Updated Wiring Pro tips (markdown)

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Steve Pomeroy 2020-10-02 11:40:40 -04:00
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@ -18,6 +18,8 @@ In most circumstances, it's best to power your LED strip directly from the power
With the current limiting feature turned on and for small setups, you can power the LED strip directly through the USB port of D1 mini or similar board. That is, power comes in to the control board through the USB port and out to a 5V pin. Each board will be a little different, so it may be wise to look around for advice about a specific board. You want to ensure that there are no voltage regulators, diodes, or other components between the 5V pin and the USB port input. You also want to ensure that any PCB traces are big enough that they don't heat up with increased current. Never try to draw more than 1A through a board's USB port like this; the boards really aren't designed for large amounts of current to flow through them.
When using this technique, make sure to add strain relief to your wires so that they don't flex and break. The easiest way to do this is to cover the whole thing in hot glue. When in doubt, add more hot glue.
# Medium Setups (30-300 RGB LEDs)
For a medium-sized setup of 30-300 LEDs, you should find a power supply that can provide enough current (see the link above) and make sure to power the strip directly. For setups with more than 150 LEDs, you should consider power injection. Power injection is where you connect multiple wires from your power supply to the strip in multiple places, usually once at the beginning and once at the end. This is needed because the LED strips can only pass a small amount of current through them and you need to ensure that all your LEDs get fed enough power. If your LEDs are dim at one end of the strip or you're losing your blues, you should add power injection.
@ -42,10 +44,24 @@ To wire in an inline fuse, trim back the positive wire (not ground) of your powe
The more power you're working with, the more you need to be careful about your wiring. If you're using a 150W or higher power supply or multiple power supplies, check out these tips:
* if using stranded wire and screw terminals, all your wire → terminal connections should be terminated with a wire ferrule. This is because stranded wires can splay and lose tension over time, creating a weaker connection that could lead to sparking. The same is true for tinned stranded wires: the solder can deform and cause a weaker connection. The ferrule will also prevent stray strands from getting loose and causing a short.
* Always check wire gauge + amp ratings and make sure to overcompensate by 2-3×
## Wire ferrules
If you're using stranded wire and screw terminals, all your wire → terminal connections should be terminated with a wire ferrule of the appropriate wire gauge.
This is because stranded wires can splay and lose tension over time, creating a weaker connection that could lead to sparking. The same is true for tinned stranded wires: the solder can deform (especially if it's heated), loosening the screw terminal, and cause a weaker electrical connection or complete failure. Untinned stranded wire in a screw terminal actually creates a better connection than tinned stranded wire, so don't tin them if you don't have ferrules. The ferrule will also prevent stray strands from getting loose and causing a short.
Shrouded wire ferrules also act as strain relief, minimizing mechanical damage if the wire moves at all. This is especially important for any installations that are mobile, could experience vibrations, or are installed/removed seasonally.
## Multiple power supplies
When doing power injection with multiple power supplies never mix two power supplies on the same LED strip.
The "why" of this rule is exceptionally complicated, unfortunately: this is because multiple power supplies could have different positive voltages (e.g. 12.1V and 12.3V) or even different ground planes, and mixing the two could cause power to flow in ways that could be dangerous to your equipment. Power supplies generally don't like to be directly connected to other power supplies unless they are explicitly designed for that purpose.
## Even more tips
* Always check [wire gauge + amp ratings](https://www.powerstream.com/Wire_Size.htm) and make sure to overcompensate by 2-3×
* more, lower-current wires are better than fewer, higher-current wires
* Ensure that all strips are fused just above their max current. Fuses should be located as close to the power supply as possible.
* Make sure all distribution wires are neat, tidy, and mounted to a structure. If it needs to be loose to bridge an air gap, minimize the amount of dangling wire as much as possible. This ensures that if you were to have a wire become disconnected, it'll be easy to see where it is.
* When doing power injection with multiple power supplies never mix two power supplies on the same LED strip. The "why" of this rule is exceptionally complicated, unfortunately: this is because multiple power supplies could have different positive voltages (e.g. 12.1V and 12.3V) or even different ground planes, and mixing the two could cause power to flow in ways that could be dangerous to your equipment. Power supplies generally don't like to be directly connected to other power supplies unless they are explicitly designed for that purpose.
* Did you add fuses? Add fuses. Seriously.