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Using Hyperion to drive exterior lighting?

Discussion in 'Hyperion General' started by milhouse, 19 December 2017.

  1. milhouse

    milhouse New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Hardware:
    RPi3
    Haven't seen any posts around this, and wanted to float this idea out to see if I am off my rocker or if this could work.

    Here's what I want to do in the next couple of months:
    *string LED strips across the whole front of the house. Best guess is 5 x 5m strips. Thinking 36 leds/meter so I don't have TOO many LEDs. 60/m would be overkill on the exterior. That's still 900 independently controllable LEDs. APA102c.
    *to manage the power, power two strips (both ends of each) from one power supply, and another power supply on the other three strips (again, powering from both ends of all strips). The idea of two power supplies is to limit the length of the power lines.
    *Connect at one end to an RPi3 running Hyperion. I intend to configure it to have 0 lights on the bottom, left, and right, and 900 on the top. Obviously the point isn't for ambilight like around a tv, but just Hyperion effects or solid color.

    I've got some experience here - 2 Hyperion setups around TVs through Mediaportal, so I think I know what I am getting in to. But what I really want to know is:
    *Can I run the data / clock from the Pi through a string this long?
    *Would Hyperion work with just a "top" defined (again, for effects only)
    *Is my plan reasonably sound, or is this just too much to do for one run and ought to be split up into independent sets? I'd really like to be able to do, say, the knight rider effect all the way across the house and not just a segment.

    Any input would great great before I bite this project off!

    Milhouse
     
  2. penfold42

    penfold42 Moderator Developer

    Messages:
    742
    Hardware:
    RPi1/Zero, RPi2, RPi3, 32/64bit, +Arduino, +nodeMCU/ESP8266
    Ive has Hyperion successfully driving 750 ws2812 leds on the front of my house.

    I used an esp8266 to drive them but a Pi directly driving should be ok if you use a level shifter.

    The layout of a single row is fine but I’ve not it with a long run.
     
  3. Akriss

    Akriss Active Member

    Messages:
    355
    Hardware:
    RPi1/Zero, RPi2, RPi3, 32/64bit, +Arduino, +nodeMCU/ESP8266
  4. milhouse

    milhouse New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Hardware:
    RPi3
    Sure, now I'll have to figure out how to use a level shifter...and why! :p

    Thanks Akriss - will do some reading over those links, as well.
     
  5. milhouse

    milhouse New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Hardware:
    RPi3
    I've been slowly working on this project. Starting with a portion of the lights I can reach "easily" with my 28 foot ladder. (Will have to rent a 40 ladder for the high parts!).

    Still trying to get this 137 LED proof of concept working reliably. Right now I go from the Pi to a level shifter to the light strips. I am using the same wire lengths I will be using to get all the way to the "real" start when the lights are complete. Probably about 40 feet of wire for the data/clock lines and the 5v / ground.

    When I used shorter wires (~15 feet) for testing, things were perfect. With the longer full length wires it works great for lower demand (e.g. color blob effects where all the lights aren't lit up) but gives flickering for more intensity, such as a warm white or bright white.

    Best guess, is this
    • an insufficient voltage issue on the power lines that I could resolve by using a 12v power supply + buck transformers to reduce to 5v at the strips (both ends) to ensure I overcome the voltage drop?
    • Or is this likely a data/clock issue where the wiring is just too long? I have seen some reference to using a resistor for long data lines, but not sure exactly what I'd need to do. Of course, there's the DMX boards from Akriss' fastled user group that has another option.
    Thanks in advance for any help. Big difference between getting this stuff to work behind a TV and getting it to work on long wiring runs...

    milhouse
     
  6. Akriss

    Akriss Active Member

    Messages:
    355
    Hardware:
    RPi1/Zero, RPi2, RPi3, 32/64bit, +Arduino, +nodeMCU/ESP8266
    I have no real direct experience with this method. But I remember a post I came upon describing a situation like yours (on another forum). The poster fixed most of the flickering by using shielded cable and by placing a level shifter (SN74AHCT125N) on both ends of the data and clock long run.

    Sorry I don't have the link to the post it's been a wile.
    However, this link may help : https://electronics.stackexchange.c...al-on-very-long-strips-of-adressable-rgb-leds
     
  7. milhouse

    milhouse New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Hardware:
    RPi3
    Well, I tried one more thing. The Meanwell power supply I am using is a 5v, 320W supply. It's also somewhat adjustable, 4.5V-5.5V per spec. First, I tried turning it up all the way to try and overcome the voltage drop. That actually made things a little worse. Then I turned the voltage (almost) all the way down. That resolved all the flickering. I may have lost a bit of brightness, but colors are still consistent. I'll take it.

    I'll give it a week or so to confirm that it's stable, then I've got some serious ladder work to do.
     
  8. penfold42

    penfold42 Moderator Developer

    Messages:
    742
    Hardware:
    RPi1/Zero, RPi2, RPi3, 32/64bit, +Arduino, +nodeMCU/ESP8266
    I wonder if you’re getting a lot of voltage drop in the supply lines.

    This will obviously lower the 5v line at leds but also RAISE the 0v reference at the led strip.

    The low current signalling line won’t be subject to the drop so the led will see signalling that exceeds VCC and drops below ground