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Common for multiple pixels to fail??


Grady29

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In the last 2 weeks, I have had some pixels on light strings fail all of a sudden.   The strings were new light strings.  I also had some pixels on a light string fail that are 1 year old that failed.  Everything was working just fine when I set them up.  The light strings are Alling 12V WS2811 pixels I purchased off Amazon.  I thought these were a decent brand to purchase, but now I am having my doubts.  The fails seem to be at the end of the light string.  Any thoughts on why they are failing?  Is this common to have multiple failures inside of a couple weeks?

Any thoughts/help would greatly be appreciated!

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I have a couple of thousand square pixels from Ray Wu that have been going with no failures for 10 seasons. However, his bullets for Peace stakes gave me fits last 2 years. I was replacing pixels and partial strings all season due to water intrusion. I have just finished going through 600 pixels, literally soaking them in water to try to weed out any remaining bad ones. Found about 50 more bad or suspect. I had a similar experience with some Amazon square pixels on my son's house. They were a write off as soon as it rained.

I think during the covid years, quality took a nosedive.

Hoping things will improve this year.

 

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2 hours ago, Grady29 said:

In the last 2 weeks, I have had some pixels on light strings fail all of a sudden.   The strings were new light strings.  I also had some pixels on a light string fail that are 1 year old that failed.  Everything was working just fine when I set them up.  The light strings are Alling 12V WS2811 pixels I purchased off Amazon.  I thought these were a decent brand to purchase, but now I am having my doubts.  The fails seem to be at the end of the light string.  Any thoughts on why they are failing?  Is this common to have multiple failures inside of a couple weeks?

Any thoughts/help would greatly be appreciated!

 

As my friend Phil stated

Since Covid IMO pixel quality/ reliability has went down this is why I recommend to those purchasing to purchase from LOR who has the very best warranty policy. First of all there is not that much difference in price however since they are buying massive quantities it seems that the mfgrs may give them better quality products as well as the no BS LOR Warranty.

J.R.

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My philosophy is when you find them cheap you buy a bunch. Many of my pixels on the house stay out year round and on average I get 7-8 years out of them as they are stationary, never touched and mostly out of the weather. The yard props however seem to go out faster as the setups and tear downs with all the flexing, rolling, bundling and weather  seems to shorten the life. I have hundreds of strings as backups so it's no big deal.

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It's a big deal when more than half of my stakes need field replacement over the course of the season. I was literally in the yard soldering every other day.

Like I said above, the rest of the display has seen maybe 2 pixels fail over 9 seasons.

 

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How long are the strings? At the end, the voltage is lower. A marginal device may  not behave. And Temperature comes into play. Really cold will stop some clocks. really hot  (>80C ) ain't good.

Measure voltage at the end. Standard tolerance is 10% for 12V, 5% for 5V.  Therefore I adjust my supplies +1/2 the tolerance for more wiggle room without PI.

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I know how to splice pixels and mechanical splices don't work.

I also know what voltage drop and moisture intrusion  looks like.

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2 hours ago, TheDucks said:

How long are the strings? At the end, the voltage is lower. A marginal device may  not behave. And Temperature comes into play. Really cold will stop some clocks. really hot  (>80C ) ain't good.

Measure voltage at the end. Standard tolerance is 10% for 12V, 5% for 5V.  Therefore I adjust my supplies +1/2 the tolerance for more wiggle room without PI.

The particular string that partially stopped working is only 67 pixels.  I have singing pumpkins which use 167 pixels.  My strings are 100 pixels long, so I used 2 ports; 1 port=100 pixels and 2nd port=67 pixels.  The run from controller to pixel string is about 20'-25'.  This is the 2nd time I had the last few pixels on the 67 pixel string stop working.  The first time I just replaced the 67 pixel string with a new string without trying to troubleshoot the pixel string itself.  This time, I cut open the end of the 67 pixel string, where I terminated the string to check the voltage.  The voltage was 11.7 volts at the end of the string and the PS was 12.1 V.  This was running all the ports simultaneously and and then I tried running just the port that had the failed pixel string- either way, the voltages were nearly the same. 

I did discover after exposing the end of my pixel string, that all the pixels worked again.  Apparently, something I did to terminate the end of the string failed because once I opened up the end of the string, all the pixels worked just fine.  I have been only working with pixels for about 3 years now and always terminated the ends the same and this is the first time I have problems with pixel strings (maybe twice, since the first time my 67 pixel string failed, I just replaced it).  Not sure what could have happened.🤔  The way I terminate my connections is seal the ends of the wire after cutting it, then cover wire with an adhesive lined shrink tube that makes a great seal.  I have used the adhesive lined heat shrink for many, many years on my boats electrical connections to protect from corrosion and have had great success.  Definitely no water intrusion, maybe somehow there was continuity between 2 of the wires??

Any other thoughts on this as to why it might have failed would be greatly appreciated.  Maybe I missed something that I am doing wrong.

 

Thanks everyone!

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About 4-5 years ago two of us went and purchased 2 different types of those splicers for strips, both sucked. To ensure we were not doing something wrong we event traded them back and forth. They all sucked.

Solder, heat shrink tubing, silicone and a heat gun, solder iron of your choice is much better.

** Add

 If you are cutting off the unused nodes always cut at an angle so there is no chance for the bare wires to touch.

J.R.

Edited by dibblejr
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2 hours ago, Grady29 said:

The particular string that partially stopped working is only 67 pixels.  I have singing pumpkins which use 167 pixels.  My strings are 100 pixels long, so I used 2 ports; 1 port=100 pixels and 2nd port=67 pixels.  The run from controller to pixel string is about 20'-25'.  This is the 2nd time I had the last few pixels on the 67 pixel string stop working.  The first time I just replaced the 67 pixel string with a new string without trying to troubleshoot the pixel string itself.  This time, I cut open the end of the 67 pixel string, where I terminated the string to check the voltage.  The voltage was 11.7 volts at the end of the string and the PS was 12.1 V.  This was running all the ports simultaneously and and then I tried running just the port that had the failed pixel string- either way, the voltages were nearly the same. 

I did discover after exposing the end of my pixel string, that all the pixels worked again.  Apparently, something I did to terminate the end of the string failed because once I opened up the end of the string, all the pixels worked just fine.  I have been only working with pixels for about 3 years now and always terminated the ends the same and this is the first time I have problems with pixel strings (maybe twice, since the first time my 67 pixel string failed, I just replaced it).  Not sure what could have happened.🤔  The way I terminate my connections is seal the ends of the wire after cutting it, then cover wire with an adhesive lined shrink tube that makes a great seal.  I have used the adhesive lined heat shrink for many, many years on my boats electrical connections to protect from corrosion and have had great success.  Definitely no water intrusion, maybe somehow there was continuity between 2 of the wires??

Any other thoughts on this as to why it might have failed would be greatly appreciated.  Maybe I missed something that I am doing wrong.

 

Thanks everyone!

I would turn the voltage up a tad on your psu (if it is adjustable) to about 12.6 at the psu.

** Add

 If you are cutting off the unused nodes always cut at an angle so there is no chance for the bare wires to touch.

J.R.

JR

Edited by dibblejr
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1 minute ago, Jimehc said:

either a lot of testing results or personal opinions - but results matter and vary..

Absolutely every person on this and several other lighting forums who have tried that type of mechanical splices have report a massive failure rate.  No one has ever posted that they worked long term.

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1 hour ago, dibblejr said:

I would turn the voltage up a tad on your psu (if it is adjustable) to about 12.6 at the psu.

** Add

 If you are cutting off the unused nodes always cut at an angle so there is no chance for the bare wires to touch.

J.R.

JR

Thank you.  I did start doing that today for the exact reason you suggested.  I must have had a stray wire I didn't see.  Hopefully it is fixed now with no further issues.

 

Thanks!

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1 hour ago, Jimehc said:

either a lot of testing results or personal opinions - but results matter and vary..

I bought a bunch of press fit  Corners, T's, Crosses (and even 2 wire barrel feeds for my white strips)for my dumb strips. Every one gave me troubles. The 2 wire, I simply cut that end off and soldered. Coated strips were the worse. They had to be perfectly clean and even then,  getting all 4 fingers to mate, and stay fully mated. For splices (and end caps), I use gel filled B-conns (beans) no need to strip the end, just split and bean the end

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