1. New to Christmas lighting? Get started with the AusChristmasLighting 101 Manual:
    auschristmaslighting.com/wiki/AusChristmasLighting-101

Hi from the central Coast NSW

Discussion in 'New Members Say Hello' started by Santa2, Jul 16, 2016.

  1. Santa2

    Santa2 New Elf

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    Hi guys, Steve from central Coast NSW.
    Totally new to it all & love the site.


    At first I wanted a few led strips to beat with the music – but stumbled across "the johnson family lightshow" & now hooked. Ha.
    I come from a TV production background, so hopefully il pick up the sequencing side of it ok, as for the electronics side….. Dumb pixel comes to mind.


    I want to start with small setup of about 8 strings & a couple of strips around the front rails etc of a (240V) boat ( & I'm sure that will extend to all over it!)
    I jumped in & got a LOR Pixcon16 controller & software - before I found there are so many options out there.


    Have read the 101 manual & that’s been a great help. However I can't get my head around the whole 5v V 12v – Have read heaps & can't find a firm answer.
    I really need someone to tell me 5v or 12v ?


    Set would be Strings would be no longer than the 50 pix
    Strips no longer that 5m
    Distance from card to first pix no more than 1 mtr.


    Any advise would be great


    Thanks
    Steve
     
  2. lithgowlights

    lithgowlights Senior Elf

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    I prefer single pixels at 5V, but modules at 12V. If you light up more than 1 LED per section then the higher voltage makes sense

    Drop into the chat as it's easier to discuss things in there :)
     
  3. firebug

    firebug Senior Elf

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    Welcome to ACL Steve. . . 8)
     
  4. i13

    i13 Senior Elf

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    Welcome to ACL

    You won't find a firm answer to the question of 5V versus 12V because it is a personal preference thing. You can get multiple opinions, learn the reasons behind them and make the decision about what you prefer.

    I agree with what lithgowlights said. 12V single LED control is inefficient and power-hungry so I'd rather use 5V and power it in more places to compensate for the voltage drop that occurs more with 5V than 12V. There may be places in which doing this is impractical so I use 12V strips there. The 12V strips have the RGB LEDs controllable in groups of 3 while the 5V offers individual control like the strings - this makes the 12V strips more efficient that 12V strings. The groups of three LEDs also use up less channels but you sacrifice the resolution. You can get fairly efficient 12V strips with individual control but these are expensive.

    Voltage drop happens over distance and it can also happen in the cables between your power supply and the first pixel. 50 pixels sounds ok in 5V but you might want to power the string in the middle instead of at one end to be extra safe. The 5 metre strips would be ok in either 5V or 12V but you might want to power them at both ends for the same reason. The effect of voltage drop is that the pixels furthest from the power supply shine pink when everything is turned on white at full brightness. Using shorter or thicker cables for power reduces the voltage drop.
     
  5. gerry

    gerry Senior Elf

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    Welcome Steve !

    One thing I may add is that all my strings and strips are 12V , but only because that way I minimized the risk of connecting the wrong PSU to the wrong thingy , plus I cant tell which strings/strips are 5V and which are 12V. So decided to play safe.

    Can I suggest that you look at xLights for your software and there are a number of other controllers that IMHO are more cost effective than the LOR ones.
     
  6. cjd

    cjd New Elf

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    Welcome steve - good to see another coastie on here :)
    Similar to the others here I use 5V for pixels and 12V for strips.
    Most power-efficient and makes it fairly easy to remember which is which :)
     
  7. fasteddy

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

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    Welcome to ACL, Glad you find the place very helpful

    I prefer 12vdc if its done correctly, but lots of the single pixel 12vdc strings are not done correctly and are a waste of energy with not many gains in voltage drop, so generally 5vdc is what most will use for strings.
    Foe strip then I use 12vdc because for most applications like outlines and such then using 3 LEDs per controllable section as it is more than enough resolution for that use than if using 5vdc single LED/section where you then have to contend with voltage drop and thicker gauge cables
     
  8. OP
    OP
    Santa2

    Santa2 New Elf

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    Thanks for the welcome & replies guys.


    Dumb question – so with the "16" controllers, are all the outputs the same voltage ? or can you allocate 5v/12v to each port?


    Thanks
     
  9. cjd

    cjd New Elf

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    That depends on the controller - but most of them split the 16 outputs into two banks which can be powered independently
     
  10. i13

    i13 Senior Elf

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    It doesn't matter. You can even run 5V and 12V pixels end-to-end if you power them directly. The pixels are always powered so you can connect them straight to a power supply. Leave the negative connected between two power supplies but not the positive.

    If your controller has a 12V output and you want to run 5V lights from it, just don't connect the positive input for the lights to the controller. Connect it to a 5V power supply instead.

    I want to add that "done correctly" in this context refers to "designed correctly". It is not a misconfiguration made by the end user of the pixels.
     
  11. bpj1980

    bpj1980 Full Time Elf

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    Hey Steve
    Welcome to the fun that is Christmas Lights... ;)
    Where abouts on the coast are you from? there are a few of us up here now, we are spread out around the coast, Kariong, Narara, North Gosford, Wadalba, Hamlyn Terrace, Bonnells Bay, think there may be a couple more, sorry to the people I forgot, I am northern side, at Hamlyn Terrace but next year should be Wadalba, building a house, the way its been going it will probably be 2020 by the time we are in, lol
    I use 12v LED Pixel Strips for all my display at the moment, but will be doing a few pixel nodes in some display elements this year, I like to operate from one central location, but depending on how you setup your layout you may need to do multiple controller locations,
    Would have been great if you were here a little while ago, could have come down to the mini, oh well plenty of time to learn from the experts,
    Jump into chat, everyone in there is friendly and always willing to help where they can, hope to chat with you in there one night or day.
     

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