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Rgb Strips & Strings Questions - 3 Ch Control

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I want to use RGB strip to outline my house, but I don’t want to controller every pixel...just be able to change the whole strip to any color. I found some good info reading through several post, but I want to confirm a few items before buying...

Which 5m 150 led’s RGB waterproof strip from Ray Wu or ebay will accommodate my needs? Is there a word in the description that tells its only 3 channel strip? Not sure if this is the one...or maybe here? Could I trash the controller and use the power supply? I also found these on ebay.

Can these strips be cut (at the cut points) like rope light and I don’t need to do anything special to the ends?

If they can be cut...say in half, can I reuse the 2nd half and just solder wires or use an adapter to the connecting points and add additional power supply?

What are the typical amps or watts these strips (5m 150 led’s) and which power supply should I use?

I would like to use the small 3-ch dmx controller here but may not be possible due to amps. If not, which simple 3-ch dmx controller could I use?

I also want to use RGB strings for my bushes and trees but don’t want to controller every node. Same as the strip...be able to change to any color. Are these the best for my needs? Do they only come in 5V or is 12V avail?

Can the strings be cut to any length or number of leds? Like if I wanted 300 leds on one string for a tree. 0.3w per led = 90w. I would just need a 90W 5V power supply?

Thanks,

Kevin

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Kevin,

I will take a shot at answering part of this:)

I am looking to do similar things to what you are trying from a strip perspective. I am going to outline windows, roof line, etc and want RGB on the whole strip not on a pixel by pixel basis, however I may try pixel by pixel for some arches that I have in mind:)

Here is what I purchased from ray wu at ALIEXPRESS.com

For strips I am using:

http://www.aliexpress.com/snapshot/100596021.html

They can be cut every 3 inches I think. Wherever you cut them you have solder pads that you can solder wire to and then use silicon to seal. Handy when turning corners on a window, etc.

Make sure to put in the comments that you want common Anode, in other words the (+)positive is a single wire and each color has the (-) negative side of the DC connection. Confirming that you ordering this way will make all of the controllers work properly with the strips since most of them are common anode.

Also, I did not see where you are located, I.E. U.S. or other place, but I am using everything as a 12v DC voltage. There are many reasons, but for these links it is all 12V.

For the controller I am using:

http://www.aliexpress.com/snapshot/100596022.html

These are 3 channel DMX controllers that allow you to DIP Switch change the DMX address. There are many other modules out there in different packages and wattages that do the same thing. Some require a programmer to set DMX address, some are different Form Factors. I chose this one for Dip Switches and form factor.

I am using these power supplies:

http://www.aliexpress.com/snapshot/100596020.html

In combination you can run 1 power supply, 1 controller, and 1 LED strip per 5 Meters with no issues from what I have been able to research so far.

You might also want to go to Holidaycoro.com and look on the bottom left for the video series covering RGB. It is very educational and helpful and Dave does a lot of RGB stuff with his CoroStars, RGB balls, etc.

Have fun and enjoy!

Mike

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Kevin -

As Mike mentioned, some of the underlying issues (can they be cut, how do you splice them, controller types, voltages, pixels or Basic RGB, etc) are addressed in the RGB Video Series (currently 4 videos) here:

http://www.holidaycoro.com/rgb/default.html

The answers on the spacing, power consumption, etc all vary. One time you order you may get one type, on follow-up orders you may get something else different with different characteristics. So, comparing it to someone else who ordered, even from the same link from Ray Wu may not be compeletely valid. Generally there is a limit to the number of LED strip or modules you can power from one end. For the modules, generally speaking, it is 20 modules in series.

Edited by dmoore

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For the controller I am using:

http://www.aliexpress.com/snapshot/100596022.html

These are 3 channel DMX controllers that allow you to DIP Switch change the DMX address. There are many other modules out there in different packages and wattages that do the same thing. Some require a programmer to set DMX address, some are different Form Factors. I chose this one for Dip Switches and form factor.

I've reviewed these 3 channel DMX DIP switch based controller here:

http://forums.auschristmaslighting.com/index.php/topic,742.msg5695.html#msg5695

One issue with this controller is that it isn't 8-bits per color, so it doesn't fade as well as others in the same price range. Here is a thread that talks about this:

http://forums.auschristmaslighting.com/index.php/topic,795.0.html

Here is a video that shows several difference RGB controllers all fading using the same DMX signal:

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Couple more questions...

Can I use this 12V Power Supply with these 5V input RGB strings? If I understood David explanation correctly, you can use a 12V power source, but the pixel themselves will work at 5V per his Video #2 "How do I power my pixels". Is this correct? I also found these strings, but not sure if they are RGB? However they shows being 12V. Both strings I believe to be only 3ch and not individual pixel driven.

Second question, if I use this small 3Ch DMX module, I’m guessing I use a 3 color DC controlled LED and not digital LED with a chip (ex 6803, 2801, ect)? Because the DMX module has a 256-grayscale, will this LED fade at that level?

Thanks, Kevin

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Hi Kevin

I've recently purchased several of the RGB led strips (1st in your selection - no controller) and will run these from a LOR DC board using 350W 12 V power supply such as http://www.aliexpress.com/fm-store/701799/209855560-289599951/350W-Dual-Output-Switching-Power-Supply-88-264VAC-input-12V-350W-output-CE-and-ROHS-approved.html .

The strips arrived with 4 wires connected at each end, so it will be possible to cut these strips into 2 pieces without any need to solder, just seal the cut. The waterproofing consists of a silicone sheath over the entire strip and this is completely filled with silicone or epoxy which stabilizes the circuit board within the sheath and appears to me to make a more robust ribbon than others such as the CCR which have the LED circuit strip loose inside the outer silicone sheath. The only possible disadvantage I see with this waterproofing is the extra cleaning needed to solder wires to sections if you need to make more than 1 cut per strip. Having wires at both ends would allow strips to be joined end to end, however I do not know how many could be joined in this manner. A check on my strips shows the individual colours draw about 0.6 to 0.8A at 12V, thus the total current demand at 12V is about 2-2.4A for a full white strip.

I have now ordered some 60 LED/m strips with the same waterproofing to use as RGB wall washers.

Regarding your second query, NO I would not try running the 5V RGB bulbs from a 12V supply. The typical tolerance on the supply voltage is only 5-10%.

Hope this helps - Geoff

Edited by Geoff Harvey

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Couple more questions...

Can I use this 12V Power Supply with these 5V input RGB strings? If I understood David explanation correctly, you can use a 12V power source, but the pixel themselves will work at 5V per his Video #2 "How do I power my pixels". Is this correct? I also found these strings, but not sure if they are RGB? However they shows being 12V. Both strings I believe to be only 3ch and not individual pixel driven.

Second question, if I use this small 3Ch DMX module, I’m guessing I use a 3 color DC controlled LED and not digital LED with a chip (ex 6803, 2801, ect)? Because the DMX module has a 256-grayscale, will this LED fade at that level?

Thanks, Kevin

Kevin -

No, the 12v power supply (without some additional adjustment of the output) will not work to run 5v strings. Normally when you are refering to 5v strings, you are refering to pixels, not basic RGB devices. I think the confusion is about the power that different LED's and pixel chips run at. Normally, LED's run from ~1-3 volts DC. Now, if you are driving them with 12v DC how do they not burn out? There are currently limiting resistors built into each module/node that drop the voltage the neccessary amount so that the LED's don't burn out. Some nodes/modules run at a 5V DC input power and then drop it from that voltage down a little further - the advantage being that the lower amount you need to drop the voltage, the less waisted power (say, 5v instead of 12v). The disadvantage is a slight drop in distance the power will "go" before it needs ot be re-injected. So, if you purchased the basic nodes you linked to, you would need to purchase a 5v power supply with the neccessary amps to cover you needs.

The 3 channel DMX controller you linked to will control basic RGB LEDs like the modules you also linked to, just fine. Yes, there is not a individual pixel chip in each on of those modules - only in the controller itself. Yes, the DMX controller you referenced will fade at 256 levels, which is the maximum DMX supports (not to complicate things but inside that controller is a 2801, 8-bit/color pixel chip).

I would keep reading, watching and asking questions until you feel comfortable with the way that all these items go together since there isn't an "out of the box" solution for the most part that meets everyone's needs.

Thanks,

David

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David,

Thanks for the response. The whole 12V power supply to 5V LED didn't seem right to me and since I thought it was suggested, I wanted to ask. Thanks for the clarification.

The second led string set link I asked about didn't go in correctly. Do you know if these are basic RGB strings? States its 12V, but not RGB in the description. But the part number has RGB so I guessing here. Just wanted to know if you or others have purchase these. I would perfer to stick with 12V so I can use one type of power supply and DMX modules.

Also, if I have to go with 5V strings, can you recommend a similar waterproof power supply as the 12V I linked? I couldn't find one from Ray Wu. I could only find the larger power supplies that requires an enclosure.

Again...Thanks,

Kevin

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