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1. The T3-M is a bit more expensive than your other RGB controllers.  What can it do?

Oh man, that’s the kind of open ended question that I’ve been waiting for! What can it do? What can’t it do? (In the realm of LED light controllers, it obviously can’t make phone calls or bake cakes. Those features are still being Beta Tested.) The T3-M system uses a much more advanced RGB remote which is capable of communicating with as many receivers as you have, even all at once if you want your strips in simultaneous animations! With its touch controls and RF signal, the T3-M can communicate with any receiver it’s been synced to that’s within one hundred feet of it, even if there’s walls or ceilings or floors in the way! Remember how I said it can control all your lights at once? It can also control individual light zones! This is our only LED light controller that can control individual light zones. So you can either control all zones at once, or divide your strips into ten different light zones! The T3-M is capable of playing any of its eighteen animations simultaneously across the zones, or independently. Not to even mention the T3-M’s eight brightness levels and eight speed levels, all in all, this thing is pretty impressive.

2. That sounds complicated and I am scared.  How do you link a receiver to the remote?

It may have a lot of features but the T3-M is very user friendly! When linking a receiver to the remote, just hold the power button on your receiver until you hear a long beep, usually after about five seconds. Then with your other hand (or a friend can do this part if you feel like trying a co-op experience, or if you lost your hand in a pirate adventure and it has since been replaced with an awesome hook) press the light zone number on the T3-M controller that you want to assign that receiver’s lights to. So if you wanted to assign a receiver to the receiver to light zone one, you would press the one button on the T3-M; if you wanted light zone two, you’d press the two button; and so on in that fashion all the way through ten.\

3. I’m less scared now. How can I control multiple zones together?

If you only want to control one light zone, you’ll need to hold that button down for a couple seconds, then you’ll have full control over the receivers that are synced to that zone. Now if you want to get fancy and control multiple zones in unison  you’ll need to press the * button followed by the zones you wish to control and then the * button again. For example, if you want to control zones one and two you’d press *, 1, 2, * at which point you’d be able to control zones one and two! If you wanted control over zones one, four, five, seven, nine, and ten, you’d press *, 1,  4, 5, 7, 9, 10, * and that odd arrangement of zones would be just waiting for your orders! To control all zones at once you’d need to press *, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, * and it’s just that easy!

4. All fear has left my body. How many colors are available?

The color wheel on the remote isn’t just for show, no sir/ma’am, not for just show at all. The T3-M controller’s color wheel is touch sensitive and will adjust the colors displayed on your lights based on where you place your finger on the wheel! Oh, but it gets even fancier! If the first color you tapped is just a bit too mauve for your tastes and you’d prefer fuchsia, you can drag your finger on the color wheel until you find EXACTLY the shade that you want. The T-3m controller and the MiLight wi-fi controller are the only two LED light controllers that we offer that boast this impressive ability as part of their arsenals. The other controllers are limited to a couple dozen preset color options.

5. What are the M1 and M2 buttons for?

The M1 and M2 buttons are ‘favorite’ buttons, so to speak, that save your light choices exactly as they are across all the light zones for quick changes. A good use of these would be dimming all of your lights to around half brightness and then holding down the M1 or M2 button for a few seconds to save it as ‘night mode’. That way if its late and you don’t want to wake everyone up with the lights, you could press your chosen button and the lights would be switched to the brightness level you saved! That’s just one suggestion, I’m sure you’ll be able to come up with all sorts of amazing ideas!

Thanks for reading this installment of our troubleshooting series, we truly hope it has been helpful. Have a question we haven’t answered yet? contact us at cole@hitlights.com and we’ll do our best to answer it in the next installment. Please remember that our customer service staff (customerservice@hitlights.com) is happy to assist you with any and all of your concerns, questions, and suggestions. If you want to call and talk with us, well that’s just fine too – (225)-304-0408!

The Troubleshooting Series is published on Fridays, please have questions submitted by the Wednesday beforehand if you want it answered in the next installment.

Power Adapters for LED Light Strips1. How do I know which power supply to use with my lights?

When you pick out a single strip, a compatible driver is automatically recommended for you! So if you were to get a roll of 3528 regular density lights then you would be recommended to get a twenty-four watt power adapter, not too little power, not too much, perfect for that one strip. Now let’s say you wanted something stronger, maybe a 5050 high density strip. Because the 5050 has a stronger power draw than the 3528, a more powerful adapter will be recommended, in this case, it would be a sixty watt power adapter. Granted, these recommendations are given on a single strip by single strip basis, so if you’re using a different amount of LED strip lights…

2. What if I’m using custom lengths (more or less than 1 roll of lights?)

This is where some math is going to be needed. I know, I know, it’s not fun, but hey, this math is even easier than figuring out the fifteen percent tip at restaurants, I promise! So let’s say you’ve picked out a strip already, in addition to the driver recommendation, each strip also lists its power consumption in watts per foot. In our little hypothetical shopping scenario here, you’ll be picking out the 5050 regular density strip, and you’ve decided that for your project you’ll need thirty feet of lights. The 5050 regular density strip is listed at two watts per foot, so for thirty feet of light, you’ll be drawing sixty watts of power, and as it just so happens, we’ve got sixty watt adapters!

Dimmable Drivers for LED Light Strips and Wall Dimmers3. What if I want to use a wall dimmer with my LED lights?

Well that’s certainly possible, there are a few things you’ll need to know. First off, you’ll need to use a dimmable driver instead of a standard power adapter. Another thing to note is that using a wall dimmer and the dimmable driver will require you to hard wire the lights directly into the switch. That, or you’d need to wire your dimmer switch into a wall outlet and attach and AC power chord to your strips and dimmable driver and use that outlet. The last thing you’ll need to know about wall dimmers and the dimmable driver is that RGB lights just don’t have a good way to work with the wall dimmer. No cause for alarm though, as all of our RGB controllers can dim our RGB strip lights, so you’ll still be able to dim your lights!

4. What if I want to use a battery pack for portable power?

Please do! Our battery packs are great for any mobile project, like Light Bikes or outdoor lighting that’s not near any convenient power sources. So if you were planning a romantic picnic dinner in a field and candles aren’t your thing? Then you should pick up a battery pack and a nice RGB strip light! Battery packs are also great for boat lighting, assuming that the battery pack stays dry and your strips are rated for some to a lot of water!

5. How can I know how long the battery pack will last with my lights?

I hate to do this to you, but we’ll need to break out the pencils and scrap paper again, because it’s math time once more! The battery packs we offer are rated in milli-amp hours, either thiry-eight hundred or six thousand milli-amp hours. To determine how many amps your strips are drawing, you’ll need to find their wattage, so let’s use a really easy example. A regular density 3528 strip draws twenty-four watts, now take the wattage and divide it by twelve, that’s your amp draw, or two amps. Now multiple your amp draw by one thousand, that’s your milli-amp draw, so for the 3800 battery pack and a 3528 regular density your battery pack will last 3800/2000=1.9 hours, or 114 minutes. Here’s the general formula: (watt draw) / 12=A, A x 1000=M, Battery Pack Milli-amps / M= hours of battery life. I hope this helps you plan your battery pack outings!

Thanks for reading this installment of our troubleshooting series, we truly hope it has been helpful. Have a question we haven’t answered yet? contact us at cole@hitlights.com and we’ll do our best to answer it in the next installment. Please remember that our customer service staff (customerservice@hitlights.com) is happy to assist you with any and all of your concerns, questions, and suggestions. If you want to call and talk with us, well that’s just fine too – (225)-304-0408!

The Troubleshooting Series is published on Fridays, please have questions submitted by the Wednesday beforehand if you want it answered in the next installment.

1. Which RGB Controller can control multiple LED Strip Lights?

Great question! Here’s a little secret for you, all of our RGB controllers are capable of controlling multiple strips at once! However, not all controllers are created equal so there are a few things that you need to know before you pick out a controller that’s just right for you. All of our controllers are capable of controlling multiple strips that are all hooked up to the same receiver and power source, but some controllers can only control multiple strips if they’re all hooked together. Also, be sure to remember to use Amplifiers properly if you’re going to be hooking multiple strips together! So while some of our controllers can only control strips that are all hooked together, we have some controllers capable of controlling Independent Light Zones.

2. Which RGB Controllers can control Independent Light Zones?

Another great question! How did you think of this one? However the question came to you, the answer is going to come to you even easier, because I’m just going to tell you! We have four different controllers that are all capable of controlling independent light zones. However, these controllers all have their own unique way of controlling the zones, so we’ll break it down controller by controller so you’ll know exactly which one is right for your project. Oh yeah! I should probably tell you which controllers can do what you’re asking! Our Forty-Four Key Controller, R108 Controller, MiLight Controller, and T3M Controller can all control independent light zones!

44 Key IR Controller for LED Light Strips3. How does the Forty-Four Key Controller Handle Independent Light Zones?

Our Forty-Four Key Controller, of the four capable of controlling Independent Light Zones, has the most restrictions on its ability to control the zones. The Forty-Four Key Controller is capable of controlling any LED Light Strip that’s hooked up to a Forty-Four Key receiver, but it has to be withing range of the receiver (about fifty feet) and you have to be pointing the controller at the receiver. This means that while you can have your Independent Light Zones all controlled by the same controller, it’ll be difficult to sync up animations properly unless you’re only planning on setting your strips to static colors.

R108 RGB LED Light Strip Controller4. How does the R108 Controller Handle Independent Light Zones?

For using the R108 Controller, you’ll first have to sync each receiver to your R108 Controller individually, but once you do you should be able to control your Independent Light zones without issue. However, like the Forty-Four Key Controller, Syncing any animations will prove difficult as the Independent Light Zones all receive the signal from your controller, get this, independently. So if you want all your Independent Light Zones to play the same animation, they’ll be a bit out of sync. So if you really want your strips sync’d together, then hook them all together or use static colors.

MiLight Wifi Controller for RGB LED Light Strips5. How does the MiLight Controller Handle Independent Light Zones?

The MiLight Controller controls your Independent Light Zones in a very similar way to the R108 controller, with the added benefit of always being with you, as it is a free app for your Smart Phone or Tablet. It also features a better control range than the R108 (about ninety feet for the MiLight Controller vs. about fifty feet for the R108). The MiLight Controller also comes with a sleeker interface and control scheme. The same precautions should be taken with the MiLight, the animations will be tough to perfectly sync, and all receivers must be individually sync’d to the controller.

T3M RGB LED Light Strip Controller6. How does the T3M Controller Handle Independent Light Zones?

Here it is, in the controlling Independent Light Zones would, it’s the Cuban Cigars, the Rolex, Bentley, what I’m trying to say is that this piece of equipment is top of the line. Like the other controllers mentioned, you’ll need to sync each receiver individually, but once you have you’ll have total control of each one. With the T3M you can choose which Independent Light Zone you want to control right from the remote, you can even have all the zones play the same animation in perfect synchronization. Now that you’ve got all the facts, you can choose which controller is right for you!

Thanks for reading this installment of our troubleshooting series, we truly hope it has been helpful. Have a question we haven’t answered yet? contact us at cole@hitlights.com and we’ll do our best to answer it in the next installment. Please remember that our customer service staff (customerservice@hitlights.com) is happy to assist you with any and all of your concerns, questions, and suggestions. If you want to call and talk with us, well that’s just fine too – (225)-304-0408!

The Troubleshooting Series is published on Fridays, please have questions submitted by the Wednesday beforehand if you want it answered in the next installment.

1. Why are LED bulbs rated as Dry, Damp, or Wet locations?

You know the old adage, “A place for everything, and everything in it’s place?” Well despite being quite an old saying, it still holds true, even for emerging technologies like LED lights! A fair few LED bulbs are not totally enclosed, and thus aren’t completely protected from the elements (primarily water!) UL-Listed LED light bulbs are classified into three different ratings to help you figure out what kind of bulb you need based on the situation and location of your personal project. So before you just go off buying bulbs, check the ratings first! Are they rated Dry? or are they Damp? Maybe the bulb you need is Wet rated? how do you know what you need for your project? When did it become your responsibility to answer questions? Don’t worry, just keep reading!

Household A19 LED Light Bulb

Many household bulbs are rated for indoor or dry use.

2. Where can I use a bulb that’s rated for Dry Locations?

Bulbs that are rated for dry locations are best suited for indoor environments, but not all of them. I know! You just want a straight answer from me! These bulbs should only be used in places you know will be dry pretty much 100% of the time. While a little bit of temporary dampness might not damage these bulbs it still is recommended that you keep these bulbs in dry, clean areas only. Another thing to make sure about these bulbs is to make sure that wherever it is that you are using these bulbs can be ventilated easily in the off chance that moisture does accumulate on or near these bulbs. However, if you take good care of them, then you’re looking at an LED light that just won’t quit!

LED PAR38 Floodlight Bulb

PAR and BR bulbs are commonly used in damp locations.

3. Where can I use a bulb that’s rated for Damp locations?

These are the bulbs that you’ll want to turn to if you find that a dry rated bulb won’t be exactly what you need. These bulbs are good for indoor areas where moisture or dampness can be a problem, like in a bathroom or a kitchen. They can handle general humidity and some mild splashing, but certainly aren’t rated for excessive amounts of water. Damp rated LED light bulbs are also what you’ll want to use in outdoor environments that aren’t prone to direct rain or water. One of the most popular places for people to use a damp rated bulb is just under the eaves of the roof, where they might get splashed a bit, but never full on drenched. Other good places for these bulbs is under patio overhangs and awnings!

Outdoor LED Floodlight

Outdoor LED Lights such as floodlights can be used in wet locations.

4. Where can I use a bulb that’s rated for Wet locations?

Now these are the heavy duty hardware that you can turn to if the damp rated bulbs just aren’t up to snuff. Dripping water, splashes, flowing water, wet rated bulbs can handle it all without any adverse effects. Maybe you wanted to light up your front walkway, but you get frequent rain? Don’t use the damp rated bulbs, use wet rated! They’re all good, they’ll never let you down! Other typical applications of wet rated bulbs are deck lighting, outdoor wall mounting, and landscape lighting!

5. With otherwise identical statistics, will rating affect bulb performance?

Assuming that the bulbs are the same wattage, and all the other characteristics of the bulbs are the same, then no the ratings will not affect how well your bulb performs. That is unless you use the bulbs outside of their rating zones! If you try to use a dry rated bulb in a humid environment you can expect issues. The same goes for using damp rated bulbs area that will be exposed to more consistent or excessive amounts of water. The wet rated bulbs on the other hand can be used in situations where normally you’d choose and dry or damp rated bulb.

Thanks for reading this installment of our troubleshooting series, we truly hope it has been helpful. Have a question we haven’t answered yet? contact us at cole@hitlights.com and we’ll do our best to answer it in the next installment. Please remember that our customer service staff (customerservice@hitlights.com) is happy to assist you with any and all of your concerns, questions, and suggestions. If you want to call and talk with us, well that’s just fine too – (225)-304-0408!

The Troubleshooting Series is published on Fridays, please have questions submitted by the Wednesday beforehand if you want it answered in the next installment.

 

1. What do I need to control my RGB LEDs with a smartphone/tablet? Wifi Controlled LED's!

Wait just one second, I get to OPEN a Trouble Shooting Series with a straight answer? Are LEDs still run off DC power? Are Incandescents still banned? What year is it? All kidding aside, there really is a straight answer to this question and it’s called MiLight! You’ll need a few tools for it, but all in all it’s very simple. For starters, you’ll need one MiLight Hub and one Receiver for each of your LED Light projects. You’ll also need an iOS or Android smart device to download the FREE MiLight app, but seeing as the the question is about controlling your lights with a smartphone or tablet, I’m just going to go ahead and assume that you already have one. I know what happens when people assume, but I feel pretty safe making this assumption.

2. Which monitor do I use in the MiLight app to control my lights?

MiLight RGB LED Monitor
That’s a good question, and another one that I can give a straight answer to! Is this opposite day or something? Anyway, the MiLight app has six different “monitors” available. They’re really just controller interfaces, and Hitlights uses the second “monitor” to control our LEDs. Still a bit confused? the picture to the right should help clear up whatever monitor concerns you still have left. And remember, you can always contact us here at Hitlights with any and all questions you have regarding your LEDs at customerservice@hitlights.com or (225)-304-0408 if you’d like to talk with us in person!

 

MiLight Link Button3. How do I sync a MiLight receiver to a MiLight hub?

Three straight answers in a row? I have to be dreaming or something. Can you understand me? Blink twice if I’m still making sense. Back to business though, to sync your MiLight Receiver to your MiLight Hub you’ll want your MiLight Hub powered on, but your MiLight Receiver and LED Lights unplugged. Next, open up your MiLight app and choose the second Monitor/Controller Interface. With the app open, plug in the power for your MiLight Receiver and LED Lights. Within five seconds of plugging in your Receiver/LEDs press the ‘Link’ button on your app, should the linking be successful your LED Lights will flash, signifying that your phone now has control over your lights!

4. Can the MiLight support independent zones of light?

I’m definitely getting Punk’d or something, I know it. There’s no way that I’ve only got straight answers to give you. It sure looks that way this week though doesn’t it? Although I can give you a simple answer for this question, that doesn’t mean it’s good news. I hate to say it, but currently there is no way to control independent zones of light with the app. All receivers linked to a single MiLight Hub will be completely synchronized and one command will affect all your receivers. Although, we do hope to be able to add independent light zone control as a feature in an upcoming app update for MiLight. However, when that update is coming, I can’t say I have any details, but know that we here at Hitlights will keep you posted!

MiLight Wiring Diagram

5. How many receivers can I use with one hub?

Fine. I’ve come to terms with it. Five for Five this week. Unstoppable. New personal best, new Trouble Shooting Series record, new straight answer champion of the world. You can sync unlimited receivers to a single hub, provided they’ve got power and are within fifty feet of your MiLight Hub. Or, well I say unlimited, but there’s only so many receivers you can fit in a fifty foot radius sphere. So assuming all that’s in the sphere is your hub and receivers, and there’s no space between any of the receivers or hub, you could use one hundred seventy-three million, nine hundred twenty-seven thousand, three hundred and ninety-four receivers with your hub. However, that’s a bit cumbersome to say, so I’ll say this. In theory, you could use every MiLight receiver ever made with one hub. Though I don’t think you have that many. If you do, send us pictures, we’d love to see that.

Thanks for reading this installment of our troubleshooting series, we truly hope it has been helpful. Have a question we haven’t answered yet? contact us at cole@hitlights.com and we’ll do our best to answer it in the next installment. Please remember that our customer service staff (customerservice@hitlights.com) is happy to assist you with any and all of your concerns, questions, and suggestions. If you want to call and talk with us, well that’s just fine too – (225)-304-0408!

The Troubleshooting Series is published on Fridays, please have questions submitted by the Wednesday beforehand if you want it answered in the next installment.

Mardi Gras

FleurdeLEDIf you’ve never experienced it, you’ve at least heard about it. Mardi Gras is a southern tradition that traditionally celebrates the time before Lent and Ash Wednesday, Mardi Gras itself meaning Fat Tuesday. Nowadays, however, its more or less just an excuse to have a good time, eat king cake, see some parades, and more or less cut loose for a while. I don’t mean just one or two parades, but dozens, all across New Orleans and beyond. Each of these parades is made up of floats, and each float tries to outdo all the others in excitement, and in style. Odds are if you live down south, you know at least one person involved in a Mardi Gras parade, they may even be the head of their krewe, a krewe being the people who build, maintain, and operate the floats. You yourself may even be in charge of a krewe! Regardless of your level of involvement with the float though, you can always suggest a new addition to your krewe, LEDs.

Mardi Gras Float with Lights

When you’re on the street, driving or walking, what’s gonna get your attention faster than anything else? That’s right, flashing lights! What if those lights weren’t the blue and red indicators of the boys in blue taking you in for a night in the slammer, but were the purple, gold, and green indicators of a great time? Because our colored LED strip lights run on 12V DC Power, they are easy to wrap all around your float using power from the float’s car battery!  If the car battery isn’t easily available, you can still use our portable and easy to use battery packs for the same effects. Now if you really want to get people on the street excited, you could run the strips on the side of your float to spell your krewe’s name or even in the form of a huge LED Fleur de Lis! the possibilities for your float’s design are as endless as your imagination! “What about the after party though? How can LED lights really make my party pop off?” We’ve got an answer for that too! Just hook your lights up to an LED Music Controller and that Fleur de Lis will start strobing to all your favorite tracks, and everyone around will remember it, no matter what else happens that night!

1. What is a “Ground” connection for power supplies?  Do I need one for my LED Lights

AC Grounding SymbolThe ground connection is the third prong on some plugs, not the two flat pieces, but the little rod, that’s the ground connection in AC wiring for Power Supplies, Power Adapters, and LED Drivers. Grounding is a safety feature for AC wiring that can absolutely save your life during a power surge or a storm, as it redirects all that excess energy into the ground where it is safely discharged, instead of turning you into a lighting fixture. In recent years, the National Electric Code made grounded outlets a mandatory part of home AC wiring systems. So if your home was built since 2011, then you have grounded outlets in your home. If you’re trying to figure out whether or not your outlet is grounded, count the connections! Three means it’s grounded, two means it’s not!

2.  Can I use “Cheater” plugs to use my Grounded power supply in an ungrounded outlet?

AC Cheater PlugIf you’ve got a cheater plug, then sure, go ahead and use one! It should definitely be noted though that a cheater plug removes the purpose of even having a ground connection, so make sure that you’re comfortable with taking the risk. However, you still can use a cheater plug with no downside for most of our products if the only outlets available to you are are ungrounded two prong outlets. In a general sense though, cheater plugs are not really necessary for Hitlights products as most of our products do not need grounding, and we offer ungrounded power supplies in addition to grounded ones. So really whether you ground or not is up to you and your safety choices.

3. Will using a cheater plug or ungrounded connection affect my lights’ performance?

Nope! Power is power and our LED light products won’t discriminate between grounded and ungrounded power so long as it’s coming through an adapter. A.K.A. as long as you’re feeding it DC power your lights will work just fine, grounded or not. The only way a cheater plug or an ungrounded connection will affect your lights is if a power surge blows your lights out! So if you’ve grown attached to your lights or your loved ones, then using a grounded outlet is the better option, though it is still your choice to make. We here at Hitlights want you to always be as safe as you can, so think twice about using ungrounded outlets.

4. Which Power supplies need to be grounded?

Here’s where I wish I could just say, “X, Y, and, Z Power Supplies need grounding! Peace, we out!” Alas, I cannot in good consciousness do that, you deserve better! If you want me to be technically and straight with you, only 12 volt dimmable drivers MUST, I reiterate, MUST be grounded. So if you’re using a dimmable driver, ignore the entirety of questions two and three, they’re both liars and want you to break your products. I don’t want that to happen, trust me and ground your dimmable drivers. We also have three other power supplies that greatly benefit from being grounded. The 150 Watt, 192 Watt, and 350 Watt power supplies have terminals for grounding wires, so please use them. It’s a matter of safety, so think about that every time you consider going with the ungrounded option because of “convenience.”

5. Which Power supplies don’t need to be grounded?

Just like dentists say to only brush the teeth you want to keep, I’ll say only ground the power supplies you want to keep. While the dimmable driver is the only one that straight up REQUIRES grounding, you really should ground them all. That being said, every rule has exceptions, and this one has three. Our indoor 24 Watt and 60 Watt power supplies both use ungrounded connections so in those cases don’t worry too much about grounding. The third exception is the waterproof 60 Watt power supply. The reasoning behind this is pretty simple. If there’s a power surge and your lights are underwater, the extra energy isn’t going to worry about going into the ground, it’s headed straight for that H2O. That being said, if your waterproof power supply ISN’T underwater, still be careful with it as YOU are now the grounding connection while handling it. Stay safe with your LED lights and power supplies, ground when you can and always be thinking about safety when working with electronics!

Thanks for reading this installment of our troubleshooting series, we truly hope it has been helpful. Have a question we haven’t answered yet? contact us at cole@hitlights.com and we’ll do our best to answer it in the next installment. Please remember that our customer service staff (customerservice@hitlights.com) is happy to assist you with any and all of your concerns, questions, and suggestions. If you want to call and talk with us, well that’s just fine too – (225)-304-0408!

The Troubleshooting Series is published on Fridays, please have questions submitted by the Wednesday beforehand if you want it answered in the next installment.

Lighting for Love

Floodlight Color EffectsLet’s set a scene: it’s February, the fourteenth to be exact, and your beloved thinks you’ve forgotten all about this special day.  Not to fear, naturally you’ve been planning a romantic surprise for months. You give your significant other a call and mention, “I’ve got dinner handled tonight, why don’t you swing by around seven?” They agree, secretly hoping that somehow this year will be different, that it isn’t just left over casserole and Netflix reruns like last year. When they pull up to your pad though, they run into quite the pleasant surprise. LED RGB floodlights are painting the front of your humble abode with a warm red, or a soothing maroon, maybe even a rosy pink? Your significant other is delighted, but reins in their enthusiasm, maybe you bought these lights for yourself, you probably forgot it’s even Valentine’s day.

LED Valentine Hearts

Then they open the front door, and any remaining doubts are dissipated in an instant when they see that you’ve turned off your usual lighting in favor of some colored LED strip lights leading straight into the kitchen where they can see more warm reds, soothing maroons, and even some playful pink too. When they make their way down the romantic runway you’ve set up for them, they see the coup de grâce, you’ve lit the whole kitchen with mood lights LED Mood Lampsof every color your beloved has ever mentioned liking, all surrounding a table lovingly prepared for two with a banquet fit for royalty. That’s not all though, you’ve got a few more strips running around the kitchen, all hooked up to a music controller that’s animating the strips to your soul mate’s favorite songs, Dido, Enya, AC/DC, Ellie Goulding, Tupac, all the classics. All this, and the night’s just begun…  Yeah, you and your LED’s rock.

1. Why would I use the DC splitter or y-splitter?

Great question, and I’m glad I get to give a straight answer right off the bat this time around! What these accessories allow you to do is install and use more strip light spools where you’d normally just be limited to a single strand. So if, for example, you want to run strip lights around the junction of your walls and the ceiling, but you only have one outlet available at each end of the room, using a splitter would allow you to run two strands from a single outlet. Or maybe you want to light up the base of a dividing wall in your kitchen/living room, but there’s only an outlet on one side of the wall. Instead of futzing around with tacky extension cords or a power strip, you could simply use a splitter to run the strips around the wall from one side!

DC Splitter Application

2. What’s the difference between a DC splitter and a Y-Splitter?

Wow, two straight answers in a row, two weeks in a row? I wouldn’t get used to this if I were you, I’m sure there are some tricky questions coming up. To answer the question though, a DC splitter is used for single color strips like our Cool White Strips which are great for accenting metal and stone, or our Warm White Strips if you’re looking to highlight wood or other classic looking home fixtures. The Y-Splitter on the other hand is used for splitting RGB strips, so while these aren’t really going to accent things like the cool or warm white strips, there’s still quite a lot of application options for split RGB strips, like running them around the roof of your business to attract customers or for lighting up a patio at night for parties or barbeques!

Y Splitter Application

DC Splitter3. What’s the more practical benefit of splitters?

If you’re looking to light up a more medium sized area with strip lights and you don’t want to have to worry about amplifiers, then splitters can be just what you’re looking for! How about I illustrate the concept with an example? Let’s say you’ve got a few spools of SMD 3528′s, you want to run them around a room from a single outlet. If you weren’t using a splitter, after that second spool you’d need an amplifier to keep the light consistent along the whole run, but if you instead split the strips at the source then you could run two strips off each end with no drop in strip brightness! A word of warning though, just because you’ve dodged needing an amplifier doesn’t mean you’ve gotten around all the LED restrictions in the book, you’ll still need a power source strong enough to power all of your lights!

4. Can I put a splitter at the end of an already split strip?

So you’re asking if once you’ve split into two strips, can you put a splitter at the end of one of those strips? Yeah you can! you could put a splitter at the end of both of them for four strips running off of two  strips! However, make sure you keep your strips and splitters consistent, because you cannot run a DC splitter off a Y-Split color changing strip or Vice Versa. So while it could be incredibly cool to see cool white lead into a pair of flashing green strips, that’s not something that can be done. Another warning to remember, with all these strips you’ve split out now, you’ll want to be completely sure your power adapter can handle all of the strips you’ll be running, as six strips can be more than some adapters can handle.

5. Can I run an SMD 5050 alongside an SMD 3528 on the same splitter?

You sure can!…with an asterisk. The two strips both need to be the same color, otherwise it won’t work. Other than that, feel free to run 5050′s with other 5050′s, or 3528′s with 3528′s, or 5050′s and 3528′s. Just like I warned in the last two questions though, you have to make sure that your power source can handle the strips you’ve got running together. I make it a point to caution you here because 5050′s need more power than 3528′s so while some of the lower wattage power adapters can handle a pair of 3528′s they might not have the juice required to run a 5050 instead of that second 3528 your low watt adapt was just handling without any difficulty. Always remember to stay safe!

Thanks for reading this installment of our troubleshooting series, we truly hope it has been helpful. Have a question we haven’t answered yet? contact us at cole@hitlights.com and we’ll do our best to answer it in the next installment. Please remember that our customer service staff (customerservice@hitlights.com) is happy to assist you with any and all of your concerns, questions, and suggestions. If you want to call and talk with us, well that’s just fine too – (225)-304-0408!

The Troubleshooting Series is published on Fridays, please have questions submitted by the Wednesday beforehand if you want it answered in the next installment.

1. That thing looks funky! What can it do?

This thing can do SO many things. It is without a doubt one of the most impressive pieces of LED technology we sell in my opinion. The installation video here gives a basic run down of the music controllers capabilities and functions. The controller uses a microphone in order to pick up on the sounds and music near it. Once the controller “hears” what’s going on, it can adjust the strips to match the rhythm and tone of the music or sounds, it’ll even animate the strip to normal speech and conversation! It doesn’t just stop at music and speech though, any sounds that are picked up by the microphone can animate the strips, such as video games, beatboxing, or TV shows and movies! In addition to these animations, the controller also allows for static colors, and simple strobe and flash animations. Not to mention that the controller has a state of the art on/off functionality!

Funky LED Music Controller2. What are the actual music animations?

Currently there are two musical animations the controllers are capable of using. Both share some similarities, changing their colors when they detect a beat or a change in sound, however the manner in which the animations go about this are different. The first animation is like the “strobe” animation in that it is always lit and will cycle through all the colors of the strip, leaving the LEDs lit up even during lulls in sound or pauses in the beat. This animation will continue cycling its colors when the beat resumes or the sounds around it change. The second animation will only light up the diodes when it hears the beat or sound effects, leaving the strips dark during periods of silence. This second animation can utilize a single color, or cycle through all the options just like the first animation. Whether it uses a single color or cycles is up to you and your project!

3. Can I use a direct auxiliary input for the controller?

Unfortunately you can only use the built in microphone, so no plugging it straight into your music just yet. However, the sensitivity knob is an exceptional stand in for an auxiliary input. If you have a little patience it’s possible to tune your music controller’s microphone in to perfectly match the sounds or music you’re playing, even without direct input into your music device, television, instrument or what have you. So don’t give up just because the controller doesn’t match your tunes straight out of the box!

Sensitivity Dial4. How do you use the sensitivity adjustment dial?

Just like any other dial or knob! Grip the dial with your thumb and forefinger, then gently twist it one way or the other, in literally no time at all the dial will be moving the direction you’ve decided to turn it! Once you’ve mastered turning the dial, you’ll realize that with the sensitivity turned up, the controller will be picking up a lot of sounds and will animate more frequently. This means that your controller will be capable of animating to the music from across the party, and possibly the conversation happening next to it. With the sensitivity turned down, it will only react to louder sounds like drums and bass beats, so depending on your situation you may need to do a little fiddling, but you’ll have it animating like a pro in no time!

5. How many strips can the music controller output?

It’s time for Trouble Shooting Series #8′s variable, multi-part answer! The music controller has two outputs, and each of these outputs can power and control two Regular Density SMD 5050 strips OR one High Density SMD 5050 strip. That means you can use four Regular Density strips, or you could use two High Density strips, OR if you want to get fancy you could even use two Regular Density strips and one High Density strip. So you’ve got a lot of options here for how many strips you can power and control, leaving you a lot of wiggle room if budget’s a concern. If money’s a bit tighter, you can go with two HDs, but if you’ve got a little bit of walking around money, then four Regular Density’s might be more your speed.

Music Controller Outputs

6. Can I use more strips with an RGB amplifier?

You better believe it! Using an RGB amplifier can take over some of the work of your controller and allow for more strips to be connected and controlled from one music controller. You’ll pardon me if I don’t do any more strip math here, as amplifiers can get those number up to much more than 2-4 strips.

7. Is there a warranty for the controller?

Two straight answers in a row! What have a become, a politician? To answer your question, yes it absolutely does. Your music controller comes with a whole year’s worth of warranty, fifty two weeks, three hundred and sixty-five days (sixty-six in a leap year,) eight thousand seven hundred and sixty hours, over half a million minutes. That is an awful lot of warranty.

 

Thanks for reading this installment of our troubleshooting series, we truly hope it has been helpful. Have a question we haven’t answered yet? contact us at cole@hitlights.com and we’ll do our best to answer it in the next installment. Please remember that our customer service staff (customerservice@hitlights.com) is happy to assist you with any and all of your concerns, questions, and suggestions. If you want to call and talk with us, well that’s just fine too – (225)-304-0408!

The Troubleshooting Series is published on Fridays, please have questions submitted by the Wednesday beforehand if you want it answered in the next installment.

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