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FAQ

Frequently asked questions

We already prepared Answers at Frequently Asked Questions of our customers and clients.

In case that you can’t find answer on your question, please, don’t hesitate and contact us.

Why do I need to use LED strips?

Many LED screen guys have asked our company, why do they even need LED strips? Here is the explanation

 

 

Why would you consider using LED strips?

  • You need to turn strange shape like sphere, cylinder or car into LED screen
  • You need to light up huge area, like building, club or shop
  • You don’t have to display information; you just require crazy amazing light effects
  • You need to light up some mobile object or even a human (all those crazy dance robots or Tron dance performances).

Generally, the versatility of using LED strips is just amazing.

What is an Analog LED strip?

Analog RGB LED strip is typically a simple LED strip, which can change color. You can only change the color of Analog LED strip at once (not every LED separately). Usually it’s controlled over DMX and powered using 12 or 25 V power source.

What is an Digital LED strip?

Digital LED strips (or also called video LED strip, pixel LED strip or dream LED strip) is the special kind of LED strips, where you can control every LED separately.

 

In case you tend to use many digital LED strips, you are able to create any shape LED screens, you dreamed of. Below is the nice video explaining the difference between analog and digital LED strips.

 

 

Typically, the digital LED strips use 5V voltage.

How do I control LED strips?

Analog LED strips are typically controlled over DMX. To control digital LED strip you need some SPI (Serial Protocol Interface) output. There are usually Ethernet to SPI, ArtNET to SPI or standalone SPI controllers available.

What’s the LED strip pitch?

Generally, LED strip pitch is the distance between two LEDs measured in mm (millimeters). Pitch is used mostly for LED screens. LED strips have usually defined number of LED pixels per meter.

 

Most common LED strips use 32 LEDs per meter (pitch = 100/32 = 31.25), 42 LEDs/m (pitch = 23.8), 60 LEDs/m (pitch = 16.7) or even 144 LEDs/m (pitch = 6.9).

What is TM1809, WS2811, …?

There are different kinds of digital LED strips. The differ in kind of IC (control chip) used to control the LED pixel color. Most common chips are WS or TM. There are different kinds of WS and TM chips, like WS2801, WS2811, WS2811B, TM1803, TM1809, … All of them can be controlled by using LED Strip Studio products – LEC 3, LEC SPI, LEC Powered and LED Strip Studio Software.

Why don't we recommend to use DMX to control the LEDs?

It’s the fact that DMX is very limited. If you use one DMX universe, you have 512 DMX channels available, which is enough to control only 170 LED RGB pixels (512/3=170).

 

Typically, our installations use 200 and more meters of LED strips. In case you use 32 LEDs/m digital LED strip, you need to control 6400 (200*32) RGB pixels, which is, altogether, 38 DMX universes! Imagine using so many cables and you will definitely go crazy. What a nuthouse to use DMX for digital LED strips. For closer description, please, look below.

 

 

Did you find it? There is one mistake in the video above. One DMX is able to control only 170 LEDs, but the idea is the same – it’s just too complicated (or stupid might be better word).

 

Anyway, if you still need to switch between the animations or change the brightness, you can use DMX to control LED Strip Studio as a software (or standalone controller).

Why don't we recommend to use ArtNET to control the LEDs?

ArtNET is much better to use to control digital LED strips. But still you need to chain the ArtNET universes, somehow to control more than 170 LEDs from one output.

 

It’s both complicated and expensive (you still need lots of ArtNET nodes). To control so many LED pixels, the Ethernet communication of the ArtNET protocol is overload.

 

However, if you still need to switch between the animations or change brightness, you can use ArtNET to control LED Strip Studio in standalone mode.

How do I control digital LED strips via LED Strip Studio Software?

We use our own protocol working over Ethernet. The output for Digital LED strips is SPI (Serial Protocol Interface), which supports all WS and TM Digital LED strip families.

How would I explain LED Strip Studio System to someone in one minute?

LED Strip Studio is a complete system of hardware and software controllers, which allows you to easily play video, text or color effect on any shape LED screen made of digital LED strips (or digital LED pixels).

 

Using the controllers, your hardware installation will get done and the software will allow you to create correct mapping of the picture to LED strip and play different kind of videos on your LED pixels, freely.

How many LEDs (RGB pixels) can I control while using LED Strip Studio?

The answer is unlimited. We have been testing our software to control 200,000 LEDs and it was working just fine. We know, for the LED screen guys 200,000 sounds funny (e.g. one full HD LED screen uses 2,073,600 LEDs), but for LED strips it’s more than 6km! That’s quite an installation.

 

The scalability of the LED Strip Studio is possible thanks to using LED Ethernet controllers. One LED Strip Studio Ethernet controller (LEC 3, LEC SPI, LEC Powered) can control up to 4000 LEDs (8000 LEDs with one additional LSS Distributor card). In case you need more, you can use more LSS Ethernet cards. Below is a nice video about it.

 

How can I calculate number of required power sources?

The calculation seems pretty straightforward. Typical digital LED strip uses about 1.2A per meter. In case you use e.g. 200m of LED strips, you’ll need 166.7A at 5V (about 1000W).

 

We use mainly 150W power sources, which at 5V voltage provide maximal current of 26A. For your 200 meters, you would need 166.7/26 = 7 power sources (round up).

 

Here is a simple calculator you can use:

 

LED Strip amperes per meter [A]: 1,2

Number of LED strips [meters]:  200

Total amperes required [A]: ( 200/1,2 = 166.7 )

Power source amperes [A]: 26

Total required power sources: (166.7 / 26 = 7)

 

Of course, in case you make LED strip installation, you need to calculate maximal current for every power source separately. I think, we’ll have some blog article about the LED strip power source and SPI signal calculations later.