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1. What type of LEDs you can control?

Pixel controller as LED Ethernet Controller 3, LED Ethernet Controller Powered and SPI Matrix are LED controllers to control RGB or RGBW pixels (addressable LEDs). There are many different LED manufacturers, which is a reason why you can find so many different LED strips, LED pixels, LED bars on the market.

1.1. List of supported LED IC types

Each addressable LED pixel has own IC (Integrated Controller) and technical specifications. Our SPI pixel controllers are supporting the most common IC types:

APA
APA102, APA102_DOUBLE, APA102-65536, APA104
WS
WS2801, WS2803, WS2811, WS2811_RGBW, WS2812, WS2813
TM
TM1809, TM1829
SK
SK6812, SK6822
SM
SM16716, SM16726
LPD
LPD6803, LPD8806, LPD1886 8bit
UCS
UCS1903, UCS2903, UCS9812
OTHER
D705, MBI6120, P9883

Hardware and software developers are adding regularly new IC types, each with new firmware and software version. We are very flexible with adding new versions to our software/hardware, so feel free to ask and we will do our best to add this IC type to our list and help you with your project.

List of supported IC

1.2. Clock & Data pinout

Apart from the number of LEDs per meter, different IC, color, and the total length, there is also data & clock input. Each digital (addressable) LED is using something similar to SPI for communication with LEDs and LED controllers.

There are LED Strips which are using 3 pin – Data, GND and Voltage. There are LED strips which have also 4th pin – Clock.

3 pins - ground, data, +5V
4 pins - ground, data, clock, +5V

1.3. Power

There are several different power voltages – 5, 12, 24 V DC. In the case of digital/addressable LEDs, we are using mostly +5V DC. In case you want to buy the right power supply and use the right cables, you have to be familiar with power consumption and voltage drop.

1.3.1. Power consumption 

Generally, we can use a simple formula to calculate power consumption and current, which is also good to check, when you are choosing a power supply.

Actual current can be easily calculated with these formulas:

I [A] = 0.036 [A] (*current of one RGB LED) * number of LEDs
I [A] = 0.048 [A] (* current of one RGBW LED) * number of LEDs

*Note, that current 0.036 / 0.048 is correct in case that we are using the most common IC as SK6812 or WS2812.

LED consumption can be easily calculated with this formula:

P [W] = U [V] * I [A], where U is 5 in case we have 5V DC LED strips

With these simple formula, we are able to easily calculate how many power sources we need for our installation.

An Example

We have 10 meters of 5V DC digital LED strip (IC WS2811) with 60 RGB pixels per meter. If we use the formula above then we can calculate that 10 meters of this LED strip consumes 10 * 60 * 0.036 = 21.6 A, which is 5 * 21.6 = 108 W. It means that we are looking for power supply with 5V, minimum 21.6 A and 108 W.

1.4.1. Signal Cables

Signal cables or signal wires you can use in case of

CABLE TYPE
WHERE TO USE
– FTP Ethernet cable CAT.5E 
1. Computer and LED controller
2. LED controller and another LED controller
3. Switch and LED controller/Computer
– 2/3 core shielded signal cable 
1. LED controller to LED strips 
2. LED strips to other LED strips 

Recommended maximal distance for signal cable is 5m. Only for use in non-heavy EM interfered environment. 

How to increase signal distance?

There are situations where the distance between your pixel controller and LED strips is just too big. There are 2 ways, how you can coop with this:

  1. use shielded signal cables
  2. use signal symmetry – you are able to increase signal up to 100 meters

LED Ethernet Controller 3 / Powered and SPI Matrix are able to generate symmetry signal. Please, note, that you have to use also a device for de-symmetry before you connect signal cables to LED strips. We are recommending to use twisted pair cable for this solution.

 

1.4.2. Power Cables

Here are some recommendations for power cables, based on our experiences and standards:

Power Cable Area
Details
H05V-K 0.5mm2 black + red

5V,12V/24V distribution for short strips (max 5m) for short distance from the power supply (max 2m), also good to trace parallel with strip to decrease the voltage drop in the long strip when the strip is longer (3m+) for currents <5A

H05V-K 1.0 mm2 black + red

5V,12V/24V distribution for strips (max 10m) for short distance from the power supply (max 2.5m), also good to trace parallel with strip to decrease the voltage drop in the long strip when the strip is longer (5m+) for currents <10A

H05V-K 1.5 mm2 black + red

5V,12V/24V distribution for strips (max 15m) for short distances from the power supply (max 3m) for currents <15A

H05V-K 4.0 mm2 black + red

5V,12V/24V distribution for strips (max 40m) for short distances from the power supply (max 4m) for currents <30A

H05V-K 6.0 mm2 black + red

5V,12V/24V distribution for strips (max 60m) for longer distances from the power supply for currents <40A

Good to Know

If you’d like to know more about power cables and how to do the right calculation, please, visit How to calculate power cables for 5V DC LED installation.

1.4.3. Voltage drops 

Technical restrictions of LED strips and power cables have a direct impact on a voltage drop. We are usually talking about cables area, length and LEDs quantity of LED strip. We can recognize a voltage drop if we are losing brightness or color on LEDs.

 

There are several rules you need to keep in mind. However, one key rule to follow for 90% of your LED installations.

 

Do power injection each 4A for 5V addressable LED strips.

 

So, basically, your power injection in case that you are using 5V LED strips will look like this:

Cable area/cross section calculation

 

For good cable area calculation follow this simple rule:

 

1mm2 cable area = 10A in maximal

An example above focus on different cable area for a different part of the LED installation.

2. Example of connections

While working on the LED installation, you have several options on how to connect LED Ethernet Controller 3, LED Ethernet Controller POWERED and SPI Matrix, power supply and LED strip (LED pixels, LED fixtures, etc.) together.

 

LED Strip Studio pixel controllers allow you to use voltage in range 5 to 24 V. Each controller contains several polyfuses, preventing any damage to controllers.
Each SPI output can handle 10 A per channel. Input/power connector can handle 20 A maximal.

2.1. Direct connection

In case of direct connection, the power supply is connected to the LED controller and LED Strips are powered directly from the LED controller, as you can see on the image below.

Example scheme of connection digital LED Strip (+5V, GND, Data), power supply and LED Ethernet Controller 3 (same for SPI Matrix)

Please note, that LED Ethernet Controller 3 and SPI Matrix can let 20 A current thru power connector. You can use the power supply with the current higher than 20A, but it will have no impact on the number of LEDs that can be powered directly from the LED controller. In total, it would be about 550 RGB (270 per output maximal) or 410 RGBW (200 per output maximal) LED pixels.

2.2. Separate power injection

In case you need more power per output than 10A, you can use a separate power supply as on the following scheme.

Example scheme of connection digital LED Strip (+5V, GND, Data), LED Ethernet Controller 3 (same for SPI Matrix) and separate power supplies (power injection)

It’s important to connect only GND and data (clock if available) of the LED strip with the controller’s connector. Don’t connect +5V of LED Strip and +Vcc of the controller because it might activate the polyfuse and disable the signal output.

In case you have LED pixels or LED Strips with clock pin, you can use a scheme below.

For clock, use cable with different color (for example blue). As in the case with data pin only, connect together GND of LED controller and LED pixels. Data and clock connect directly on LED pixels. Make sure that you don’t connect +Vcc and +5/+12V DC together.

 

You can use additional power injection (power supply 3) for your LED strips and pixels.

3. Networking of LED controllers

There are several ways how to connect several LED controllers to the network. You can connect different types of controllers together, even use 3rd party software and LED controllers.

 

All our controllers are working in network with IP address 192.168.1.X. Follow this video tutorial for an easy network setting for your computer.

 

Here is a complex scheme, where you can see several options on how to connect LED controllers together.

 

  1. The standard scheme of LED Ethernet Controllers and LED Strip Studio software
  2. The art-net scheme, where you can use 3rd party Art-net controllers and software
  3. Art-Net to DMX scheme, where you can transform one art-net universe to DMX 512 and controller analog dimmers or other DMX devices
  4. Daisy-chain all LED controllers or use switch/router