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Old 04-13-2012, 01:50 PM   #1
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Installing long LED strips of SMD 5050


I own a bar and we're looking to remodel and install these LED strip lights around the ceiling as accent lighting. However im having a hard time finding good information on how to install long, 60-90 ft, lengths of these lights.

Ideally there are 3 separate 60 long sections along the ceiling id like to all do the same thing, like all change colors at once. I dont know if that is possible or not.

Is anyone familiar with how to install these led strip lights and can offer me a hand?

EDIT: Here is someone else asking about the same item: LED Strip Wiring Questions
EDIT: Here is a page with some description but doesnt really address my question. http://www.instructables.com/answers...-a-12v-supply/

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Last edited by mjkelly93; 04-13-2012 at 02:04 PM.
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Old 04-13-2012, 05:25 PM   #2
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Installing long LED strips of SMD 5050


Might be easier to use some LED "rope lights".

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Old 04-13-2012, 05:50 PM   #3
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Installing long LED strips of SMD 5050


I looked into LED rope lights initially but they have like half as many LEDs and really arent nearly as bright as id like them to be. If i absolutely cant use the strip lighting ill have to go with rope lights. THe only thing holding me back is the power supply.
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Old 04-13-2012, 07:43 PM   #4
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Installing long LED strips of SMD 5050


Gotcha...


I was reading up on the strip lights and had run across some that used a 24v power supply, which enabled longer lengths.

Apparently, on the ones I had found, the 12v power supply limited the run to 10', but with the 24v supply, you could run to 20' or more.



Having owned a bar myself, I'm not sure I would want the lights to be too bright anyway. I was always going for the "mood" sort of lighting....

Last edited by ktkelly; 04-13-2012 at 07:47 PM.
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Old 04-14-2012, 02:53 AM   #5
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Installing long LED strips of SMD 5050


I just installed about 70 feet of high-density (18 LED's/ft) 5050 LED strips in my new office. They are white only, not 3-color. They produce a LOT of light. I'm using a single strip to illuminate a 2ft high double-sided frosted plexiglas strip at the tops of our walls. Each linear foot of LED strip is illuminating 4 square feet of frosted plexi, and it looks great. Powering them in large quantities can be a challenge. My complete installation draws about 16A at 12VDC, and I'm using a power supply that was not intended for LED's. It's important to understand the driving requirements for these LED strips. They are NOT just LED's. Bare LED's require dedicated constant-current drivers matched to the requirements of the specific LED product. These strips do not. The strips are composed of segments consisting of multiple LED's in series along with a current limiting resistor designed to allow the unit to operate from an unregulated 12VDC supply. This is convenient, but somewhat inefficient. It also prevents you from using most dedicated LED driver products to control them. This is compounded by the problem that virtually no commercial LED drivers are available that can handle enough power to run long lengths of these strips.

Your application, like mine, is essentially a custom-engineered system. You really need three separate power supplies (one each for red, green, and blue), each capable of something like 10A at 12VDC, and each dimmable. The dimming must be accomplished using a method called pulse width modulation (PWM). Simply varying the voltage will not work well because LED's are nonlinear loads - a small change in voltage makes a large and unpredictable change in brightness.

There are lots of great ways to solve this problem using off-the-shelf products that are intended for other applications (speed controllers for radio-control cars are perfect high-power LED dimmers, for example) but you'll need a very knowledgeable electronics geek to work out the details. I would suggest a freelance electrical (electronic, not building electrical systems) engineering consultant. Someone like Daycounter, as a mostly random example.

I would recommend attaching the LED strips to a substantial piece of aluminum for heat dissipation. I did not do this, but I may have to go back and retrofit it. These strips get HOT at full power and this will affect their lifetime.

To summarize, you need three PWM dimmable power supplies. Each must be compatible with these specific LED strips, and each must be able to handle the large load of such a long strip. You probably also want a convenient interface to control the color and brightness, other than just a knob for each color. This can be done and it's not that hard, but it is a custom engineering project.
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Old 04-14-2012, 08:56 AM   #6
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Installing long LED strips of SMD 5050


Im looking specifically at a product just like this: http://www.ebay.com/itm/10-X-5M-300x...ht_4314wt_1163

ktkelly, i see the 24v strands your talking about. I didnt know about them before you mentioned it. Unfortunately, theyre like twice the price from 4 dollars a linear foot to 8, ugh. At least without doing any further research.

The IR remote control that comes with that has dimming capabilities. Im figuring its better to get the brighter led strip and then just dim it down.

mpoulton, what power source did you use to power your 70ft strip?

Also, i havent read anything about needing 3 power sources for RGB strips. Can you point me to that information? If thats the case then i will probably need to look at something else or end up blowing breakers.

All that stuff about custom engineering i think is done for me with that ebay item. I think pretty much all of the RGB wheels either come with that remote interface or you buy them.

Here is the other question i have for anyone else who knows how to install these things. Say i install 3 separate 30 foot lengths of SMD 5050 and power them with 3 separate power sources. Can i control these 3 separate strips with 1 controller? The purpose behind this would be so all of the lights change colors at the same time and react in unison.
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Old 04-14-2012, 09:11 AM   #7
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Installing long LED strips of SMD 5050


Ok i found 2 articles on google which may offer a hand.

The one talks about long length wiring off of one power supply using one dimmer IR remote to power all of the lengths. It talks about wiring them all in parallel but just making sure the initial power source is large enough for the amount.
http://store.letsled.com/Articles.asp?ID=261


The next page gets pretty detailed including great graphics and diagrams.
http://www.elementalled.com/leducati...-installation/



My question now is, if i run the lights in parallel and say they use 50 watts of power and i have 3 of them. I would need a power supply thats like 60 or 70 watts right? Not something thats 180?

Also it calls for a signal amplifier for the dimmer pack to run multiple fixtures, is this what he means? http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-RGB-Sign...item3f15986da3
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Old 04-14-2012, 10:35 AM   #8
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Installing long LED strips of SMD 5050


mjkelly93,
If you look closely at the brick for the strip you indicated, you'll see that it has 4 wire output (one common, one for red, one for green, one for blue). Each of the individual lines only takes ~1/3 of the total power for the strip. As a side note, the about assumes they took into account our eyes sensitivity to certain colors.

As for the total power, when you hook these strips up in parallel their power adds. So you will need a 72W * 3 = 216W power supply.

When it comes to the signal amplifier, I'm assuming that's for the situation where 1 dimmer can't handle the total load for all strips. In that case the amplifier allows additional power supplies to power later strips. I do believe that's what you found, but I'm getting into speculation area.
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Old 04-14-2012, 11:08 AM   #9
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Installing long LED strips of SMD 5050


Ok great advice shadow.

I did a quick google search and turned up this: http://www.ebay.com/itm/12V-20A-250W...ht_2521wt_1396

250w supply should run 3 of those strips in parallel and not exceed its maximum wattage. I think im on the right track here.
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Old 04-14-2012, 03:26 PM   #10
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Installing long LED strips of SMD 5050


Ok apparently these SMD 5050 LED strips can be controlled and programmed by my DMX512 lighting board controller. Very interesting. So now these lights, while above the dance floor and above my current intelligent lighting, can be programmed to do the same color and speed as my moving heads and scanners.

Well here goes a long shot question, anyone familiar with installing SMD 5050 led strips 12V with a DMX signal converter?
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Old 04-14-2012, 04:18 PM   #11
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Installing long LED strips of SMD 5050


Ok i think i have it all figured out but id like to see if an actual electrician can double check my math on this and whether these voltages and whatnot line up properly. I dont think im missing anything but if anyone has any concerns about this set up, please just ask away before i go and order a thousand dollars worth of this equipment from china.

I have 2 55' linear foot squares. The wattage is 4.8 watts per foot. The spools come in 15' spools/72 watts. The DMX decoder can handle 180W at 12V. The power supply, which powers the DMX controller, puts out 180W.

So i can power 2, 15'/72W spools with one combination of power supply/DMX controller. 144 total watts per circuit. I'll wire these in parallel rather than in series.

Am i missing anything?


Here are some links to what im looking at doing:
SMD 5050: http://www.ebay.com/itm/10-X-5M-300x...#ht_4347wt_996
Power Supply AC to DC12 transformer: http://www.ebay.com/itm/12V-15A-180W...#ht_3983wt_966
DMX Decoder: http://www.ebay.com/itm/DMX-Decoder-...ht_4474wt_1054
And this site is plenty useful, TONS of diagrams. Too bad their pricing is absolutely insane. $150 for a transformer? Uhh... http://store.letsled.com/Articles.asp?ID=262
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Old 04-14-2012, 04:52 PM   #12
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Installing long LED strips of SMD 5050


Already having a DMX512 lighting control system makes things much easier! Those little wireless remotes would not to the job for a system with multiple dimmers. Your general concept looks good. It's important, however, to make sure your equipment is adequately over-rated to provide a margin of safety. Unlike building wiring systems, electronic parts to not factor much of a safety margin into their ratings. Running a 180W power supply at 144W is stressing it a lot. If it's in a hot environment, it may not last long. A cheap switching power supply like that probably shouldn't be run at much more than 2/3 of it's rated output. So you should probably use the next larger supply that's available. The 180W dimmer units may be OK at 144W, but it's hard to say. Ambient temperatures up by the ceiling of a bar may be quite high.
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Old 04-14-2012, 06:23 PM   #13
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Installing long LED strips of SMD 5050


Oh yeah its gonna be an oven up there. Im thinking i mount them to pieces of aluminum and put some sort of fan up there with them. There is like a 3' crawl space above the ceiling where all the wiring is. Ill mount the transformers up there. Im thinking even if its a hundred degrees in the crawl space, if i have a fan directly on the units, they should be ok.

Any thoughts?

As far as the 2/3 yeah i was seeing something along those lines. I think i saw 75% mentioned or something like that. Im not actually going to be using the lights at full power, probably ever so it shouldnt actually draw the 144 ever. Im figuring even if i turn it down just a little bit with the board the wattage will drop dramatically. Hopefully.
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Old 05-11-2012, 08:27 AM   #14
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Installing long LED strips of SMD 5050


So i wired all of the lights up and hooked them up to my DMX controller but it only seems to do RGB, just 3 channels.

Is there a way to use my DMX controller to tell the lights to fade or flash or other macro type shows?
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Old 05-11-2012, 02:37 PM   #15
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Installing long LED strips of SMD 5050


Quote:
Originally Posted by mjkelly93 View Post
So i wired all of the lights up and hooked them up to my DMX controller but it only seems to do RGB, just 3 channels.

Is there a way to use my DMX controller to tell the lights to fade or flash or other macro type shows?
DMX-512 is just a protocol for controlling a dimmer or other device electronically. The three DMX channels simply allow your lighting controller to command the levels of red, green, and blue. How those levels are controlled is entirely up to your lighting controller. If you want to program macros, you need a controller that supports those functions. Not sure what you've got.

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