Apologies if this topic is discussed in the guides or forum already. I tried to search, but wasn’t finding any answers.
I will be using a Pixel Blaze V3 with a Pro Output Expansion Board, and I was wondering what is the maximum wire length between the data out from the pixel blaze to the data in on the first pixel? I will be powering the pixels with a separate power supply so only connecting data and ground from the pixel blaze to the strip.
There’s a lot to search through here, I agree. Below are a few posts that try to answer this question, because unfortunately, it’s one of those “It depends” and sometimes, “You need to test with your particular pixels and wire” things.
In general, I’ve had fine results with <10 feet to first pixel.
You’ll be able to go longer at slower clock speeds.
You’ll be able to go longer with solid power injection that minimizes voltage drop to 10-20% of the LED voltage, Vdd, as measured at many points across the run.
You can go longer by using data and clock in shielded pairs of twisted wire (like ethernet), where each is twisted with ground, and it’s not run near other interfering signals.
You can safely go a lot longer by using a differential transceiver like an RS-485. Other companies market these as “long range” controllers, but you can DIY for <$20.
You can reduce the working distance if you accidentally have bad solder joints, don’t have a common ground, or your connection to first pixel becomes damaged from strain.
The posts below go into more detail on the “why” and “how” for these approaches.