I am curious what pixel recommendations or favorites people are using. I am looking for my next round of purchase, I am thinking ws2812b waterproof strips. Any other ideas? 5v or 12v? pros/cons?
It depends on what you want/need. For cost, ws2811/ws2812 based strips win, hands down. However, with an 800kbps data rate, in order to do a lot of leds at a high frame rate you have to either use paul’s OctoWS2811 library or play games with using multiple controllers. (I have another option that i’m working on for an installation in a couple of weeks, if it works, I will roll it in to FastSPI_LED2 over the summer).
If cost is less of a concern, but a lot of leds and high frame rates are wanted, the LPD8806’s seem to be the way to go.
One thing to be careful with - a lot of the 12V strips use 3 rgb leds per “pixel” -which can cause a blocking effect you may not want.
I <3 WS2811/2 because they come in so many shapes and sizes but the code is all the same. 5V does kinda suck though.
I am primarily making props for Halloween and Christmas light shows synchronized to music. Because most of my display will be distributed I will not be using more than 100 pixels per controller. That’s why I came up with my minimalist / nRF24L01 wireless data controllers. so its not too expensive to dedicate one to just a couple of strings. I was ready to pull the trigger on the 5v WS2812B strips but I am hesitating now because the cost for the 5V ~6A power supplies is WAY more expensive than the 12v ones :(… Currently I only have 5v ws2801 50ct strings and my WM2999 hacked lights/pixels, as well as some 12V dumb RGB strips.
most of what I have looked at seem to be 5050 RGB LEDs is that what you mean by 3RGB leds per pixel?
I’m using a bunch of these https://www.adafruit.com/products/1385 - because i’m driving everything off of 12v batteries/lines, and seem to be pretty decent efficiency.
And no - it has nothing to do with 5050 vs others (nearly everything seems to be 5050s these days, anyway). It’s more that you might have 3 5050 rgb led strips, and those 3 would be connected to one ws2811 chip - so, you turn on “pixel 0” and the first 3 leds light up
Both the WS2801 and WS2811 come in either 1:1 or 1:3 configuration. Kinda annoying if you don’t pay attention to the ‘cut length’ on them. I’ve also seen LPD8806 that come in 1:2 configurations but how it’s wired determines whether it handles the channels separately or whether it ties them together.
For pixel strips, Ray often states how many IC’s per meter as well as how many LEDs. So note the chip type and the number of ICs/m vs LEDs/m:
- 1809 IC controls 9 channels = 3 RGB triples
- 8806 IC can control 6 channels = 2 RGB triples
- 2811/2812/2801/1804 ICs control 3 channels = 1 RGB triple
So if a 12V 2811 strip says 30 LEDs/m and 10 ICs/m, then you probably only have 10 independent pixels per channels; each logical pixel controls three RGB LEDs (typically wired in series across the 12v supply).
However a 12v (or 5V) 1809 base strip with 30 LEDs/m and 10 ICs/m can really have 30 independent pixels, because the chip controls 9 channels.
If the 12V (or 5V) strip says 30 LEDs/m and 30 ICs/m, you probably have 30 real pixels per meter.
For some purposes having each logical pixel replicated as 3 RGB LEDs is actually fine - if being viewed from enough distance they may merge visually anyway, so why not go with cheaper and fewer channels to control.
Up closer tho, there can be advantages to individual pixel control of each RGB LED. Know what you are getting.
Of course, beware of Ray’s cut and paste descriptions, which are sometimes wrong. Look at the pics as well if possible, and check with him before buying to confirm description.
Keep in mind that while some of those WS28x only have three channels, some
manufacturers are making multi LED setups with them. More common are the
1:3 strips (one IC for three RGB LEDs) and some of the larger pixels setups
are one IC for four RGB LEDs.
@Matt_Starbuck Can you expound on what you mean about 5V sucking? I’ve had good results with them as long as I inject power/gnd every 50-75 pixels but granted I haven’t used 12V so don’t have a point of comparison.
I re read it and didn’t think we said 5v “sucked” per se. I could have missed that. The reason I was asking is because it seems a lot of the newer options are 5v. Since I’m looking for waterproof power supplies there are WAY more and cheaper options for 12v power.
Nah, @Matt_Starbuck said it ‘kinda sucked’ but I’m not sure why he would’ve said that.