Firstly, you'll require a Constant Voltage (CV) power supply to work with your pixels. Several professional power supplies give the option to switch between CV and CC (Constant Current). If you have a power supply that can be either CV or CC, make sure the power supply is set to Constant Voltage (CV) mode.
The voltage of the power supply must match the voltage of your pixels and be within the pixel controller’s voltage range.
The power supply must provide enough current (A) to cover the current requirements of the pixels and the pixel controller. Power draw is often shown in Watts/meter (W/m) for LED strip, or watts per dot. Consult the manufacturer’s datasheet for the power consumption of your pixel. Strobing all pixels can sometimes cause the draw to be higher than expected, therefore we recommend leaving a minimum of 10% overhead to deal with power demands.
Within most power supply (PSU) manufacturer’s data sheets, there are a few things to look out for to make sure the power supply is best suited for pixels:
- Inrush Current Protection - This feature smooths the start-up spike in current draw when you first turn on your system, inrush current protection protects your installation from current higher than your system is rated for being drawn at startup.
- Short Circuit Protection - Short circuit protection constantly monitors the output, if a low resistance is detected (i.e. the output rails of your power supply are short-circuited), the power supply is immediately shut down to prevent damage or fire.
- Filtering - Filtering is a function used to smooth the power supply’s DC output after rectification so a more consistent DC voltage is supplied to the load. - This essentially limits the amount of electrical 'Noise' that is coming in for your mains power, which could lead to issues with the output of your pixels.
- Overload Protection - Overload protection prevents damage to the power supply itself due to overcurrent (including short-circuits). This is activated and the output current is limited when the load current is greater than the over-current detection value (defined by the PSU manufacturer).
- Over Temperature Protection – Over-temperature protection is a protection system that shuts down the power supply when the internal temperature exceeds a safe value (defined by the manufacturer). A circuit inside the power supply is used to monitor and shutdown process at high temperatures to ensure safety.
- Over Voltage Protection – Over-voltage protection is a power supply feature that shuts down the supply, or clamps the output when the voltage exceeds a preset level to prevent damage to your pixels.
Adjustable voltage power supplies
The voltage at the first pixel must be within the range as specified within the ENTTEC product datasheet. Therefore, having the right cable to reduce the impact of voltage drop and safely handle the current requirement of your installation is critical. For longer power runs, there are some adjustable voltage power supplies available (i.e. MeanWell HLG-320H-12-A), where you could slightly increase the voltage at the power supply so that the voltage at the first pixel is within range.