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What would happen if I used this controller on these lights?

Discussion in 'RGB Lights - Intelligent Pixels and 3-Channel RGB' started by Greg.Ca, Mar 30, 2013.

  1. Greg.Ca

    Greg.Ca Apprentice Elf

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    Recently I purchased this 12VDC WS2811 controller from Ray Wu and used it to test my 12VDC 2811 50 pixel strips.
    http://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/DC12V-input-WS2811-LED-smart-pixel-controller-for-testing-max-100pixels-controlled/701799_652082488.html

    First of all, for only 3 American dollars, I am TRULY impressed with what this small little controller can do to test my 12VDC pixel strings. I basically power everything with a very small 12VDC power supply that I made from 8 AA batteries. Radio Shack in the USA sells a small plastic battery holder that is designed to hold 8 AA batteries that connect all the batteries in series that have a 12VDC output which is perfect to test one 12VDC strip at a time with this controller. For anybody that uses 12VDC WS2811 strips, this setup is wonderful to quickly test all of your 12VDC WS2811 strips. Since my WS2811 strips (5 meters long) have 50 pixels, this controller is amazingly perfect for testing. In my opinion, it simply is a MUST have!!!

    And now to my problem,

    It seems that Mr Wu also sells a 5VDC version of the same thing. See below:
    http://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/DC5V-input-WS2811-LED-smart-pixel-controller-for-testing-max-100pixels-controlled/701799_652082478.html

    The only issue is that the documentation indicates that the device only controls 100 pixels. My 5 meter long 5VDC strips are 150 pixels. And most of my WS2811 strips are 5VDC.

    Two problems, first of all, how do I get a small battery powered handheld 5VDC power source? I can easily come up with a 6VDC portable battery power source but right now coming up with a 5VDC battery powered source is a bit of a connumdrum. The 12VDC power source that I was using to test my 12VDC pixels is smaller than a pack of cigarettes. Just 8 AA batteries. See below to look at the battery pack: Very easy and inexpensive for both the battery holder and the 8 batteries. It's a no-brainer!!
    http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2062242

    So, How do I come up with a small inexpensive battery powered handheld portable 5VDC power source?

    And second of all, since my 5VDC pixel strings are 150 pixels, what might happen if I use this controller on them?? The documentation indicates that is only handles 100 pixels. Is it a 'load' issue? Would I possibly damage the strip or the controller? My initial thought is to power up the strip 'independent' from the controller with giving BOTH the controller and the strip two separate 'feeds' from the same 5VDC power source.

    Would my 5VDC S2811 strips be damaged if I used a 6VDC power source? Is it worth it to risk damaging a $40.00 strip?

    Anybody else using this 5VDC controller? And how are you powering it with a portable battery source?

    Enjoying the light!! --Greg--
     
  2. AAH

    AAH I love blinky lights :) Community Project Designer

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    Those little controllers are excellent. I have 1 and they are fun to play with with nothing else attached. For the $3 it cost I've debated about whether to pull the heatshrink off and have a poke around inside.
    If you want to test 5V pixels using battery power I'd try using either 3 1.5V Alkaline batteries which will give you 4.5V and should power everything up but produce the "pink" whites that are the reason for power injection used with pixel strings. The other alternative is to use 4 NiCad or NiMH AA's. When fully charged they are typically about 1.325V so the 4 of them will give you 5.3V. Just make sure that if you do go with 4 by rechargeables not to put dry cells in there as the 6V may kill that ripper little $3 controller depending on what is inside there. It is quite unlikely it will do any damage to the pixels.
    As for being able to only control 100 pixels it is probably 2 things that are the limiting factor. The first is the current could be higher than what the board will handle (plus at 100 pixels there will be some serious pinkening waaaay down the far end) and also the amount of data that the little controller pumps out. What I would say will happen is that when you plug in a string of 150 the first 100 will go through the sequence happily but the remaining 50 will just be off. This is because the "reset" pulse as part of the stream will be sent out after the 100 pixels worth of data is sent.
     
  3. OP
    OP
    Greg.Ca

    Greg.Ca Apprentice Elf

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    Is it wise to 'mix' NICD batteries and Alkalinine batteries together to get closer to my 5VDC?

    I have always had bad luck with recharging NICD batteries. Can AA NICD batteries be purchased inexpensively?

    Are the AA NICD and the alkaline AA the exact same size?

    How can AA NICD be inexpensively recharged without overcharging them?

    Is there a cheap inexpensive 'intelligent' charger for NICD AA batteries? --Greg--
     
  4. Bill Ellick

    Bill Ellick Full Time Elf

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    Hi Greg
    I can answer this for you as I have 5 volt strips and also one of the 5 volt controllers that you are looking at using.
    I agree that for $3 these little things can be a gem for testing pixels for use.
    I used mine to test my pixel node strings of 2811's that I picked up and thought that I would give it a shot at testing my reel of 150 pixel strip to see what would happen.
    First off the effects would only run to the first 100 or so of the pixels on the strip (I didn't unwind the whole reel and count to see where the controller dropped off). But also the testing on the strip caused some random effects to display as well. Some pixels at the end of the controllers "reach" would stay on randomly at different colors when the controller was trying to start up a new sequence or some at the end would flash intermittently during the test runs.
    So I would say that the little controller would not work for strips and probably for safety sake should not be used. I did go back and run a test on the strip using my J1Sys P2 and the strip works fine.
    I also found that went using the little controller on my 50 pixel node strings that there would be random flashes in the string while different effects were running.
    While I am not using battery power for my tests, I think that these little controllers are a very reasonable alternative for people to use to test pixel strips and strings up to the 100 pixel limit of the controller.
     
  5. fasteddy

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

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    Ive found just using my P12R in test mode (even the P2 ive used) is an easy enough test and then this enables you to test more than the 100 pixels.
    But for $3 its definetly worth thinking of adding to your list of goodies when you order from Ray.
     
  6. AAH

    AAH I love blinky lights :) Community Project Designer

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    Is it wise to 'mix' NICD batteries and Alkalinine batteries together to get closer to my 5VDC?
    Assuming that there is a micro at the heart of the little tester then 5.5V is the maximum voltage that most of them can be ran off. Mixing cell types is always a bit of a no no particularly as they discharge differently and you can damage cells by over discharging them. The rechargeables will lose the number of cycles in a bi way and dry cells will leak.

    I have always had bad luck with recharging NICD batteries. Can AA NICD batteries be purchased inexpensively?
    I should imagine that they are under 80c each. I buy them in bulk at wholesale prices and have never bothered too much about what they cost. I need them so I just buy them.

    Are the AA NICD and the alkaline AA the exact same size?
    They are both the same size. There are some slight variations in the nipple design of some but essenitally identical.

    How can AA NICD be inexpensively recharged without overcharging them?
    Intelligent charger.

    Is there a cheap inexpensive 'intelligent' charger for NICD AA batteries? --Greg--
    I have a charger that recharges all AAA, AA and C cells including alkaline. It was only about $20 I think from memory and it has successfully recharged dozens of non-rechargeable alkaline batteries. Saves a fortune. It automatically detects NiCad, NiMH and alkaline. I don't use carbon-zinc (heavy duty) batteries as they are just a waste of space.
     

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