Pixelblaze for Powered Paraglider

Purchased a few of these a couple years ago as gifts and I love them. Just bought the standard board with the intent of making an LED strip for the hoop of my powered paraglider. We are supposed to use a strobe up to 30 min after sunset, so this should work nicely.

The hoop is 4.3m circumference. I’m going to zip tie the strip to the cage and run wires to my battery box where I’ll house the board and battery.

Here is my BOM:
—-16.4ft ws2812 (5V) - max draw 9A - 150 total LEDs
—-10Ah 7.4V Lipo- Venom 35C 2S 7.4V 10000mAh LiPo Battery with Universal Plug (EC3/Deans//Tamiya)

Does this setup look like it will work? I don’t need more than an hour runtime. Is 7.4V ok or is that going to be too much for the board? I was looking into using a 10A ubec, but I feel like it’s getting complicated and that there must be an easier solution.

What I don’t know is what gauge wiring I need for the setup and if I can waterproof it. I don’t fly in the rain, but sometimes the machine gets rained on when it’s traveling on my trailer hitch.

Here is a picture of my frame for your curiosity and this liquid electrical tape I was planning on coating the board with to protect it from rainwater.

Google Photos

Thanks! Glad they were fun! Hearing that always makes me smile!

Definitely too much for 5v LEDs or Pixelblaze!

A buck or step down converter can get you 5v and increase battery life a bit (converting some extra power as volts to amps). Get one with more amps capacity than you need, aim to 50-70% load max.

You’ll want something to monitor battery voltages and cut out when low so as not to overdrain batteries accidentally.

Otherwise that should work fine! Should easily last 30 minutes if not an hour if not run at 100% all pixels on brightness.

Hey Scotty! For a comparable 2S project recently, I used this with fine results:

Anmbest Constant Current CC CV Buck Converter Module DC 6-40V to 1.2-36V 20A 300W Adjustable Step Down Voltage Regulator Power Supply Module with Short Circuit Protection Function

I couldn’t find a decent 2S Low Voltage Cutoff circuit - let me know if you do. I used a loud alarm, but in flight you might not want to mess with that.

I have some experience with aviation wiring harnesses and want to suggest a few things. For connectors, consider the Delphi Metri-Pack 150 Series (and solder directly to the Pixelblaze PCB instead of using the screw terminals). Instead of liquid electrical tape, consider the MG Chemicals conformal coating - you can solder through it later and read the PCB markings through it. Buy the IP68 (silicone tube) version of your strip, and make an encapsulating strain relief out of Sugru where the wires enter.

You might want to consider a hard pack LiPo.

Assuming open air wiring (aka “Chassis”), this suggests 18AWG wire would be a safe choice. I like the silicone insulated fine stranded for vibration/aviation. Since you’re wiring a big hoop anyway, may as well inject power from both ends just for redundancy.

Post pics when done!!

This somewhat sealed DC Converter could be a better choice:

(I am using this one for my balcony lights).

For the low voltage application with a lots of Amps 18AWG wire looks too thin.
Please remember, if wire resistance is only 0.1 ohm over 10A voltage drop
will be 1V. For the 5V device loosing 1V is too much.
However 18AWG wire could be OK for a very short run.
(For the 18AWG wires 8ft (double run) will be around 0.1 ohm).