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Whats the best bang for your $ with RGB lights

Discussion in 'RGB Lights - Intelligent Pixels and 3-Channel RGB' started by fasteddy, Oct 25, 2011.

  1. fasteddy

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

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    I thought i would do some comparisons on what is the best bang for your dollar when using RGB lights. So im comparing a $ per LED on digital strips, strings and modules
    Ive chosen the 6803 IC as it is the best value but has the least dimming steps of the different pixel chips out there. The comparison would be similar with other IC chips

    6803 strip
    150 LEDs, 50 pixel sections
    Price $67.37 for a 5 metre strip/50 pixels/150LEDs

    cost per LED = 0.45 per LED

    6803 modules
    60 LEDs, 20 module/pixels
    Price $19.47 for 20 modules/pixels/60LEDs

    Cost per LED = 0.33 per LED


    6803 pixels
    50 LEDs, 50 pixels
    Price $ 28.95 for 50 pixels/50 LEDs

    Cost per LED =0.58 per LED

    note: the definition of a pixel is a 3 channel RGB controllable section


    So as you can see there is a bit of price difference between the 3 standard form factors used for RGB lighting, The modules work out to be the best value, the strip is in the middle and the pixel string the most expensive per LED.
     
  2. dmoore

    dmoore Senior Elf

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    I'm with you FE - modules are often easier to mount than nodes (can you drill a perfect 12.5mm hole I ask?), you can position modules in different ways without cutting and splicing like with strip. Modules are the Rodney Dangerfield of RGB pixels. :)
     
  3. OP
    OP
    fasteddy

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

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    the other great advantage with modules and strip is that they dont require any addittional work to ensure they are waterproof, pretty much just put them up and they will work in the wet

    But looking at the prices you could effectivly nearly double the amount of LEDs for the same money just by using modules over pixel strings
     
  4. TimW

    TimW Full Time Elf

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    But cost per led is a fairly arbitrary basis...

    How about cost per meter?

    Or cost per channel/pixel?

    (you'll get different answers...)

    So Bang for your buck and 'value' depends on what you're shooting at... and isn't it logical when both strip and modules have less controller chips per led that they will be cheaper per led?

    (Conclusion: Best to have some of everything, I reckon!)
     
  5. OP
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    fasteddy

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

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    The reason i chose to do a cost per LED is because traditionally people would talk about how many lights they have so I thought this would make a good comparison and the more LEDs the brighter a display becomes

    Cost per meter isnt a good comparison because strings or modules could have varying lengths of cable inbetween pixels and then all your doing is measuring space in between.

    There are other comparisons that can be done, but in the end for many its not the cost per LED thats important but what will work best as modules may not work best in all situations. But if you have a tight budget then cost per LED is an important figure to consider.

    But I agree with you and its best to have some of everything and make your own decision. I use all 3 types but i use less pixel strings than anything else. Every one will have their own opinion on what may be the best choice for them, but if your just looking for the most light per $ then this is a good simple comparison.
     
  6. TimW

    TimW Full Time Elf

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    Yeah, but it may not be the most important figure to consider in every case...

    For example, if someone is on a tight budget, should they buy a string of 50 pixel pixels or 50 module pixels or 5m of pixel strip? I know which option is (significantly) cheaper per 50 rgb channels.... its not the modules or the strip!

    Yes. Totally agree.

    Thats the difference I'm pointing out - One measure of bang per buck is number of leds. Another is number of addressable channels... Take your pick... but there's more than one way to think about it.... and your choice will vary accordingly.
     
  7. OP
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    fasteddy

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

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    I agree with you Tim that just RGB light alone may not be the most important factor in every case, but I would like to point to the title as it speaks about RGB lights and not pixels, it was not the intention to talk about controllable pixels. So in saying that i will now also do a comparison of using non pixel based RGB lights which will save people even more money. I use a combination of both pixel based and non pixel based RGB lighting so i can get as much RGB light as possible within a budget. There is no use in using pixel based lighting in areas that dont need it.

    Every display and every persons opinions will differ so this is just a general comparison of the cost per LED with the 3 main RGB lighting form factors


    3 channel RGB strip
    12vdc 150 LEDs/5metres
    Price: $32.63

    Cost per LED = 0.22

    3 channel RGB modules
    12vdc 60 LEDs 20 modules
    Price: $11.89

    Cost per LED = 0.20

    3 channel 12vdc RGB strings
    12vdc 100 LEDs
    Price $40

    Cost per LED = 0.40

    3 channel 5vdc RGB strings
    5vdc 50 LEDs
    Price $37

    Cost per LED = 0.37


    So by this comparison without using pixels the savings are somewhat similar to pixel based lighting. But price is not the only factor to consider, you also need to consider what will work best for you in your display.

    * This comparison does not take into account the cost per channel compared to the cost per channel using pixels. It is purely comparing the 3 main form factors of RGB lighting used within the hobby.
     
  8. uppitt

    uppitt Apprentice Elf

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    slightly off topic, but I'm interested to see examples of how you have used these modules in a light display. I also haven't had a good search yet, do you know past threads or links to some examples I can see ?
     
  9. OP
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    fasteddy

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

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    Last year in my display i used a few different types of RGB lights which i have a PDF on what was used
    http://auschristmaslighting.com/forums/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=634.0;attach=629

    The tree is made up of only 100 pixels (there were another spiral of 100 pixels that wasnt working at the time)

    The top gutter, matrix, and arch are using LOR CCRs, The bottom gutter is using 6803 strip
    The rooflines are using standard 3 channel RGB strip

    The roof tiles i am using the standard 3 channel modules, but im actually using a even cheaper version than the 5050 LEDs shown here

    Heres the video of it all in action

    12 Days of Christmas
     
  10. random

    random New Elf

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    very impressive, Eddy :)
     
  11. uppitt

    uppitt Apprentice Elf

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    I'm still trying to understand the 'lingo' ;) I'm a complete n00b when it comes to all this stuff, and slowly learning what can be done. Thanks for the info, I have alot of learning to do. All this stuff brings back my memories and studies of electronic engineering at Tech, many many many moons ago. A far cry from what I do now for a crust, well I'm just purely software now.
     
  12. OP
    OP
    fasteddy

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

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    We all start somewhere, many of the guys here who are putting on an RGB display for the first time this year started off just as confused as you last year and many of them are now helping others in the chat room when others have issues.
    Its all about sharing the knowledge and passing it on so the community as whole becomes more educated
     
  13. Dave H

    Dave H Apprentice Elf

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    Fast Ed,

    Can you elaborate more on your reference to the " 6803 IC has the best value but has the least dimming steps of the different pixel chips out there".

    Are you referring to "smooth fades" or "drop off" at a specific percentage???

    Also still confused on whether to go 5v or 12v, what are the pros & cons of both

    Thanks,
     
  14. OP
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    fasteddy

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

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    The 6803 chip has 32 dimming steps per colour as opposed the 256 steps for the 2801 chip, this equates to asnoother fade. But for some products there is a price difference, for example the 2801 strip is approx $30 more expensive per strip compared to the 6803. If the price difference is minimal between the 2 then it makes more sense to use the 2801 IC. But the 6803 when used in a dislay seems to perform well and all my strip in my display is 6803 and i dont see any real issues.

    I use 12vdc mainly due to less voltage drop and current issues. The strips and modules are mainly 12vdc. The pixel strings use 5vdc except for the pixel net 180x strings which use 12vdc but these have to drop the voltage to run the LED and as such are a very ineffcient design. So really 12vdc is moe desireable but with strings 5vdc is more desireable but thats not to say your needs may be better off with 12vdc strings instead
     

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