RGB LED and Controllers Explained
When looking into using RGB LEDs in your next project there are some considerations and decisions you will have to make before buying. We have put together a rough list of ideas below to help you out and even a few recommendations of products that will suit. If you don’t find what you are looking for drop an email to [email protected] or use our Contact Form and we can discuss what will suit you best.
What am I trying to achieve?
It’s a simple question but a good one. Are you trying to light up an entire room with a unicorn rainbow inspired glow or are you looking for simple accents of colour to suit your mood on the day? Your answer to this question could make a big difference in the type of products you will need to look at and whether you are looking at a big or small project. Take the two different types of RGB LED that you can look at, there are RGB Ribbons or RGB Modules, both of which have their benefits but when used incorrectly will have a negative effect on your finished project.
There are also several other considerations when choosing an RGB LED, such as how many LEDs per meter do you need and what colour range can they cover? Most RGB LED kits that you can buy online are low standard products which have a minimum amount of LEDs per meter and can cause dark patches or hot spots depending on the application. These LEDs are also rarely rated for outdoor use, or in situations where moisture may be an issue, for example in the new kitchen you just fitted where taps and cooking facilities are spreading moisture around the room, which can often cause faults with the LEDs leading to failure.
Here at Lightsign we only use premium grade products for trade use such as our RGB 5050 LED Ribbon, which is IP65 rated for outdoor use or when the presence of moisture is a possibility. It also comes in a 10m roll with a total of 60 LEDs per meter, giving clear and uninterrupted colour array, which is higher than the industry standard and far outperforms the kits you may see for sale elsewhere or online. We also have the option of RGB LED Modules which provide an industrial sized application for signage companies, shop fitters, interior designers and many more. These LED modules provide high brightness and durability as well as flexibility for any and all applications.
How do I control it?
This is another simple question but can be completed in several different ways. For example, do you want to be able to control the lighting with a portable remote or by a central wall mounted position? Do you need to control multiple zones at the same time or set pre-saved settings depending on the occasion, why choose one colour when you could have them all! Let your customers choose the lighting they want during a meeting or the office Christmas party and at the touch of a button its ready to go when they need it, with no complication or fuss. This is what needs to be considered when providing an RGB LED setup for a customer.
So let’s look at the simplest solution for setting up RGB; the basic requirement is that you have a power source that can cover the power requirements of the LEDs, a receiver for the control unit and the RGB LEDs themselves. A basic control setup such as this could cost as little as €50, take the M4 RGBW Controller + Receiver for example. This Control and Receiver pack comes with everything you need to set a full spectrum of colours at an affordable price. Pair it with a suitable driver and LED and your next project will definitely stand out. If you are looking for a more detailed setup with multiple zones in different colours you might be interested in looking into a more robust system using DMX (Digital-network Communication) and a wall unit in a central control point. In situations like this you may be interested in our UX7 RGB Touch Panel and Receiver. This controller can be paired with a 4 Channel DMX Decoder to provide up to four separate lighting zones in a range of colours, which are chosen by an intuitive touch panel. It also allows for these separate zones to be saved and reused at will. If you require a pure white light as well as colour options you may look to go with an RGBW LED and the UX8 RGBW Touch Panel.