Instructables

How to run 5m intelligent LED strip via battery pack (portable power)?

Hello - I would like to apply this (or similar) LED strip to a costume:

http://www.ecolightled.com/product/rl_hk_drgb_kit_2/digital_rgb_ribbon

Is there a way to run this via battery power? It needs to be 6 lbs. or under, so it can be strapped underneath a garment. I've looked at soooo many types of portable power sources & battery packs now, I'm thoroughly confused as to how to determine power needs if I want this to run 4-5 hours (at least). Some battery packs seem like they might run it for a while, but I am not sure of how to make a connection properly (and what kind of connectors I need), and risk the battery exploding. I will be wearing this, so safety is an issue. Am I dreaming, or is this possible? Please help, and thanks!

Also, cost is an issue... the cheaper the better!

I know it's more than 6 months late, but did you consider using 3528 SMD LED strips instead of the 5050 SMD strips? They're not as bright, but they use less than half the power.
costumediva (author)  AgentMulders3 years ago
I'm going to try those... didn't know they were available - thanks!!!
robert.d3 years ago
wooo, if you run a 5 meter led strip lights, that would require a very powerful batteries. Besides, you may need a very strong charger for the battery.
pbates1234 years ago
Ran across this on Ebay comes with charger it's 388g > 1lb. and costs ~ $44.00. it's 9.8ah http://cgi.ebay.com/12V-9800mAH-Portable-Li-ion-Rechargeable-Battery-Pack-/170483711792?cmd=ViewItem&pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item27b19eff30
pbates1234 years ago
Sorry about that!

Please ignore my comment about the battery leaking Steve is the Man!  
I missed the "Sealed" part of his suggestion. The battery he suggested would even take the heat as it is rated to 140Deg F.
pbates1234 years ago
I see Steve is giving you some good advice.

I had a couple of thoughts which may be of interest. Are you going to use the controller??

1. Using flashing lights would allow you to reduce the power needed. Something called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) you can very the "On Time" and extend the life of the battery.

2. Although they cost more they also last longer, are lighter, and recharge faster use (Li) Lithium Ion batteries. The run time and weight are the most attractive features for this application

Also if your going to be hauling these around Burning Man, on your person in the dessert, the lead acid batteries can leak and are not a good choice.

If you can't afford Li, then Gel cells maybe a better choice. Keep the batteries shaded and vented regardless of type.

By the way Steve you may be unaware Burning Man is a happening in the Mojave Desert where day time temperatures often reach 120Deg F or more! See http://www.burningman.com/whatisburningman/ for more info.

Regards,
- Phil
Its going to take about 24 W from the battery, or 2 amps. If you want to pull that current for 5 hours, you need a 10Ah battery. That you could achieve with a single 12V Sealed lead-acid battery like this one.

It weighs 8 pounds though

Steve

costumediva (author)  steveastrouk4 years ago
Also - how long would a battery such as this last? Pricey,yes - but would it work for the time I need it, or hopefully longer?
http://www.batterygeek.net/BG-9-12-66-Portable-DVD-Player-Battery-p/9-12-66_batterygeek.htm

I'm a TOTAL newbie at this, so I'm somewhat lost as to how to convert actual power usage for this model, especially when combining the controller & remote along with it. Not sure if all the items will be drawing from the pack, or just the LED strip itself. I do need to be able to control the color sequencing on it...
An approximate idea of where you are in the world would help me suggest sources - I am in the UK - and my cheap sources aren't if you aren't in the UK/
costumediva (author)  steveastrouk4 years ago
I'm in Houston, TX - I will be wearing this outfit at various performances & in the desert (at Burning Man). I will have to charge the batteries during the day with a generator out there, so charging multiple batteries won't be an option. Having 2 of the batteries you suggested would get me through an entire night (8-9 hours), and wouldn't be too much to carry. I can compromise on the length of the strip if need be, but if I'm gonna make this thing, I'd like to try for maximum impact! :) So treat me as a "wiring for dummies" case... I'm looking at inline fuses - how do I determine which one I need, and where will it go? Does the auto parts store have the wire I will need with the pin to connect to the controller? Thanks SO much for your help here, I'm more of an artist brain & can figure out most of the basic wiring concepts, but am just clueless enough electrically that I may blow something up if I don't hook it up right!
costumediva (author)  costumediva4 years ago
Here is another strip I was considering from ebay at 1/2 the price... is this one identical in power consumption? They seem like the same product, but the specs were not separated as to the draw of each component, so I couldn't tell...

http://cgi.ebay.com/LED-strip-RGB-Intelligent-SMD-5050-300LEDs-controller-/260621963533?cmd=ViewItem&pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3cae47910d

I'd love to use this cheaper one if the power usage is the same.
I think for the sheer reduction in hassle factor, sticking to one length is the best plan. This one seems to take a lot more power than the first choice in your question - unless my math is wrong...........no, its right. So the Chinese choice is either less effiicient or a lot brighter. IF you keep your patterns a little less brilliant, this thing will probably draw less current, but you could always ask the ebay vendor to confirm the power draw.
costumediva (author)  steveastrouk4 years ago
Another option is using multiples of this smaller strip:

http://cgi.ebay.com/LED-Strip-RGB-SMD-5050-Wateproof-60LED-100cm-IR-Control-/260622920025?cmd=ViewItem&pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3cae562959

I could use more of these strips with multiple smaller battery packs around the costume (one per strip?) - this should help in weight distribution, and hopefully less bulk. I won't get the long smooth transitions of the longer LED strip, but it would do. I'm guessing I would only need one remote to activate all the controllers together, so they would still all color change in unison. Is this correct?

If so, what kind of smaller rechargeable battery packs & connectors should I look for to run each strip individually? Would I still need inline fuses for all of them?

I'm looking for an easy "plug & play" way of doing this, so it's not a monumental hassle to unhook/rehook things up every time it needs a recharge. Thanks so much for your patience - I hope I'm not a total pest!
That's probably about 1/2 of what you need. Ignore the controller for your power needs.
costumediva (author)  steveastrouk4 years ago
Thank you, Steve - 8 lbs. might work, and it's not too terribly huge. How would I hook this up to that battery, and does that power include using the controller & remote with it?
Happy to help !

Wiring it should be straight forward enough. Get the bits you need from an autoparts store - probably 1/4" slide-on connectors. MAKE SURE YOU GET AN INLINE FUSE. This is very important for safety.

I can't see a way to fight down the weight, unless you can compromise on the length of the LED strip.

The controller and remote aren't going to make much difference.

Don't forget you COULD have a design where you swap out the batteries - use 12V cordless power tool batteries, which will hold up for an hour or two, and can be swapped out when they're flat. You'd be hefting less weight that way.

Steve