For those of you who have done projects on the larger side, what do you suggest for connecting multiple strips together. Do you just solder directly, or do you use a JST SM or similar connector? I am leaning towards using the JST SM connector both for a cleaner finished product, and to make any maintenance easier, but I’m interested to hear what others are doing.
Also, how do you handle power distribution - specifically re-injecting power periodically along the strips?
+1 what Jon said … except I get them from my vendors in China, in colors. Similar to what SFE used to sell: https://www.sparkfun.com/products/retired/11182
As for re-injecting power, just add another wire in at the plug. There’s a discussion somewhere that I saw that talks about the proper way to do that … which I never followed. Technically you should not create a “loop”. You should completely cut the VCC line, terminate it on the previous string, then inject power on the next string.
Yep - I had found those on AliExpress and thought they looked good. Thanks for the confirmation. I would definitely prefer the color ones to all black. It should make a wiring “accident” less likely.
Also, FYI Ashley, unless I am misunderstanding what you are saying, there is no electrical problem with creating a loop. And in fact, according to this post from Mark (and my own testing), feeding power on both ends of a long strip actually produces better, more consistent results.
The reason whoever wrote the article said not to, is for interference. A loop will do that whereas the other method doesn’t. However, as I pointed out, I never followed that advice, I just inject wherever I need to just by connecting another wire and not bother with cutting and separating the sections. Also, with a loop you can do it further apart on the string.
Ah - I didn’t think about interference. That makes sense. Since I’ve had good luck just injecting though, I’ll probably go that way. In doing more research this morning, I found some good 2-pin JST connectors that look like they would be great for power so I’m going to buy some of those as well. AliExpress is a useful, but dangerous (as far as my wallet is concerned) place!
The same goes for alibaba which is the bulk purchases side of aliexpress. I occasionally get a one-shot item from the express site, but all of my bulk purchases go through the other. We need an AAA Community, AliExpress and Alibaba Anonymous. I nominate @Mark_Kriegsman and @Daniel_Garcia as moderators.
I really like these screw together connectors…
You can combine these 2-conductor ones: http://www.adafruit.com/products/743
With these power T’s: http://shopping.netsuite.com/s.nl/c.ACCT88394/it.A/id.993/.f?sc=2&category=2895
And it creates a really solid, sealed connection for everything. A lot of my stuff ends up rolling around in the desert dust for a few weeks every year, so pretty critical to be sealed and solid.
My current project uses the P9813 “Total Control Lighting” pixels from Cool Neon, so I’m familiar with those 4-pin connectors. They are indeed very nice, but quite a bit more expensive than the JST SM connectors. If anyone wants to buy them though, they are actually a bit less expensive from Cool Neon than from Adafruit.
Yeah, I’m in the same boat. Cool Neon does not yet have the screw on barrel connectors though…
I’ve been using solderless connectors for prototyping at home but I wouldn’t trust them for the wearable projects I’m making. I always solder JST connectors to those. I couldn’t find 3 pin solderless connectors on aliexpress so I got them on alibaba: http://visionled.en.alibaba.com/product/750652216-213902928/3_wire_solderless_led_connector_for_led_strips_WW_CW.html
(Note that you can find various 4 pin solderless connectors on aliexpress)
Also re: injecting power I usually do that every 120-150 LEDs. The exact distance will depend on how many LEDs/m. I simply run speaker wire (+5V and GND) alongside the LED strip and solder it directly to the strip. When I experimented with 60/m strips it wasn’t enough to connect power on both sides of the 5m strip and I had to solder the power mid strip
Goddamn, I’ve been waiting for ages for solderless connectors like those to become available!