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The lowdown on LED strips

04 May 2016  | Michael Dunn

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Despite the low prices, all the strips I bought also came with a little control board that offers dimming and various blinking patterns, and actually works perfectly well, even to the point of maintaining its setting with power off.

Figure 3: The bottom chip is an Atmel 24C02 256B EEPROM; the other, unmarked (ASIC orµC). The board seems to be made for RGB given the three transistors and COLOR button, but those transistors are actually in parallel. Go figure. As always, the image is larger than it appears.

About sources: Although I've bought quite a few items besides LED strips from the GearBest Website, and was usually happy with the results, I no longer patronise them, given the awful PSUs they sold me, but particularly because they won't print my negative reviews about them. Okay, they're probably not unique in either respect, but there are many other similar sites to choose from. Which do you like?

I'm very curious whether the much more expensive strips from other vendors have the same voltage drop problem I've discovered in the cheap ones. If you have any, please run some tests and let us know in the comments.

About the author
Michael Dunn has been messing with electronics almost as long as he's been walking. He got his first scope around age 15, and things have been going downhill ever since. The scopes now vie with wine racks, harpsichords, calculators, and 19th century pianos for space. Over the years, he's designed for the automotive, medical, industrial, communications, and consumer industries, as both freelancer and employee, working with analogue, digital, micros, and software.

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