LED Strips

There must be a “all you need to know” guide out there somewhere. Heck, even Rule 34 postings might be helpful at this point.

The biggest problem is that none of this stuff seems to have names or product standards. It’s all just word-salad badly translated from Chinese. I ordered two different products, on purpose, to see how they would interoperate. Before getting to that, the products are:

  1. Dreamcolor Chasing WiFi LED Strip Lights 32.8ft Work with Alexa Google Home,Smart Wireless App Waterproof Rainbow LED Lights Strip for Bedroom Room Lighting, Music Sync Color Changing Neon Tape Lights
  2. Dream Color LED Strip Lights, Sumaote 65.5ft 5050 RGB-IC WiFi Control Color Changing Rainbow LED Light Strips Chasing Effect, LED Strip Lights Sync to Music, Compatible with Alexa Google Home

More succinct product names with a brand would be INCREDIBLY helpful. The two have nothing in common and do not interoperate at a hardware or software level.

It would also be helpful if Amazon’s search were more focused. For example, searching for “LED strip WiFi” would, ideally, not return LED strips that did not work over WiFi. Searching for “LED strip waterproof” very helpfully returns “non-waterproof” results. That’s not really an algorithm problem, but still…

The former are connected with four-pin cabling, maybe. The ends have four pins, but they go into a sheath (as opposed to four parallel wires), so who knows what actually connects to the LED strip. The controller-out is a four-pin male connector, which plugs into the four-pin femail connector on the LED strip.

The latter are connected with both three and four pin connectors and three strands of cable with the genders reversed.

Functionally, they’re basically the same although the latter seems to be more daisy-chain compatible. The two phone apps that run them do not interoperate and cannot see the other vendor’s strips.

I’m not sure what I’m going to do next. I want to get the garage chaser-lights project behind me, but I don’t really want to start installing home automation software on a Raspberry Pi (to see if that creates interoperability) until I can dedicate a keyboard and monitor to it, which means after my new computer arrives, which means November.

I could buy two more of the first set. Their water-proof-ness is a critical property for garage floor use. If they daisy-chain, which is very unclear, then all is good. If not, the driveway chaser will have a discontinuity in it, which isn’t the end of the world but the lights are going to be non-removable due to the glue needed to hold them on the uneven, subject to snowfall concrete. Once done, it’s done.

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