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Electronics Brighter alternative to WS2812B single LEDs?

Discussion in 'Modding' started by Aterius Gmork, 3 Aug 2020.

  1. Aterius Gmork

    Aterius Gmork smell the ashes

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    Does anyone know of a brighter alternative to WS2812B LEDs?

    I am looking for LEDs that can be controlled using the same micro controller pixel libraries as normal WS2812B LEDs but, well brighter.

    They do NOT need to be soldered up to a LED strip.

    According to google the answer is basically "more LEDs". So I tried an WS2812B LED strip I had laying around, almost 300 LEDs, in five rows right next to each other. Five rows were not much brighter than one row.

    Surely there must be a more efficient alternative space wise. I am also not really keen on soldering 100s of LEDs by hand.
     
  2. Bloody_Pete

    Bloody_Pete Technophile

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    Could you use a constant current LED driver like this? Would allow you to use whatever LED you wanted then, and its not a switching regulator so no PITA circuit design :)
     
  3. Xlog

    Xlog Active Member

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    Whats the end product for it? Do you need single led addressing capabilities?
    If you need white light - there are variants with white LEDs, i.e RBGW SK6812 or WWA WS2812 (white, warm white and amber, especially suited if you want to adjust white temperature) , regular RGB WS2818 are not really intended for white light at full brightness.
    If you don't need to do animations go for regular RGB strip or 20/50W modules and a proper driver.

    Problem with WS2812 and similar is that their efficiency is crap - basically the control IC acts as linear regulator, so they are generating ~twice the heat to the light output of similar leds driven with proper driver. Then you have voltage drop and so on. Oh and they start dying withing a year if driven close to peak brightness and not properly cooled.
     
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  4. Bloody_Pete

    Bloody_Pete Technophile

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    Yeah, all of those LED, especially the ones on strips, will always have rubbish output as they have no cooling. The ones we use as work get mounted to 50mm heatsinks, but then the smallest we use are 3W.
     
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  5. Aterius Gmork

    Aterius Gmork smell the ashes

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    Thanks guys.

    I wanted to integrate LEDs into a few shelves and cabinets for some time now. Two weeks ago I built an ambilight for my TV using a NodeMCU out of boredom. The shelves are on the walls left and right to the TV. Now that I discovered just how much the WLED software on the NodeMCU can do and just how cheap those things are I'd like to be able to control the lights in the shelves as well. Having the colour change throughout the whole room for racing games is awesome. However for something like a light alarm or indirect lighting the little 60mA LEDs are nowhere near bright enough.

    So yes, while "need" is probably a strong word, I'd really like to be able to adress each LED as a pixel.

    The reason I used WS2812B for the TV ambilight was due to price and resolution i.e. the number of pixels per m. The LED strips were surprisingly cheap. They also show mainly colored light. I powered every segment separately, the longest segment being about 1,5m long. Truth be told you can feel the cheapness though. The data line broke by looking at it wrong.

    I don't feel confident using the same LED strips inside furniture. I'd much rather have less but brighter spots I can solder up myself. Something like one spot every 15cm under a diffuser profile. That could also be used to take care of the cooling.

    RGBW seems to be the best option. The WLED protocol can adress them. I don't know which ones to buy though.
     
  6. Xlog

    Xlog Active Member

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    One problem with RGBW (at least ones i've tested) is that blue light also activates white phosphor, its not as bright, but still noticeable if viewed directly and white is still a max 20mA led. Thus the suggestion of adding second WWA strip just for white.

    By "The data line broke by looking at it wrong." you mean that it got out of spec and stopped working or physically? I'm guessing you are using ESP8266 based controller, the problem with it is that its a very limited MCU , with limited ram, single core lowish clock cpu and peripheral used for data is not really suited for it (UART). Then you start thrashing it with hundreds of leds, wifi and so on things stop working. Consider upgrading to ESP32.

    For your application i'd say getting something like philips hue or similar (there is also esp32-meshkit-light based on ESP32) might be a best solution.
     
  7. Aterius Gmork

    Aterius Gmork smell the ashes

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    No, I mean the data line broke when I bent the end a bit for soldering. Maybe I shouldn't have bought the cheapest stuff on amazon that had positive reviews.

    Data wise I am running about 260 leds over Wifi at 30 fps. The chip is fine for that. People have been running twice the number at 60 fps. Although I might get ESP32 boards next time, seeing that the price difference is only an Euro or so per board.

    Maybe I'll have to look into some Hue bulbs or something similar for the RGB light. WLED can integrate them. Then I can just use some warm white LEDs with another Node for the indirect light.

    Researching things a bit more I realize I probably have oversimplified things a little. I thought I could get a few LEDs like these but as RGB(W). They probably don't exist though.
     
    Last edited: 4 Aug 2020
  8. Bloody_Pete

    Bloody_Pete Technophile

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    Those will need cooling FYI
     

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