Today, you have so many versions of LED-strips that it becomes difficult to know which strips can be connected to OpenMotics and which strips can’t. This blog will help you to select the right strip for your application and make sure it can be connected to your OpenMotics gear.
Two types of LED-strips
To answer the above question, let’s first look at the different type of led strips that exist. We have 2 major categories:
- Normal LED-strips: These strips exists mainly in 12 and 24VDC and can be bought in different single colour versions. You also have RGB strips available with 3 connections (1 for Red, 1 for Green and 1 for Blue). A normal strip will go ON when you apply the voltage on the strip and all LEDs will be on the same brightness and the same colour (when RGB strip is used)
- Digital LED-strip: This LED-strip is based on individual LEDs with an integrated controller inside each of the LEDs. You have strips with LED-controller WS2812 (single serial data line) or LED-strips with APA102 (data and clock line, SPI). Both type of LED-controllers work on the same principle: Each LED has a serial input that is cascaded to the next led. Thus, when you have a LED-strip with 60 RGB LEDs, you will have 60 controllers which are cascaded from 1 controller to the next. With that single line (or double line for the APA102), you can control the colour and brightness of each individual led in other words, every LED of your LED-strip can have a different colour and brightness.
LED protection level
Every led strip (normal or digital) has also a protection level which needs to be checked before buying. Unprotected leds have typical IP20 which we advise not to use. Always use protected leds with an IP6x level. Ledstrips with IP64 can be installed in bathrooms or other wet rooms, ledstrips for outside should have IP66 or higher.
What type of LEDs can be connected to OpenMotics?
Today, normal LED-strips (single colour and RGB) can be connected, digital LED-strips not yet. We’re performing tests to use our micro CAN module as controller for your digital LED-strips based on the APA102 controller.
How can I connect and dim LED-strips?
The most easy way to do this is by using the OpenMotics Dim Control module which enables you to dim your LED-strips and choose any colour if you’re using RGB strips. Be careful, our Dim control cannot directly drive LED-strips, you need a LED dimmer like the DimL3-5-360 !
The first example is the connection scheme for a normal RGB strip, so you can dim and use any colour. The same connection scheme can be used for 3 normal single colour LED-strips which is presented in the second figure.