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Help with compatibility of lights

Started by Tandtmah, November 14, 2021, 12:53:34 PM

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Newbie here.  A few years ago, I had professionally installed some proprietary lights.  After discovering the world of xLights/pixels/falcon player, I did some research into my lights. 

It looks like these lights were made by iPixel in China.  I sent them an email.  They use a proprietary controller, but there are 3 wires coming from the lights (positive, negative and data).  Their app says these are ws2811  IC, RGB.

I tried jumping the lights to my Kulp K16A-B Board.   When I turned everything on and tried "Display Testing" here were my issues:

1. Display Testing to a solid color (any).  Every 4th light matched the color I chose for testing, all other lights were multi-colors.
2.  Timing of lights worked fine.
3.  One string of lights remained on while the others were off after I turned off the Display Testing.  When I turned Display Testing back on, that string of lights turned off.

Does anyone know what could be wrong?




Look at the other side where the LED's are and see how many there are.  If there are 4 of them, then you have 4 channel lights, R,G,B,W.  Even with 3 LED's, they could still be configured as 4 channel but it is much less likely.  If they are 4 channel nodes, Neither the controllers test feature or color order other than RGB will not work correctly and your testing and configuration will need to be done thru XLights.


The wires look like standard three conductor pixel wire to me, power supply is a MeanWell 12v, the phone app shows ws2811 rgb.  I would be asking this question if I was in your shoes as well. 

Zooming in on the white box looks like white strip is positive, middle is data, black is negative. 

Have you tried just connecting a standard set ws2811 lights into the Kulp?  I would get the Kulp working with a standard string of lights first if you have not already.


The number of wires in this case is meaningless.  The 4th wire in a smart pixel setup is for timing, not a 4th channel.  If he showed us a closeup picture of the front of the pixel, then we would know right away if it was a 4 channel or not.  XLights can work with 4 channel nodes and setting up a test using that configuration would confirm it if all of the nodes stay the same color.


Aren't RGBW technically WS2814s vs WS2811s?  Not suggesting your not asking good questions.


That may be the case but the behavior is acting like trying to drive a 4 channel device with a 3 channel signal.  Since both are part of the WS28XX series, they have similar timing and formatting so a WS2811 signal will light them up, just not the way you would want it to.


Understand that rgbw and rgb uses the same three wires and what the 4th channel is going to do.  Was merely suggesting that his app literally states they are WS2811 RGB lights.  Not suggesting you should consider the cell app gospel, but should assume it is correct until proven differently.  The forth channel could be coming from xlights, or possibly the Kulp controller as well.  That is why I suggested hooking up a standard string of lights to the Kulp.  If a standard string of WS2811 lights were testing good off the Kulp, then you would have more reason to suspect the third party cell application was not telling the entire story.  If a standard string was not working either, then it could be an xlights or Kulp setting.


Thank you for all of the comments so far.  I do have the kulp board working with a mega tree and star.  My xLights sequence includes both the mega tree and the house lights.  As I said, the off/on portion of the sequence works great.  The colors of the house lights are not correct based on the sequence.  I had a thought late last night.  I'm using 18/3 thermostat wire to jump the house lights to the board.  The wire is 50'. I think I'm going to try 12 AWG wire today to see if that fixes the issue.


Quote from: Tandtmah on November 15, 2021, 07:23:43 AMThe colors of the house lights are not correct based on the sequence.
Each light will most likely have 3 or 4 channels.  (R-Red, G-Green, B-Blue) or (R-Red, G-Green, B-Blue, W-White)  With RGB white light is Red, Green, and Blue all on at full power (taking up the most power).  RGBW adds a fourth light White.  With RGBW the white light then only requires one light at full power instead of three.

If you have RGBW instead of RGB each light will take 4 channels instead of 3 channels.  If Xlights is configured RGB and your lights are RGBW, every forth light would produce the correct light, but the ones in between will be off by one channel.  Most likely following the same color pattern.  If that is the case you could probably go into xlights and change the color pattern.  You can burn up pixels if not careful though.  According to Gemstone's website they do use both RGB and RGBW.


Well, here is what I'm experiencing when I'm in fpp and I go into Display Testing -> Solid Color.  I can slide the R, G and B sliders to the right to make white in the fpp app. If I do that, then all of the lights on the house turn white.  If I make any other color (i.e. blue), then only the 4th light turns blue.  The other lights become some other color (pink, yellow, green, etc).

in xlights, I changed the house lights to 3-channel RGB and the lights did not turn on at all.  I've attached a picture of the other side of the lights.  If I'm understanding correctly, these look like they have 3 lights.

I'm going to be running out to buy some 12 AWG wire to see if that fixes my problem.  Thanks for help!


Quote from: Tandtmah on November 15, 2021, 10:55:21 AMWell, here is what I'm experiencing when I'm in fpp and I go into Display Testing -> Solid Color.  I can slide the R, G and B sliders to the right to make white in the fpp app. If I do that, then all of the lights on the house turn white.
That would make sense to me.  If all three RGBs were turned on, all lights would be at full power regardless if the channels were correctly lined up.  Light patterns could be configured in xlights, possibly FPP, and Kulp.  I have some arch lights that use BRG instead of RGB patterns.  They are setup as RGB in xlights, but on the Falcon controller I change the order to BRG.  So xlights sends the light pattern out as RGB, but the Falcon then remaps the order at the controller level and sends BRG to the lights.   I don't have any experience with FPP or Kulp so I am not sure I am going to be any more help.  It could be possible FPP or the Kulp or both could be changing the order.

I agree with tbone321 that it seems like something thinks the lights have 4 channels.


UPDATE:  I called the installer of these lights, and he mentioned that these are RGBW and that they are UCS2904 lights.  I'll make some adjustments and report back.

UPDATE2: Just to close the loop on this, I set the number of groups in fpp equal to the number of pixels, and it appears to be working.  The lights match my sequence now.  I'm not sure if I can get an individual light to turn on with this configuration but for now it is a close match color-wise to my sequence.  Thanks for the advice tbone and JonD, I would not have thought these were RGBW lights.

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