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Thread: hi all! newbie help needed on basic WS2812B setup

  1. #1
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    Default hi all! newbie help needed on basic WS2812B setup

    Hi folks, hope you all can help a newbie out. I know you guys are all doing crazy amazing complex projects, but the project I need help with is about as simple as it gets--a straight line of lights. Stupid, I know, but hey, we all had to start somewhere right?

    Some background first. I live in Edmonton, Canada, where temps can go down to -40 on rare winter nights. I live in a small bungalow, with a 45-foot-long (13.7 metres) straight roofline. I'd like to run a straight line of WS2812B LED tape lighting that I can control to make it do pretty patterns, underneath the roofline. I know you can get cheap preset kits that do some basic chase and fade patterns, but I would specifically like the lights to be able to do twinkling and shimmering effects like this, which I've never seen offered as part of any preset kit, only in libraries such as Adafruit's:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dj3IZVvxC4c

    In addition, I need the setup to be able to offer the following:

    -- easy changes of light patterns whenever I want to (preferably via app or wifi or RF), as I'm thinking I'll want to do that fairly often
    -- ease of access to equipment (in case I need to upgrade or fix things in the future)
    -- simplest possible setup, relatively easy to put everything together (I don't mind tinkering if I have to, and I can do so, but I'm the type of person who'd rather just go to the "here's exactly what you need in one set" store.)
    -- I'm willing to incorporate an Arduino if need be, but I've never used one before and I'm a little leery about the prospect
    -- budget is essentially unlimited (within reason)

    I know about WS2812B lights, and I've done a lot of research about potential ways to do this. I have some ideas, but also some questions.

    My idea is as follows:

    -- Buy 12V WS2812B 5-metre strips (why not 5V? Because I'd rather not go to the bother of injecting power every so often if I can help it.)
    -- Use a computer power supply with sufficient wattage/amperage to power the connected strips somewhere in the middle of the 45-foot run and not have to inject power anywhere else in the run.
    -- Use a controller that allows me to give the lights that twinkling/shimmering effect and control it with app/wifi/RF (I have no idea which controller would allow me to do this).
    -- Put the power supply and controller in the attic (I'd rather keep it somewhere more accessible, as I don't have easy access to the attic, but I don't know where else I could keep the equipment), and run the wiring through a drilled hole to the outside.

    My questions I have are as follows:

    1. Is it even possible to buy 12V WS2812B lights that are individually addressable? From what I've read it seems like 12V may only be available as lights that are addressable in groups of 3, but I'm not certain.
    2. What controller hardware/software should I use to keep things as simple as possible but still meet my criteria listed above?
    3. Are there any pre-built kits I could buy that could accomplish twinkling/shimmering patterns without me having to custom build everything?
    4. If I have to go with 5V lights, I'm aware of the voltage drop issue. If I were to get a huge power supply for one end of the 5V lights (such as something like 40A), would I be able to just plug into one end of the 45-foot string and run it safely, or would that much current pushing through the run of lights melt everything?

    Thanks everybody...really appreciate you helping a newbie like me out when I'm sure everyone's busy getting ready for their holiday displays this year
    Last edited by canadave; 10-27-2018 at 11:18 AM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: hi all! newbie help needed on basic WS2812B setup

    most stuff you see is 30/10 which would give you 3 leds with 1 chip if you find something like 60/60 then you have 1 chip for each led
    I myself like vixen 3 for the program to work in
    you could get something like Holiday coro prebuilt controllers
    James WinterHaven Fl

  3. #3
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    Default Re: hi all! newbie help needed on basic WS2812B setup

    The WIKI is your friend. Use it. Most of your questions can be answered there -- and then some. After that, spend some time reading some of the other threads related to controller types, benefits of this over that, what people like, etc. Also read over some of the threads about Vixen 3 and XLights, both are outstanding pieces of software for designing sequences for pixels or regular strings of lights.

    http://www.doityourselfchristmas.com...e=RGB_Lighting

    You are very late to the game to get started and you have a lot of material to cover. And because most DIY'ers are already starting to put out their wiring and display pieces, don't expect them to lead you every step of the way. This is the start of "setup crunch time" and people will be consumed with their own shows.

    Good luck!

    http://digwdf.com/store/
    The DIGWDF Store will be closing at the end of this year.
    While it's still open, please check us out for blinky-flashy gizmos that nobody else on the planet makes!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: hi all! newbie help needed on basic WS2812B setup

    WS2812b are by definition one Tri-color LED bonded to a pixel chip and soldered to a board. They come in 5v and 12v versions. The 3:1 implementations are WS2811 (Chip + [3 or 5] Tri-Color LEDs) and come only in a 12v version.
    Last edited by MartinMueller2003; 10-29-2018 at 06:35 AM.


    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.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: hi all! newbie help needed on basic WS2812B setup

    Quote Originally Posted by canadave View Post
    1. Is it even possible to buy 12V WS2812B lights that are individually addressable? From what I've read it seems like 12V may only be available as lights that are addressable in groups of 3, but I'm not certain.
    2. What controller hardware/software should I use to keep things as simple as possible but still meet my criteria listed above?
    3. Are there any pre-built kits I could buy that could accomplish twinkling/shimmering patterns without me having to custom build everything?
    4. If I have to go with 5V lights, I'm aware of the voltage drop issue. If I were to get a huge power supply for one end of the 5V lights (such as something like 40A), would I be able to just plug into one end of the 45-foot string and run it safely, or would that much current pushing through the run of lights melt everything?
    #1. You can find 12v ws2812b. Here is an example: https://www.aliexpress.com/store/pro...503c2c9cQG1UGi
    #2 A nice controller (there are so many possibilities) for something like this might be a pi with a pi hat. FPP would be able to change sequences from the web page. You could create the sequences in Vixen or xLights.
    #3. none that I know of. That effect appears to be a bars with sparkles. Some of the preset controllers do have many settings though and it might be in there.
    #4. Voltage drop will get you within a few feet. I don't think you will be able to use 22.5 feet with just one power input but you could try. Dim them quite a bit and see if you are happy with the light output and colors. The strip I linked above is 60 per meter so you are talking over 400 LEDs in 22.5 feet to light up. That is a lot to ask of one power input.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: hi all! newbie help needed on basic WS2812B setup

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeKrebs View Post
    #1. You can find 12v ws2812b. Here is an example: https://www.aliexpress.com/store/pro...503c2c9cQG1UGi
    #2 A nice controller (there are so many possibilities) for something like this might be a pi with a pi hat. FPP would be able to change sequences from the web page. You could create the sequences in Vixen or xLights.
    #3. none that I know of. That effect appears to be a bars with sparkles. Some of the preset controllers do have many settings though and it might be in there.
    #4. Voltage drop will get you within a few feet. I don't think you will be able to use 22.5 feet with just one power input but you could try. Dim them quite a bit and see if you are happy with the light output and colors. The strip I linked above is 60 per meter so you are talking over 400 LEDs in 22.5 feet to light up. That is a lot to ask of one power input.
    Hi, thanks very much. I know what a Raspberry Pi is (although I've never used one), but I don't know what a "pi with a pi hat" is or what "FPP" is....would you mind explaining those terms?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: hi all! newbie help needed on basic WS2812B setup

    A Pi Hat is a board that connect to a Pi, they come in many different forms and for many different purposes. For our use, you can connect your Pixels to it to control them. https://www.pixelcontroller.com/stor...roller=product

    FPP is a program/alternate OS (not really sure what you would call it) that runs on the Pi that allows you to play sequences to control the lights. You would still need sequencing software, Vixen or xLights to create the sequences. http://www.falconchristmas.com/wiki/Falcon_FPP
    Matt

  8. #8
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    Default Re: hi all! newbie help needed on basic WS2812B setup

    Hey Canadave,

    I sent you a Pm

  9. #9
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    Default Re: hi all! newbie help needed on basic WS2812B setup

    fpp runs on linux.


    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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