to the distance. Alternately I have seen DC-DC buck converters used that get fed 24V power or similar and at the point of power injection it is dropped down to 5V or 12V. By having the higher voltage power source there is a lower current which means the cable in use doesn't have to be as heavy.
     
  9. OP
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    Toni

    Toni New Elf

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    Thanks guys,

    I was hoping not to modify the controller as I need to go through about 100+ of them. Each setup needs to be super simple. Can you recommend a different controller that can be used across all lengths and doesn't require any programming?

    Also I think there's some compliance issues with bypassing the controller and powering the pixels directly??

    Speaking with a supplier on PSU's they have suggested the following based on 22cm spacing, sound about right?

    2.5a 12v Meanwell PSU (For 5m LED strand)
    5a 12v Meanwell PSU (For 10m LED strand)
    6.67a 12v Meanwell PSU (For 15m LED strand)
    8.5a 12v Meanwell PSU (For 20m LED strand)
    11.5a 12v Meanwell PSU (For 50m LED strand)
    21a 12v Meanwell PSU (For 100m LED strand)​
     
  10. AAH

    AAH I love blinky lights :) Community Project Designer Generous Elf

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    You don't need to bypass the controller. On 1 side of the controller you supply power and out the other side there's 3 wires (assuming WS2811). Two of the wires are a direct connection between the power input and power output. Instead of powering at the input to the controller you can power from the start of the 1st string of pixels where there will usually be 2 additional wires for power injection. If you have 2 strings of 50 then you could power the strings and controller from the injection wires at the middle.
    460 pixels will actually need about 25A for full load (460pixels x 0.055A/pixel). I would likely use several 12V 320W Meanwell supplies depending on the relative postions they need to be.
    A drawing of the layout may help advise better on power supplies, power injection etc.
     
  11. OP
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    Toni

    Toni New Elf

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    Ripped apart the controller. Looks like they are already powered from output side though?

    [​IMG]

    I've noticed power injection is required for strands beyond 90ish + pixels. Any more pixels beyond this start to flicker.
     
  12. David_AVD

    David_AVD Bite my shiny metal ass! Community Project Designer Generous Elf

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    The power + and - are indeed connected from the input to the output sides. The PCB traces are not designed to handle a lot of current though.
     
  13. OP
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    Toni

    Toni New Elf

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    PCB traces as in the wires themselves?
     
  14. David_AVD

    David_AVD Bite my shiny metal ass! Community Project Designer Generous Elf

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    Traces = copper tracks on the PCB. They are thin so can't handle a lot of current.
     
  15. OP
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    Toni

    Toni New Elf

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    Thanks guys. I'm no expert here and had a good read over the manual and other online resources etc, so I've come from knowing absolutely nothing to something.

    Can you help me fill in the blanks, add more detail on the table below and attached, and confirm if my calculations are accurate?

    My biggest hurdle at the moment is trying to find a super simple controller without the need to program it. The automatic mode and single colour selection that the pixel testers can do is just fine so I was hoping to stick with these but if that's not possible then please suggest the next best option. Again super simple and cheap.

    I've opted to go for 12v over 5v given 12v requires less power injection points over the longer strands. And I'd rather have some consistency if I'm stock piling a handful of units.

    Each strand is WS2811 12V/0.06A/0.7W 18AWG

    Just to clarify my requirements:

    1. Each strand is to wrap around a Christmas tree with the exception 50m and 100m strands which are for outdoors.
    2. Each strand will need to run completely independent of each other. They won't be operating all at the same location.
    3. I'm looking for the most simple setup (plug and play as much as possible with limited to no soldering etc) I know you guys like to get down to the little detail.
    4. Safety. Controllers need to be housed etc as they will be sitting on a living room floor. Wiring, power requirements etc need to be perfect and Ill be ordering wiring preassembled with the correct connectors where I can. Again it's best if I tinker with as little as possible.
    5. PSU's need to work in AU and internationally in the US/UK/EU etc.

    [​IMG]

    Other questions:

    Is there any preassembed strands/kits that are similar to my requirements that I can source somewhere? This may save a great headache. I presume not, given the custom spacing and the fact pixels are not a common in Christmas tree lights, but worth asking.
     

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    Last edited: Apr 19, 2019 at 6:16 PM

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