RGB Christmas Lights

RGB Lighting!

What is RGB?

RGB stands for red, blue and green. Basically, a RGB LED has a red, blue and green LED. These three colors can be mixed to create any color in the rainbow.

WS2811 Smart RGB

Currently all the RGB lights we sell use a WS2811 chip. What this means is that each LED on the strand of lights has a tiny computer chip. This chip allows you to control each individual light on the strand. For example, you could have the first bulb on the strand be red, and the second bulb on the strand green...etc. This allows you the ability to create a truly custom strand of lights. The WS2811 is also referred to as "smart" RGB, meaning that the lights are smart enough to be individual controlled. This is in contrast to "dumb" RGB, which only have the ability to have all the bulbs on the strand be a certain color. The term "pixel" is also used when referring to smart RGB lights.

Different Styles of RGB Lights

We currently sell three different styles of RGB lights. We sell strips, 12mm and C9 RGB lights. All of our lights can be cut to a specific length without any issues. All of our lights are wired in the same fashion. The only difference is how they look when installed.

Controlling Smart RGB Strands

There are certainly plenty of ways to control smart RGB lights! We sell simple controllers where you can control the color of the whole strand as well as play through some pre-set functions. These are fairly straight forward to set up. All of our simple controllers have a video on the product page showing how they can be set up. More advanced users may connect their smart RGB lights to a controller that is connected to a computer. Set ups like this give the use full control of their strands.

12v vs 5v

We sell RGB lighting in both 5 volt and 12 volt. Here are some of the considerations to think about when deciding which voltage to use.

  • Long strings (>50 pixels) are less likely to need power injection if they are driven by 12vdc.
  • Long distances from the controller to the first pixel is easier with 12vdc.
  • 12vdc power supplies are more expensive per Amp then 5vdc power supplies.
  • Some low cost and homemade controllers only work with 5vdc.
  • Some 12vdc pixels use less current then traditional 5vdc pixels.
  • Voltage drop and power injection are important issues for both voltages.
  • 5VDC pixels are more power efficient then 12VDC pixels.
  • 5VDC pixels use less power than 12VDC pixels.
  • Voltage Drop Issues

    RGB strands are NOT like traditional LED light strands in terms of being able to easily hook many strands end to end. As stated before, our RGB strands have a chip that controls each LED. When power is run through the strand, each chip causes some resistance, which in turn causes the voltage level to drop. The more lights you have, the more the voltage drops. At some point (typically around 100 lights) the voltage has decreased to the point where the lights will not work properly. Therefore, in most cases only two strands or strips of RGB lights can be hooked end to end.

    Correcting Voltage Drop (Power Injection)

    As stated above, typically only 100 smart RGB bulbs can be hooked together. This isn't very practical in most displays. The good news is that you can "inject" power allowing you to add more strands/strips on a run. The concept is simple, you attach a power source inline to get the voltage back to an acceptable level. At the end of your 100 light run, wire in a power source straight form a supply. This brings your voltage back up to a usable level. CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT POWER INJECTION

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