Guidance on what to buy

  • Hello guys, I am an absolute n00b with led/hyperion stuff, so please go easy on me. I have a RPi3 and this would be my first hardware project with the Pi. I have got a 49" TV which I would like to ambilight. For the intial baby steps I am gonna settle with OSMC on RPi3 alone for ambilight.The tutorial from Brindosh got me all excited. So here are my queries

    1. APA102 or WS2801 - The tutorial recommends APA102, will I have to calibrate these as well? I read quite a few people having trouble calibrating WS2801 strips, just don't want to end up in the same place, having spent more on a better strip.

    2. 30 led/m or 60 led/m - Again most of the tutorials I read suggested 30/m, would like to know if the final effect of a 60/m is worth the additional cost or a 30/m is more than enough?

    3. Power supply - can I use a 5V 30A power supply for a 3 meter 30 led/m strip? will it harm the strip? I am going for a higher amp power supply to be future proof, incase I wanna go for a higher led/meter or increase the strip lenght.

    Update: I have ordered a APA102 5M 30/m LED Strip and a 5V 10A PSU. Will update further once I receive them (~30 days) and start the build. Thankyou all for your replies.

    Edit 2: So all my components arrived, set it up roughly and got it working. Had a few hiccups though, but nothing serious. I have decided not to cut & solder at the edges, so I have just managed to bend the strip around the edges.

    Will post a showcase topic soon once I get the setup finished properly (read no tapes & wires blocking the LEDs)

    PSU & Pi stuck to the back of the TV

    The rough finish

    And finally the output

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  • I was in your position 6 months ago, asking myself much the same questions, here's my take...

    1. Code now is really APA102 or 2812b, the only definite advantage of the latter is they can be much cheaper. In theory, the APA102s are simpler to set up and going by the posts on here more problems are had with the 2812b although a lot of those seem to be down to user error and poor wiring. If you buy APA102s direct from China you can get them for a reasonable price, which is what I went for.

    2. Most of the guides recommending 30/m were written when 60/m were still very expensive but as to which is best depends on your set up. If your tv is very close to the wall 60/m will give you smoother colour as they create more overlap, as you move away the light can spread more so the advantage lessens.

    3. The LEDs will only draw as much power as they need so that's not a problem, it when people try to get away with too small a supply that you get problems.

  • @Biggles Thanks for the reply. I see that some additional hardware (level shifter) is needed to get 2812b going but I want to keep my setup simple.

    So with the color calibration, which is the less painful strip?

  • @Akriss Cheers mate, appreciate your inputs.

    While we are at it, did you run the ws2812b out of a Pi? If yes, can you tell me how you did it? I read we have to use a level shifter, any details on your setup will be helpful for me.

    Though I haven't decided on a strip yet, the ws2812b being much cheaper, I might give that a try and jump on to APA102 if I find it too blue to my liking.

    Edit: query reg ws2812b

  • @Akriss can you tell me how you did it?

    The short version I used the search box in the upper right corner and did Lot's, and Lot's of reading this forum and many other forums. =)

    However a version with a bit more detail.:
    I started with Hyperion running on a Linux PC with just Kodi and Hyperion. I started with a strip of ws2812b being driven with an Arduino Demilenove via the USB port. It was the easiest with least moving parts. Just the Arduino and the strip of LED's where needed. And Hyperion of course. It worked well enough, except colors were off a bit. However the color was not at the top of the list of how I wanted this venture to work. I needed all AV sources to have Hyperion goodness.

    So I moved to a Raspberry pi. And found a compatible USB video grabber and HDMI splitter. I was still driving the LED's (ws2812b) with the Arduino at first. But then I tried (out of curiosity mostly) to drive the LED's from the Rpi's GPIO's. I was having hit or miss attempts with LED's flickering and came to the realization that a level shifter was needed.

    After many hours of reading about what the hell level shifter are! And reading about many other peoples findings that a SN74AHCT125N level shifter works very well with the LED's being driven from the Rpi GPIO's and finding some good diagrams on wiring them up, I tried and it was working well. except for the off colors.

    After a week or so of fiddling with the calibration of the colors and getting nowhere I decided to try another type of LED strip. After finding a good sale on a strip of APA102c's (I believe I paid $41 USD for 5 meters of 60 led per meter strip. Local seller as well.) I could not resist. Since I previously tried a level shifter with the ws2812b's it was just a matter of minor rewiring.(some diagrams to help in a previous posts here…lease-help.887/#post-6601 and here…y-question.935/#post-6977 )

    And out of curiosity I also tried using an Arduino and no level shifter with the APA102s's. It did not work well for me an found it needed a level shifter as well. So I went back to the Rpi's GPIO's and LVL shifter to drive the LED's.

    Here my self pat on the back/boasting of sorts here ( ) That's of the apa102's. My first attempt has some details here (…n-project-thanks-all.697/ )

    The ws2812b's did not go to waste. I set them up on a second TV. That setup consistent of a Rpi 3 with the latest Libreelec and the latest Official Hyperion release. Since I had a Arduino wired for the ws2812b's I used it and the plugged it in to the Rpi's USB port, for the second setup.

    I hope its of help.

  • I hope its of help.

    Thanks a lot for that write up, and yes, it did help. FWIW, I did the searching and reading to certain extent and the more I read the more complex it looked. I was torn between the comparatively easier but expensive setup and the cheaper but complex setup. The links you shared seem pretty useful, will read 'em up and get back to you if I need any more help. Cheers

  • I'm at the same point that nokia3660.
    I've decided to try first ws2812b. Actually, the LED (5050) is the same for both stripes, so if the communication is well done, it should work likewise.
    I'll show you my implementation if I success. If not, I'll try to use that strip for other project and get an APA102. (Which I'll show you anyway)
    Finally, I have a question: is the SCART (TV (DVB-C/T/S) a must to buy if we want our LEDs work for all platforms (NETFLIX, Chromecast streaming...)? It's something I don't find... Shouldn't it work with HDMI directly to Raspberry PI?
    Thank you for the answer!

  • I have a question: is the SCART (TV (DVB-C/T/S) a must to buy if we want our LEDs work for all platforms (NETFLIX, Chromecast streaming...)? It's something I don't find... Shouldn't it work with HDMI directly to Raspberry PI?
    Thank you for the answer!

    Sorry I can't answer that. I have no experience using a SCART devise. That a European T.V. standard that Is as rare to see as a unicorn in the US :)

    If you ask that question in it's own posting in hardware support, I bet some good folks that have experience with the devise would help.

    EDIT: Looks like some good SCART info here (…or-hyperion-dvb-c-t-s.81/ )

    I'll show you my implementation if I success.

    The developers seem to really like folks posting pictures of the setups. ;)

  • Hey I was wondering for the apa102s you used on the software what the light profiles you set up. I just can't find anywhere what the software needs exactly. Any help would be appreciated!

  • Hey I was wondering for the apa102s you used on the software what the light profiles you set up. I just can't find anywhere what the software needs exactly. Any help would be appreciated!

    How are you planing to drive the apa102s, from raspberry pi gpio's ( then you would choose the apa102 control type)
    Or from a arduino that will drive the leds? (then you choose the adalight controller type and the hook up go's like this: Flash arduino with hyperion firmware, found at the projects github. Wire leds to arduino gpio, use a usb cable to connect the arduino to computer running hyperion.)

    Hope its of help.

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