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How-To setup RGB Pixel Strips & Technicolor Nodes over distance (length & power)

Discussion in 'RGB Lights - Intelligent Pixels and 3-Channel RGB' started by abhijitz, Dec 1, 2015.

  1. abhijitz

    abhijitz New Elf

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    I will start with my planned setup for this year. (no music sync and basic light control). I did contact Ray Wu, but we got entangled into lengths and distances, so i wanted some clarification. I did read some of the articles @ Wiki


    So, post reading the difference between using 5V and 12V, i have decided to go with the 12V 150LED/strip (30LED/m) pixel strip, which should consume ~ 9A/40W


    My setup is :


    RGB Strip x 2 connected in series <----> 20ft 18AWG Wire with pigtails <---> RGB Strip x 3 connected in series <---> 30ft 18AWG Wire with pigtails <----> RGB strips x 5 connected in series. [These are various roof sections of my home]


    -- Basically, i was looking to connect all of these RGB LED strips in series with the extension cables/wires in between, but i got confused with the distance requirements.


    So, i thought i could place 2 of these, which Ray told me could power upto 40metres (120ft) and put them in 2 sections, like below.


    Power Supply <---> Controller <--> 2ft 18AWG Wire with pigtails <----> RGB Strip x 2 connected in series <----> 20ft 18AWG Wire with pigtails <---> RGB Strip x 3 connected in series <---> Controller <--> Power Supply


    Power Supply <--> Controller <---> 2ft 18AWG Wire with pigtails <----> RGB strips x 5 connected in series. [These are various roof sections of my home]


    http://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/12V-300W-waterproof-switch-mode-Power-Supply-IP67-rated-AC170-240V-AC90-130V-input-DC12V-output/701799_32475103050.html {@75% capacity i should be able to power up atleast 5 strips}


    BUT, then Ray tells me each power supply is good for only 10metres. So, i started doing some research and seems like i would also run into controller issues. [I am not planning to use the advanced controllers this time]




    So, my questions is :


    1. What is the ideal distance that could be supported by each power supply. Should i just focus on getting the smaller power supplies and powering up each individual strip? (seems not ideal & cumbersome).
    2. Controller Restrictions : The basic controller that Ray sells, can ideally control how many strips?
    3. Do the same distance/length be valid for technicolor nodes? With Technicolor nodes, i am planning to wrap each window in a rectangle, each string of 50 nodes can wrap a window & i will have 5 windows. Distance between each window is 3ft in an hexagon shaped design.




    I read a lot about Ray Wu but is there any local store or forum supported in US that anyone can recommend. Ray's shipping charges are almost half the cost of LEDs. He is a little bit more price than other aliexpress stores.
     
  2. jcmarksafb

    jcmarksafb Hello from Christopher Creek Arizona

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    Ray is a great vendor, but he's in china. Not your best source for information. Stop by chat after the rush of getting things going and ask these questions. A lot of good folks to help you. A US supplier that is very helpful is Holiday Coro (holidaycoro.com). Ray's shipping is high but anything from China is. The more you order the better the shipping gets. Another source for info is here http://auschristmaslighting.com/wiki/AusChristmasLighting_101
    Lots of good info here if you are just starting in Christmas lighting.
    Hope this helps
    John
     
  3. i13

    i13 Senior Elf

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    18AWG wire might be too thin and you'll need to watch out for voltage drop. You still can't have such long distances between pixel strips regardless of wire size because the data doesn't make it. You need to use null pixels to overcome this problem - I hope you have a few spare pixels.

    I think you can have two strips end-to-end with that type of strip but haven't actually tried that length. It doesn't depend on the power supply as long as you don't exceed its current capacity/wattage. When calculating this you should not believe the wattage given for the strips on the AliExpress listing because the actual wattage is usually lower even when everything is turned on white. If your power supply/supplies can handle it then there is no limit to the number of strips that you can have end-to-end if you inject power (which you haven't done). Always cut the positive line in the strips half way between each power supply if you use more than one. A common way to get around needing so many supplies is to use a higher but still low voltage (example 24V) and use multiple DC-DC converters.

    Ray said you can power 40 metres of strip with that power supply and he is probably correct. What you can't do is connect the power supply at the start of a strip and then connect 40 metres end-to-end after it without injecting power. 10 metres is probably the limit.

    I can continue to try to help but don't be surprised if you don't get this working in time for this season. You really need to take a step back and give yourself more time to read, learn the background information required and ask plenty of questions.

    Did you contact Ray about shipping before ordering everything? AliExpress will automatically overestimate and overcharge you for shipping.

    Which basic controller are you referring to? Can you post a link? Not all controller types support pixels. Also a link to the exact strip you are referring to would help too. Not all RGB strips are classified as pixels so the content of this post might not apply.

    The answer to your third question is no. You can have 50 nodes around each window but don't run their power end-to-end from one window to the next.
     
  4. OP
    OP
    abhijitz

    abhijitz New Elf

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    This is my 3rd year of lighting & the past 2 years i have used regular LEDs, some motifs & structures. This year i wanted to do some basic sequencing/pattern with RGB's with next year music integration. I looked at the 101, not much info on what i was looking for ..


    Here is the Controller & RGB Strip Link :

    Controller : http://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/LED-2014-X-LED-dream-color-controller-support-W2811-WS2812B-TM1804-INK1003-UCS1903-etc-2048pixels-controlled/701799_1557994239.html
    RGB Strip : http://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/5m-DC12V-WS2811-150LEDs-10pixes-m-led-digital-strip-waterproof-in-silicon-tube-IP66-WHITE-PCB/701799_32510636500.html


    LED RGB Strip 5m strip : Qty 6 - 108$ - Total of 30m
    http://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/5m-DC12V-WS2811-150LEDs-10pixes-m-led-digital-strip-waterproof-in-silicon-tube-IP66-WHITE-PCB/701799_32510636500.html

    LED Technicolor 2015 Nodes : Qty 5 x 50 node - 100$
    http://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/NEW-50nodes-DC12V-WS2811-LED-technicolor-pixel-IP68-with-epoxy-resin-filled-transparent-PC-material-and/701799_32306647583.html

    On shipping, i had prepared a list after my chat with Ray & he sent me an estimate.


    Just read about power injection and setup on holidaycoro.com , seems like i have most of my answers there.
     
  5. i13

    i13 Senior Elf

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    Fortunately those are pixels so I have posted relevant information.

    I have a slight suspicion (although not sure) that those pixel nodes might be susceptible to water damage compared to other shapes.

    Just don't be put off if you don't get it working this year. It took me 6 months to learn enough to use DMX controllers with store bought lights and then prepare it all. It took me 18 months to learn enough to use pixels with computer control. I had a static display for 5 years before that.
     
  6. OP
    OP
    abhijitz

    abhijitz New Elf

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    Well, i just focused on finishing the current lights and shelved the plans for RGB's next year. I might start early doing some purchase to learn the sequencing.


    Now, the 2811 Ray sells is 10 IC/m does that mean on a 30LED/m strip one can control 3 LEDs at a time with a basic controller & inbuilt sequence? ... If thats around 30$ , why are these so expensive.


    https://sirs-e.com/shop/led-lighting/led-strip-lights/rgb-led-strip-magic/5050-smd-rgb-magic-led-strip-waterproof-5m-16-4ft-single-30-m/


    Also, does anyone have a diagram/ideas on power injection.
     
  7. i13

    i13 Senior Elf

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    I agree that is an expensive price for the strip you posted the link to.

    You can control 3 LEDs at a time with the 10 IC per metre strips. The controller you linked to isn't something that's widely used here so it might be hard to get support. That said, the wiring of the pixels and their power requirements should still be the same.
    http://www.aliexpress.com/store/701799/search?SearchText=smart+pixel+controller

    You'll need power injection for the setup you were trying to get working. The power has trouble making those distances. Thicker/shorter wires to the power supplies and lower currents help it get further. Injection from multiple power sources is quite simple once you know how to do it. You need to disconnect the positive line in the pixels between each power source but leave the negative line connected between them. Each power source is powering the lights connected to its positive output.

    Remember you might need null pixels too.
     

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