Which nodes are best


New elf
Jan 26, 2018
Hi everyone, I'm just starting out this year and looking to place my first order with Ray Wu. I am looking to use 12v 12mm nodes and just wondered if there were better brands than other, and what you would suggest to use. Any help would be great.


New elf
Nov 14, 2016
Bondi, NSW
Welcome to the hobby.
There are likely to be many opinions on this but here are mine.
Most of us use WS2811 compatible nodes and they are "generic" so not of any particular "brand" as such. There are several vendors in China represented by the likes or Paul and Ray and other companies such as Scott LED, plus plenty of other vendors on ebay and Aliexpress.
People have differing experiences with the reliability of nodes, but in general they are very reliable, and easy to fix (swap out) should one of two fail over time. When buying nodes the main things to consider are (you pick the order importance):
1. Spacing 3 inch, 4 inch etc. this will be dictated by the space you need in between holes on your props. If in doubt up the spacing.
2. square or bullet nodes - bullets have better waterproofing, square sit flatter but don't fit some props. If in doubt get bullets.
3. cable gauge - 20AWG, 24AWG etc. The larger the number the thinner the wire. Thicker wire does better over long distances. However back-to-back comparison of competing vendors have shown that you cannot trust in the wire they use, it's often way under spec and you can't tell but looking at it.
4. Voltage, 5V or 12V - an entire conversation on it's own...
5. Custom requirements - some vendors will customise lengths and spacing for you and also add waterproof pigtails (connectors) to the ends in the factory - this costs more but can save time and soldering if that's important to you. Measure and count everything twice and ask for a customised quote.
6. Cable colours - helps when connecting - but not a massive deal
7. Unit cost
8. shipping cost - options usually are Courier (eg DHL), regular post, and sea (Listed in decreasing cost and delivery time). I have found that these costs can vary DRAMATICALLY between vendors and I suspect some vendors hide "promotion!" unit prices behind inflated shipping costs - so compare quotes and negotiate.
9. Always order spares!!
So there is no particular link to share with you other that use Aliexpress stores as a starting point and search for "promotion" then email email them direct and ask for the best price.
Hope that helps.