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Author Topic: Wiring LEDs (Neopixels) into car electrical system  (Read 2405 times)

Cualer

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Wiring LEDs (Neopixels) into car electrical system
« on: July 04, 2014, 01:41:59 AM »
I'm at a complete loss here. I'd like to do a couple projects, which may include adding neopixel rings to my headlights or even a sound reactive system (courtesy of Mike's MSEGQ7 board, thanks Mike!) inside the cabin, but I have no idea how to wire it up. I'm at a complete loss on how to wire them in the engine compartment, but for something the cabin, I imagine I could run it to the cigarette lighter with a USB jack (though I guess it'll limit the output to 500mA or 25 neopixels @ full power.


Can anyone offer me their infinite wisdom?  :D

johnbentcope

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Re: Wiring LEDs (Neopixels) into car electrical system
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2014, 11:37:39 AM »
I'm no expert on wiring accessories for cars, but I imagine you could grab a power line from the wiring harness that runs around all of your car. That way you could hide the power and circuitry in the final presentation.
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digitalman2112

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Re: Wiring LEDs (Neopixels) into car electrical system
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2014, 07:52:56 AM »
They make voltage regulators specifically for automotive use which can handle all the strange power conditions that happen within cars with alternators / batteries. Here's a link to one that I've used - Datasheet for the LM2940: http://www.ti.com.cn/cn/lit/ds/symlink/lm2940-n.pdf

I didn't look for higher current versions, but I'm sure they are out there.

I found them from this book / project: http://www.practicalarduino.com/projects/vehicle-telemetry-platform

Here's the schematic for a nicely done automotive power supply from that project -  http://www.practicalarduino.com/schematics/car-datalogger-power-supply.png


Iggy

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Re: Wiring LEDs (Neopixels) into car electrical system
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2014, 08:13:57 AM »
If you want to read up on the type of power supply needed, try these search terms "step down dc-dc". You need to step the car's 12-14VDC to something like 5VDC.  Here's an Amazon listing for one such supply.  I tried to find one at Gadgetcat.com but my search-fu failed, might be worth checking with them before ordering from Amazon.

johnbentcope

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Re: Wiring LEDs (Neopixels) into car electrical system
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2014, 08:33:16 AM »
Hey look! Real experts showed up! /me furiously takes notes
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Cualer

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Re: Wiring LEDs (Neopixels) into car electrical system
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2014, 08:47:14 AM »
Whoa  :o . Well then, that pretty much answers my question. I'll look into what y'all mentioned. I'm hoping for a prototype before the week is out  ;D 

digitalman2112

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Re: Wiring LEDs (Neopixels) into car electrical system
« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2014, 08:59:46 AM »
I have some of the LM2940s around the house here, but couldn't quickly locate them. If i find them in the next few days you are welcome to try one.

jdbugman

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Re: Wiring LEDs (Neopixels) into car electrical system
« Reply #7 on: July 07, 2014, 11:21:15 AM »
the cigarette lighter adaptors are hit and miss. if you use good ones like the 2 amp ones that you find for 30$ they have a regulator built in that will keep it from spiking over 5 volts in the car. the cheaper ones will reduce the voltage from 12 to 5 but if the car spikes to 13.8 the output can vary to 5-6 volts. This will pop neopixels.


i have been using a car charger that i got at radioshack and it has been fine in my vw for almost 2 months i have been running 4 neopixels in the cab (yah i know seems like a really small amount for me) and they have been fine. it runs the uno arduino and the trinket i have used fine. i have since taken the arduinos out and used them in other projects (finances) but i plan on putting more in there with the meseq7 chip as well.


if you want something more industrial. there is the board that shane, lance, pocky used to put there systems in. i can't remember the name of it but they run 15$ or so.


as a side note i have run the 256 neopixel matrix on the same power adapter and it has run fine.




johnbentcope

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Re: Wiring LEDs (Neopixels) into car electrical system
« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2014, 07:26:45 PM »
Thanks for the advice! Now I just have to figure out where to mount the neopixels!
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