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Thread: Puzzling "Paradise" color-changing rope light sold by Costco this year...

  1. #1
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    Default Puzzling "Paradise" color-changing rope light sold by Costco this year...

    I just bought a very interesting but puzzlng rope light at Costco.

    Description:
    It has 180 multicolor LEDs in 18 feet of clear plastic rope light form, for $20 now ($5 off $25 normal).
    The brand is "Paridise", according to the box; manufactured for Costco by "Sterno Home" in BC, Canada.
    The box says 30w per 18 feet.
    It has an IR remote which can select patterns, speed, etc.
    There is white waterproof control box between an AC mains plug and the detachable rope segment, with a typical round sealed rope light connector on each end of the rope segment.
    It claims these can be cascaded to a length of 90 feet for 5 segments (mechanically this appears identical to dumb rope lights).

    Observations:
    Each LED can show (at minimum) Red, Green, Blue, Purple, Yellow, and White.
    Different LEDs can have different colors (ie: need not all the same). Some can be on and others off.
    It can fade in and out (I have not yet observed fading between colors, within the preset patterns).
    There are resistors in line between a each led, but only for about a dozen LEDs near the beginning.
    A quick multimeter test shows about 160VDC (!) between the conductors (on the far end of the first segment).

    The puzzle:

    There are only two (2) conductors in and out of each cascadable segment!

    What are these? How do they work? Is there a chip inside the LEDs?

    Can we control them individually or in groups?

    If so, these could be useful to me, and I'm sure to others.

    But they interesting technologically in any case.
    Last edited by Zeph; 10-14-2019 at 07:39 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Puzzling "Paradise" color-changing rope light sold by Costco this year...

    Not sure about that brand but there was someone that figured out a little about another string a few years ago and detected a pwm signal within the power cable that appeared to activate different colors. I remember thinking that someone went to a lot of trouble to build the controller and LEDs when they could have used a "standard" ws2812 style pixel. If you discover any more about how it works, be sure to report back.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Puzzling "Paradise" color-changing rope light sold by Costco this year...

    Mike, do you have any ideas how to find the thread you mention?

    Long ago there were the so-called "WM2999" pixels, in which a set of 5v-ish pixels were stacked across a 100+ vdc potential rectified from the mains. It was clever in that each node could signal the next nodes, altho it's own VDD was GND for the next. But it still had DC-, DC+ and signal lines (3 wires).

    These new pixels (?) rope lights operate with just two wires, and can be cascaded for up to 5 ropes (90' or 900 lights) with a single controller. I'd love some insight from the more hardware savvy folks on here (I'm at best intermediate in electronics knowledge).

    1. These are an interesting electronic puzzle
    2. Controllable rope lights would be very useful.

    If something similar has been investigated, I'd appreciate some help finding that. My search hasn't been fruitful (what to search for, if it's not the same brand?)

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Puzzling "Paradise" color-changing rope light sold by Costco this year...

    maybe this? These changed color but didnt chase over two wires.
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=WLXnCaXX7w4
    He did a follow up video as well

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Puzzling "Paradise" color-changing rope light sold by Costco this year...

    Interesting, thanks. Julian's version ran on 5v, and the unidentified LED's had a chip to select the three colors by stepping through 8 states via a 0v pulse on the the VCC line. No individual control, the whole string is the same color, (unless you send some off-spec pulse lengths which some chips will catch and some will not, getting them out of sync). They seem to do color fades through PWM - send pulses to change to one color and wait X microseconds, then send pulses to change to another color and wait Y microseconds (one of the "colors" could be off/black).

    That might be interesting too if I could find it; but I can't find it on the web.

    The rope light I got from Costco runs on 160v dc (rectified mains) with many led's in series (obviously). That makes it even more mysterious - some kind of signal must be passed to the stacked LEDs.

    There are no patterns which eg: light up each LED in sequence or otherwise show that each LED is independently controlled (like our pixels). But the whole string can be red, green or blue so each LED is tricolor. Or the string can be multicolor - the LEDs don't need to be the same as each other (and each time the pattern is different). And there are modes where the string is in one color, but there is a twinkling overlay where different individual LEDs flash white. So each LED MAY be individually controlled and the limited patterns are due to the controller firmware; or there may be limits to the tech of the LEDs themselves.

    I was hoping others here would have more ideas of how these work. If we could control them, it would be a useful addition to our repertoire.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Puzzling "Paradise" color-changing rope light sold by Costco this year...

    I'm still looking for more information on these. They're $19.99 at COSTCO until Thanksgiving. The most interesting patterns are multicolor with random white twinkles.

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