Floating ceiling with 5050 LEDs

Showoff

Distinguished Member
I'm after a bit of help and advise for a floating ceiling project I'm planning for my extended lounge (currently under construction).
The plan is to have a dropped ceiling around the outside edge of the room with the centre of the ceiling at a normal height, then I'd like to install some lights using 5050 60/m RGB LEDs in the gap to throw light across the centre of the ceiling. I hope all makes sense?

The room will be about 6600mm x 4800mm in size, though there will be a false chimney at one end that will push the length of lighting required along one of the shorter sides by about a meter I guess.

So... The questions I have which I hope someone is able to help with are:

1. What is better to build the floating ceiling, I've read that some people use MDF and others plasterboard?
2. Assuming MDF what thickness looks best?
3. Roughly what dimensions give the best results, i.e. how low from the original ceiling (which is a standard 2350mm from the floor) should it be and how far into the room from the walls should it go?
4. Should I angle the LEDs from the corner nearest the walls in the gap or just stick them flat in the gap? I guess the depth into the room I go will determine how far into the gap they need to go to not be seen?
5. Other than the required length of lights what else will I need (suggested specific products would be great) to enable the lights to be evenly powered right around the room so number of PSUs, controlled via iPhone/iPad so networked, also controlled via Logitech 1100 so I assume some form of remote to learn the codes off, is there a wall switch that can control all the different colour combinations and lighting patterns, I'm actually thinking of wall mounting an iPad for this, but what else is there, also I like the idea of them flashing to music so some sort of sound sensitive device? Any other cool gadgets I should also consider?
6. Finally any suggested companies I can go to that can help with a wiring diagram and supply the necessary parts? I had planned to contact Visualchillout to discuss all this, so I'm sorry to read about your ill health SupraTTman and I hope you get well soon.

Sorry for all the questions, the last lighting project I did was a simple plug and play IKEA Dioder behind the TV and there is a bit more to this LED business!

Thanks in advance.
 

supraTTman

Banned
I think you'll find it difficullt to get smooth results with MDF. Plasterboard (12.5mm) and skimming will give you a high quality finish as in the dual ceiling attached. Edging strip was used to get a nice crisp finish on the edges. 18mm plywood was used for the vertical modern Miami bar panel but ended up using backing wallpaper to get acceptably smooth results.

A spacing of 100 - 150mm between original ceiling and top of floating ceiling should give acceptable results - any more and it may be difficult to 'hide' the LED strips. I think around 300mm from wall into the centre will look OK as this is a a large room. The greater this is the easier it is to hide the LED strip and the greater the light fill towards the centre of the ceiling.

To get the best ceiling 'fill' (towards the centre), I would mount the LED strip on 10mm triangular wooden batten (paint it first) then position the batten around 30-50mm from the inner edge or until it is just invisible to a 6ft 3" person!

You will need around 22m of LED strip including the chimney 1m. If your original ceiling is white, you won't need 60 LED/m strips as you were proposing - 30 /m strips will be fine - the dual lounge uses 30/m.

For 22m of 30/m strip you will need:

1). A suitable RF or IR LED controller(s) to suit your needs.
2). 22m of 30 LED/m RGB strip.
3). 12V 15A power supply
4). RGB Amplifier, 12A (4A/channel) - only needed if the LED controller output is rated at 4A/ channel or less.
5). 20m 6A 4-core cable to dual-feed the 5m strips for a nice even illumination all the way round.

The power supply and controllers can be hidden in the gap near the wall. A single mains feed (ring main or lighting) is required for the 12V power supply.
 

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Showoff

Distinguished Member
I think I'm almost there now in my decision making.

I've decided to ditch the idea of the sound sensitive controller, at least for now, to simplify things a little and to just go with the Wi-Fi and IR LED controllers.

The issue I'm having now is I can't find a wiring diagram anywhere that shows how to setup 20-23m 60/m 5050 RGB LEDs where more than one controller is being used and I can't believe I'm the first to want or have this?

So... I've come up with the attached diagram myself, but missing the vital links that connects both sets of lights to both controllers, as I'm not sure where best to put them?

The other thing I need some help on, is what amp rating should PSU 1, PSU 2, Amp 1 & Amp 2 be assuming I've got it correct that I will need 2 of each? I've gone with 20A for both PSUs and 12A for both Amps, but could do with some guidance here as well. Although the diagram only shows 20m of LEDs I may need more like 22m or 23m by the time I'm done if that makes any difference?

supraTTman has been great with help and advise so far, are you or anyone else able to help with these 2 points?

Thanks in advance.
 

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NonPayingMember

Previously Liam @ Prog AV
You would need to use a specialist lighting product such as Rako. You would have Rako RDC300 (multiple of as there is 150w limit per unit which roughly speaking is 10m of LED strip) connected to the strip, a PSU per each RDC300, and then a Rako ethernet bridge, and a Rako IR bridge, and a Rako wall switch. It's a lot of hardware to put in place just to control the RGB element of the lighting. You would want to at least then also replace the other lighting circuits in the room with Rako dimmers. You can then easily build up the system to more rooms in the house by adding more keypads and dimmer circuits.

3 x RDC300 @ £190 each
1 x Keypad @ £130-£200 depending on finish and engraving
1 x Ethernet Bridge @ £202
1 x IR Bridge @ £180

+ power supplies and LED strip itself

You will also need to program it all which can get tricky to do a way for the buttons on the keypad to allow you to scroll colours and brightness levels manually as well as to go directly to a fixed colour at a fixed brightness for a preset scene.

As far as I know, there isn't any other way (other than using other lighting companies products at similar or greater expense) that you could integrate IR control, IP control, and on-wall control. The on-wall switches you see are mechanical, so as soon as you are using a mechanical wall switch then you forego being able to IR or IP control it. I don't know if there is a product out there somewhere that wraps all this little lot into a single box just for the purpose of controlling the RGB system only and not also other lighting control circuits

I did find this thing online which is not clear if the remote control element is IR. Not a bad price for something to control via IP and IR just without a wall switch

Iphone/Android Wifi LED RGB Wireless Strip Light controller (Colour scrolling option) - Brightlightz
 

supraTTman

Banned
Or .... save yourself £1200 and just link the two LED controller outputs together using 4-core 3A cable for £2! :devil:

This assumes that both controllers are open-drain N-channel MOSFET topology and that all the controllers and Amp's are powered from the same supply (and of course that all items are common anode topology) - you'll need 28A for 23m of 60/m. These big supplies have (noisy) fans.

If using 2 off 15-20A psu's sounds better (quieter!) then you'll need one more Amp to drive the 2 existing Amps. Power both controllers, the new amp and one of the existing amps from one 20A psu, then power the other existing amp from the 2nd 20A psu. Total cost £2 wire + £15 3rd amp. Bargain eh? :smashin:

Edit - photo added showing Smartphone controller, sound-sensitive controller & 2 million colour controller all driving 1 strip via RGB amp, all powered by single power supply - black lead coming in from top right.
 

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wolfster

Standard Member
Quick Question, I can not make it out from the Photo, how is the WiFi Controller AND the sound-sensitive Controller wired up so they both work? Is it a parallel connection?

I have the WiFi Controller hooked up to a RGB Strip, but having the possibility to Flash the LEDs to some Tunes once in a while would be nice :)
 

Showoff

Distinguished Member
Or .... save yourself £1200 and just link the two LED controller outputs together using 4-core 3A cable for £2! :devil:

This assumes that both controllers are open-drain N-channel MOSFET topology and that all the controllers and Amp's are powered from the same supply (and of course that all items are common anode topology) - you'll need 28A for 23m of 60/m. These big supplies have (noisy) fans.

If using 2 off 15-20A psu's sounds better (quieter!) then you'll need one more Amp to drive the 2 existing Amps. Power both controllers, the new amp and one of the existing amps from one 20A psu, then power the other existing amp from the 2nd 20A psu. Total cost £2 wire + £15 3rd amp. Bargain eh? :smashin:

Edit - photo added showing WiFi controller, sound-sensitive controller & 2 million colour controller all driving 1 strip via RGB amp, all powered by single power supply - black lead coming in from top right.

Thanks again for your help.

If I decided to go back to the idea of having 3 controllers then (Wi-Fi, IR & Sound) would the 2 x 20a PSUs still be enough and would I still run all 3 controllers and 2 of the amps from one PSU and the other amp from the other 20a PSU?

If you can confirm, I'll have another go at the wiring diagram which hopfully you can check for me, which may then also help others as well.
 

supraTTman

Banned
Quick Question, I can not make it out from the Photo, how is the WiFi Controller AND the sound-sensitive Controller wired up so they both work? Is it a parallel connection?

I have the WiFi Controller hooked up to a RGB Strip, but having the possibility to Flash the LEDs to some Tunes once in a while would be nice :)
Yes - parallel connection - only do this for open-drain power MOSFETS, otherwise fireworks. :eek:
 

supraTTman

Banned
Thanks again for your help.

If I decided to go back to the idea of having 3 controllers then (Wi-Fi, IR & Sound) would the 2 x 20a PSUs still be enough and would I still run all 3 controllers and 2 of the amps from one PSU and the other amp from the other 20a PSU?

If you can confirm, I'll have another go at the wiring diagram which hopfully you can check for me, which may then also help others as well.
Yes - the LED controllers themselves draw very little current - nearly all the current they draw from the PSU is delivered to the LED's.
 

Showoff

Distinguished Member
Hi supraTTman,

Are you able to check over the attached wiring diagram and confirm if I have this correct?

I've assumed I can run all the controllers off of a single terminal on PSU 1 and 2 of the amps on the other terminal on PSU 1.

PSU 2 is then just using a single terminal to power the one remaining amp.

I've connected all the outputs together from each controller using 4 core 6A cable, would 4 core 3A cable be better, I assume it doesn't actually matter, but you said before to use 3A cable?

I've added a strip of lights to each of the amps outputs, but is this actually required? If they are all connected with the above 6A or 3A cable, can I just have them all hanging off a single output from one of the amps (1, 2 or 3) and dual feed?

Finally have I got all the ampage right on the PSU's and amps to run c. 23m of 60/m 5050 RGB LED's?

Thanks as always.
 

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supraTTman

Banned
Hi supraTTman,

Are you able to check over the attached wiring diagram and confirm if I have this correct?

I've assumed I can run all the controllers off of a single terminal on PSU 1 and 2 of the amps on the other terminal on PSU 1.

PSU 2 is then just using a single terminal to power the one remaining amp.

I've connected all the outputs together from each controller using 4 core 6A cable, would 4 core 3A cable be better, I assume it doesn't actually matter, but you said before to use 3A cable?

I've added a strip of lights to each of the amps outputs, but is this actually required? If they are all connected with the above 6A or 3A cable, can I just have them all hanging off a single output from one of the amps (1, 2 or 3) and dual feed?

Finally have I got all the ampage right on the PSU's and amps to run c. 23m of 60/m 5050 RGB LED's?

Thanks as always.
Sorry - think I've confused you. :confused:
Thought of a better way that doesn't need the extra amp - see fag packet sketch. :laugh:
 

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Showoff

Distinguished Member
Thanks again. :smashin:
OK, so does this look right?
 

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supraTTman

Banned
Thanks again. :smashin:
OK, so does this look right?
Yep.
The PSU's need only be 12A rated.
Although 60/m 5050 LED strips are rated at 14.4W/m =72W/5m = 6A for each 5m strip, in practice they seldom draw more than 4A single feed, 5A dual feed, so each RGB Amp is requiring 10A max. Make sure your psu wiring is up to the job.

Note in this configuration that the LED controllers are doing no work at all - the Amps do it all.
 

Showoff

Distinguished Member
I've updated the diagram to confirm the final design for a 3 controller 20m 5050 60/m RGB LEDs, in case it helps anyone else as well.

Big thanks to supraTTman for helping me to get there. :thumbsup:
 

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Showoff

Distinguished Member
Or .... save yourself £1200 and just link the two LED controller outputs together using 4-core 3A cable for £2! :devil:

This assumes that both controllers are open-drain N-channel MOSFET topology and that all the controllers and Amp's are powered from the same supply (and of course that all items are common anode topology) - you'll need 28A for 23m of 60/m.

Ok, I now have the wiring design sorted, just struggling with this statement now.
I can't find any controllers that are N Channel MOSFET topology (even on visualchillout ;) ) and in the latest design I came up with which I thought was OK, all the controllers and amps are not powered by the same supply?

Am I missing something?

Thanks.
 

supraTTman

Banned
All the controllers I deal with are common anode with open-drain N-channel power MOSFET output topology.

I would imagine that some other common anode controllers also are - I just don't want to be responsible for recommending this parallel controller technique for every controller out there.

Regarding power supplies, it is strongly recommended that all the controllers - and the RGB Amp that they all connect to - are all fed from the same power supply.
 

supraTTman

Banned
I would be interested in finding out if the Rako RLED90 driver uses open-drain MOSFETS. Anybody got one at hand? Or a duff one I can examine? Thanks.
 
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supraTTman

Banned
Just spoke to the very helpful chaps at Rako as I have a customer who wants to use a couple of Rako RLED90's with my RGB Amplifiers & strips.

They confirmed that the output stages are indeed open drain N-channel MOSFET's, albeit only 2.5A/channel - tiny by modern standards.

They also confirmed that the RLED90 does need a minimum load and suggested a 1K pull-up resistor on all 3 RG&B lines to V+. For the customer, the RLED90 will be feeding purely a 6A/channel RGB Amplifier input (so the Amp does all the work) and as these Amp's draw virtually no input current (they 'sniff' the RG&B voltages) these resistors will be necessary - bit of a pain in the butt!

They also confirmed that this controller (driver to some) uses PWM as do most modern controllers - even in the cheapo types - this allows the use of cheap output transistors (MOSFET's). Having said that, decent controllers use decent power MOSFETS - most of the types I deal with are rated at 50 Amps!!
 
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indus

Distinguished Member
I think you'll find it difficullt to get smooth results with MDF. Plasterboard (12.5mm) and skimming will give you a high quality finish as in the dual ceiling attached. Edging strip was used to get a nice crisp finish on the edges. 18mm plywood was used for the vertical modern Miami bar panel but ended up using backing wallpaper to get acceptably smooth results.

A spacing of 100 - 150mm between original ceiling and top of floating ceiling should give acceptable results - any more and it may be difficult to 'hide' the LED strips. I think around 300mm from wall into the centre will look OK as this is a a large room. The greater this is the easier it is to hide the LED strip and the greater the light fill towards the centre of the ceiling.

To get the best ceiling 'fill' (towards the centre), I would mount the LED strip on 10mm triangular wooden batten (paint it first) then position the batten around 30-50mm from the inner edge or until it is just invisible to a 6ft 3" person!

You will need around 22m of LED strip including the chimney 1m. If your original ceiling is white, you won't need 60 LED/m strips as you were proposing - 30 /m strips will be fine - the dual lounge uses 30/m.

For 22m of 30/m strip you will need:

1). A suitable RF or IR LED controller(s) to suit your needs.
2). 22m of 30 LED/m RGB strip.
3). 12V 15A power supply
4). RGB Amplifier, 12A (4A/channel) - only needed if the LED controller output is rated at 4A/ channel or less.
5). 20m 6A 4-core cable to dual-feed the 5m strips for a nice even illumination all the way round.

The power supply and controllers can be hidden in the gap near the wall. A single mains feed (ring main or lighting) is required for the 12V power supply.


Hi STTman

Are those pics of your own home? They look fantastic, sometimes lighting like this can look tacky but yours looks tasteful and cool:smashin:

May I ask a question? On your false ceiling pic, if you look at the gap between the two ceilings with the lights off what do you see?

In other words how have you finished that gap to give a clean aesthetic result?

Many thanks
 

supraTTman

Banned
Hi STTman

Are those pics of your own home? They look fantastic, sometimes lighting like this can look tacky but yours looks tasteful and cool:smashin:

May I ask a question? On your false ceiling pic, if you look at the gap between the two ceilings with the lights off what do you see?

In other words how have you finished that gap to give a clean aesthetic result?

Many thanks
I wish !!!
It's owned by a chap I know quite well.
On the inner circuit (yellow) there's a vertical white 'wall' about 10cm inwards also made from plasterboard & skimmed, so with no lighting, the whole ceiling is white.
 

indus

Distinguished Member
I wish !!!
It's owned by a chap I know quite well.
On the inner circuit (yellow) there's a vertical white 'wall' about 10cm inwards also made from plasterboard & skimmed, so with no lighting, the whole ceiling is white.


Thanks mate.

Obviously he couldn't have attached and skimmed that small vertical 'wall' after he put the main pieces of plasterboard on. So he must have put the vertical wall of plasterboard on first, but what did he attach it to and how?

Thanks again
 

supraTTman

Banned
Thanks mate.

Obviously he couldn't have attached and skimmed that small vertical 'wall' after he put the main pieces of plasterboard on. So he must have put the vertical wall of plasterboard on first, but what did he attach it to and how?

Thanks again
Sorry, I wasn't involved in the intricacies of the construction phase, just the lighting phase. I know he used lots of 50mmx100mm studding.
 

Nipakr

Standard Member
I appreciate the work you've done here guys!!! I just cant see in the diagram how you select which option you are using to control the lighting feature? Any info would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks��
 

supraTTman

Banned
I appreciate the work you've done here guys!!! I just cant see in the diagram how you select which option you are using to control the lighting feature? Any info would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks��
Simple - just switch on the required RGB controller with the associated remote control. To invoke SLT (Schizophrenic Lighting Technology), simply switch on all 3 controllers and let them all do their own thing. :D
 

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