LED Strips and how to connect them - 5V, 12V - 3-pin, 4-pin

I am sure this information is somewhere in this forum but I can't find it.

I like to know how to connect the different types of LED strips to the Arduino.

Some time ago I did something with 5V 3-pin elements and I used the Adafruit_NeoPixel library. They had the 3 connectors 5V, GND and Data (in and out).

Now I want to do something with LED strips on my motorcycle and I ordered 12V 5050 strips but I discovered that they have 4 pins (12V, R, G, B).

I wonder if I can use the same NeoPixel library and program or if that only works with the 3-pin strips.

I am looking for an overview page which explains how to connect different types of stripes, maybe different libraries, etc.

If necessary I don't mind buying different strips if i.e. the 3-pin 5V is easier to use than the 4-pin 12V. I just want to know which options exist and how to use them.

Thanks for any information.

They are different, they have no driver whatsoever (hence no data pin). So you need mosfets to drive them (Google is your friend). But note, you can only set the color of the whole strip at once, not per led/pixel. If that's what you want these strips are fine and a heck lot cheaper then Neopixels (common name for addressable led strips).

Another option is a 5volt step-down (buck) converter to power the Arduino and a 5volt addressable strip.
Leo..

This, and subsequent pages, tell you about the strips you have Overview | RGB LED Strips | Adafruit Learning System

I wonder if I can use the same NeoPixel library and program or if that only works with the 3-pin strips

No.

Thanks for all the information.

My first purchase was 5m with 30 LEDs per meter (RGB connectors) for 9.99USD.

Now I just ordered 5*1m with 144 LEDs per meter (3-pin) for 87.15.

Let's look and see...

But what DO you want? Do you need addressable per led for you application?

Thing to notice when using the addressable 5V strip is, you need to make 5V with a large current capacity. 5V strips have triple the current need of a 12V strip. The 1m of 144 addressable leds need 8,6A! Where 1m of 30m normal 12V RGB takes 0,6A :slight_smile:

Or you can use WS2811 based strips and run it on 12V but only address LEDs in groups of three at a time.

Thanks for the concerns.

My idea is to use the LEDs on my new motorcycle (which has anyhow already LED "lamps").
In total I will have probably 2 meter LEDs on that bike which uses max about 90W (according to the website).
Very likely most of the time the LEDs will use a lot less because not all of them are 100% bright all the time.
I want to use the LEDs as indicators, break light, extra high beam, things like that. So I need to be able to address them individually.

I work with electronics and I just finished two quad-copters build from scratch - including LEDs.
And I am a programmer so I should get this done.
Let's look and see.

Edgar1:
I want to use the LEDs as indicators, break light, extra high beam, things like that.

So you don't care about safety or legal requirements.

Wawa:
So you don't care about safety or legal requirements.

Sure I care about them.
And just in case the Thai police does not like what I did then they will charge me 100THB = 3.13 USD

Edgar1:
2 meter LEDs on that bike which uses max about 90W (according to the website).

That is correct. But mind you that is a whopping 18A! 5V converter for 18A is pretty beefy.

Edgar1:
Very likely most of the time the LEDs will use a lot less because not all of them are 100% bright all the time.

That can indeed reduce it. But you have to calculate what you do want to use and be dammnnnnnnnn sure you never accidentally draw more.

Edgar1:
I want to use the LEDs as indicators, break light, extra high beam, things like that. So I need to be able to address them individually.

I doubt that :wink: Unless you want to make some sort of grid and play animations on it. I think you want to control individual clusters which is not the same :wink: You can use 5V addressable pixels (or the 12V adressable segments) for that but isn't to hard with normal strip as well. You just need more drivers (but you can skip the beefy 5V supply).

septillion:
That is correct. But mind you that is a whopping 18A! 5V converter for 18A is pretty beefy.
That can indeed reduce it. But you have to calculate what you do want to use and be dammnnnnnnnn sure you never accidentally draw more.
I doubt that :wink: Unless you want to make some sort of grid and play animations on it. I think you want to control individual clusters which is not the same :wink: You can use 5V addressable pixels (or the 12V adressable segments) for that but isn't to hard with normal strip as well. You just need more drivers (but you can skip the beefy 5V supply).

I have something like a larson scanner and other animations in mind...

About the 18A or whatever I will need at the end:

Currently my idea is that I will have maybe 4 to 6 stripes with each max 50cm.
Probably it's best if I provide them each with their own power and fuse (or maybe one for 1m)
I found these regulators and they look exactly like what I want:

Waterproof DC 12V / 24V To 5V 10A 50W Step Down Converter Regulator Power Module

If you want fancy animations like that then yeah, individual addressable pixels is the way to go.

Those seems to be pretty beefy but also kind of expensive. And I think they will still need some sort of heat sink if you want to use them at higher loads.

And 6 strips of 50cm is more then the 2m you said. That will increase the current to 27A… Also note, you need about 0,25mm2/A cable thickness. So for 27A you need 6,75mm2 at least. Or if you power each section alone at least 1,52. Also don’t forget to add a resistor to the data line to each segment in order to protect them.

If you are realllllly damn sure you never going to turn them all full on you can get away with a smaller supply and thinner cable. But that will need some calculations and you really need to be sure are you will damage stuff.

5v strips are probably addressable, 12v usually aren't.
There's not much logic in using the same code for entirely different hardware.

I will develop and test all this first on the bench and measure how much current it needs max.

About the 18A or 27A or whatever it will be at the end: Those numbers become less scary after playing with racing quads. Those things draw 60A to 100A on 4 cell LiPo batteries. That is pretty scary and there are no fuses for several reasons.

About the wires: I never knew Silicone Wires before I worked with the quads.
They are much more flexible than "normal" wires.
For anybody who never tried them before I can highly recommend them.

Do note not all meters give an accurate reading with PWM. But because PWM works linear for power it's not that hard to calculate. But it's even more easy to screw up during programming and turn them on to much :stuck_out_tongue:

septillion:
Do note not all meters give an accurate reading with PWM. But because PWM works linear for power it's not that hard to calculate. But it's even more easy to screw up during programming and turn them on to much :stuck_out_tongue:

For lots of Amps I will use this (normally used for RC Hobby)

It should be accurate enough.

It should be accurate enough.

I see nothing on the web page to say it will measure AC. I would have expected to see a limit on the maximum AC frequency it can cope with if it were any good. Instead they just say nothing which is worrying. It implies that they don't know or that they do know and wont tell. Either way I would avoid it.

Grumpy_Mike:
I see nothing on the web page to say it will measure AC. I would have expected to see a limit on the maximum AC frequency it can cope with if it were any good. Instead they just say nothing which is worrying. It implies that they don’t know or that they do know and wont tell. Either way I would avoid it.

Thanks for the information. I have this device already. I used it to measure DC current from LiPos to motors in quad copters.
I also have a “traditional” multi-meter but that has max 20A.
I will use both of them and look if they show the same information.