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Thread: Burn-in Testing for Pixel Strips

  1. #1
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    Default Burn-in Testing for Pixel Strips

    I've done burn-in testing for my pixels over the past few years with them still rubber-banded together keep things somewhat neat and tidy during the testing progress. They get warm, but I feel that there is plenty of air circulation so they don't get crazy hot.

    This is my first year going into flex strips which come in reels. I imagine that I want them to get hot in order to stress test them in "extreme" situations to make any "weak" components fail on the test bench rather than in my display in December. Is there a concern about them getting too hot if I test them when wrapped on the reels? In addition, the silicone sleeves would trap extra heat too.


    P.S. Bonus question: I also noticed that the strips come in anti-static bags. What's the reason for this? I can understand needing to take anti-static precautions for bare electronic components or completed circuit boards, but if the strips are encased in a silicone sleeve, doesn't it act as an electrical insulator?
    Last edited by Some Guy; 07-11-2018 at 04:12 AM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Burn-in Testing for Pixel Strips

    It's fairly well known that you should never test strips while they are still on the reels for any extended period. In fact, I believe the last batch I received from Ray had that very warning included with the reels.
    Just unreel them and lay them out and run a few test sequences for a day or 2. That is all I had done and I am using the same strips going on 5 years now (house outline was up for 4 years all year long no failures).
    This year, I had my house re-sided and new windows etc so I have to do all over....
    The key thing to keep in mind is how you apply power to the strips, this is where people have issues and create their own problems. Do not plug and un-plug strips while controller is hot, always turn controller off 1st. I know some people will say "but I do that all the time" which is great for them but if you always turn off controller before connecting the lights it makes for less issues IMHO.
    As for the anti-static bags you will find any electrical components you get from china are packaged that way. It would seem to be fairly standard.
    Phil

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    Default Re: Burn-in Testing for Pixel Strips

    Oh BTW, love Chilliwack!
    I did my basic training there for ROTP.
    Beautiful!
    Phil

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    Default Re: Burn-in Testing for Pixel Strips

    The strips have a general problem with heat. The solder connections are less robust (in my testing) than those used on PCBs. As mentioned, heating them in a confined space (on a reel or other small area) may result in a break in the solder joints or overheating the LEDs. I DO burn mine in. But I make sure they are free to radiate heat in all directions by laying them on a cement floor (acts like a heat sink) or suspending them in air.


    2018 - Moving and going to visit my Daughter in New Zealand. Most likely I will be dark or nearly dark, Some static stuff that is simple to put up.

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    Default Re: Burn-in Testing for Pixel Strips

    Quote Originally Posted by DrNeutron View Post
    Oh BTW, love Chilliwack!
    I did my basic training there for ROTP.
    Beautiful!
    My youngest son is currently doing Army training in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Burn-in Testing for Pixel Strips

    Quote Originally Posted by angus40 View Post
    My youngest son is currently doing Army training in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu
    Good stuff! I hope he does well.
    Phil

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Burn-in Testing for Pixel Strips

    Quote Originally Posted by DrNeutron View Post
    Oh BTW, love Chilliwack!
    I did my basic training there for ROTP.
    Beautiful!
    Yes, even with the struggles of growth, I enjoy it here. The CFB has been closed now for over 20 years... it's been redeveloped into Canada Education Park with the local University campus, RCMP Training Centre, a future K-to-8 school, housing, shopping, etc.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Burn-in Testing for Pixel Strips

    Quote Originally Posted by Some Guy View Post
    Yes, even with the struggles of growth, I enjoy it here. The CFB has been closed now for over 20 years... it's been redeveloped into Canada Education Park with the local University campus, RCMP Training Centre, a future K-to-8 school, housing, shopping, etc.
    Oh thanks for making me feel old! LOL
    I was there the summer of '87...
    In regards to your strips, Martin nailed it in regards to the solder joints as this seems to be where there are likely to be any issues so be careful not to twist them or be too rough with the strips.
    Many people here constantly complain about using strips and how difficult they are to repair but I found the batches I used were very reliable and relatively easy to repair using 11mm clear heatshrink. It is important NOT to get the adhesive lined heatshrink though as it makes it too stiff and cloudy. When repairing strips, slide the 11mm heat shrink over and cover it at least an inch or more on either side and just inject some clear silicone in either end and apply heat.
    Saying all of that, I am replacing all my strip this year with bullet nodes. The reason is new siding and my wife does not want it up all year so I am using what I have available and this time it is nodes.
    Phil

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    Default Re: Burn-in Testing for Pixel Strips

    Quote Originally Posted by MartinMueller2003 View Post
    The strips have a general problem with heat. The solder connections are less robust (in my testing) than those used on PCBs. As mentioned, heating them in a confined space (on a reel or other small area) may result in a break in the solder joints or overheating the LEDs. I DO burn mine in. But I make sure they are free to radiate heat in all directions by laying them on a cement floor (acts like a heat sink) or suspending them in air.
    Actually I don't think you could get them hot enough to melt the solder, but it is correct to say don't run them coiled up. Most of the solder issues that I have run across happen because of too much flexing. Figure out what you want to do with them and do it, then leave them alone. Constant flexing will yield problems, and most of those manifest themselves in the solder connections..

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Burn-in Testing for Pixel Strips

    Quote Originally Posted by plasmadrive View Post
    Constant flexing will yield problems, and most of those manifest themselves in the solder connections..
    What would be the definition of "constant flexing"? Would carefully unrolling the strips from the reel at the beginning of the season and re-rolling it up onto reels again at the end? (I have a bunch of empty "old-timey" 10 1/2" diameter 9-track data tape reels)

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