Gum Tree Purchase

averagebloke

New elf
Joined
Jan 21, 2016
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34
Location
melbourne
Hi All I am very new to ACL and on the weekend purchased off gumtree 30 never used unopened boxes of Big W LED's 600 per box (18,000 lights) plus 7 boxes of connectable icicles 100 per box (700). They are all blue lights except for 1 box of pink.
I could not resist buying them as the total purchase price was $110 and being new and never used I thought I had not much to lose if I could not use them.
I intended going straight into RGB's as I had no lights at all. So hoping now to incorporate them somehow into my first display this year together with various RGB'S
I have attached pics of the leads from controller and the lights packaging.
My understanding of reading the 101 is that all I have to do is remove the small multi function controller and connect the lights through a DC controller with DC switch mode power supply. Hope this is correct?

If I am correct I now need to buy a DC Controller and the correct SMPS. Suggestions would be greatly appreciated on these.
 

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AAH

I love blinky lights :)
Community project designer
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Dec 27, 2010
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Eaglehawk
You look to have had a win with the Big W lights. They seem to be the older style 3 wire ones rather than the new 2 wire ones. The 3 wire ones can be hooked up to almost any DC controller. You can either run them as 2 channels with half the leds turning on on each channel or else hook the 2 negatives together and run the entire string as a single channel.
There's lots of DC controllers compared on http://auschristmaslighting.com/wiki/Controllers#Feature_Comparisons . There's a number of my controllers on there as well as ones from China. 1 thing to be especially aware of is that Big W lights typically need 27-31V to run them depending on the colour and brightness. Not all of the Chinese controllers will allow this voltage (without modification).
As far as power supplies you can either go with Meanwell supplies which are great quality with price that goes with it or else you can get cheap ones from Ray Wu. http://www.aliexpress.com/store/701799/search?origin=y&SearchText=350w
The brick style power supplies typically have a +/- 10% adjustment range so a 27V will adjust between about 25 and 30V and the 31V will adjust about 28-34V.
 

EmmienLightFan

One of few displays in the UK
Joined
Mar 22, 2015
Messages
82
Location
UK
I used a WS2801DC15 from AAH to control my store brought lights for 2015, and I will buy another to use for 2016.
They are really food.




Very few controllers can go up to 30 volts.
I used a 30 volt power supply. It was probably a little too much. One string failed just before Christmas, and the resistors were all hot, but I don't know how to turn it down a little.


The 2801DC15 needs to be connected to a pixel controller, or can be connected to a Raspberry Pi directly.
I connected it to a Pi directly.


If you don't know much about pixels yet, one of his DMX boards may be better.
Most pixel controllers have DMX outputs, or you could use a USB DMX dongle to connect it to whatever show player you choose.
 

i13

Senior elf
Joined
Jul 5, 2013
Messages
804
There are plenty of controllers that can handle 30V.

The correct way to determine the voltage for the light sets is by measuring their current draw. To run the Big W strings (can't speak for their icicles) with 10mA through each LED you need to choose a voltage such that the current draw is 100mA per channel for sets of 200 lights and 50mA per channel for the 100 LED extension sets. It is possible to modify the light sets to make them run properly with the same voltage if their current draws don't match.

More info here http://auschristmaslighting.com/wiki/LED_String_DC_Testing
although you can measure current with a multimeter instead of using an expensive power supply with current limiting. Just don't let the current get too high and start at lower voltages. All you really need is the multimeter plus a power supply with some range of voltage adjustment. The power supply's current capacity/wattage doesn't need to be high to power and test one LED string at a time.

It is always a bit of a gamble buying your first power supply and not knowing what voltage you'll need. You could ask if there is anyone else nearby who has one to test with. My personal choice would be the 31V power supply but make sure you get one with some range of adjustment. I believe blue LEDs tend to need slightly higher voltage than some of the other colours although they're the one colour that I've never tested myself.

Also don't make the same mistake that I did in 2015 with the pink set. You can't tell what colour they are when they're turned off so I accidentally swapped two light sets and had to take them down and fix my mistake. One was several metres high in a tree and the other was wrapped around a column under two layers of other lights.
 

logandc99

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Joined
Jul 13, 2012
Messages
1,151
EmmienLightFan said:
I used a WS2801DC15 from AAH to control my store brought lights for 2015, and I will buy another to use for 2016.
They are really food.

Wouldn't you have to fry them first? :D
 

EmmienLightFan

One of few displays in the UK
Joined
Mar 22, 2015
Messages
82
Location
UK
logandc99 said:
EmmienLightFan said:
I used a WS2801DC15 from AAH to control my store brought lights for 2015, and I will buy another to use for 2016.
They are really food.

Wouldn't you have to fry them first? :D
I meant good not food. [emoji14]
 
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