Shopping list

Discussion in 'The Development Lab' started by pmflav, Jul 6, 2016.

  1. pmflav

    pmflav New Elf

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    2nd time poster, 1st time builder.


    I have put together a little shopping list, to get things started. More power supplies, lights will be purchased later.


    DC12V input WS2811 LED smart pixel controller, for testing, max 100pixels controlled x 2 (cheap with 1 spare)
    DC5V input WS2811 LED smart pixel controller, for testing, max 100pixels controlled x2 (cheap with 1 spare)
    100pcs DC12V 12mm WS2811 led smart pixel node,with all black wire(20AWG),IP68 rated x2 (will buy more later)
    Details about DC 10-40V to 5V 10A PCB Board DC-DC Step-down Buck Converter Module (only need 12v power supplies)
    NES-350-12;12V/350W meanwell switch mode led power supply;AC100-240V input;12V/350W output (will buy more later)


    F16v2/w E131 + F16v2 16 port expansion board (the expansion board is for future proofing.Buying a Raspberry Pi 3 as well, have 2 x Pi 2s at home. If there are any issues with the Pi 3 I will swap it out with one of the Pi 2s.The above hardware is to get things started.Any thoughts or oversights on my part?Cheers.
     
  2. OP
    OP
    pmflav

    pmflav New Elf

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    Well omg. I sent an email to Ray for shipping price adjustments, within 5 mins he got back to me.
    Price reduced by 15USD which I am very happy with.
     
  3. i13

    i13 Senior Elf

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    Hi pmflav and welcome to ACL

    I'd suggest very carefully checking the current draw specifications with Ray. There is a problem that specifically affects 12V nodes where they draw around 50mA each when they should only draw around 30mA each. The result is a slight brightness increase but it brings back the disadvantage of 5V which is voltage drop. It also adds the disadvantage of a much higher power consumption and therefore less pixels per power supply. 5V gives you the brightness without the higher power consumption.

    Ray allows you to specify the spacing of your pixel nodes too. Just make it very clear that you're referring to the centre-to-centre spacing and send diagrams. It won't be 100% precise but mine were pretty close.

    Another thing to note is that the "Mean Well" power supplies from Ray are likely to be clones and not the real thing.

    Having said all of this, I highly recommend buying from Ray. I've always been very satisfied with the things I've bought from him.

    I would say to get spare pixels in case you need to replace blown ones or if you need to add null pixels. You say you're going to buy more later but at some stage it is a very good idea to get spares.

    You will need other things which include Cat5 cables, a network switch, a way of getting audio to your viewers and a good soldering station.

    You could get started on your sequencing too as it takes time. xLights and Vixen are popular free sequencer options that would be worth trying out.
     
  4. OP
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    pmflav

    pmflav New Elf

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    Thanks for the great feedback.
    Would you suggest using the ws2812b 5v chips instead of the 12v ws2811? Haven't paced the order with ray yet so it's not too late.
    Being a computer nerd i have all the other stuff, routers, cabling and solder gear. Have already started playing with xlights.
     
  5. i13

    i13 Senior Elf

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    I'm fairly sure the WS2812B is not used in nodes. The lights to choose would depend on the purpose you want them for. If it is a large number of pixels close to a power supply then my opinion is that 5V would be a good choice but there will always be other ACL members who disagree. It is a personal preference thing and I don't mind power injecting to fix voltage drop.

    I don't have any 12V nodes but I have 5V nodes, 5V strips and 12V strips. The reason for this is that I've read about the problem with the 12V nodes and seen the voltage drop photographed. It couldn't hurt to ask Ray whether he can supply a 12V 30mA version (won't be quite as bright but it would have less voltage drop and a lower power consumption than ~50mA). The idea of 12V is to avoid voltage drop but there are compromises (power consumption and/or brightness) in doing so. 12V strips get around the compromise by using the LEDs in groups of three but this lowers their resolution because you can only control them in sections of 3 RGB LEDs. The idea of 5V is to have a bright and fairly efficient pixel for situations where voltage drop isn't a problem.

    My suggestion would be to get a few more opinions by waiting for more replies and/or visiting the chat.
     
  6. Wolfie

    Wolfie Full Time Elf

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    There are advantages and disadvantages to both 12v and 5v.

    5v:
    Pro:
    More efficient since its closer to the native voltage of the LED itself.
    Probably more commonly available.
    Generally accepted to be brighter.

    Con:
    Lower voltage for a given power means more current draw. Higher current draw means more voltage drop across wire lengths which results in more power injection points being required.
    Generally power injection required every 50 nodes approximately. YMMV.
    More susceptible to pinking due to voltage drops.

    12v
    Pro:
    Less current draw for a given power. That results in less loss through wiring. This means fewer injection points and longer runs.
    Generally, power injection of 12v can be placed 100 nodes or more apart.
    Less susceptible to pinking due to voltage drops.

    Cons:
    Less efficient than 5v meaning more overall power required for the same number of nodes. This is due to the 12v having to be dropped to lower voltage to supply the LED. That means power dissipated as heat rather than light.
    Generally accepted as not as bright.
    Less commonly available but not hard to find either.


    That said, I did some side by side comparisons in the basement and I, frankly to my surprise, could not visually tell any difference what so ever in 5v and 12v pixel strand brightness at all. I laid out 4 100px lengths of each voltage and drove them to 100% white. I even piled them up rats next style to see if I could pick them out. But, for me, there was no visual difference at all, and I am picky as heck. This was, of course, a very small sample set and I don't have access to the hundreds of strands that others have had access to over the years.

    The advantage of 12v being fewer injection points required means fewer power runs, fewer connections, easier build, setup and tear down. And thats important over here on this side of the planet where Christmas is COLD and we typically have snow, ice and frozen ground to contend with. I ran a 24 strand 180 degree mega tree last year, all with 5v pixels with the topper requiring 12v due to the modules I used. I had to power inject every leg. Lots of cabling.

    Most led strips are 12v (at least what I have and have seen). Most multi-led modules are 12v. For me, switching the tree to 12v makes a lot of sense and reduces the number of PSUs and different voltages required. My window frames are 12v. My roof line is 12v. The arches I am building are 12v. The coro candles I made last year are 12v.

    Last year's tree is being scrapped this year. I am going with 12v square pixels (instead of bullets). I will be running 60 nodes per leg instead of 50. I can power inject every other strand (reducing the PI points from 24 to 12). The 12v nodes will match the 12v topper. I am switching from a J1Sys P12 to a Falcon F16 so that means I can run 8 legs off one output instead of just 2 legs. I am going from 12 controller cables to just 3. I am going from 24 power points to just 12. Literally half or less the cabling. Less issues. Just as bright. And I am able to add 240 more pixels to the tree to boot.

    For me, 12v makes more sense even with the less efficient power dissipation downside of 12v. I can virtually eliminate 5v from my display. One voltage. No mistakes.

    An option also, if I need 5v for a single prop I can always use a buck converter or even a linear regulator (depends on current load which is better) and take 12v down to 5v just for that prop.


    As for i13's suggestions, yes and yes. You should order several strands extra of every type you order. I found that mixing and matching later turns out poorly. You will rarely get identical matching items later, even from the same vendor. Production runs vary, so does quality. That results in nodes that may have a slight color change from year to year and from vendor to vendor. If you need to splice in a pixel for repairs, you want it to match. Buy extras. Now. Not later.

    Also re the MW PSU being a knockoff. probably. Virtually everything from China is a knockoff and not a legitimate branded item. Almost all of it is a Chinese copy, remember that. Expect failures.

    I know everyone says to go with the Mean Well. If you were buying from a Mean Well supplier rather than from China, ok, maybe so. But to be honest, and I will take a lot of flack for this, I didn't go with MW branded supplies. I went with the cheap chinese PSUs. I can buy 2 PSUs for the price of 1 MW PSU and have change leftover. I can get 3 for just a bit more than 1 MW.
    http://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/12V-350W-switch-mode-power-supply-LED-power-driver-AC90-260V-input-DC12V-350W-output-constant/701799_1948832565.html
    I have had ZERO failures of these cheap supplies. There are a lot of other people that have been around far longer than I and they are happy with them too. Again, I have tested spares sitting in a box in case I do get a failure.
     
  7. i13

    i13 Senior Elf

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    I didn't mean to turn this into a 5V versus 12V thread. It was just a point that's worth checking because it can make a difference to how the pixels behave.

    If the 12V pixels are running at ~50mA each then their brightness will match the 5V pixels. The downside is that this increases the 12V power consumption and voltage drop problems that I mentioned. In my opinion (although I can't be 100% sure as I've not tested them myself) this reduces the benefit of using 12V pixels. In theory you still shouldn't get as much of a voltage drop problem as with 5V because the voltage drop is a smaller percentage of the voltage that you supply. I just don't think that's always worth it with the increased power consumption and the possibility of finding ones that have a lower current draw.

    Those modules and strips are more efficient than nodes even with their 12V input. Each pixel draws the same amount of current and power but they have 3 RGB LEDs each instead of 1.
     
  8. Wolfie

    Wolfie Full Time Elf

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    You didn't. And its not. I simply offered up a brief comparison between the two and reasons I chose for going the route I am so that it might help with his(her) purchase decisions.

    Most 12v pixels I have seen are 50ma or 66ma. I would definitely avoid the 66ma nodes. The OP selected 50ma (or 6mw nodes). These are similar to the ones I chose, only mine being square.

    There are advantages, as I said, to both. Research is needed to decide which may suit your application.

    For me the additional wattage of 12v is a good choice to simplify wiring and prop design. YMMV.
     

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