Can someone explain LED RGBW lighting to me?

This is long term, but I am wanting to add LED RGBW light strips, but I want long lengths.

I want to add RGBW strips to the undersides of my soffits.

I have seen videos of various brand strips that it seems are tied together, so say 2 16ft strips are coupled to make a single 32 footer.

I don't have a huge house, but a total of 4 32footers would cover everywhere I want outside. Soffits on both sides, and across the front of the house. One more would cover the back of the house.

So what strips would do that, and what controllers would I be able to do that, and how would I weatherproof them / route power?

Running long strands of LED lights gets tricky do to power drain causing brightness changes the further from the power source and even some color variation. It would be best to use multiple controllers with multiple power supplies however you may have challenges syncing the strips. Are you looking for individually addressable LED strips where you can have them play patterns for Christmas lighting? If so you may need to look at some designed specifically for that even though you likely won't have or will hav minimal control over them from HE.

I'm looking for ambient lighting that I can change color in particular zones. So rotating Red / White / Blue for summer / July 4th season, Hopefully some sort of blend to get Orange for Halloween, Rotating red and green for Christmas and so on...

I've seen signal amplifiers, and like I said, most of the kits I have seen seem to have a 32' max. So I am guessing that is kind of just before you hit that quality drop off point, kind of like the 100 meter rule for Category 6 cabling for ethernet...

Check out Dr ZZs and his YouTube channel

https://drzzs.com

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i'd recommend addressable lights and a NodeMCU (running WLED) instead. for standard RGBW lights, the entire strip will be a single color. with addressable lights, you can make each LED a different color

you can also use this integration to control the lights from your HE app :slight_smile:

here is a good thread to check out…

There are four considerations to be addressed, however what you are thinking of doing is very common and has no real technical roadblocks.

PowerSupply:
You are best using a 24Volt powersupply. I have a Meanwell UL approved 24 Volt 2A "wall wart" works fine for me. You will likely need a more powerful supply. Maybe more than one.

Why 24V:
For the same brightness LED, the current for a 24V system is 1/2 the current of a 12V system. This matters because if you want to daisy chain as many strips as you can. The copper thickness on a LED strip is the same regardless of being 12V or 24V. The limit of current the copper can handle is the same on a 12V or 24V strip. So you can daisy chain 2x as many 24volt strips as 12V strips.

Controller: I have been happy with this controller Zooz

System:
You will likely need at least two controllers to handle the current of the whole system.

You get outdoor LED strips with adhesive on the back. If you have wood soffits or vinyl siding I would not use the adhesive right to the soffit. The adhesive holds only OK for the wood and better to the vinyl. But if you have to remove it later both will be a issue.

I would purchase an inexpensive LED aluminum strip(s). The benefits are:
Mounting with some sort of clip allow you to remove with only some small holes left behind.
The aluminum strip will help cooling the LED in hot weather.

Good luck

Skip the lights outside and do this around your TV instead. I did it behind my 108" projector screen and it's AWESOME!

I echo @dadarkgtprince and recommend individually addressable LEDs, a Node MCU, and WLED app.

if OP uses 5V or 12V LED strips though, a 24V power supply will burn out the bulbs. you should always match the voltage needed

My point being the OP should select a 24V LED, of course. It would be foolish to put 12V or 24 V in a 5V led string.

Meanwell is a good choice. They make really nice LED driver power supplies as well. TRC electronics carries a good supply of them, available in flange mount, DIN mount, and in line.

Use them at work all the time.

Something like this is great for 24v strings depending on the length: OWA-60U-24 - MEAN WELL - TRC Electronics

S.

I like meanwell because they have a good reputation and are UL listed/compliant. I will not put a non UL device in my home.

Some time ago there was an article on one of the technical websites. The author had purchased a cheap china AC/DC adapter. He disassembled the transformer. He discovered the insulation used between the AC voltage windings and the output windings was woefully inadequate. This means that with time and temperature the input to output insulation could very easily breakdown. That could put you and your loved ones in electrical contact with the AC mains (120 in USA, 240 in UK)

Definitely start here and fall down the rabbit hole of individually addressable lights. Of note: addressable lights generally don't come in 24V so read up on power injection. Also, if you sometimes want just white light, RGBW (SK6812) rather than just RGB (WS8211/WS8212) is a better way to go. RGB ain't all that great at generating a good CRI white light. You'll also find that these types of strips don't produce a heck of a lot of lumens. Light shows are great, but if you're actually trying to light stuff up, 30-60 LEDs/meter just isn't gonna cut it. For my entryway, I used 144/m and that's just about perfect (with the bonus of not having to crank it up to 100%).

Another good source of info is https://quinled.info/. He's got some new ESP32 based controllers running WLED coming out so I'd actually wait and do research in the meantime.

Warning: they are addicting so watch out. Remember to get approval before just throwing things up! In my case, that's the wifey. Super cool rainbow effects in the kitchen were NOT approved so I went with the above mentioned RGBW strips as under-cabinet lighting. She get's her white and I get... options. :slight_smile:

Although the controller is wifi, there is a Pixelblaze driver that allows you to control these lights through HE and WC. I love them!

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