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RGBW LED Tape

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by tdtastic, Aug 20, 2018.

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  1. tdtastic

    tdtastic Member

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    Looking for an RGBW LED tape option that lets me ADD white to a tuned color.

    The ones I have in my kitchen can tune a color OR white but not both at the same time. Is that the way the tape is designed? Or is that a limitation of my controller at home?

    The guy I just spoke with at superbrightleds.com said none of their products can do this which seems untrue to me -- they have too many products for that not to be possible.

    My designer for this show needs to be able to mix a color and ADD white if she wants to. We'll be running them off DMX

    help!
     
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  2. Malabaristo

    Malabaristo Active Member

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    This sounds like a controller limitation to me. When using a generic, 4-channel DMX controller, then white is just another color. If you zoom in on the 2nd photo for this product, for example, you'll see that the tape itself just has five contacts for V+, R, G, B, & W. Apply a constant 12V to any one of those and you'll get that color at full, PWM that 12V signal and it will dim. There's really nothing more to it than that.

    One possible caveat: these cheapo products never really talk about thermal concerns. There's a chance the strip would get too warm if you leave all 4 colors at full for a long time, but that's also heavily affected by mounting and ambient temperature conditions.
     
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  3. tdtastic

    tdtastic Member

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    That's exactly what I was thinking. I called back and talked to someone else and got it clarified. It is in fact a limitation of the MiLight controller that they sell (that's what I have in my disco kitchen at home). I guess the first guy I talked to didn't understand my question.
     
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  4. porkchop

    porkchop Well-Known Member

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    Buy a generic 4 Channel DMX decoder and the programmer on your console can handle it however they wish. FWIW if super bright doesn't have what you want often environmentallights.com is a good choice. They are a bit more entertainment focused so they might be better suited to answer questions like this.
     
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  5. firewater88

    firewater88 Active Member

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    We used LED tape in a recent show for an accent and we used a cheap chinese mover we tore apart as the main controller. We had 3 rolls of tape and the end of the tape was significantly dimmer than the start of the tape. The voltage drop across the line was almost 5v. It had a large enough amperage power supply, but the drop was still there.
    But the controller gave individual control of each color, including white.
     
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  6. dbaxter

    dbaxter Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Don't be afraid to wire your controller to both ends of a long strip. All it needs to be is something like doorbell wire (22-24 Ga. or so) and both ends will be the same brightness.
     
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  7. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Working on a project now with some RGBW tape from a new supplier. Oh' boy did I have notes for the maker!!!

    Superbright doesn't yet sell the quad node, they sell the dual row strip of RGB+W which would be better if you want high output but perhaps not as much for close in nodes or 12mm channel fitting. Need a different wider channel for the Superbright version - believe something like 16mm wide or in just installing two 12mm rows of RGB and White tape next to each other. Lots of channel on the market or aluminum channels in general to install onto. Did a prototype cove light sample a few months back and quad node was not as high output as the Superbright RGB+W. Neither were as bright as USLED Supply RGB high output with Superbright high density white tape laid next to each other. I have not compared high output RGB USLED Supply with high output from Superbright or other brands.

    City Theatrical, GLP and I believe TMB have quad node for starters. GLP and City Thatrical also have RGBWW tape. RGBWW is five node with cool white and warm white. Avoid RGB+W tape from sources like acclaim which is every other node RGB than a white, than back to RGB in line with the same normal spacing = not best light source. Believe City Theatrical is quad node now but initially not - might still be the case to verify.

    Thought in reading your initial post you were looking for a RGBW product where the white is dimmable and also dialed in for color temperature. I am not aware of any such product but the five node GLP and City Theatrical do kind of do this - just in a more limited way than actual color temp. dialing in tape..

    Just worked with both brands of decoder on projects, both are set up for supplying multiple tapes with that many channels for the tape. Or there is the 24way and I saw I think a 35way decoder on the market (forget who from). Such decoders don't care which wire is fed to which tape as long as fed from the same power supply. (Good practice don't mix and match different power supplies with output color channels - you never know how a slightly different output voltage setting for a different power supply might back feed in return.)

    City Theatrical also has LED tape distro blocks which are otherwise a Marathon block/barrier strip for distributing single multiple channels to multiple tapes in the same channel. In this case UUUUUUU bends and stripping of the wire. Pain to do but well worth the effort for the opposing side... UUUUUU on the power in side jumpers of the acrylic hex applied to.

    Ibid on feeding tape from both ends at times. Always check the specification of your tape for how many feet of continuous run fed thru. Three strips of tape fed thru would normally be a little long and you might be damaging the tape or connection. This MFR specification will indicate from a single attachment point how many feet you can feed short of both end feeding or in general running another power cable to the next section. We won't get into power boosters which are useful for digital tape.

    Note dual end feeding is noted to have an expanded effect on EMF sound noise. LED tape produces trauma to sound people and there is no shielding or grounding which will stop it. Experimented a lot on this concept with the electronics engineers. Weird that at some places solutions worked, and at others not. Been over a year with problems of noise without solution. Keep it in mind.

    DC low voltage drop is a thing to design into also for jumpers... My normal jumper is 18/4 I have custom dipped black, but up to 16/7 dependent on the project and jumper length. Specifically 18/4 Chinflex Black Cable 300/500V 80C ORF1804 - with other cable sizes available. Been using it for 11 years now in having it dipped black, and never seen a problem or repair for it. I recommend this for LED Jumpers. It and the 20ga versions can also directly solder to LED pads. On the above RGBW project, I'm attaching the 20/5 version directly to the LED tape. Jumpers are 18/5 @ 15'.

    I use solid 20ga wire for interconnection wiring. Easier to solder to nodes and more stable for short jumpers. Made a set of specific bending jigs for the solid wire so I get correct length for wire & strip length.

    5Amps at 12v is more loading on a cable than 24v on a channel. (This much less for LED tape connections.) A per channel 5A go for 24v where possible. 5A at 24v given 18ga cable at 15' is also by far different than 5A at 12v at 75'. Stuff to keep in mind.
     

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    Last edited: Aug 23, 2018
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  8. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Some really useful stuff I found for world tour LED PSU's McMaster Carr 19155K16 and 1976K56. Given auto sensing voltage PSU's, and indicator lights on the low voltage side... major issue has always been fan voltage and thermal switch to turn on the fan. In the past I powered up the fan by way of transformer - that's a mistake unless the switch for the rack fan is much lower than that internal for the PSU in shutting down. This line voltage version will work no matter thin PSU in helping prevent it from switching off.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2018
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