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5V Guide

Overview

ViVi only works with 5V and will be damaged if 12V is attached to it or the LED strips it is controlling. There is a separate guide on how to safely use ViVi to control 12V LED strips, this guide covers 5V only setups.

Disclaimer

This is an informational guide, not step-by-step instructions on to how wire extra power connections. Every setup is slightly different, so the information in this guide is meant to be understood and then applied to your specific setup as needed. Electricity, even at 5 volts, can be extremely dangerous and cause fires if wired improperly; and the power supplies all take in full voltage of 120V or higher which can cause injury or death as well as fire. If you do not clearly understand the information in this guide or are not confident in your ability to perform the custom wiring required then it is strongly recommended to HIRE A LICENSED PROFESSIONAL ELECTRICIAN.

This guide covers three examples of different extra power needs and has additional information on topics related to LED power distribution.

Contents:

Summary and Quick Calculations

Setup Examples

Attaching Power Plugs to LED Strips

ViVi’s Limits for Power and Total LEDs

Voltage Drop Explained

Setup Design Tips

Product Links





Summary and Quick Calculations

ViVi can only pass-through a maximum of 5 amps of continuous current. If this is exceeded a protective circuit shutdown
the controller and any lit LEDs should turn red and the animation will freeze. To reset unplug the power and wait 1 minute,
then plug back in. If ViVi sets the LEDs red and freezes too quickly, remove some LED strips before restoring power.
Follow the guidelines below for creating a setup that does not exceed the power limits.

LED POWER GUIDELINES (amps per 100 LEDs at 5V):

1A per 100 LEDs – Music reactive animations, 100% brightness
2A per 100 LEDs – Constant on, all LEDs, assorted colors, 100% brightness
3A per 100 LEDs – Constant on, all LEDs, white, 100% brightness
Power consumption drops in relation to brightness, power consumption decreases faster than brightness, so, for example,
LEDs set to 70% brightness will use 60% of the power compared to LEDs at 100% brightness.

If your calculated power consumption exceeds the rating of your power supply (8A for the power supply included in ViVi kits) then you will need an additional power supply.





Example Setups with Extra Power

Two Strips in Series (strips connected end-to-end)

It’s best to connect power in between the two strips rather than at the far end of the second strip, but you can connect it at the far end, or even at both the far end and the center.

Depending on the total number of LEDs the extra power may not be needed to avoid exceeding ViVi’s power passthrough limits, but it is needed to correct the effects of voltage drop (voltage drop is explained in detail later in this guide).

Examples of the items labeled in BLUE can be found at the end of this guide.

two strips in series

Many Strips in Parallel (strips using a splitter)

It may be necessary to connect extra power to that start of the strips, where ViVi is connected. This is because electricity follows the path of least resistance, so even with extra power attached further down the strip there are enough LEDs
closer to ViVi’s connection that they will still draw too much current through ViVi and cause it to shutdown.

Very High Power Demand (so many LEDs!)
If your setup is going to be used for constant-on high brightness lighting or use well over 1,000 LEDs with any settings then it may be necessary to completely isolate ViVi from supplying power to the LEDs. Even with extra power connected
at the start of the LED strips it is possible for very high power setups to still draw enough power through ViVi to trip the protection.





How to Attach Power Plugs to LED Strips

Two options, solder pigtails to the existing extra power wires or use screw terminal clamp plugs.





ViVi’s Limits for Power and Total LEDs

These two limits are not directly related!

How many LEDs?
It can control 300 LEDs addresses per output, for 900 total. These data signals can be split to multiple strips so that they show the same thing, so you can control more than 900 LEDs with this method. It can power the LEDs directly as well, but if more than 600 LEDs are being used additional power connected directly to the LEDs will be required to prevent overheating the controller circuitry.

What length of LEDs?
Maximum length of LEDs depends on the density of the LED strips and installation configuration of the strips. The main limit is the number of LED addresses, which is 300 per channel. Using 30 LED/m strips that would be 32 feet. You can also use a splitter (or multiple) to send the same signal to more than one strip, so still a max of 300 unique LEDs, but you can have multiple strips displaying the same thing; The most common use it to start two strips at the same point and go in opposite directions, so you could have a span up to 64 feet that is mirrored from the center.

When using more than 600 LEDs total you need to run additional power directly to the LED strips to prevent tripping ViVi's overheating protection. When connecting strips end-to-end you need to run power directly to the LED strips as well because voltage drops over distance and affects the color and brightness of LEDs furthest from ViVi; lowering the brightness can reduce the effects of voltage drop as well.





Voltage Drop Explained

As power travels down an LED strip and passes lit LEDs the voltage will decrease and the furthest LEDs begin to get dimmer and the color shifts to red (the red diode operates at the lowest voltage). At 150 LEDs it is barely noticeable, at 300 it's very noticeable, but you can turn down the brightness to help keep the strip more even. Attaching extra power further down the strip corrects voltage drop.





Setup Design Tips

Make any splits of the Data signal have symmetrical wiring:
The length of cable from the split point to the start of the LED strip should be the same for all cables after the split point. Also make the splits as close to the LED strips as possible, so you have the maximum length of a single cable before splitting to multiple cables.

Keep wiring after a split symmetrical

 

Power Guidelines:

ViVi can directly power 600 LEDs at 100% brightness running animations, at 50% brightness you can do about 1200; you can always connect extra power directly to the LED strips if more power is needed. Here is a chart for estimating power use, the estimates are a little high because this is for choosing a power supply, not necessarily the exact amount the LEDs will use:

LED POWER SUPPLY GUIDELINES (amps per 100 LEDs at 5V):
1A per 100 LEDs – Music reactive animations, 100% brightness
2A per 100 LEDs – Constant on, all LEDs, assorted colors, 100% brightness
3A per 100 LEDs – Constant on, all LEDs, white, 100% brightness

There is also voltage drop to consider, as power travels down an LED strip and passes lit LEDs the voltage will decrease and the furthest LEDs begin to get dimmer and the color shifts to red (the red diode operates at the lowest voltage). At 150 LEDs it is barely noticeable, at 300 it's very noticeable, but you can turn down the brightness to help keep the strip more even. Attaching extra power further down the strip corrects voltage drop.





Product Examples and Suggestions

The following products can be used for adding extra power to LED strips. Some products are sold by us and others that we do not carry have links to other sellers.

5V 8A Power Supply

Power Extension, 20 Feet, female-to-male, 2.1 x 5.5 mm barrel plug, 18 AWG

Power Extension, 6 Feet, female-to-male, 2.1 x 5.5 mm barrel plug, 18 AWG

Power Splitter, 1-female-to-4-male, 2.1 x 5.5 mm barrel plug, 18 AWG

 

PORTABLE POWER

Anker PowerCore 20100mAh - Ultra High Capacity Power Bank with 4.8A Output - A high quality USB powerbank with up to 4.8A total output which can power portable LED setups.

USB 2.0 Power Enhancer Y Cable, 1 Female to 2 Male - Use this cable to use both ports of a USB powerbank which can increase total available amps.

 

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