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RGB ribbon, thoughts, tips, tricks and your experiences


scubado
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Some of us have been using RGB ribbon for a while now with different styles of weather protection and a wide use of applications.  How are your ribbons holding up?  If you were to start over, what would you do differently?

 

I use ribbon in my landscaping for year round use.  My ribbon is protected from direct sun and rain.  Also currently upgrading my flowerbeds to RGB ribbon.  My ribbons I bought from Ebay with the silicon covering.  I have one flowerbed that's had ribbon for about 1 1/2 yrs.  I noticed lately that a lot of leds are now dim sparatic throughout the ribbon and needs to be replaced soon.  I just finished installing some ribbon on another  flowerbed using stranded security wire and ran into some headaches.

 

Here is my one big suggestion for wiring RGB ribbon,  Use only stranded CAT5 wire.  For less than 8' lengths, single wire should be fine, longer lengths, double wire.  Stranded securty wire still didn't have enough flexibility and ran into solder pads going bad from soldering to installation.  In my case I had to solder the wire onto the ribbon and then install it on the underside lip of my flowerbed.  The joints got stressed and lost connection in the ribbon.  I spent all day yesterday trouble shooting the problem and redoing several ribbons.  The new lighting is awesome compared to my old version of RGBW leds.  I plan to get some video tonight to show it off.

 

Another thing to keep in mind when installing ribbon is what you mount it on.  Expansion/contraction can be a problem.  Vinyl plastic can be problem.  Last year, I installed ribbon to hoola hoops.  I found you can't tighten wire ties tight.  I haven't seen problems sticking them to wood or metal.  When I stick them to metal, I use electrical tape first, to avoid potential shorts or grounding.  Grounding will cause your lights to stay ON when you don't want them to, since the lights have constant power and the controllers control ground.

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Sorry I have no input on the subject. But I'm interested in seeing the ribbon being used in landscape lighting. I know a lot of members use it for this purpose and would like to get some ideas for my own application. Could post afew pics or a short video? Thanks Rob

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I have 20x120 flex lights. http://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/4m-waterproof-LED-digital-strip-by-tube-DC12V-input-without-controller-10pcs-TM1809IC-m-30pcs-5050/701799_425556741.html

They are in a waterproof sleeve.

 

I cable tied the flex strip to 1/2" steel emt that was 14' long. They worked fine. I liked how i could take any single string down without lowering the megatree.  This last Winter we got down to single digit temperatures, no issues came up. We also had 70mph windows. again, everything worked ok.

 

I described how i built my megatree here

http://diylightanimation.com/index.php?topic=10714.0

You can see pictures of the cables ties, ribbons and the emt pipe.

 

thanks

sean

sean

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I work with the waterproof 5050 RGB strips from EBay all the time.  Like these: http://www.ebay.com/itm/5M-30Leds-M-150leds-SMD-RGB-5050-Waterproof-LED-Lights-Flexible-Strip-12V-BRG-/160820296519?pt=US_Car_Lighting&hash=item2571a2fb47 The issue with them that I've noticed is that they are only partially waterproof.  The silicone only covers the top portion of the strips with all the components on it.  They hold up to rain water well, unless they are soaked for a period of time.  I've found that as they sit in water, the contacts rust and the strip eventually start to soak up the water causing permanent shorts. They do have strips that are completely covered by a silicone tube that you can have completely underwater that seems to work well.

 

I install these lights on motorcycles.  I use a 4 conductor wire like this: http://www.ebay.com/itm/1-5-10-20-30-50M-4PIN-RGB-Extension-Wire-Cable-Cord-for-5050-3528-RGB-LED-Strip-/200869304406?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&var=&hash=item2ec4be5856 They also sell quick disconnect plugs for the wires like these http://www.ebay.com/itm/75mm-3-pcs-SMD-5050-RGB-LED-Strip-Cable-Connector-/171051990289?pt=US_Lighting_Parts_and_Accessories&hash=item27d37e3d11 I usually cut them in half and add wire.  Works great bike fairings that have to be taken off often. 

 

These light strips also hold up to heat very well.  On my motorcycle, I have the light strips running along my exhaust about 2 inches away.  The engine temp gets up to about 220F at times, so the exhaust is very hot.  They strips still work just fine.  The silicone has only discolored a little where it's less than 2 inches from the direct heat.

 

As far as mounting them on the house... I'm still working out how I'm going to do that.  I'm interested in seeing ways other people have mounted them around their windows and along their peaks and such.

 

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Sorry I have no input on the subject. But I'm interested in seeing the ribbon being used in landscape lighting. I know a lot of members use it for this purpose and would like to get some ideas for my own application. Could post afew pics or a short video? Thanks Rob

Look for my posts and pics in this thread: http://forums.lightorama.com/index.php?/topic/26731-who-has-both-hobbies-christmas-decoration-and-gardening/

 

The star on my roof in my signature pic is ribbon mounted on galvanized flat bar that's used in chain link fencing.

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