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Which RGB Pixel strips / controllers?

Discussion in 'RGB Lights - Intelligent Pixels and 3-Channel RGB' started by BradsXmasLights, Sep 11, 2011.

  1. BradsXmasLights

    BradsXmasLights WiFi Interactive

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    Greetings!

    I'd like to "re-roof" the house roof outline with RGB pixel strips this year. I'll probably need 35-40m worth, or 7-8 x 5m lengths.

    My plan is to then cut the strips to attach the strips on to sections of 20mm conduit cut to the approimate lengths for the roof line. These conduits will also be mounted to my tin roof using beefy magnets, with some sort of daisy chain connections where required. Also from security perspective, I plan to run a simple 'tamper loop' circuit as well, so if it's unepectingly disconnected an alarm can be triggered.

    I've yet to puchase any pixel controller, but I'm leaning towards an ECG-PIXAD8.

    So my questions:


    A) What RGB pixels stripes are people currently recommending? (Not too worried about 5/8/12 bit fading. I suppose technically 8bit fading would be nice, but in reality even 5bit 'rainbow style fading' effects will be enough to amaze everyone???) Only real perference is that it's a true pixel, rather than seperate LEDs.

    B) With the ECG-PIXAD8 controller being centrally located, the cable run distance to first pixel issue arrises. How have people gone with this factor? I'm considering building some 'repeater' cables using single RGB pixel LEDs every few meters. Or would I be better off pumping DMX out and using multiple smaller DMX to pixel bridges?
     
  2. fasteddy

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

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    Ill first answer your questions.

    A: The strips that are being used vary from user to user for many different reasons, i personally use the 6803 strip as it is by far the cheapest strip with the most controller support. Yes its 5 bit but im not that fussed, but if you were thinking of doing long slow fades then you may want some 8 bit strip instead.
    I like the new 6803 strip as it comes with the same solid silicone coating as the standard 3 channel strip i already have. This is a far more durable strip than the CCR and other strips that just use a silicone tube, as well the light dispersion is much better. But this is only my personal thoughts and what im using.

    B:This choice really goes down to what you personally prefer, both methods will get the job done. I use a combination of both methods, some have local controllers while others have a distributed form with a few pixels to extend the signal range. So really it goes down to what will best work for you, there is no right or wrong here.

    Now as far as the conduit you are using, i would reccomend using the 25mm conduit over 20mm conduit as it has better structural strength and will be less likely to bend in the heat compared to 20mm. Also 25mm gives a decent enough surface to easily mount your strips to the conduit. Its what i have used.
    The plugs that work well with the strip are these plugs from Ray, they are a 4 core plug, so all you do is make some little plug tails from the strip and then make extension cords using 4 core security cable to go back to your controllers, some of these extension leads could have pixels along it to help extend the data to the strip

    I hope that helps
     
  3. OP
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    BradsXmasLights

    BradsXmasLights WiFi Interactive

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    Thanks fasteddy - much appreiated! 8) I think I will go the central design now since my front yard is fairly small.

    Was that new 6803 strip the thicker stuff you had at the Brisbane Mini?

    I didn't think about using 4 core security cable - was just thinking of CAT5/6. But I got heaps of both. :)

    Speaking of security, I had intially been thinking of running an extra connector pin/loop wire in parallel so I've got a contanst 'security loop'. Then again, if the GND pin was isolated from the power supply when not in use via a relay, it could then double as a tamper alarm loop (assuming I was to connect a return GND wire from the end of the string). Keen to know if anyone else has added monitoring like this.
     
  4. David_AVD

    David_AVD Bite my shiny metal ass!

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    That's an interesting idea. You'd have to be careful about pulling the relay current through the ground conductor in case it interfered with correct pixel operation. (due to voltage drop and the pixel data/clock threshold) There could also be implications of the relay coil current causing damage to the pixel strips if indeed someone did did start to disconnect them.

    I'm sure it could be done with a simple transistor circuit though. A few other parts (resistors, diode and capacitor) would be required. I can possibly help you with a schematic when the time comes. Who knows, we might be able to come up with a simple DIY project for anyone else who would like to do the same.
     
  5. OP
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    BradsXmasLights

    BradsXmasLights WiFi Interactive

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    I was thinking something simple the attached diagram?
     

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  6. David_AVD

    David_AVD Bite my shiny metal ass!

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    Oh, I see what you mean about the relay now. I'd have to see a full diagram of what you propose to tell you if A) it would work and B) whether it could damage anything.
     
  7. OP
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    BradsXmasLights

    BradsXmasLights WiFi Interactive

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    I was thinking that the alarm loop could just going to be a normally-closed/resistance loop, which could then be connected to a normal burglar alarm controller.
    And the relay coil would be powered/activited directly from the LED PSU, so when that PSU is on, it'll pull the relay closed so the lights would work.
    Unfortunately I'd have no alarm whilst the lightshow was running though.
     
  8. fasteddy

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

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    Yes it is the same coating but the strip i showed was just the standard 3 channel RGB strip that was coated with solid silicone.
     
  9. OP
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    BradsXmasLights

    BradsXmasLights WiFi Interactive

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    Excellent.

    Just to clarrify, with the 6803 strip, a single pixel address controls 3 x RGB LEDs (of the all identical colour) right? (rather than 1 x red, 1 x green, 1 x blue leds at varying instensty to 'mix' the desired colour)

    Also do you know what the power consumption spec of that string would be? Or what they would typically be so I can get rough idea of what the power distrubtion requirements will be.
     
  10. fasteddy

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

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    The strip is made of 3 x RGB 5050 LEDs per 100mm cuttable pixel 3 channel section. That means each LED has 3 colours for great colour blending and is controlled in sections of 3 LEDs to give 30 LEDs and 10 controllable sections per metre.
    The strip draws approx 0.2 amps per colour for a total of just over 0.6 amps per metre of strip with all colours on (ie, White)
     

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