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  1. #1
    Automated Home Jr Member
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    Default CBUS control of RGB LED ligthing

    An old chestnut I should think, but not an area I have ventured into before, so I'm just starting to climb that learning curve..

    So, I'm fitting out a home cinema in my basement... being a basement it has a very low, and solid concrete ceiling... that means no workable ceiling void space, as the ceiling is so low already that I will not make it worse by adding any kind of additional ceiling covering, other than a 3-5mm skim coat of plaster... that effectively means no light fittings of any kind affixed to any point on the ceiling, since there is nowhere to conceal wiring, and I will not tolerate surface mounted, visible wires! I know there are other options to mitigate this, such as track lighting, or strip lighting that goes all the way to the edge, where all wiring across the ceiling is concealed within the track or strip fitting, but I also can't really have anything with any significant amount of drop, as anything hanging down more than a few cm from the ceiling would be a hazard (ceiling height is exactly 2m from the floor). Plus even those things require securing to the ceiling, and drilling into the concrete is not something I relish...

    So I'm left with wall lights, dado lights, cornice lights, furniture lights, & lamps etc.. and I'd very much like to have some concealed, colour controllable, RGB LED lighting... I already have various sundry RGB LED fittings from Maplins that I've picked up over the years as they've been on sale etc.. such as: A49LW, and A16RA... these are fine, as far as they go... but each has it's own controller, with one of those ubiquitous credit-card sized IR remotes... using a bunch of these is hardly elegant... each is controlled separately by a *very* similar IR unit.. I bet they all use the same codes and will interfere with each other if I use several of them in the same room... if not, then I end up with several identical looking (and ugly!) IR remotes on the coffee table...

    I have CBUS in the room, CBUS can "do" RGB control.... and typically there are a bunch of control options that I have to navigate through, and that is where I'm seeking opinions from the group..
    from the CBUS control perspective, it looks like I have a few choices... DALI, DMX, or analogue 0/1-10v - those are listed in expense order, from most expensive (DALI) through to cheapest (analogue).

    As I am, in typical UKHA fashion, somewhat cost-conscious, the least expensive route is automatically attractive, so looking at analogue control first...
    I'd need a CBUS analogue output unit, an L5504AMP which I can get for approx. 200GBP. I note this is a 4-channel controller, so I'm therefore thinking I should be able to run RGBW fittings to get a decent white as well...
    Next I'd need a 0/1-10V LED driver... this is where it starts to get bewildering... there are loads of them online... but thus far most of the ones I've found are just 3-channel, not 4-channel as I'd need for RGB+W. Does anyone have any knowledge of or experience with any 4-channel RGBW 0/1-10v analogue LED drivers?
    Lastly I need LED fittings themselves... as I mentioned above, I have a few cheapo Maplins ones lying around, which it seems a waste not to try to use.. they are all IIRC only RGB, no +W, but if I supplement them with some other fittings with the +W I think that would be OK... (it will be accent/mood lighting, rather than the primary main light source for the room, which will be supplied by some wall sconces).
    So, I'm thinking that I *should* be able to ditch the supplied LED driver with those Maplins items, and wire the strips up to the aforementioned 0-10v controller? - anyone have anything to say about that idea?

    I am aware of course that using a single L5504AMP will only give me a single control group for all the RGBW fittings connected to it - no individually addressable fittings... given the size of the room and the number of fittings I'm anticipating, I do not regard this as a serious limitation at this time... especially given the price hike to jump up to the next option - DMX which would give more channels & finer granularity of control...

    I believe I have seen RGB LED controllers that feature both analogue and DMX connectivity, so using those would allow me to upgrade the CBUS interface option at a later date... but again, thus far I haven't seen any 4-channel ones... - anyone know if such a thing exists?

    Any specific product suggestions & recommendations would be extremely welcome!

    TIA

    Paul G.

  2. #2
    Moderator Kevin's Avatar
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    I don't use RGB at all on C-Bus but I noticed you mentioned that DALI might provide a solution. I have no experience if that is indeed viable but I think I have a spare new DALI C-Bus controller that I bought along with some other items that might make it competitive pricewise with your least expensive analogue option. Give me a shout if that's of any interest.

    cheers Kevin

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin View Post
    I don't use RGB at all on C-Bus but I noticed you mentioned that DALI might provide a solution. I have no experience if that is indeed viable but I think I have a spare new DALI C-Bus controller that I bought along with some other items that might make it competitive pricewise with your least expensive analogue option. Give me a shout if that's of any interest.

    cheers Kevin
    It could be Kevin, ping me a PM to paul_Gordon@Hotmail.com with what kind of price you have in mind... I'd need to make sure I can find some DALI controlled LED RGB drivers to put on them, which may not be as "common" as the more established DMX/analogue options, and thus perhaps more expensive... I'll start to see what Google has to say on the matter...

    Cheers

    Paul G.

  4. #4
    Automated Home Guru MichaelD's Avatar
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    Red face A kludged C-Bus control of LED lights

    I've used C-Bus to control the cheap ebay 5m RGB LED strips, in a sort-of kind of way.

    I connected the RGB power controllers through a 4-gang to a std 230v C-Bus DIN relay, and used C-Bus to switch on the power. There were 3x 5m strips and 3 of the included RGB IR controllers, which used a remote to control the strips. As all the strips used the same controller you describe, it actually worked pretty reliably for a few weeks, one controller doing all three strips, until the included controllers failed. They were absolutely on their limit powering 5m of strip, so they just got very hot and failed.

    Version 2 then had a proper constant voltage power supply to replace the crappy controller that came with the strips, but that didn't include any control, by disconnecting wires, I could have white, or cyan, red, blue, magenta etc., but it really wasn't a sensible implementation.

    Version 3 had a Quasar controller https://www.quasarelectronics.co.uk/...rial-rs232-ttl to give me PC-control of the strips. Just had to put in a serial lead back to the PC, then HomeSeer could control everything. Except it couldn't, because the controller only worked with strips that had a common anode, and, you guessed it, mine had a common cathode.

    Version 4 had 3 new 5m strips of RGB LEDS, common anode, I threw away the included controllers, connected the strips to the Quasar controller, through to the constant voltage power supply, through to the C-Bus relay. This was very cool, I even wrote a script to cycle through all 16M colours so my wife could choose the one she liked the most. I'd only showed her a few thousand when she left the room, that was a surprise . So, I picked a colour to match the room colours, then when a movie started HomeSeer began with that colour, then switched them to blue, then faded slowly down to off. When the movie ended, it faded them up to the chosen room colour. This worked for months, then we went on holiday and when we returned the lights had gone to some wierd patchy flashing effect. I suspect our son had left the lights on for a few days and the strips had overheated, so patches of the strips had lost some or all of the RGB, so it just looked terrible with a length of magenta, then some black, then some flashing green. By pressing the strips, some colours could be fixed, but it really needs 3 new 5M strips. They are only 5.75 for 5M, but it really needs some better quality ones, and I don't know how to determine which are good and which are just the same crappy ones at a higher price, so ...

    Version 5 has the RGB strips disconnected, and I'm using downlighters

    If anyone knows of some good quality LED strips, could they let me know, I need about 13.5M

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by pgordon View Post
    I have CBUS in the room, CBUS can "do" RGB control.... and typically there are a bunch of control options that I have to navigate through, and that is where I'm seeking opinions from the group..
    from the CBUS control perspective, it looks like I have a few choices... DALI, DMX, or analogue 0/1-10v - those are listed in expense order, from most expensive (DALI) through to cheapest (analogue).

    As I am, in typical UKHA fashion, somewhat cost-conscious, the least expensive route is automatically attractive, so looking at analogue control first...
    I'd need a CBUS analogue output unit, an L5504AMP which I can get for approx. 200GBP. I note this is a 4-channel controller, so I'm therefore thinking I should be able to run RGBW fittings to get a decent white as well...
    Next I'd need a 0/1-10V LED driver... this is where it starts to get bewildering... there are loads of them online... but thus far most of the ones I've found are just 3-channel, not 4-channel as I'd need for RGB+W. Does anyone have any knowledge of or experience with any 4-channel RGBW 0/1-10v analogue LED drivers?
    Lastly I need LED fittings themselves... as I mentioned above, I have a few cheapo Maplins ones lying around, which it seems a waste not to try to use.. they are all IIRC only RGB, no +W, but if I supplement them with some other fittings with the +W I think that would be OK... (it will be accent/mood lighting, rather than the primary main light source for the room, which will be supplied by some wall sconces).
    So, I'm thinking that I *should* be able to ditch the supplied LED driver with those Maplins items, and wire the strips up to the aforementioned 0-10v controller? - anyone have anything to say about that idea?

    I am aware of course that using a single L5504AMP will only give me a single control group for all the RGBW fittings connected to it - no individually addressable fittings... given the size of the room and the number of fittings I'm anticipating, I do not regard this as a serious limitation at this time... especially given the price hike to jump up to the next option - DMX which would give more channels & finer granularity of control...

    I believe I have seen RGB LED controllers that feature both analogue and DMX connectivity, so using those would allow me to upgrade the CBUS interface option at a later date... but again, thus far I haven't seen any 4-channel ones... - anyone know if such a thing exists?

    Any specific product suggestions & recommendations would be extremely welcome!

    TIA

    Paul G.
    Resurrecting a slightly old topic I know, but hopefully this HA project is moving at a similar pace to mine!

    I was intending to do something very similar along the edges of our staircase and on the treads themselves but aborted the project when the wife realised how involved the modifications to the staircase would be in order to make it work and not see any wires etc - unfortunately this wasn't before I had shelled out on the 0-10V CBUS module.

    The plan was to use the below DIN rail mount RGB controller to take care of the actual dimming

    From a CBUS perspective I was going to use a CBUS address for each colour configured as a dimmer slider in wiser driving the 0-10V signal in the CBUS unit which then drove the RGB driver and hence the LED's.

    https://www.quasarelectronics.co.uk/...rgb-led-dimmer

    I hope this helps and if you are interested in the 0-10V CBUS module drop me a message back

    Regards

    Paul

  6. #6
    Automated Home Guru MichaelD's Avatar
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    Paul, Congrats on a creative solution.

    Did you find any decent, reliable RGB strips, or did you not get that far?

    Michael

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