First Project: Is Pixelblaze the proper solution for my needs? Or too much?

Team PB,
Much respect-- all your projects are beautiful and some are truly inspired! Following the progress of your imagination in the development of your physical products and the code improvements is very enjoyable. Great, exciting community and I’d like your thoughts on whether my project is suitable for a Pixelblaze solution before I dive in the deep end!

Please forgive me if I’ve mis-categorized or tagged this thread/request. New here and I’m not a frequent user of this forum (or others…).

Goal: night-vision compatible lighting of the interior of a sail boat; .5-3.5 cd/m pure red (660nm) or green light (360nm) or just very dim warm white. Essentially, I’d like to be able to have regular bright 2700K white light 75% of the time and night vision of various colors compatible lighting when needed. Materials would be exposed to moisture. (Condensation is ubiquitous.)

Architecture: three or four addressable strip 12m long running in parallel down the length of the interior ceiling surface (cabin top) of the vessel. Each strip would be independently programmed, so, not all four wired in parallel. Does this mean (4) Pixelblaze V3 Standard, interlinked?

And ultimately-- after I learn a lot more about the programming: this could all be integrated in the NMEA 2000 maritime electrical standard backbone (if such a device exists that communicates between the PB motherboard) that could then be selected from the Multifunction Display or a phone. Maybe an app with three zones: Aft cabin, Salon (mid cabin) and the fore cabin. My MFD (Zeus 3) has it’s own WiFi network (FYI).

Neat light shows are a bonus.

Anyway, tldr; I want to make a comprehensive lighting upgrade to the interior of a boat for safety, low light visibility and fun!

If you made it this far, thanks for your time and I eagerly look forward to any suggestions!


**EDIT: I see this thread at the top of Show and Tell regarding Home Assistant integration and now I am falling down the rabbit hole, cameras, audio integration, WOW!

Disclaimer: I could be very wrong about absolutely all of this

For the purposes of your lighting, it sounds like at any given time you want the whole strip to be one color and brightness. It also sounds like you will have to be using specialty LED strips with only a single color emitter, since looking at the spec sheets for typical RGBW strips, the emitters don’t meet your wavelength requirements. I have a somewhat similar setup in my garage for when I do astronomy in the driveway, using a single RGBW WS2812B strip so I can switch between red and warm white, and get very dim light. But the red is like 620nm.

So at the end of the day, I’m imagining that you’d end up with 3 strips, one for white, one for green, and one for red. Unless I’m totally wrong and you have already found LED strips that meet your needs for that.

In the end, it sounds like a setup that will not be using the features of RGB strips, nor the features of individually addressable strips. So I’m not sure how much point there is to a pixelblaze. Although, if you had dedicated strips for red light and green light, you could have the third strip be RGBW, so that it can still be a “pretty light show” light in addition to being the warm white.

But for your other question, you definitely wouldn’t need four pixelblazes. Depending on all your requirements and the final design, you might just need one, or one with an output expander.

If I’m totally wrong and there is an addressable RGBW strip that emits light at the right wavelengths, then it would depend on the pixel density. At 60/meter, 12 meters each, 4 strips, that would be 2880 LEDs, which is probably in “more than one pixelblaze” territory, but someone else would be able to answer that much better than me. But at 30/meter, you’d be within what you can drive with one for very simple patterns.

Just to be clear, not outside the “territory”, the only time numbers are an issue is for changing the LEDs rapidly. For the above lighting, totally reasonable to control with one PB.

Finding addressable LEDs that meet your requirements is probably the challenge over any of the other details.

How specific do you need to be on the red/green wavelengths? What did you need for green? 360nm is UV. Doing a bit of research I find that some addressable’s green is closer to 505nm, which is right around peak scotopic vision sensitivity. Is that what you are looking for?

One other thing that comes to mind is that you’ll want a switch or relay or something to cut power to the addressables entirely when they are off so they don’t sap power when dark but idle.

If you didn’t care about addressable features like party mode at all, then I’d recommend dumb RGBW strips for an illumination application like this - and in that case PB wouldn’t make sense.

For weather/salt proofing, I’d get strips in IP67 silicone tubes and mount in some kind of nice channel system. The other types of waterproofing for LED strips WILL FAIL HORRIBLY. I’d get strips with the circular waterproof connector types. The JST style connectors will corrode fast with salt air unless completely gooped over with something like RTV silicone.

If you are just controlling dumb rgb or even single wavelength strips, have a look at espHome with Home Assistant running on a Pi. It’s enough to turn them on, off and dimm in zones. Then the sky is the limit with integrating a local voice control, time of day auto switching and motion sensing.