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Thread: LED identification and controller recommendation

  1. #1
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    Default LED identification and controller recommendation

    I have some single color regular 12v led strips. Here is a link to one of them: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    I am not sure what the community refers to these type as. They aren't smart or addressable or anything, just simply turn on and off. They do seem to dim well with lower voltage.

    What does everyone refer to these as and what controller would I want to use with them to get on/off with dimming? Every controller seems to handle either AC or RGB pixels, but I can't find anything that specifically does regular old strips like these.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: LED identification and controller recommendation

    I'd call them dumb single color LED strips. They are like 1/3 of a dumb RGB string can be controlled the same way as a single channel on a RGB strip . There are LED dimmers all over the place, some with handheld remotes.

    Dumb RGB LED controllers are not something special. They can be thought of as controlling 3 strips of single color LED strips. In your case, instead of being Red, or Green, or Blue, you have a single strip that is purple.
    You can use just about any RGB controller and just hook your strip to one of the outputs, either Red, Green, or Blue. Use the controller to control the color that you hooked your strip to.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: LED identification and controller recommendation

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry-Rigs View Post
    Dumb RGB LED controllers are not something special. They can be thought of as controlling 3 strips of single color LED strips. In your case, instead of being Red, or Green, or Blue, you have a single strip that is purple.
    You can use just about any RGB controller and just hook your strip to one of the outputs, either Red, Green, or Blue. Use the controller to control the color that you hooked your strip to.
    The controller is where I was stuck. I've used Arduinos, E682s and ESPixelsticks but they don't have the individual color outputs. I looked at the different versions of Renard boards but they seem geared towards AC/incandescent lights.

    I had to think about it for a bit but now it makes sense to me. I can use a dumb rgb controller and just utilize one output per strip. I think I was overthinking it and didn't realize the answer was staring me in the face, lol! Thanks for clearing that up for me!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: LED identification and controller recommendation

    Quote Originally Posted by ScareCrowe View Post
    The controller is where I was stuck. I've used Arduinos, E682s and ESPixelsticks but they don't have the individual color outputs. I looked at the different versions of Renard boards but they seem geared towards AC/incandescent lights.

    I had to think about it for a bit but now it makes sense to me. I can use a dumb rgb controller and just utilize one output per strip. I think I was overthinking it and didn't realize the answer was staring me in the face, lol! Thanks for clearing that up for me!
    One output per strip: Yes, exactly.

    Yeah, your LED strip is using a much simpler protocol than pixels. The controller feeds it Pulse Width Modulated (PWM) DC power. Varying the pulse width changes the duty cycle ("on" time and "off" time) of power supplied to the LED's while the voltage and current stay the same. More "on" time == brighter, more "off" time means dimmer. The PWM part of the controller is more correctly called the LED driver. Group a red, a green, and a blue LED together and vary the "on/off" time between them and you can mix the primary light colors into just about any color you want. That's what the controller does.

    Pixels take it a step further. There are chips like the WS2811 that layer a communications protocol on top of the basic LED driver described above. When you pair the WS2811 with an trio of LEDs (red, green, blue (fitted into a single package called an RGB LED)) and fit it all into a small package, we call it a pixel. Each Pixel takes a string of data, strips off the RGB color mix and passes the rest down the line. The following pixels repeat the process to the end of the string of pixels.

    So, Pixels are smart because they do some processing and know how to drive LED's. LED strips are dumb, because they are not smart.

    If it can handle the power, I'm certain an Audrino (or any of the soup of small controllers out there) can do the PWM used to drive a LED (or strip).

  5. #5
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    Default Re: LED identification and controller recommendation

    I've run the strips with an Arduino already and they work great in the test area. The issue is the Arduino is still a prototyping board and running it on a breadboard with parts and wires everywhere -- that's just a recipe for disaster with all those points of failure.

    Because I was controlling the power input to the strips with Mosfets I was only dealing with the 2 wires per strip, positive and negative. That thinking carried over to my controller search, as I was looking for a 'dimmer board' with 2 outputs per strip. I had looked and passed on the dumb RGB controllers because they have four wires - ground and 3 positives for each color. For some reason I wasn't able to make it click in my head that those were actually the ones I wanted all along. Then you said it and I was like, oh man, now I feel like an idiot for not seeing something so obvious, LOL.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: LED identification and controller recommendation

    pwm strips == dumb rgb. it usually uses three dimming channels from a dc ssr connected to a renard controller. renards are pwm channel output devices and come in ac and dc versions. my ren 64c gives me 64 channels and can drive a mixture of ac an dc at the same time.just think of the renards as a collection of channels that have PWM outputs. You can use them any way you want. Even drive mechanical relays. Really bad idea but it does work)


    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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