Ambilight not powering up

Hello everyone :slight_smile:

I read a lot on google, but I still can’t find the right anwser to my problem.
As a background:
I ordered an ambilight set which comes with a preconfigured arduino.
When I plugged everything in, the LED Strip blinked for a couple of seconds.
But not all of them.

So I started to investigate further, after the steps provided by the seller didn’t work.
I tried configuring everything with ambibox but couldnt get it to work.
At first when I chose static background, only 1/4 of all LEDs were working.
Now, not even one works anymore.

So I tried to investiagte furhter and openend the case, there was an Arduino.
I started to test the Arduino with the example programs from the IDE.
Was working perfectly eg. the Blink onboard LED test.

Still, I cant light my LED’s up. Not even one of them.
I guess something has to be wrong with the hardware, as no analog or digital pin is used.
How can this be? The cable just says data, but actually enters at the power supply. Please see pictures.
On one picture you can seee all the cables so here a little description:

1 Power supply coming from electricity wallmount to a splitter where the end and the start of the LED strip are connected. 1 male cable called “data” is going back to the Arduino and is plugged in at the power supply. 1 USB cable into the arduino and plugged in to my computer. Strangely, the USB provides the power and not the power supply from the LED Stripe.
I just find it strange, that there are no connection from pins, as every tutorial out there has that.

I really dont know, what I am doing wrong.
You can see the whole hardware configuration in the attached pictures.
Here is the link I bought it from:

Please dont judge I’m a poor student who wanted to have a holiday project :slight_smile: I study Business Information Technology, so I should be able to understand the sketches.

Thank you very much for your reply in advance and happy holidays :slight_smile:

photo_2019-12-24_18-30-07.jpg

photo_2019-12-24_18-31-05.jpg

photo_2019-12-24_18-31-42.jpg

Beats me!


I think you need to de-clutter your arrangement and show us clearly the point at which the cables terminate on the LED strips.

Also, you need to take the pictures in bright daylight (unless you have photographic studio lighting available).

soltox:
Hello everyone :slight_smile:
So I started to investigate further, after the steps provided by the seller didn't work.
I tried configuring everything with ambibox but couldnt get it to work.
At first when I chose static background, only 1/4 of all LEDs were working.
Now, not even one works anymore.

So I tried to investiagte furhter and openend the case, there was an Arduino.
I started to test the Arduino with the example programs from the IDE.
Was working perfectly eg. the Blink onboard LED test.

Still, I cant light my LED's up. Not even one of them.
I guess something has to be wrong with the hardware, as no analog or digital pin is used.
How can this be? The cable just says data, but actually enters at the power supply. Please see pictures.
On one picture you can seee all the cables so here a little description:

Well, let's start with the bad news. Since you ran the blink program, you have bricked the Ambilight software. Throw away the instructions- you will never get that back.

By the way, the instructions you received are about as good as Banggood or AliExpress gets. Never expect a working, plug and play experience from either of them.

Now, the good news. Running the LED strips from the Arduino is fairly easy and in doing so you will learn a lot.

If you don't have a DVM, get one. You are going to need it. Amazon has one for $11. If you can afford it get an auto-scaling DVM, but the $11 one will work for you.

You need to examine the box and determine what pin the data connection is on. This is where you need the DVM. You may be able to remove the Uno from the box (unplug everything) and see if there is a wire soldered from the connector to a data pin on the Arduino. I would not be surprised if they cut the power trace on the PCB and ran a small wire to a data pin. If not, then I am genuinely puzzled. Maybe take a close-up photo of the backside of the Uno. On the power question, it's normal for the LEDs and the Arduino to be powered separately.

Next, look carefully at the LED strip, or the reel it came on. We need to know what the LED driver chip is on the strip. If it looks like this, see if you can determine what is printed on the little black chip. We're looking for something like WS2811. It could be something else but the WS series seems to be pretty common. But don't worry if you can't determine the controller type- we can do some experiments to figure that out. Write back when you have these details and we can direct you to what to do next.

WS2811_RGB_LED-Strip.jpg

WS2811_RGB_LED-Strip.jpg

Hello, first off thank you so much for your help and your detailed anwser:)

I knew, that I would overwrite the software with the blink program, but since its not working I wanted to try it myself.
I already have a DVM and figured out that the datapin is 8. You can also see that on the picture as it is the only welding. I didn’t think about running the cable under the arduino and between the case. Now it makes sense how the arduino gets its data.

I couldnt find something on the LED but aliexpress says its a WS2812B LED Strip 5050 RGB.
Also attached an image.

I uploaded some more pictures to get clarification.

Again, thank you very much for your reply. It also helps me to learn something

photo_2019-12-25_08-33-54.jpg

photo_2019-12-25_08-34-48.jpg

photo_2019-12-25_08-34-52.jpg

photo_2019-12-25_08-44-50.jpg

photo_2019-12-25_08-44-53.jpg

Note that in the English language, the term is "soldering", not "welding". :grinning:

OK, we now discern that as Steve has suggested:

SteveMann:
I would not be surprised if they cut the power trace on the PCB and ran a small wire to a data pin. If not, then I am genuinely puzzled. Maybe take a close-up photo of the backside of the UNO.

It would appear they have done exactly that although curiously, they have not removed the "M7" diode which would be the obvious way.

Please show the back side of the UNO as a full-frame close-up image of only the UNO board as you showed the front - you will need to dismount it from the case. We will want to check to which pin the "barrel jack" has been jumpered. Since the "barrel jack" is pretty useless anyway, this is a somewhat clever application. :sunglasses:

Thank you for the correction :slight_smile: Welding is the other thing.

Ill send the pics tomorrow. I hope I can remove it from the case. I think its glued or smth :confused:

Thank you again for all the help

Hello again :slight_smile:

Hope you spent a nice christmas and if you dont celebrate that just nice holidays.
I made a picture from the backside.
The arduino was fixed with screws in the case.

So if I understand correctly, we can use data pin 8 to transmit our desired data to the led strip?

Thank you for your help

soltox:
The Arduino was fixed with screws in the case.

As it should be!
photo_2019-12-26_14-24-20.jpg
Precisely as Steve suggested!

SteveMann:
You may be able to remove the Uno from the box (unplug everything) and see if there is a wire soldered from the connector to a data pin on the Arduino. I would not be surprised if they cut the power trace on the PCB and ran a small wire to a data pin.

It would have been just as easy to remove the "M7" diode. They have used a nice sturdy piece of insulated wire at least, and done a good soldering job.

And yes, it is pin 8 on the Arduino. Time to try some code on that pin. You do have a digital multimeter, do you not? Check that the wiring connection from the connector to the input pin of the LED strip(s) is OK and not shorted to ground (or 5 V). You may have to temporarily uncover the connections on the strip.

Paul__B:
As it should be!
photo_2019-12-26_14-24-20.jpg
Precisely as Steve suggested!It would have been just as easy to remove the "M7" diode. They have used a nice sturdy piece of insulated wire at least, and done a good soldering job.

And yes, it is pin 8 on the Arduino. Time to try some code on that pin. You do have a digital multimeter, do you not? Check that the wiring connection from the connector to the input pin of the LED strip(s) is OK and not shorted to ground (or 5 V). You may have to temporarily uncover the connections on the strip.

Hello and thank you for your help :slight_smile:

So with the multimeter I checked the voltage from the led strip to the connector at the arduino and got voltage. Both "power" and "data".

So there is definetly something happening there.

So hey guys I sat down once more and tried to do some work on my own.
I tested everything with the multimeter again. Everything seems to be powered.

Neverthless I think I know now what the error is.
The problem is simply on the Arduino. While researching I found out, that these are not real WS2812B.
They seem some kind of fake.
When I run a sketch, I can see the arduino blinking and working. So the sketch uploads correctly.
But somehow I didn't find a sketch to really adress these LED's because they're fake..
And I guess that the only ones who know how to adress these are sitting in china...

Hmmm. Surely they could not practically sell them if they never worked. Perhaps try coding for the alternative types of LED in the fastled configuration.

soltox:
So with the multimeter I checked the voltage from the led strip to the connector at the arduino and got voltage. Both "power" and "data".

Not quite sure from that description, what you actually tested. :roll_eyes:

Paul__B:
Hmmm. Surely they could not practically sell them if they never worked. Perhaps try coding for the alternative types of LED in the fastled configuration.
Not quite sure from that description, what you actually tested. :roll_eyes:

Okay sorry, I have to clarify. I checked the connection from the connector of the arduino to the input pin of the LED's

And made sure it was not shorted.

Yes, I checked with that tutorial

soltox:
So hey guys I sat down once more and tried to do some work on my own.
I tested everything with the multimeter again. Everything seems to be powered.

Neverthless I think I know now what the error is.
The problem is simply on the Arduino. While researching I found out, that these are not real WS2812B.
They seem some kind of fake.
When I run a sketch, I can see the arduino blinking and working. So the sketch uploads correctly.
But somehow I didn't find a sketch to really adress these LED's because they're fake..
And I guess that the only ones who know how to adress these are sitting in china...

What do you mean that "these are not real WS2812B"? If the controller chip on the LEDs is a WS2812, then it's a WS2812 strip. Different manufacturers may use different LEDs, some use one LED per WS2812 chip, others have 4 LEDs per WS2812 chip.

Here is a video you should watch. Stop watching at 5:00 minutes. This really should have been two videos.

SteveMann:
If the controller chip on the LEDs is a WS2812, then it’s a WS2812 strip.

I absouetly agree with that.But I dont think, that it is such a chip. These chips come from a manufacturer. So everybody knows how to control them with an arduino. But I think my chips are not coming from that manufacturer. Rather there are somewhere from china and need a special library to control.

About the video… I already tried that and its not working. I guess thats because my soldering connection on the arduino is different as you can see in the picture.

Edit: Accordint to manufacturer its a ws2812

Strangely enough, one green led just powered up out of nowhere

soltox:
I absouetly agree with that.But I dont think, that it is such a chip. These chips come from a manufacturer. So everybody knows how to control them with an arduino. But I think my chips are not coming from that manufacturer. Rather there are somewhere from china and need a special library to control.

About the video… I already tried that and its not working. I guess thats because my soldering connection on the arduino is different as you can see in the picture.

Edit: Accordint to manufacturer its a ws2812

Hate to burst your bubble, but all RGB LED strips come from China. Get used to it.

If you downloaded the sketch in the video, did you change the pin number from 7 to 8, and the NUM_LEDS to match your strips LED count? In fact, post the sketch you are running on the Arduino. (Use the <> code tags).

If it works but the colors are wrong, try changing the color order from GRB to RGB in the line that starts with “FastLED.addLeds”.

SteveMann:
Hate to burst your bubble, but all RGB LED strips come from China. Get used to it.

If you downloaded the sketch in the video, did you change the pin number from 7 to 8, and the NUM_LEDS to match your strips LED count? In fact, post the sketch you are running on the Arduino. (Use the <> code tags).

If it works but the colors are wrong, try changing the color order from GRB to RGB in the line that starts with “FastLED.addLeds”.

Hello and thank you for the help.
I meant, that the Strips sometimes have the model on them but I guess that’s not a standard then.
I already tried some exampole codes from the IDE itself and tried from the video.
Here is the code:

#include <FastLED.h>
#define LED_PIN     8
#define NUM_LEDS    192
CRGB leds[NUM_LEDS];
void setup() {
 FastLED.addLeds<WS2812, LED_PIN, GRB>(leds, NUM_LEDS);
}
void loop() {
 for (int i = 0; i <= 19; i++) {
   leds[i] = CRGB ( 0, 0, 255);
   FastLED.show();
   delay(40);
 }
 for (int i = 19; i >= 0; i--) {
   leds[i] = CRGB ( 255, 0, 0);
   FastLED.show();
   delay(40);
 }
}

It also loads the sketch successfully to the arduino as I can see LED’s on the arduino itself. But nothing happens with the strip. Just stays turned off.

Are you sure that you have power to the LEDS and that the power supply ground is also connected to the Arduino ground?