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LED Tape Specific Plug

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by ship, Dec 7, 2017.

  1. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    So TMB uses a 2-pole Speakon plug for their Firefly system. I use 4-Pin Neutrik XLR for most RGB tape with specifically marked cable for its application. That's been fine up to now given scrollers are mostly not used these days, but still it seems at least once a month I have some crew chief asking me if they can use a company inventory scroller cable for some LED tape use a show has.

    Using any form of Color Ram, ChromaQ or in general 4-pin scroller cable for a jumper from power supply is a bad concept in sending voltage thru a normal in all cases for some conductors... 24ga wire.

    No matter how well one might mark a 4-pin XLR cable to be specifically for doing LED tape.... You will fail in use.

    Now designers are wanting the newer RGBA or RGBW Led tape. That means a 5-pin connector, and normal Neutrik 5-pin DMX cable won't take the amperage, much less such male plugs won't take a 18gauge wire as needed at least in some cases. SuperbriteLED's has four node wide LED tape which is awesome in output but you can only run one 16.4' strip per connection. It's a cool thing as with lots of other very high power LED tape even currently out and requiring for jumper cables at least 18ga. RGBA changes that in now needing a 18/5 cable to potentially supply.

    The industry needs to come up with a LED tape 4 and 5-pin plug for a 18ga cable range. Switchcraft has a 16ga Nano Plug on the market but after a week of asking.... gave up in probably not available.

    So If there were a plug - not XLR standard so as to get confused with data cable - and a problem... What for a 4 and 5 pin plug as similar would one want to see? My staff had to grind down some Klien 1/4" magnetic nut drivers today in the outer shell of the nut driver so as to install a lot of 4-40 nuts on PowerCon True 1 panel mount males. Why is the flange of the PowerCon True 1 mounting flange so close to it so any holes in the material to the OD of the panel mount of the plug? Normally 1/2 the dia. of the hole would be a distance from a hole to an edge. Powercon True1 flanges and most Neutrik standard is not that in making it difficult to mount their outlets.

    So for me, in doing a LED tape plug type... a flange one could work with would be good in not having to grind down a tool to make fabrication easier.

    Thoughs on a LED 4 and 5-pin plug design? Perhaps a plug that could plug into either?
     
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  2. Amiers

    Amiers Lighting Phoenix 1 Lamp at a Time

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    If you are looking for the odd ball connector
    https://m.delcity.net/store/5!Way-C...wuL9n7lfMbAZjNOY5hnV5tZ-tYK-CKkRoCtyAQAvD_BwE

    You can’t mistake that for XLR. indoor outdoor connector and flat to boot.

    I’m sure if you ordered from the manufacturer you could get them with desired ends with pig tails so you could solder direct to the tape and connector ready to go.

    Big box store has them a bit pricey but you can use your own wires from the looks of it.
    https://m.lowes.com/pd/Reese-Insta-Plug-Kit-4-Wire-Flat/50437614

    With a bit more digging you could find them on mouser or digikey. But I don’t like digging through their site on my phone. So I’ll leave that one up to you.

    Edit: with the amount of led tape stuff you do you could make that million dollar plug. What comes to mind would be a TRS type connector x 2 housed in a normal xlr connector housing. Think banana plug just smaller pins.

    *shrug* late night napkin sketch kind of night.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017
  3. Harrison Hohnholt

    Harrison Hohnholt Member

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    I have found people using 6-pin xlr for RGBA LED tape. I thought not a bad idea because most Clear-Coms don't have an extension cable, but people might think they could use it as an extension cable.

    I think the biggest issue we run into is everyone likes to do it their way. When I do installs I use 18 AWG ribbon cable and 5-POS phoenix terminal blocks. They are pricey but being able to wire and re-wire with a small screw driver is nice. And if you are only using RGB it doesn't matter that they last POS is open.
     
  4. microstar

    microstar Well-Known Member

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    How about Molex connectors, available in 4 and 5 pin in-line (flat) versions, 14A per pin and will take 18 ga.
    MOLEX-03-06-2055.jpg
     
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  5. porkchop

    porkchop Well-Known Member

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    I use 6 pin for LED applications usually for this exact reason. Most places only have it for RFUs and it's not hard to convince them to keep that separate from their LEDs. There are lots of wasted pins and the 18AWG/7.5A limitation can be inconvenient for distribution, but none of my customers have blown anything up plugging things and throwing 24V at logic devices.
     
  6. Harrison Hohnholt

    Harrison Hohnholt Member

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    Ok so I have a different question. How far are you usually placing the driver from the beginning of the LED tape? I guess also how concerned about using every amp possible are you?

    When we do installs we get the driver as close as possible so voltage drop on the jumper cable isn't really an issue and also lay a good about of extra dimmers compared to the amount of load we are running.

    I have a shop that goes one better and uses Cat5 for their power runs from driver to tape and then beefs up the wire running from the PSU that is remoted to the driver.
     
  7. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Thanks for the replies in perhaps starting a discussion on a common plug for 4 to 5 pin LED tape and other types of LED say commercial fixtures used for our extra hard usage needs. Installs... why not just butt splice for all intensive purposes.

    As a infrequent joke to my staff, I tell them "for this project we are going to be using Cinch Jones." Get them every time in immediate complaints of that plan given almost weekly LED projects. Home depot stuff, molex stuff etc are not robust sufficient to be used years upon years at times on tour one location to another. Nor are they designed to be interconnected constantly in a rugged way. That much less a IP-65 way for getting wet. Phoenix connectors are fine for decoder use - once siliconed in, but become sloppy if removed every night of a tour thus needing a plug in application.

    At times the power supply is located near the tape, at other times the power supply is located 50 or more feet away. I might even be pulling 30 amps (10amp/channel) over a 50' cable for LED tape at times. At this point 10 amps per channel is my max and would probably fight higher in not shortening the power supply distance. My view and buying and now stocking 18/4, 18/5 and 20/5 cable is that’s all I’ll be planning to use. This given the new wishes for RGBA or RGBW LED tape. (Note doing 30A is say "burst mode" normally everything is not at full or 18/4 in use would not be proper.)

    My standard so far for jumper cable as said is 18/4 with 4-pin Neutrik cable well marked for the application and robust for touring. Problem as said is people confuse 4-pin cable for four other separate types of scroller cable in stock - Color Ram (no plug shell drain wire with 16 and 24ga wires), ChromaQ (shell to plug drain wire - same wiring) and color fader (all 24ga wire.) Plus for Color Blast cable that’s 18/3 cable in not using pin 2.

    Given a 6-pin XLR jumper... Neutrik (Keynisis) or Switchcraft (Clear Com) standard and if a 5-pin XLR plug won’t fit a 18ga conductor... why would a 6-pin plug fit a 18ga wire? Yes I stock 6-pin Clear Com jumpers as with the other.

    My research into a plug type last week was on Allied, Mouser, Newark, DigiKey, and McMaster in taking almost a day to research what was available short of going to one of many supplier factories of multi-pin plugs that make them. Than I handed that research off to an assistant so as to duplicate my results. He came up with a Switchcraft product which was not available in a realistic off the shelf way. I wanted something with a other than fine threaded screw connect, and want something commonly available off the shelf as opposed to going to a manufacturer and waiting at best like three months to get product and needing a minium order for them. Sorry in looking for a plug, I’m looking for something that the industry might find in common useful and robust.

    Spent the afternoon in working on this problem again and found two choices that might work. Confounded by my Allied Electronic’s vendor rep not understanding the problem after like 30 minutes on the phone, but she did send the question off to trouble shooters that presented a solution. Wasn’t the proper solution but would work. Basically for what they offered, you had to do the screw shell locking nut on both on the male and female in-line cable side of the connectors of each sex to make it work. Normally the male part has the lock nut - say for a chain hoist motor cable. But better than the Switchcraft plan, off the shelf but in on connector not enough in stock.



    Their part #7014439 series of 5-pin which much like the Switchcraft product mentioned is weird. In this case the nut of the bayonet lug connector is both on the male and female sides of the jumper cable between male and female panel mounts. Normally a screw thread nut is only on the male end, but still it would work. Wire gauge for the pins is 16 which is fine.

    Otherwise a #70013390 series of Din plug might work assuming they would accept 18ga wire. Will see Monday when I see product.

    Anyway, that’s where I am currently headed towards concept, in addition to some form of Neutrik Powercon series new plug invented. I find myself almost weekly into making some next LED special project. I would like now that I’m faced with RGBA and RGBW led tape to standardize the plug I use. That much less Super Bright LED’s four node wide LED tape amongst another company I saw today with a perhaps wider node LED tape strip... yea, at least 18ga wire for jumpers.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2017 at 12:39 AM
  8. Harrison Hohnholt

    Harrison Hohnholt Member

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    I have used the 70013390 din connector before not on LED tape but it is on our uplight as a data/power connection. Idk if I would trust it in a repetitious connect and disconnect environment.

    There is also the industrial direction but I am almost positive these will be cost prohibitive:
    [​IMG]

    https://b2b.harting.com/ebusiness/en_us/Han-Q5-0-M-QL-25mm/09120052633 They can go up to 14 AWG. Allied P/N 70472020 $21.84 for individual orders.

    Really what we need is a connector similar to this made by someone in the industry. That way we can get the specs we need and not the ones we don't. These can handle way more voltage than we will ever need. And that might be an understatement with a 600V rating.
     
  9. Lyle Williams

    Lyle Williams Member

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  10. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @Lyle Williams I used to use these within multi-axis drive racks and Century Strand Canada used to use them to connect dimmer modules into rack wiring in the days when rack doors hinged open like refrigerators and dimmer modules were bolted in place on the back-plane. [The Canadian CPD or M series dimmers and racks come to mind] As a previous poster suggested regarding Molex, they're more suitable for use within rack assemblies. I'm suggesting they're not suitable for the 'rough & tumble' world of connectors for routine, day to day, interfacing of racks to external devices. I suspect Strand / Phillips may still be employing Anderson's blue series modules within CD80 packs [Packs as opposed to racks] to reconfigure between single and three phase operation. Great connectors for the purposes they're designed for. Not, in my opinion, suitable for the rigors faced by external, routinely repetitive, interconnections. From the perspective of limited custom production runs, Anderson's modularity, color coding, easy mechanical crimping options, could not be beat for flexibility and ratings at their price point. You wouldn't confuse these with mil-spec Pyle-Nationals but then they're at radically different price points for seriously different applications. @Ron Foley Would you care to comment on Anderson's connectors for the OP's purposes?
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard.
     
  11. Lyle Williams

    Lyle Williams Member

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    Powerpoles are rated for a similar number (1500) of mating cycles to XLRs.
     
  12. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @Lyle Williams Personally, I don't find fault so much with their mating cycle rating as their cable clamps and ability to hold their adjacent poles securely coupled to one another. When you're handling XLR's you're basically handling cohesive units with integral strain reliefs conveniently capable of gripping multi-conductor cables by their outer jackets. Personally, I found the convenient and excellently rated Powerpoles lacking in this latter regard, basically because it's not the application for which they're designed.
    @derekleffew @porkchop Can you help me explain this better?
    Season's Best.
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard.
     
  13. JonCarter

    JonCarter Active Member

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    Look into Amphenol AN series connectors.
     
  14. Lyle Williams

    Lyle Williams Member

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    I really can't think of anything more horrible.

    So Expensive.

    Needs a very expensive crimp tool.

    If you break one or need another one, nobody in town will have any. Guaranteed, 100%. But someone will say they have one and you'll waste an afternoon picking it up to discover the index key is in the wrong place.
     
  15. Ron Foley

    Ron Foley Member

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    At Strand Canada we used the Anderson connectors for the power/control harness in the MDR dimmers in the 70's
    Load/Line common, control,neutral
    these worked very well in a manufacturing application, they were interlocking , you could change the rotation so the assembly could be keyed ,
    they come in various colors so Load and Line were quickly identified from control.
    there is a crimping tool , or you can solder the pin on before clipping it into the shell.

    Electrol Controls also used Anderson Connectors for the Quad Series dimmers.

    however I would not use them for any application where you need to plug something is quickly , and or blindly as you are faced with in the theater.

    to put them together in an assembly they have a tong and groove , they slide into each other, however after there are three or more it is easy the break them apart by applying side preashre


    the other note

    I have not purchased any of these for 30 plus years, however the other thing to note
    is some contact cleaners would destroy the shell. It came brittle and crumbled in your hand
    (they may be making them from some other material now)
     
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  16. Lyle Williams

    Lyle Williams Member

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    10A per leg and 30A return puts many connectors out of contention.
     
  17. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    I would strongly suggest the Amphenol Ecomate line, they've been around for years and are used in many industrial applications. The threads for connection are very coarse, so it's a quick connection (not a fine thread that requires a lot of turning). I used the 7-pole (6+ground) Ecomate for a custom project I did years ago and they worked great for the job. They've also got versions with an extra long spring strain relief if you're making extensions, especially useful if they're on moving scenery or trusses.
    http://www.amphenol-sine.com/ecomate-connectors
     
  18. Lyle Williams

    Lyle Williams Member

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    I am not saying "gotta be powerpole" by any stretch of the imagination. The starting point for connector choice is that it is suitable for the current draw. 30A is a lot of current. The 6+PE connector has a 21A variant, and I guess you could use two pins/wires for 30A.

    Whatever connector, it has to be something with bigger pins than an XLR3.
     
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  19. EdSavoie

    EdSavoie Well-Known Member

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    As much as molex would be a cheap solution capable of carrying the current, molex may as well just be an even more... Shall we say "undesirable" connector than stagepin in terms of longevity.

    Not to mention molex doesn't have the ground pins be longer than the others, and some LED tapes can fail or go wonky if the see data or power before ground.

    Not to mention if you force the molex backwards and put data on power and power on data...
     
  20. microstar

    microstar Well-Known Member

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    A lot of connectors don't have ground pins longer than the others, the XLR being an example. You can force a lot of connectors to mate backwards if you really want to. One nice thing about the .093 and .062 molex is that the crimp and extraction tools are inexpensive compared to most other crimp-type connectors.
     

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