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Max Distance

Started by deanathpc, September 18, 2022, 03:02:32 PM

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deanathpc

What is the max distance of wire from the controller to the prop?  Seems with extended lengths of wire the signal doesn't get to where it needs to go.  When do we need to start using an F-Amp (or whatever is better)?
------------------
Dean

Stafford, NY
FPP, F16v2R's, SanDevice, LE's, xLights

JonD

#1
That would vary in every situation.  The type of lights that you are using, 5v vs 12v, the type of cable, how many lights you have on the cable and etc.. 

In general 15-20 ft no problem, 30-35ft should be okay in most situations, 40-45ft starts into grey territory.  I have several locations running 12v pixels over 50 feet from the controller with no issues.  I bought a bunch of f-amps when I first started and have not needed to use one yet.  I think they are needed more often if you run a lot of pixels off of one port.  I personally like to keep my pixel count under 170 nodes and have never needed one.

Quote from: deanathpc on September 18, 2022, 03:02:32 PMWhen do we need to start using an F-Amp (or whatever is better)?
Basically when the lights are not playing correctly. 

deanathpc

Quote from: JonD on September 18, 2022, 03:43:50 PMThat would vary in every situation.  The type of lights that you are using, 5v vs 12v, the type of cable, how many lights you have on the cable and etc.. 

In general 15-20 ft no problem, 30-35ft should be okay in most situations, 40-45ft starts into grey territory.  I have several locations running 12v pixels over 50 feet from the controller with no issues.  I bought a bunch of f-amps when I first started and have not needed to use one yet.  I think they are needed more often if you run a lot of pixels off of one port.  I personally only like to keep my pixel count under 170 nodes and have never needed one.

Quote from: deanathpc on September 18, 2022, 03:02:32 PMWhen do we need to start using an F-Amp (or whatever is better)?
Basically when the lights are not playing correctly. 
O.K. that does answer my question.  I run at least 18 gauge wire for supply / data lines.  The first time I noticed an issue was at a high count of 12 VDC pixel (I only run 12 VDC pixels).  324 pixels with an unknown distance of wire (It was one I had laying around so I re-used it for testing).  Pixels did not like that.  Cut the cable down to about 20 feet or so and everything worked well.  Even without power injection.

I will be mindful of pixel count and distance and do lots of testing before the show.  Thanks!

------------------
Dean

Stafford, NY
FPP, F16v2R's, SanDevice, LE's, xLights

fauxton

Often overlooked is the voltage drop imparted on the ground wire by the current drawn by the LEDs.  This skews the ground reference of the chip inside the light and makes it even less able to read the data, even if the "edges of the signal look clean".  The heavier the ground wire the better.  Also, for long runs it helps to keep the data wire around 20-22 AWG.  Larger wire has a negative effect on the high speed signal for several reasons.
I am building pixel interface capes for BBB - http://www.ledpixeldriver.com

JonB256

No F-Amp handy? Use CAT5e wire. I've gone 45ft to a medium power element. I put V+ on Solid Blue/Green/Brown, then V- on the White wires.  Data goes on the Solid orange wire.

Since I have a ferrule crimper, that's how I combine the wires. I don't like putting soldered wires into screw down connectors.
Long time Falcon, FPP and xLights user

JonD

#5
Using 18 gauge wire is recommend.  If the wire is too big you start having issues with data transfer, too small you start having power issues.  Cat5e cable can run different sizes, but is often 24-26 gauge wire which would be pretty small. 

deanathpc

Interesting.  I've looked at my current cable and it's a 16 gauge wire.  So maybe that is my problem.  I was doing higher gauge wire mainly for power.  I have lots of cat5e cable around but figured it was too small of wire to do much with.  Maybe I'll reconsider it's use and do some testing.  Thanks!
------------------
Dean

Stafford, NY
FPP, F16v2R's, SanDevice, LE's, xLights

fauxton

I sell a custom cable that has two (one red one black) 14AWG power wires and two (one white one blue) 20AWG data wires inside a black jacket if that is of use to any forum members.  It's pretty ideal for getting the most out of the standard signal.  I'm working on adding it to my site.
I am building pixel interface capes for BBB - http://www.ledpixeldriver.com

deanathpc

Quote from: fauxton on September 20, 2022, 02:22:13 PMI sell a custom cable that has two (one red one black) 14AWG power wires and two (one white one blue) 20AWG data wires inside a black jacket if that is of use to any forum members.  It's pretty ideal for getting the most out of the standard signal.  I'm working on adding it to my site.

Interesting concept.  Looking forward to seeing the cost of this item.
------------------
Dean

Stafford, NY
FPP, F16v2R's, SanDevice, LE's, xLights

fauxton

Quote from: deanathpc on September 21, 2022, 09:29:41 AM
Quote from: fauxton on September 20, 2022, 02:22:13 PMI sell a custom cable that has two (one red one black) 14AWG power wires and two (one white one blue) 20AWG data wires inside a black jacket if that is of use to any forum members.  It's pretty ideal for getting the most out of the standard signal.  I'm working on adding it to my site.

Interesting concept.  Looking forward to seeing the cost of this item

One of my customers had this cable custom made for RS485 communication along with power but it turns out it's great for the LED data!  It's not the cheapest thing in the world but I have not seen anything else like it.  It's 105c rated so good for 30A.  I can sell it for $3.49 /foot

I run 40 feet with about 15 amps worth of pixels on the end when testing my capes.
I am building pixel interface capes for BBB - http://www.ledpixeldriver.com

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