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Thread: Thoughts on running injection for 8 x 70 pixel mini trees with 24 awg wire

  1. #1
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    Default Thoughts on running injection for 8 x 70 pixel mini trees with 24 awg wire

    First off, that thing no guy wants to hear.... Yes it's really small... Wire that is thought it was 20awg when ordered, so going to make the best of it. My mini trees are made of tomato cages with 70 pixels each x 8 trees wrapped spiral style bottom to top. Pixel wire is only 24 awg and 5v bullets ws2811

    I'm usually not overly fussy about perfection with visible wire, but as these are tomato cages, and they are at the front of the display people can be as close as 5' away, I'm more cautious because its exposed and ugly when wires are coming in to inject, not to mention I basically have to run a thicker wire back down from the top and over to the next tree. Looking back at pictures, that wire and the injection stood out. So I'm making an effort for example to hot glue the wire along the rear spine of the cage to make it less visible. As far as injection, I've spent some time toying with the injection calculator, and have found some different spacing that could work. But I wanted to ask for feedback and thoughts on how you guys would do it in this situation trying to minimize ugliness. Because of the awg, I really can't get away with pushing the drop, and even 50 without injection is borderline. But even if I said every 50, no consistency. First injection would be almost near the top of the tree, next would be only 30 from the bottom, next would be within the first 10 etc... And I also have to factor in the extra wire between trees of approximately 40" give or take. Open to all suggestions

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Thoughts on running injection for 8 x 70 pixel mini trees with 24 awg wire

    Here is an alternate method I use.

    I run a 24v power line and have several 5v 25watt bricks at each prop. They take up to 36v IN and provide a regulated +5v out - up to 5 amps. Some bricks provide more current - at a price. It allows me to keep the power wires small and have all the power I need for my prop.

    The math is simple. Considering the Power Factor, I increased the voltage to 6 for this calculation. 24v @ 5a can drive 4 bricks all day long. I have a 30A 24v supply and the demand is about 60% at max. 80% is the hardest I drive my supplies. So that means 20 bricks.

    Folks assume the power supply is stable all the way to its rating. NOT TRUE. MOST "GENERIC" power supplies begin to stress at 80% but remain stable. At 90% the voltage drops - sometimes dramatically. At 100%? Sorry, good luck with that. Many power supplies simply shut down or oscillate on/off.

    Each brick powers the entire prop. I use the neg and data from the controller to drive the prop. I have had some issues when tying the +5v together from the controller and props ... still have not sorted it out completely.

    So 70 pixels @ 60ma each ... 4.2 amps, FULL white. I still have yet to find any pixel string of 50 that uses 60ma per pixel .. actual measurements vs computed measurements - the actual is always lower - and in some cases, significantly lower. It still delivers an acceptable white and NICE colors.

    Worst case scenario? Using 5v bricks still means injecting at the end. The nice thing? 20ga wire. It will handle half of the necessary current. So power it at each end and you should be good to go. 5v rule of thumb - INJECT @ every 50. 12v rule of thumb - INJECT @ every 100. With 70 pixels? Feed both ends and the display will be very good. Everything will be balanced.

    When I use 5v bricks and they were tied to the +5v from the controller, the +5v seems to piss off controllers when more than 2 channels were used.

    Interconnections? Sure, you can tap the end of the first prop into the next. Only use the NEG and DATA.

    The DATA line REQUIRES the NEGATIVE for zero line reference - it is how all digital circuits work. You use the data and NEG from the controller. This is how I have done it for a few years now.

    OPTION #2: The math with 8 trees @ 70 pixels each: Total 560 pixels = 33.6A (or 168 watts). Minimum wire size is #8 to the first prop if it is to carry the entire load.

    A #14 can carry 15A and the controller (avg 10-15A per output). Math says 3 #14 power runs from the controller or separate power supply(ies). 3 + 3 + 2 - the TWO being the furthest away from the power supply.

    I would use a 5v 50A power supply. Power the controller and have 3 separate #14 power lines grouped as mentioned above. Inject the beginning and end of each prop.

    If using a SINGLE power supply: you can simply route the DATA line to the first prop and then from the first to the next, etc. There are alternatives to this too!

    I manufacture my own connections. I use automotive weather resistant connectors - 1.5mm in 2, 3, 4 and 6 pin configurations. These connectors are rated up to 10A.

    For my adapter: I use a female 4 pin to 1 male 3 pin (IN) and 1 female 3 pin (OUT). The prop gets a male 4 pin ... +5v, Data IN, Data OUT, NEG. Easy to daisy chain this way. Between props uses the 3 pin connectors and (for me) a 4 conductor #16 cable. I have a power injector adapter for longer runs to bring the +5v down stream.

    Ray Wu's Store has similar round connectors arranged like this for daisy chaining props too.

    Hope this provides you with some insight.

    Confused? Happy to clarify.
    -Eddie

    The missus wants to ride!

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Thoughts on running injection for 8 x 70 pixel mini trees with 24 awg wire

    Quote Originally Posted by RGB_Mixer View Post
    Here is an alternate method I use.

    I run a 24v power line and have several 5v 25watt bricks at each prop. They take up to 36v IN and provide a regulated +5v out - up to 5 amps. Some bricks provide more current - at a price. It allows me to keep the power wires small and have all the power I need for my prop.

    The math is simple. Considering the Power Factor, I increased the voltage to 6 for this calculation. 24v @ 5a can drive 4 bricks all day long. I have a 30A 24v supply and the demand is about 60% at max. 80% is the hardest I drive my supplies. So that means 20 bricks.

    Folks assume the power supply is stable all the way to its rating. NOT TRUE. MOST "GENERIC" power supplies begin to stress at 80% but remain stable. At 90% the voltage drops - sometimes dramatically. At 100%? Sorry, good luck with that. Many power supplies simply shut down or oscillate on/off.

    Each brick powers the entire prop. I use the neg and data from the controller to drive the prop. I have had some issues when tying the +5v together from the controller and props ... still have not sorted it out completely.

    So 70 pixels @ 60ma each ... 4.2 amps, FULL white. I still have yet to find any pixel string of 50 that uses 60ma per pixel .. actual measurements vs computed measurements - the actual is always lower - and in some cases, significantly lower. It still delivers an acceptable white and NICE colors.

    Worst case scenario? Using 5v bricks still means injecting at the end. The nice thing? 20ga wire. It will handle half of the necessary current. So power it at each end and you should be good to go. 5v rule of thumb - INJECT @ every 50. 12v rule of thumb - INJECT @ every 100. With 70 pixels? Feed both ends and the display will be very good. Everything will be balanced.

    When I use 5v bricks and they were tied to the +5v from the controller, the +5v seems to piss off controllers when more than 2 channels were used.

    Interconnections? Sure, you can tap the end of the first prop into the next. Only use the NEG and DATA.

    The DATA line REQUIRES the NEGATIVE for zero line reference - it is how all digital circuits work. You use the data and NEG from the controller. This is how I have done it for a few years now.

    OPTION #2: The math with 8 trees @ 70 pixels each: Total 560 pixels = 33.6A (or 168 watts). Minimum wire size is #8 to the first prop if it is to carry the entire load.

    A #14 can carry 15A and the controller (avg 10-15A per output). Math says 3 #14 power runs from the controller or separate power supply(ies). 3 + 3 + 2 - the TWO being the furthest away from the power supply.

    I would use a 5v 50A power supply. Power the controller and have 3 separate #14 power lines grouped as mentioned above. Inject the beginning and end of each prop.

    If using a SINGLE power supply: you can simply route the DATA line to the first prop and then from the first to the next, etc. There are alternatives to this too!

    I manufacture my own connections. I use automotive weather resistant connectors - 1.5mm in 2, 3, 4 and 6 pin configurations. These connectors are rated up to 10A.

    For my adapter: I use a female 4 pin to 1 male 3 pin (IN) and 1 female 3 pin (OUT). The prop gets a male 4 pin ... +5v, Data IN, Data OUT, NEG. Easy to daisy chain this way. Between props uses the 3 pin connectors and (for me) a 4 conductor #16 cable. I have a power injector adapter for longer runs to bring the +5v down stream.

    Ray Wu's Store has similar round connectors arranged like this for daisy chaining props too.

    Hope this provides you with some insight.

    Confused? Happy to clarify.
    Great Info. Some of it I'm having trouble visualizing, but yeah all good info. I had thought about running start and end of each tree. I guess I was I wondering if the dip in the middle might be too much with 24 awg wire pixels. But also in a situation like that, would I say inject at pixel 1, then after pixel 70, and have that injection cover the back half of tree 1 and first half of tree 2? So basically I could get away with an injection before first pixel and after last one of tree 8, and then just inject in between each one? That's what I had planned originally but I was concerned it would be pushing it too much

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Thoughts on running injection for 8 x 70 pixel mini trees with 24 awg wire

    Quote Originally Posted by XmasinVancouver View Post
    Great Info. Some of it I'm having trouble visualizing, but yeah all good info. I had thought about running start and end of each tree. I guess I was I wondering if the dip in the middle might be too much with 24 awg wire pixels. But also in a situation like that, would I say inject at pixel 1, then after pixel 70, and have that injection cover the back half of tree 1 and first half of tree 2? So basically I could get away with an injection before first pixel and after last one of tree 8, and then just inject in between each one? That's what I had planned originally but I was concerned it would be pushing it too much
    You are on the right track. Between trees you would need a power port and that would be a tap between trees. You will have to bring out power wires to each TAP. Yup, the last tree would need its end injected too. That would maintain the same LOOK

    A user, mrGrumpy, gave me a major wakeup. And it makes PERFECT SENSE. In this case ... ONE injection in the middle of the two strings - BAM! DONE. The point is electric will flow both ways. So in essence you get two for the price of one. One injection point at 5v goes both ways and satisfies the string.

    Consider that point Only other point of concern would be the data between trees then. Yes, data is only ONE WAY so it must start at the beginning and can be tapped at the end.

    It will all sound confusing until you lay it out in ways you understand it.

    Hope this helps
    Last edited by RGB_Mixer; 10-24-2019 at 02:43 AM.
    -Eddie

    The missus wants to ride!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Thoughts on running injection for 8 x 70 pixel mini trees with 24 awg wire

    If using the 24v-to-5v brick model (I use this in my show as well) you need to make sure that the V+ path between the bricks is "broken" at some point. Letting the V+ lines from multiple bricks drive the same pixels causes the bricks to try and compensate 'against' each other and can cause them to overheat (worst heat is when the pixels are off).


    2019 - Just moved into a new home (yet another change of plans). Will be dim but not dark. Too much to do at the new place to leave time for a show.
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyX...ttrsZNARkUce0Q

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Thoughts on running injection for 8 x 70 pixel mini trees with 24 awg wire

    Hi,

    XmasinVancouver – you want to make things neat. I can appreciate that.

    I described an adapter for connections between trees ... 3 pin in, 4 pin to prop, 3 pin out.

    This next bit is applicable as long as you use one power supply. There are many good 5v @ 50A power supplies. My choice is usually Meanwell power supplies as I have had some bad luck with GENERIC units in the past.

    How you make these up is how you want to carry the injection power. I am not sure if there are any pre-made connectors for this. I make my own so I add the injection power port to the adapter.

    I add a 2 pin connector for power injection. The injection power cable could be made up using two runs of #12 wire with 2 pin female connectors. Space the connectors to closely match the spacing between props. I would make them just a bit longer than needed. I.E. 36" = 40" (roughly 10% longer).

    This could be made up using the pre-fabricated ROUND weather resistant connectors too. Using these I would go with a single TEE TAP (female) off the injection power cable.

    Last thought - I am not sure how many apply the MALE/FEMALE ends to their equipment. Think of it like an outlet in your home. It is supplying power and it is FEMALE.

    Rule of thumb in my trade: Anything that supplies power is FEMALE. Anything that accepts power is MALE.

    This helps identify and simplify which way to connect things.
    -Eddie

    The missus wants to ride!

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