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Thread: 5v vs. 12v Pixels

  1. #21
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    Default Re: 5v vs. 12v Pixels

    Because I am power limited with only one dedicated 20 amp outlet, I use 5 V pixels to maximize the number of pixels I can run. At least in my set up, power injection isn't needed all that much since most props/runs don't have that many pixels. The extra wiring is a small added expense but the ability to have more pixels and use only 40% of the power that 12 V pixels use makes the difference for me.
    Ed
    Happily retired

  2. #22
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    Default Re: 5v vs. 12v Pixels

    Quote Originally Posted by jchuchla View Post
    You don't necessarily need waterproof strips for tube arches. The tube negates the need for the strip itself to be waterproof.

    I only use a few 350W units. The majority of mine are 150w or less. And when you're using smaller PSUs, they're smaller. As in physically smaller. So they hide within the props nicely. I use many that are in the 2-6A range that I've salvaged from various old electronics.
    Well that makes things so much easier! I was thinking that myself but others seemed to have the waterproof ones so I thought maybe moisture penetration was an issue.

    Is there a calculator of sorts to help determine the most appropriate size PSU? I've seen something along the lines of 1 amp per 50 LED's, but having a calculator to almost idiot proof it would be even easier.

    Quote Originally Posted by TomL8345 View Post
    I use a different connector (pigtails) for my Data/V- runs than I do for my PI runs so I don't accidentally hook up the wrong type of connection. (Idiot Proof myself). I use waterproof Automotive connectors instead of the typical pixel connectors.
    I was actually going to use those same connectors for my PI instead of the power TEE's, but that's a great point about using a different connector for the V-/D. The reason I was going to use the auto connectors for PI was I thought I could run one main line from the PSU to the very past PI point, then strip back sections at the other PI points (closer to the PSU) and run pigtails to the prop from there. With the Tee's I'm stuck with one line per PI point right? So if my arches require 3 PI points, I'll have 3 separate wires just for PI from the PSU?

    Maybe I can use different color codes for the V-/D or something, thinking too that if I use alternative connectors then I can make my own cables which should end up being cheaper than buying the standard pixel connectors. Makes more sense since I'm only using 2 of the wires inside, why pay for the pre-made extensions with a third wire that I won't be using!

    I've already confiscated my wife's label maker to make my own shrink wrap labels for all the cables

  3. #23
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    Default Re: 5v vs. 12v Pixels

    I use Monoprice 4 conductor speaker wire for my PI lines, I will use black/white for one pair and red/green for the second. I make the cable as long enough to reach the most distant PI, strip back the outer cover to the nearer PI and use a power drill to twist the distant pair together. This works well for me. The Speaker Wire comes in a variety of AWG, but I typically purchase the 16/4 wire as 16 GA fits most terminal blocks and have less voltage loss over distance.

    BTW, I love my P-Touch label maker for marking my cables. I typically make Cable Flags.
    2012 - 1st year 64 Channels - 7500 LED lights - 5 sequences
    2013 - 128 Channels - 10,000 LED lights - 7 sequences (2 New)
    2014 - 201 Channels - upgrading 8 Arches to dumb RGB - 8+ sequences (1+ New)
    2015 - 240 Channels + 8 Universes - sequences TBD
    2016 - No Display
    2017 - Back in the Game - 240 Renard Channels + 12 Universes
    2018 - 256 Renard and 9 Falcon Outputs of Pixels - 16 sequences shown over 2 nights
    2019 - 256 Renard and 9 Falcon Outputs of Pixels - 16 sequences shown over 2 nights
    2020 - Emergency Conversion to Falcon F48 with limited wireless

  4. #24
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    Default Re: 5v vs. 12v Pixels

    Quote Originally Posted by TomL8345 View Post
    When I run just Data and V- from the controller to the prop, I bring that into the enclosure containing my PS. There I tie the V- from the controller to the V- from PS and send out a standard 3 wire connection from the PS enclosure to the first pixel.
    This causes V- to shift as current draw changes. If it shifts enough you will get random flashes. It is better if the Data/V- lines travel together and do not provide the current the prop needs. How do I know this? Ask my RBLs that spent all season flickering because the V- line out to the prop sharded power and signal reference duties. The few that I updated to NOT have the Data/V- pair also deliver power to the RBL had no issue.


    2020 Full sized show reworked for the new location. Only adding (famous last words) 13 RBLs that I finally got converted to using pixels
    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. Dim show (3000 pixels) had regular visits most nights.
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyX...ttrsZNARkUce0Q

  5. #25
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    Default Re: 5v vs. 12v Pixels

    I too like the automotive connectors.
    You can get a bunch cheap off aliexpress if you look around.
    Quote Originally Posted by TomL8345 View Post
    Russ,

    You seem to have a good handle on what you need to do. Like Jon, I too am building my props with either PS built into the prop or a small enclosure nearby with an appropriately sized PS. Also as Jon noted get used to using more pigtails, cabling, and PI Tees than you think you will need. I use a different connector (pigtails) for my Data/V- runs than I do for my PI runs so I don't accidentally hook up the wrong type of connection. (Idiot Proof myself). I use waterproof Automotive connectors instead of the typical pixel connectors. I find them easier to install, cheaper, and I can single-handedly disconnect them, even with winter gloves on, which makes tear-down more pleasant.

    Wish I could have that beer with you.

  6. #26
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    Default Re: 5v vs. 12v Pixels

    Quote Originally Posted by MartinMueller2003 View Post
    This causes V- to shift as current draw changes. If it shifts enough you will get random flashes. It is better if the Data/V- lines travel together and do not provide the current the prop needs. How do I know this? Ask my RBLs that spent all season flickering because the V- line out to the prop sharded power and signal reference duties. The few that I updated to NOT have the Data/V- pair also deliver power to the RBL had no issue.
    I don't clearly understand how you are wired then. Controller to Prop > Data & V- , PS to Prop> V+ & ??? (If V- how do you tie it together?)

    Here is what I am doing, how do you suggest it should be done? Data schematic.png
    2012 - 1st year 64 Channels - 7500 LED lights - 5 sequences
    2013 - 128 Channels - 10,000 LED lights - 7 sequences (2 New)
    2014 - 201 Channels - upgrading 8 Arches to dumb RGB - 8+ sequences (1+ New)
    2015 - 240 Channels + 8 Universes - sequences TBD
    2016 - No Display
    2017 - Back in the Game - 240 Renard Channels + 12 Universes
    2018 - 256 Renard and 9 Falcon Outputs of Pixels - 16 sequences shown over 2 nights
    2019 - 256 Renard and 9 Falcon Outputs of Pixels - 16 sequences shown over 2 nights
    2020 - Emergency Conversion to Falcon F48 with limited wireless

  7. #27
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    Default Re: 5v vs. 12v Pixels

    You can simulate distance between props while you test them inside your house/garage/workshop by using the amount of wire you would need in the yard. If it works inside , it should work outside. Experiment a little bit and find out what works for you.

    Props nowadays seem to fill up a power supply capability pretty quickly in close proximity to the power supply (with roof outlies being the exception). As an example, I switched my smaller size MEGA tree (800 pixels) to 5V this past year and added a group of 3 of what I call Tall Trees (645 pixels total) with 5V pixels. I was able to run both of these with just one 5V 300W power supply each with Power Injection (PI) cables of just a few feet. I still have my roofline as 12V pixels and run PI cable as long as 35-40 feet away from the power supply.

    The only props I run at full brightness are my flood lights and my AC props. I am pretty sure that I turned down the brightness on my RGB lights the first year that I used them (2016) because they were just too bright (viewing area distances between 40 - 100 feet).
    Kevin

  8. #28
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    Default Re: 5v vs. 12v Pixels

    Quote Originally Posted by TomL8345 View Post
    I don't clearly understand how you are wired then. Controller to Prop > Data & V- , PS to Prop> V+ & ??? (If V- how do you tie it together?)

    Here is what I am doing, how do you suggest it should be done? Data schematic.png
    Data/V- from the controller goes all the way to the first pixel. At the first pixel you connect Data, Controller V_ and PSU V-, PSU V+ to the first pixel. In this model, the V- that the Data references is only disturbed the final few inches which is not a problem. So going into your PSU cabinet is AC and Data/V- (Thin Wires). Coming out of the PSU cabinet is Data/V- (thin wires) and PSU V+/V- (Big WIres). The data V- and the PSU V- should NOT be connected to each other in the PSU Cabinet. So this then begs to ask, why should Data/V- even go to the PSU cabinet at all? IMO, it should NOT.


    2020 Full sized show reworked for the new location. Only adding (famous last words) 13 RBLs that I finally got converted to using pixels
    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. Dim show (3000 pixels) had regular visits most nights.
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyX...ttrsZNARkUce0Q

  9. #29
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    Default Re: 5v vs. 12v Pixels

    Quote Originally Posted by MartinMueller2003 View Post
    Data/V- from the controller goes all the way to the first pixel. At the first pixel you connect Data, Controller V_ and PSU V-, PSU V+ to the first pixel. In this model, the V- that the Data references is only disturbed the final few inches which is not a problem. So going into your PSU cabinet is AC and Data/V- (Thin Wires). Coming out of the PSU cabinet is Data/V- (thin wires) and PSU V+/V- (Big WIres). The data V- and the PSU V- should NOT be connected to each other in the PSU Cabinet. So this then begs to ask, why should Data/V- even go to the PSU cabinet at all? IMO, it should NOT.
    May I ask what the difference is between connecting the Data and V- from the controller inside of the PSU cabinet as opposed to at the first pixel? I think you're saying that having the two separate wires, Data and V- from the a separate PSU then traveling next to each other within the same cable can cause disturbance with the data signal? If so then wouldn't the same disturbance be possible as the signals run through the pixel string?

  10. #30
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    Default Re: 5v vs. 12v Pixels

    I thought your drawing connected the data/V- to the PSU V- at the PSU. That is what I am saying should not happen. The Data and its V- should travel undisturbed from the controller to as close to the first pixel as possible.


    2020 Full sized show reworked for the new location. Only adding (famous last words) 13 RBLs that I finally got converted to using pixels
    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. Dim show (3000 pixels) had regular visits most nights.
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyX...ttrsZNARkUce0Q

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