High current through micro-USB connectors for lighting application

Hello,

I am currently designing a lighting decoration using WS2812B LED strips. Ultimately, I plan on using at least 300 of those LEDs.

Now, for such an amount of LED I will have around 300*60mA = 18A flowing through the system when the LEDs are at full brightness. At some places along the LED strip I was thinking of using micro-USB connectors to link various chains of LEDs. I wanted micro-USB because of its small size.

Thus my question:
Will the micro-USB connectors (male and female) survive this much current ? Is there any risk to use this type of connectors ? (No cables would be involved. The connectors would be directly soldered on a small PCB right after an LED.)

Otherwise I am open to suggestions to connect several strips in series with that much current and with small connectors.

Thanks :smiley: ,

Oya

Micro USB and 18 Amps? Take cover! It will blow. Micro contacts are used to charge various devices and as faar as I know 3 Amps is the highet a have seen.
You need to gain knowledge about electricity, currents ets.

No. Also, micro USB connectors are not trivial to solder for a beginner.

Use something made for the task, like bullet connectors, XT30 or T-Plugs.

But you will have to feed in Gnd and 5V at multiple points anyways

Railroader:
You need to gain knowledge about electricity, currents ets.

I mean, that's why I'm asking the question...

couka:
Use something made for the task, like bullet connectors, XT30 or T-Plugs.

Thanks for the recommandation, I'll look into this !

I have an intsllation using 432 of those LEDs. My calculations of the current come out about the same as yours. (18A) The FastLED library makes its own calculation which comes out much lower, like 1.8A

Reality is somewhere between those two. I have an 8A power supply. If I kick all the LEDs to maximum-white then it clicks off. If I use anything less than max, it is fine.

Measuring voltage drop along the string does not show the drop off I was expecting for 18A.

So I don't know what the LEDs really use. Closer to 8 than 18. If you had 3 or 4 power connectors along the string then micro-USB could handle it.

Designing for worst case cost but it always work. Having an average that fulfills the specs will not give a long life for the equipment. Choose the level of safety You want to have.

With WSxxx LEDs, I assume you’re pushing 5V up the string…
5 x 3 = 15W. Try holding a 15W resistor when it’s loaded up!

Micro-USB may handle 3A, but i’d be planning (long?) term installation at <1.5A continuous per connector.
Once you factor in wear, age-corrosion, loose connections etc the alternative will be warm or melted connectors, and later… possibly fire.

I know this is worst case outlook, if it’s just two weeks of Christmas lights - OK, but in a public, inaccessible installation running for lengthy periods - do it properly with distributed, rated connectors & fuses.

x-USB isn’t a power connector, it’s designed for data with low-power ‘available’.

MorganS:
I have an intsllation using 432 of those LEDs. My calculations of the current come out about the same as yours. (18A) The FastLED library makes its own calculation which comes out much lower, like 1.8A

Reality is somewhere between those two. I have an 8A power supply. If I kick all the LEDs to maximum-white then it clicks off. If I use anything less than max, it is fine.

Measuring voltage drop along the string does not show the drop off I was expecting for 18A.

So I don’t know what the LEDs really use. Closer to 8 than 18. If you had 3 or 4 power connectors along the string then micro-USB could handle it.

Yeah that’s what I was wondering. Because I was also looking at those nanoleafs panels (the triangle ones). The company seems to say that up to 30 panels could be linked together and they seem to use 18 of those RGB LEDs per triangle. Thus a grand total of more than 30A at full power with a similar calculation so I guess they dimm them and/or consume less.

Nevertheless, the amperage must be significant but their connectors seem super basic. But I guess micro-USB pins are just too small for this application.

lastchancename:
With WSxxx LEDs, I assume you’re pushing 5V up the string…
5 x 3 = 15W. Try holding a 15W resistor when it’s loaded up!

Micro-USB may handle 3A, but i’d be planning (long?) term installation at <1.5A continuous per connector.
Once you factor in wear, age-corrosion, loose connections etc the alternative will be warm or melted connectors, and later… possibly fire.

I know this is worst case outlook, if it’s just two weeks of Christmas lights - OK, but in a public, inaccessible installation running for lengthy periods - do it properly with distributed, rated connectors & fuses.

x-USB isn’t a power connector, it’s designed for data with low-power ‘available’.

Thank you for these remarks I’ll keep them in mind. I think I’ll look for something other than micro-USB to be safe.

Also, the copper traces on the led strips won’t handle 18A, either. One needs some clever wiring to get 300+ of those LEDs working.

Oyapok:
I am currently designing a lighting decoration using WS2812B LED strips. Ultimately, I plan on using at least 300 of those LEDs.

OK, now I do hope you do not remotely imagine you can just feed the current in at one end and chain all the strips one after the other from there?

At full white, the LEDs consume 60 mA each. Ten of them, 600 mA and 30, 1.8 Amp.

So basically you need a power feed cable rated for that 20 Amps, running along beside the strips and connecting into the strips every 30 LEDs - that is, at 11 points. At each point it connects in, it feeds power both back and forward along the strips; each 30 LED piece is powered from both ends, there is no break of the power connections in the strip.

And I should not need to say that when I refer to a power feed cable, that obviously means 5 V and ground. It may be appropriate to locate the power supply at the midpoint of that cable and the strips.

westfw:
Also, the copper traces on the led strips won’t handle 18A, either. One needs some clever wiring to get 300+ of those LEDs working.

My thoughts also, but they do come in strips of 300 LEDs (I got 5m of 60LED/m) or even more (144LED/m) ! And it doesn't seem to cause problems (except adding connections to the power line along the way every couple of meters to avoid dimmer lights at the end).

That's why I was wondering if there were really 18 amps flowing through. I guess it's not really expected for someone to use those LEDs to simply create white light at full power since it would be simpler to use a basic white strip (which is not my case, I just wanted to dimension the system to survive this case juste in case)...

I can imagine that really only half or even less current is necessary thus the 8A power supply used by MorganS.

Paul__B:
OK, now I do hope you do not remotely imagine you can just feed the current in at one end and chain all the strips one after the other from there?

At full white, the LEDs consume 60 mA each. Ten of them, 600 mA and 30, 1.8 Amp.

So basically you need a power feed cable rated for that 20 Amps, running along beside the strips and connecting into the strips every 30 LEDs - that is, at 11 points. At each point it connects in, it feeds power both back and forward along the strips; each 30 LED piece is powered from both ends, there is no break of the power connections in the strip.

And I should not need to say that when I refer to a power feed cable, that obviously means 5 V and ground. It may be appropriate to locate the power supply at the midpoint of that cable and the strips.

Chill man, I'm not planning on using my LED in white at full power. I just wanted to design for worst case scenario.

I'm taking the inspiration from this guy who used 256 leds basically in series (while feeding power from both ends but not in between). I'll juste code it so that the LEDs can't go full white at 100% brightness...

All I wanted to know is what small connectors could survive several amps for extended periods of time. I guess not micro-USB...