Question Urgent Help - LED Strip Lighting

chrisw

Well-known Member
So my builder has seemingly taken some steroids and is way ahead of where he said he would be and has had the electrician in this week, with a view to getting all of the plasterboard up in the areas I want to add lighting to within a couple of days. We were out today whilst they were on site and their progress is slightly worrying me!

I want to have all of the RGB LEDs running off a single circuit in the main living area and be controlled by a single remote - i.e. if I change the colour of them, all of them take that colour on. I've bought 6 sets of 5m 5050, which are each individually powered etc, but am now panicking that I don't have the other bits and pieces that I need.

I've attached a diagram of what I'm trying to achieve and am hoping that some one can point me in the direction of what I need to purchase, and what the electrician needs to put in place to get this all working.

Any advice greatly appreciated!
 

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Plasma Dan

Well-known Member
I want to have all of the RGB LEDs running off a single circuit in the main living area and be controlled by a single remote - i.e. if I change the colour of them, all of them take that colour on. I've bought 6 sets of 5m 5050, which are each individually powered etc, but am now panicking that I don't have the other bits and pieces that I need.

Do you have any RGB controllers for the LED lights? Such as a remote kit or similar?

1000380_A_AM.jpg

The 5050 style LED strips use four separate connections; 3 anodes / 1 common cathode. This means that they need to be powered from the same power supply if you want them to work together. Usually in this case you would install one high-power LED driver such as these: LED Strip Light / LED Driver Power Supply Transformer AC 110-260V - DC 12V

This diagram shows how the LED driver and controller are linked:

rgb_1f.jpg


You may need to check if the RGB controller you have can handle the extra wattage to run 5 sets of LEDs at once. I suspect it won't, however you can always test it to find-out, and swap it out if it doesn't work.

Depending on the type of LED strips you have, and the connectors on them, you may need to acquire some long link cables to link them together, such as these: 0.5/1/2.5/5m LED 3528/5050 RGB Strip Wire 4 PIN Extension Cable Connect Lights Alternatively you can use some 4 (or 5) core cable to do this.

Barring in-mind that there will be a voltage drop over such a long cable. To circumvent this (as much as possible), you should feed each cable back to the LED driver / controller to keep them centralised, rather than daisy-chaining the LEDs together.

If you can't find any 4/5 core cable then you could easily use 2 runs of 1.5mm2 T+E, or even one run of 3-core (your electrician should have one / both of these already), since you can use the earth / CPC connection as the common cathode for the LEDs. From there you can attach flex / LED connectors needed to link to the LEDs. You can buy connector cables for LED strips for this purpose here: 4 Pin Male Connector Cable For LED Flexible Strips 3528 5050 SMD RGB Extension Just make-sure it's the same connector you have.

Dan.
 
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chrisw

Well-known Member
Thanks Dan, think I mostly understood it... Yes I have those types of remotes.

So essentially, I need them to be connected on one 'led' circuit, and then 'boosted' by the driver? The sparky seems to have run cabling the same as the lights to each area I've said I wanted the lights - so not sure what he had in mind?

One thing I'm unsure of is the colour changing etc - pretty sure what I've bought is all IR - so what kind of RF or wifi unit can I buy to control this?
Cheers Chris
 

Plasma Dan

Well-known Member
So essentially, I need them to be connected on one 'led' circuit, and then 'boosted' by the driver?

The LEDs should all be linked together, but not daisy-chained. Instead, link them at the driver / controller side in parallel.

The sparky seems to have run cabling the same as the lights to each area I've said I wanted the lights - so not sure what he had in mind?

Your electrician will likely have just installed a cable for power, not knowing that you require more connections because you want to link the LEDs to one driver / power supply (low voltage). This would be fine if you wanted to have separately controlled lights, using multiple remotes (or just move between rooms with one remote), but if you want them controlled by one sensor, you will need more connections.

There is a possibility, that using RF control may solve some of your problems without needing to run extra cables etc. Since the RF controllers will all work on the same frequency, provided they are all in range of the remote, you could just use multiple RF controllers with one remote. I wouldn't want to go down this route, since it will be prone to mishaps, but it's a simple alternative to an otherwise complicated installation. :suicide:

One thing I'm unsure of is the colour changing etc - pretty sure what I've bought is all IR - so what kind of RF or wifi unit can I buy to control this?

Since the controller will not (or at-least probably shouldn't) be installed until the 2nd fix, I wouldn't worry at this stage about what controller to use.

You can buy WiFi RGB LED controllers cheap on eBay: Wireless Wifi Mini WF200 Controller RGB LED Strips For IPhone Tablet IOS Android, however they are limited to 4A output current. That might just be enough for all 5 LED strips. I bought on of these a while ago, although I still haven't tried it out. :censored:

Alternatively, you could go with a more advanced (and more expensive) controller. There is a member on this forum called Hi-Line that sells these controllers (I'm sure he'll reply to this thread later). :rolleyes: He offers some good controllers on his website that would be ideal for your purpose: Wireless 4 Channels RGBW LED Controller, this is an RF controller (remote sold separately), but can be used in conjunction with another module he sells to allow for control via WiFi: WiFi RGBW LED Strip Controller - Hi-Line Lighting Ltd

There are plenty of other alternatives for controllers. Provided all the LEDs are centralised you could pretty-much use any. :smashin:

Dan.
 

Dunk42

Active Member
The LEDs should all be linked together, but not daisy-chained. Instead, link them at the driver / controller side in parallel.

Dan thanks for the info you posted. Hijacking the thread with very related question - just want to make sure I've understood. I've been reading what you wrote and looking at this set of pictures (scroll down to "step 1, 2, 3".

In my case I want to run 4 x 5m strips so from what I understand we need 1 mains transformer connecting to an LED strip controller which then connects in parallel to each of the 4 LED strips - which for the ones on the far side of the room means extension cables running back to the LED strip controller. Hopefully right so far?

My question is how I make that parallel split 4 ways? The link I put above only shows it going off to control 2 LED strips and the controllers you linked didn't seem to have any LED connectors at all. (edit: is it literally just chocolate boxes or similar to take multiple feeds out?)

Confused - can you just offer a bit more guidance? It'll all be getting put in by someone v. experienced with electrics, I just need to make sure I've ordered the right kit first.
 
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Plasma Dan

Well-known Member
so from what I understand we need 1 mains transformer connecting to an LED strip controller which then connects in parallel to each of the 4 LED strips - which for the ones on the far side of the room means extension cables running back to the LED strip controller. Hopefully right so far?

Correct.

5m is the absolute maximum you should run a single strip, unless the strip is powered from both sides in a loop, but that is rarely done since you would still be running the same amount of cable.

My question is how I make that parallel split 4 ways?

You will likely need to buy additional splitters to connect the strips to your controller, see here.

The link I put above only shows it going off to control 2 LED strips and the controllers you linked didn't seem to have any LED connectors at all.

The LED driver linked above is just a transformer to power to LEDs. If you have lots of LED strips and wish to control them from a single controller, a standard power supply will be no-where-near powerful enough to drive all the strips, especially lower voltage strips. Lower voltage means more current, and that means bigger cables, and a bigger power supply.

You will often find these LED drivers have multiple connections on them. This is allow multiple parallel LED strips to be linked to the LED driver if the LEDs take power directly from the driver. Of-course, since you want a controller, the LEDs will be linked to that instead. Unless you're using digital LED strips, which are wired differently. However you will still need the boost in power, it will just be passed through the controller first. That is why you need a controller that can handle the current throughput, and where many people will run into issues when choosing a controller.

Your actual requirements will depend on the LED strips being used. Generally I would advise going with higher voltage LED strips (24V+) if you plan to have multiple. Although you can buy lower voltage drivers with high current throughput, they're just harder find (in the UK).

Most LED strips available today are 12V. Many controllers support both 12V / 24V anyway.

Many controllers (if not most), will have no wires on them at all. You will need to buy cable / adaptors for your LED strips to connect them.

Dan.
 

Dunk42

Active Member
The LED driver linked above is just a transformer to power to LEDs. If you have lots of LED strips and wish to control them from a single controller, a standard power supply will be no-where-near powerful enough to drive all the strips, especially lower voltage strips. Lower voltage means more current, and that means bigger cables, and a bigger power supply.

Dan - thanks for taking the time to write such a detailed reply, it's much appreciated and makes perfect sense.

I'm assuming you don't know a specific controller/LED strip combo that would work for 4 x 5m runs? Also I noticed that lots of home cinema builds have awesome LED strip lighting in the pelmet - I wonder what they've used - hopefully they can stop by and comment. I'm guessing either they're separate lengths, or just single colour strips that don't need the controller.

Edit: The item I linked if you zoom in on the controller shows 12A max. By my reckoning (and this guide) 1 x 5m strip of 150 LED 3528 needs 12W. 4 strips = 48W. Which at 12V is 4A... if I've understood what you've said correctly, that's worth a punt...
 
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tosh1234

Active Member
Hi dunk
Have you all the information you need. I'm not an electrician but i had to work out what I wanted so I could find out the transformer voltage.
If you have 4 lengths of leds you are looking to control individually then I've run 5 core as I have rgb + w from the leds and connected them with terminal blocks. At the driver end I've used the 5 pin connector and terminal blocked that onto the 5 core wire from the leds this then gives you a connection for a length of leds. You can then get a transformer (I think I have 2 x 180 watt transformers) and use t&e with a male socket plug which connects to all the drivers.
This powers 2 sides of my pelmet which are around 18 mtr each side and have 6 led zones in total which can be operatored separately
Hope that helps.
 

ufo550

Distinguished Member
Never done any colour change LED strip with controllers myself. I would advise however, to purchase from a reputable company, not suggesting the one posted isn't, but some LED lamps and strips are imported with a questionable safety & reliability.
Collingwood Lighting - Specialising in LED, Collingwood Lighting offers you an exciting range of innovative products to help you make the right choice every time. are one such reputable company (there are others). They also have a good technical advise department, who could help you with your purchase. They are not cheap, but you get what you pay for.
 

ufo550

Distinguished Member
If you've purchased from Amazon and it looks as if they are CE, they should be okay (the importer is responsible for CE mark). CE marks have been known to have been faked. Looks as if the power unit is fed via a 13amp plug. Make sure it a UK BS 1363 plug top, and has been correctly fused. Not sure how those devices connect to each other, and whether they are compatible?
 

Dunk42

Active Member
If you've purchased from Amazon and it looks as if they are CE, they should be okay (the importer is responsible for CE mark). CE marks have been known to have been faked. Looks as if the power unit is fed via a 13amp plug. Make sure it a UK BS 1363 plug top, and has been correctly fused. Not sure how those devices connect to each other, and whether they are compatible?

They're CE marked. Whether that's real or not, who knows :) I have no intention of leaving the lights on (or even with power) unattended - they'll be off at the mains if I'm not in the room and I'm going to give them a good 'run in' in a safe environment to be sure.

Controller has standard connections on it - I've got a 1:4 splitter cable, I'm going to just take the connector off one end to get at the wires and wire it into the connection block on the controller. Should be ok...

Thanks for the advice & guidance.
 

Steroc

Well-known Member
5050 LEDs are rated at 0.24w per LED (0.08w per colour). If your 5m LED strips have 300 LEDs that works out at a maximum of 72w per 5m strip (24w if using only a single colour at a time). Times that by 4 gives you a maximum power usage of 288w (96w if only using a single colour at a time). Divide the wattage by the voltage to work out the required current. Assuming the strips are 12v with 300 LEDs per strip then you need a transformer a controller that can handle 288w/24a (96w/8a for single colour). The cable to connect also needs to be able to handle 24amps. 288w controllers are widely available including ones the react to music if you want that show off feature.
The best way to wire them up is like a ring main (this will help reduce cable size) and connect to both ends of each strip (this will help reduce volt drop which can dramatically reduce the light output at one end of the strip).
Note: those are the manufacturers stated ratings for each LED. Under testing I have found them to use far less so using a smaller power supply should be feasible but make sure it has some kind of protection against overcurrent. I'm using a10a power supply in my conservatory for 4 5m strips using 4 core 1mm² cable to connecting and they run trouble free.
You can get 5m RGB strips with 150 LEDs which will use half the current of the 300 strips if load is a concern.
 
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beeb44

Active Member
Any site or diagrams to concisely explain wiring led strips in various ways, including addressable leds?
 

Dunk42

Active Member
Assuming the strips are 12v with 300 LEDs per strip then you need a transformer a controller that can handle 288w/24a (96w/8a for single colour). The cable to connect also needs to be able to handle 24amps. 288w controllers are widely available including ones the react to music if you want that show off feature.
The best way to wire them up is like a ring main (this will help reduce cable size) and connect to both ends of each strip (this will help reduce volt drop which can dramatically reduce the light output at one end of the strip).
Note: those are the manufacturers stated ratings for each LED. Under testing I have found them to use far less so using a smaller power supply should be feasible but make sure it has some kind of protection against overcurrent. I'm using a10a power supply in my conservatory for 4 5m strips using 4 core 1mm² cable to connecting and they run trouble free.
You get 5m RGB strips with 150 LEDs which will use half the current of the 300 strips if load is a concern.

Really good info - thanks. I've picked up 150 LEDs partly to keep power draw down and mainly because it's only for "atmosphere" lighting, so lower number of LEDs were fine - so I have a 150W power supply + 12A controller.

Main reason I went for the music controller was because it was one of the only ones I could find that could handle 12A @ 12V, maybe I was looking in the wrong places, I doubt I'll use the music side ever.

So with the connections - connect each strip in series, then connect the final strip back to the controller? That sounds doable... at the mo' I have a 1:4 splitter for the controller end of things, then 2 extension cables to take the power across to the two strips on the "opposite side" of my rectangle of lights. If I can't ensure those cables are rated to 12A I'll just run the cable instead.

Thanks again.
 

Steroc

Well-known Member
So with the connections - connect each strip in series, then connect the final strip back to the controller?
That should work but depends on length of the circuit. I personally would wire in parallel but connect both ends of each strip like this
ImageUploadedByAVForums1450690211.802572.jpg

If it's only a couple of strips then series and connected back to controller should be fine and will save a lot of wiring
 
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Steroc

Well-known Member
Ended up with 2 packs of these lights, this power unit, this controller and various extension cables.

Hoping none of it is dubious - ufo you've got me worried now!
All look ok to me. I have the same controller. Out of 3 different ones I've tried that's the only one with state memory. So made a good choice. All others I've experienced revert to a fast colour changing mode when turn off and back on. That one goes back to its last state. It's the worst for music reactive out of the 3 I've tried but as you've stated you don't want that feature shouldn't be a problem
Looks like a CE mark on the power supply to me but hard to tell from that angle (it's all about the spacing between the letters), doesn't necessarily mean it's genuine though.
ImageUploadedByAVForums1450691773.962763.jpg

ImageUploadedByAVForums1450691914.814939.jpg
 
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Wil S

Active Member
Just thought I'd add my tuppence into this conversation. Instead of using complicated controllers with full output rating for the 5m strips, consider using amplifiers.

There's a link to another post on this forum explaining to someone how to wire it all here:
Floating ceiling with 5050 LEDs

This means you can use any controller and the amplifiers will boost the output. and you can run 10m of strip off an amplifier.

Also as Steroc mentioned above, always double-wire both ends of your strips- the voltage drop on a 5m strip can do funny things to the colours- I've seem them different colours at each end of the same strip. It does mean twice the amount of wire, but well worth it.
 

Steroc

Well-known Member
I have no experience of addressable LEDs, but did briefly look into them. While they use a 3 or 4 wire system they don't operate in the same manner as normal RGB. They have a positive, negative and 1 or 2 data wires. I would imagine based on the principle of how they work that the power wires would be connected as explained previously (in parallel and connected to both ends) but the data wires would need to be daisy chained in series from controller. So not quite as straight forward for a long run.

Edit: found these diagrams that appears to confirm my thoughts
ImageUploadedByAVForums1450969976.327209.jpg

ImageUploadedByAVForums1450970193.275312.jpg
 
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Plasma Dan

Well-known Member
I have no experience of addressable LEDs, but did briefly look into them. While they use a 3 or 4 wire system they don't operate in the same manner as normal RGB. They have a positive, negative and 1 or 2 data wires. I would imagine based on the principle of how they work that the power wires would be connected as explained previously (in parallel and connected to both ends) but the data wires would need to be daisy chained in series from controller.

This is essentially correct, although there are different types of addressable LED strips.

This is an an image taken from Adafruit's website...

leds_dotstar-silkscreen.jpg


The LED strips I'm using for my project (here) use APA-102C chips (the same chips Adafruit use in their DotStar LED strips). They require one DATA IN, one CLK IN, and power (in parallel, with common ground to the controller). These newer LEDs will operate at whatever CLK frequency is input to them, meaning they work with pretty-much any controller, including Raspberry Pi & Arduino. :smashin:

Because the strips are the same as what Adafruit sell, you can use their documentation / tutorials for them. ;) Powering NeoPixels | Adafruit NeoPixel Überguide | Adafruit Learning System


I'm using a custom controller for the LEDs, and a 70A / 350W LED driver (5V).

R-Pi%20Relay%20%20RGB%20Module%20V1%20-%20MOUNTING_zpslxeks9fk.png~original


Ongoing: PlasmaDan's Living Room Cinema / Office Build


The strips can be purchased from China (aliexpress.com).

Dan.
 

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