Hi from Spain

Manuel

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Feb 24, 2021
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11
Hello everyone from Spain.

IMG_20191129_213848.jpg

I usually decorate my house every Christmas. But ornament in "static". And this year I decided to "give movement". Put on lights and let them "dance". And I'm learning a bit, starting, a few months ago, with DMX512. Buy console, decoders, etc.

I have various doubts:
1- The most important. How can I manage to DMX control the led garland lights? The typical Chinese 12V light strip with 3 interlaced led lines. How can I remove the intermittence
(eliminate the tristors), and connect them to a decoder as if it were a led strip? Even create 3 lines, as if they were channels.



2.jpg1.jpg

2- How far can I go with DMX? Can you get a lot of movement of lights, trees and music?

Thanks and greetings to all
 

i13

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Welcome to the forum

I can probably help with this but I need a bit more information in order to figure out what you need. for traditional LED strings, I can suggest hardware if I know:
  • The number of wires between the original blinker unit and the first LED
  • The output voltage of the blinker unit
If this is a low voltage traditional LED string, I would suggest DC control. You can replace the blinker unit with a different power supply and a DMX512 controller. DMX signal supports 512 channels but you'll need multiple controllers to make use of that total. As an estimation, if you use two channels per light set, you can have 256 light sets before you need to add a second DMX universe. DC control with DMX is good for covering large areas. You can have a long wire between a DC controller and the LED lights plus the DMX signal travels a very long way.

Pixel lights are popular here. They allow individual control of the colour and brightness of each LED. If this interests you, you'd need to add E1.31 to your setup because pixels consume too many channels for DMX512 to be practical. The reason that I mention this is that some pixel controllers can output DMX512 signal.

I suggest avoiding the word "strip" when describing LED strings like what you pictured. Strip lighting is different and it is also commonly used in this community.
 

Manuel

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Feb 24, 2021
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11
Thank you very much for your reply.

First. If I don't use "strip" for strings like the photo, how do I designate them? Thanks.

The LED "string" is powered at 220V AC and as it passes through the transformer / controller (as in the photo - mode 8), 5 cables come out: 4 output wires go to the LEDs and another wire for the voltage + to 12 DC. Each output (4) wire (from led) is attached to about 50 LEDs in series. Into controller, each of the 4 wires is connected into the circuit (pcb) where there are Chip, tristors,etc... The cables are intertwined.
I already thought about removing the control circuit (tristors + chip + capacitors + resistors). But there may be a problem. The intensity in the LEDs. By removing the controller I remove the resistors and can melt the LEDs. What you think?

Finally: true, I already thought about using E.31 (when the system gets bigger), but later, when I know a little DMX. Thanks.
 

i13

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I'd refer to those lights as traditional strings.

Am I correct that there are 5 wires between the blinker unit and the LEDs? If so then there would be four channels and a common positive.

Are you sure that this string of lights runs at 12V DC? I would have expected 31V DC or 24V AC.

If you're interested in removing the control circuit, this may be possible. The setup that I would suggest includes replacing the power supply. You can choose a power supply with the voltage required to run the lights without those resistors or you can modify the light set to change the voltage that it requires.
 

Manuel

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Feb 24, 2021
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ok, traditional strings. Thanks.

They are 24 meter ropes with 144 LEDs.
Yes, 5 cables, 4 to the LEDs and the common positive. Correct.
You're right, it's 31V DC.

20211019_184907.jpg

I wanted to "plug" the stings directly to Decoder, 32 channels 24 VDC, powered by a 24 VDC source. Or buy one (o more) 30VDC Decoder and feed it with a 42V source (it is more rare to find it).
But my question is if the intersity will not burn the led (0.06W per led)

Your other option I don't understand. The string LEDs work at 31V, if I change the source and reduce it to 12VDC, the LEDs will look dim.
If not, how to do it?
Thanks
 

i13

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This light set won't work with 12V DC, 24V DC or 42V DC. I'd suggest using a DMX controller and a 31V DC power supply. A DMX controller will output whatever voltage it is powered with. I never precisely trust the 31V label on the plugpack but 31V will be close to the correct voltage. The correct voltage is the voltage at which this LED string draws 193mA.
 

Manuel

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Feb 24, 2021
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Yes, I know that I should use a 31V source (there is no 30V), with a 5-36V decoder, but I don't understand where you got the 193mA (each led?).
One additional question (excuse the "abuse" of your knowledge): why do 5-24V decoders support 3Amp per channel (eg a 24-channel allows 24x3 = 72Amp), but 36V decoders only support 1Amp per channel? ? (at least the ones I have found).
Thanks for everything and best regards
 

i13

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I read the 193mA from the picture of the plugpack but the other information that you gave me helped me approximate it. The fact that each channel has its own wire plus the common positive means that this is likely to be a single polarity string. This means that all LEDs can be turned on at the same time so the plugpack should be rated accordingly. 31V strings usually have their LEDs in series sections of approximately 10 LEDs. There could be parallel sections in series or series sections in parallel but it doesn't matter much for this calculation. I think this string has series sections in parallel because that's usually how 4 channel strings are wired, especially when there's one wire per channel plus the positive. 144 LEDs is not divisible by 10 but it is divisible by 9. I therefore think that this light set has series sections of 9 lights each. Dividing 144 by 9 gives me 16 series sections of LEDs. The fact that 16 is divisible by four channels gives me more confidence that I am on the right track. Each section is usually run at around 10mA. Multiplying 10mA by 16 gives me 160mA as my approximation for the current draw of this light set. 193mA on theplugpack therefore seems like a reasonable value. The plugpack's current value can't be used like this if it is a connectable light set.

If my assumptions are correct, this light set has series sections in parallel and four series sections per channel (16 sections divided by 4 channels) which means that:
  • Most LEDs will have two wires connected to them but a few of them will have three wires.
  • There will be 9 wires in most places along the light set. There will be two places where this reduces to 5 wires. In addition to this, the far end of the string will have 5 wires for a longer distance.
  • There will be 36 LEDs (four sections of 9 LEDs, one for each of the four channels) between each place where there are 5 wires.
I would like to know where you bought this light set. 4 channel 31V traditional LED strings are uncommon but great for sequencing. In addition, I think this is a single polarity LED string which means there are a large number of controllers that support it and it is slightly brighter than reverse-polarity strings.

I'm not sure about the reason behind the current ratings of the controllers. It is probably a limitation of the wiring and/or mosfets. I would assume that it is specific to the controllers that you have found. Could you post some links to where they are sold? Some of the 7-24V controllers might be able to handle slightly higher voltages. One example is the 27 channel controller sold by Ray Wu. It can handle 35V DC: https://auschristmaslighting.com/wiki/HD712
Don't buy this controller without checking that my assumptions are correct. I would also suggest researching your options and deciding which controller is best for you. This one is reliable but it has no fuses and its current capacity is limited unless you modify it slightly.
 

Manuel

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Feb 24, 2021
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Many, many, and many thanks for all your information.
I will need a few days to "assimilate" it (too much data :)), verify the data that you indicate (I will use this weekend) and then I will comment to you.

I don't remember where I bought the lights we talked about. I usually buy from AliExpress or Electronic-star.com (http://electronic-star.com/).

The problem for me to buy Ray Wu is that shipping costs to Spain are very expensive. A decoder costs the same as shipping. As an example, the decoder that you indicate this HD712, your price is € 37 + € 28 for shipping. Shipping too expensive.


In Ali I have bought
- 24V, 24 channel decoder, which is not suitable for traditional led strings, but perfect for my led strings. This decoder supports 3Amp per channel.
- I was looking to buy a 36V decoder for traditional chains and I was thinking of buying this WS-DMX-36CH-HV

But, as I told you, it "has the problem" that it only supports 1Amp per channel. I don't understand why 24V decoders support 3Amp per channel and everything, I saw, from 36V only supports 1Amp per channel.

You tell me that Ray's 7-24V Decoder supports up to 34V DC. How can I know if a 24V decoder supports higher voltage (without burning it)?

By the way, these 36V decoders are usually constant current (does not happen in 24V DC decoders). Which is better, constant current or constant voltage?

Although we are talking about a traditional chain, with a 4-wire output (something weird, and I don't know where I bought it), most of the traditional chains that I have, of 31V, only have 2 output wires: the common + another wire. Two wires output to the LEDs and two cables input to first led, but 3 wires output (one will be common for all the other LEDs). For example this string of lights to outline my house.

However, they work like the other one (as 4 cables). In the chain, they have several sections in series, in parallel, and different flashing modes (8switch). Do you know how he does this?

Excuse my great ignorance. Everything you teach me is of great help to me. Thanks and best regards.
 

i13

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I can't comment much on the WS-DMX-36CH-HV because I don't know anyone who has used it. What I do know is that 1A per channel is plenty for traditional LED strings. That would correspond to approximately 1000 LEDs per channel at 31V. Note that (for example) a two channel string of 2000 lights with two negative wires and one common positive is still okay. The 2000 LEDs are divided across the two channels so it is 1000 LEDs per channel.

I am not sure what you mean about constant current and constant voltage DMX controllers. I have only heard about constant current and constant voltage in the context of power supplies.

The only reason that I know that Ray Wu's 27 channel controller supports up to 35V is because ACL member AAH (owner of www.hansonelectronics.com.au) sold some second hand ones to me at a meetup. He has the technical knowledge to know this. I use them at 31V and they work perfectly.

If the string of LED lights only has two wires between the blinker unit and the first LED, this will be wired very differently compared to the string that we have been discussing. The blinker unit would flash these LED strings by reversing the polarity. When the LEDs are set to steady on, the polarity is quickly reversed back and forth. You can see that they are still flashing if you wave them around quickly. The WS-DMX-36CH-HV is not compatible with these LED strings. It can only switch the negative on and off; it can't reverse the polarity. If you connect one of these LED strings to the WS-DMX-36CH-HV, only every second LED will turn on. The only reverse polarity DMX controllers that I know of which are compatible with these LED strings are from Hanson Electronics:
 

Manuel

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Feb 24, 2021
Messages
11
First of all, sorry for the delay in responding. Blame my work.
As I indicated at the beginning of the conversation, until last year I have illuminated my house with strings of traditional lights (led), with “static” lights (with the turn signals that come in the lights). But this year I was trying to make lighting with music and get the lights to dance (like in the videos in the videos section).
https://auschristmaslighting.com/videos/
I tried, or believed, that I could use the lights that I already had (the traditional chains). But after this conversation with you (it has been a great help, and I want to thank you, again) I have drawn some conclusions.

1- It seems that reusing my old strings of lights will give me a lot of problems: the voltage of those lights, 31V DC, their polarity and etc. … Forces me to use “special” and expensive Decoders.
It is better than leaving those lights in the "drawer" and buying smart LEDs (pixel type). Do not use led strips: they will deteriorate. Use WS2811 IC type or similar.
What other types of lights can I use to create outdoor shows?

2- Forget my light chains and use (buy) 12V DC lights and use the “usual” DMX512 Decoders. Do you have any preference about the Decoders to use?

3 About Decoder. In Decoders it indicates the voltage you can use, generally 5-24VDC. This means that I can't put a 30VDC source on it because it would burn it out, right?
However, you have indicated to me that there are 24VDC Decoders that support 30VDC. How can I test, without "burning", if a Decoder supports more voltage?
On the other hand. In a 5-24VDC Decoder (for example), powered by a 12VDC power source, I can't use 5VDC LEDs because they will burn out, right? The voltage of the LEDs that I can use to connect to a Decoder can never be lower than that of the source, correct?

4- As I want my show to grow year by year, I must forget the DMX Console (use it only for testing) and use a laptop with a software for control. So I will get more universes.
With your experience, what is the most complete software, and what is the simplest to use?
What usb / dmx interface do you recommend?

5- As you already told me at the beginning of the conversation, since I want to make the show grow, and have more universes and more elements, I will have to forget DMX512 and go to E1.31.
Can I continue to use the DMX Decoders that I have if I change to E1.31 ?.
What if I use DMX-SPI? Better than E1.31?

Can I use the same software if I use DMX or E1.31?

Thanks for everything and sorry for disturbing.
 

i13

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I'll try to answer these questions as well as I can but I am not sure whether you want to use traditional LED strings with DMX512 or pixels with E1.31. Could you please clarify this? You mentioned forgetting the lights that you already have (which would be controlled with DMX512) but you continue to mention the DMX512 option and voltages above 12V (uncommon for pixels) throughout your post. There are no viable DMX512 options for controlling pixels but you can have pixels with E1.31 and traditional LED strings with DMX512 at the same time. :)

I suggest posting your planned shopping list here on the forums before buying items. That will clear up any confusion.

Point 1: Strip lighting is okay to use but it needs to be installed in such a way that it does not bend when the wind blows. This is one reason that it can deteriorate. Strip in silicone sheaths tends to be weatherproof but you need to check that there is enough silicone glue at the ends and you shouldn't pinch it too hard with cable ties. This can cause it to leak. I agree that pixel nodes last longer than strip lights.

Point 2: If you're only using pixel lights then I would suggest using E1.31 instead of DMX512. Popular controller options include those sold by:
You might notice that these controllers are more expensive than DMX controllers. These support a large number of pixels.

5V and 12V pixels are common. There are not many 12V traditional LED strings available unless you place a custom order directly with a manufacturer like those listed in this (old and maybe outdated) thread: https://auschristmaslighting.com/threads/8814/
I have a few tips on placing a custom order in this thread: https://auschristmaslighting.com/threads/12719/

Point 3: I don't know how to determine the maximum voltage that a controller can handle. I hope that someone with more knowledge will post a reply in this thread and answer this question. I only know about the 27 channel controller because AAH (with more knowledge) told me and I tried it.

If you power a pixel controller with 12V then it will output 12V to the pixels. That said, it is still possible to run 5V lights from the same controller if you power the 5V lights directly from a separate 5V power supply. This is an example of power injection. For single-polarity traditional lights, you can connect multiple power supplies to the same controller like in example 2 here: https://auschristmaslighting.com/wiki/Controller-Setups-and-Settings
I don't think this is possible with reverse-polarity traditional strings.

Point 4: You won't use a DMX controller for pixels; you'll use E1.31 regardless of whether you're testing or running the display. DMX is usually only used for items like traditional LED strings, dumb RGB (non-pixel RGB without individual control) and smoke machines.

xLights seems to be the most popular software. It is a free download. Note that its scheduler is not supported on Apple computers.

If you're using E1.31 alongside DMX, I would suggest choosing a pixel controller which outputs DMX as well as the WS2811 pixel signal.

Point 5: Yes, it is possible to use DMX and E1.31 at the same time and (usually) with the same software. I do this in my own display. My Falcon controller outputs the WS2811 signal to the pixels and the DMX signal to the DMX controllers.

I do not know what DMX-SPI is.
 

Manuel

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Feb 24, 2021
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Hello
Thank you for your answers.
In the previous comment I should have explained myself wrongly. I wanted to say that I have decided NOT to use traditional string lights. I decided this because I think that adapting them to my Christmas event will cause me many problems. I decided to start from scratch, and buy smart led lights.
Sorry if I kept writing about voltages higher than 12 VDC. It was a mistake. I will only use 5 and 12V DC with smart pixels.

I am watching videos of other colleagues to decide my Christmas show. When I see enough I will post the planned shopping list.

I know Falcon, Hanson, LightORama and others (I know their existence). I know they are more expensive, but it is not necessary to "lose your head" with compatibility, they are simpler. But I prefer to learn (self-taught) and work with DMX512 and / or E1.31. And sometimes have more problems.
However, I have always had a doubt. I read, in many forums and publications, that to control many pixels (1000 or 2000) it is better to use those systems: LOR, Falcon etc ... But, is it possible to control 1000 or 2000 or more pixels only with E1.31? Although it can be more problematic, but they can be controlled, correct? Only with E1.31, it is possible to create a great and wonderful Christmas show, correct?

In point 3 I also explained myself wrong. I wanted to say that if I have a 5-24V DC decoder and I feed it (power supply) with 12V DC, and I plug (to the decoder) some 5V DC pixels, the pixels burn, correct? Obviously, if the power supply is 5VDC, I don't burn those 5VDC pixels, and there is no problem.

SPI is a protocol that allows DMX to control smart pixels.
https://www.barcelonaled.com/buy-le...r-dmx-spi-senal-converter-para-tiras-led.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serial_Peripheral_Interface

Again, thank you very much
 

i13

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Messages
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If your display is entirely pixels then you will use E1.31 and not DMX512. I have seen a display of ~100,000 pixels using E1.31 and multiple controllers on the same network. The Falcon and Advatek controllers use E1.31 and the BeagleBone based controllers can be set up to use it in bridge mode. BeagleBones can also send out E1.31 signal to other controllers but they need USB audio. I understand that another option is to use an attachment to a Raspberry Pi for a small number of pixels but it is not my area of expertise. The Raspberry Pi can send out E1.31 signal to other controllers too along with audio. You will need a controller of some description in order to run pixels.

Pixel controllers are different to controllers which control traditional LED strings. Each pixel is powered continuously and the pixel controller sends data to the pixels so that they know when to turn themselves on and off. If you power a typical pixel controller with a 12V power supply, this will allow you to power 12V pixels through the controller. Once you exceed the limit of the number of pixels that can be powered at one end (around 100 pixels if they are 12V), you will need to connect the string of pixels directly to a power supply so that voltage drop doesn't cause a problem. If you power a pixel controller with 12V, you can't power 5V pixels directly through the controller. You can still use the same 12V controller to supply data to 5V pixels but you'll need to connect the 5V pixels directly to their own power supply. Here's a diagram with pixel strips but it would be the same with nodes: https://auschristmaslighting.com/attachments/powering-example-png.16394/
In this diagram, the controller and the two power supplies can be different voltages. The pixels get their data from the controller and their power from the power supplies.

I look forward to seeing your shopping list.
 
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