Pixel Connectors

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Waterproofconnectors.jpg

Intro

Generally pixels come from vendors without connectors attached or they have proprietary non waterproof connectors connected to them. Most people utilize some form of water resistant connectors attached to their pixels and the mating connector to their pixel controllers. It is common to install the female connector (socket end) to the power source (controller) and the male connector( plug end) to the pixel string. Some people also use dielectric grease or protective spray like CorrosionX to further prevent corrsion and oxidation of the electrical contacts due to moisture. The number of conductors required for each pixel type depends on the number of wires that pixel requires. Some pixels only need 3 wires, Ground, V+ and Data while some require a fourth Clock wire.
Connectors from different vendors generally do not fit together due to different manufacturers sizes and keying.

Pixel Connector Properties
Feature
Options
Type Euro, Cap, Pigtail, Tee, Extension, Anderson Powerpole
Color White, Black, Clear
Conductors 2,3,4,5 wires or pins
Length Varies per vendor
Diameter 13.5mm, 15mm, other
Wire Size typically 18-22ga

Disclaimers

The standard disclaimers pertaining to the information contained on this wiki page are listed here.

Types of Pixel Connectors

Euro Connector

These connectors are typically found on pixel controllers like the Sandevices E682, Renard PX1 and HolidayCoro AlphaPix Controllers. They are polarized and the plug only fits in the socket one way.

Euro Female socket

The female socket is typically soldered to the controller PCB. They can be purchased from various vendors like Mouser PX1-EURO.jpg
Because the plug and socket are polarized it is critical that you connect the wires correctly to the controller and the pixels. Here are the wiring orders for common pixel controllers:

Common E1.31 Pixel Controller Output Pin Assignments
Pin # SanDevices E682 HolidayCoro
AlphaPix 4[1]
AlphaPix 16[2]
1 GND (V-) V+
2 Clock (C) Clock (C)
3 Data (D) Data (D)
4 V+ GND (V-)

Euro Male Plug

The male plug is generally attached directly to the pixel leads or may be connected to a pigtail.

Euro1.gif
Shown above, with an inline wire entry like used on the Sandevices E682 and HolidayCoro AlphaPix controllers.

Euro2.gif
Shown above, with a rear wire entry as used on the Renard PX1

Pigtails

These are typically connected to the end of the pixel strings and to controllers to allow an easy way to quickly connect and disconnect the pixels using a "waterproof" connector. They are generally sold as a pair of male and female ends. Pigtails are polarized so that they only fit together one way. They can have either a notch and tab or a flat spot on the male end that must interlock with the corresponding feature on the female end. The wires on pigtails are color coded, but may vary from batch from the same vendor. It is wise to confirm which pin on your pigtails are connected to which color wire before you solder them and test fit to make sure they properly function. The wire color code for the pixels also can vary from batch to batch.

An alternative to using pre-cut pigtails is to use extensions and then cut them to your exact length requirements. This video shows how to cut down extensions into pigtails:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehCdjdvl064

Here is an example of some pixel wire color codes. Check with your vendor to make sure you have the right color code and the correct input side for your specific pixels.

Male Pigtail

Male Pigtails are generally connected to the input end of a pixel string. Male pigtails often have a separate o-ring that must be slid on to the body into the notch. There is also a locking nut that slides down over the back of the male pigtail and is used to tighten the male plug into the female socket.

Female Pigtail

Female pigtails are generally connected to the device supplying the power. Is is common to attach the female end (without the pins) to the controller end so as to prevent possible shorting of the outputs - this is the same reason AC plugs are male and AC outlets are female. The Euro connector connects to the pixel controller and the female pigtail extends the cord outside of the enclosure that the controller is mounted in. It is also common to connect a female pigtail to the end of a pixel string to connect to the next pixel string in series. While there is no official standard color code for pigtails, here are come common color connections used with vendor's pixels:

SanDevices
Pixel System 1

Female Pigtail
Wire Color
Signal
Black Ground
Blue Clock
Green Data
Red V+



HolidayCoro
Wire Color
Signal
Black Ground
Green
(On 4 conductor cables only)
Clock
Yellow Data
Red V+

Tee

Often used for power injection. Depending on the vendor, they may have all wires connected thru to all three jacks, or some may have only some wires connected.

Extension cable

These typically have a male connector on one end and a female connector on the other end to allow an easy plug and play connection of pixels to a controller.

Caps

These typically go on unused female pigtail ends to seal them from the weather.

Instructional Videos

The following videos show common methods of attaching pixels to pigtails:

Soldering nodes/modules to pigtails
Soldering strip/ribbon to pigtails
How to use extension cables as customized pigtails

Anderson Powerpole High Current Connectors

Anderson Powerpole connectors are frequently used in situations where you need a modular connector that can handle a large current (>5A) through the connector. For more information see the Datasheet. They are useful for connecting High Current Power Supplies with High Channel Count Pixel Controllers. They come in different sizes:

  • PP15 - Up to 15A current and 16-20 AWG wire size
  • PP30 - Up to 30A current and 12-14 AWG wire size
  • PP45 - Up to 45A current and 10 AWG wire size

Wire Sizing

It is desirable to use the largest wire diameter (smaller wire gauge) that you can when connecting your pixels to your controller. The smaller wire gauge (higher number) results in a high voltage drop and can cause your pixels to have poor colors or to not function at all. For more information about how to choose the right wire size look here. This is also a good thread that discusses voltage drop. This is a Voltage Drop Calculator useful for calculating the effects of different wire sizes and lengths on pixel strings.

WARNING: It is VERY common for extension wire and pixel wiring to be mis-labelled (even on the cable directly) or mis-represented (vendor's website, ad, ebay, aliexpress) as to wire gauge (e.g. 18 AWG, actually 20 AWG) - be sure to confirm with your vendor the specifications as to number of "cores" and the diameter of those cores to ensure you are receiving the as-promised wire gauge. Additionally, there can be wide differences in the current carrying capacity between Copper Clad Aluminium (that looks like copper wire), Tin, Tin Coated Copper and pure Copper wires, if you are not sure what your vendor sells, confirm with them.

Wire Sizing
Wire Gauge (AWG) # Cross section Area (mm2)
Only Applies to SOLID wire
UL1007
Number of Cores
(Individual Wires)
Individual Wire
Core Size (mm)
18 0.785 - .846mm 34
34
19
.178mm
.14mm
.235mm
20 0.505 - .522mm 34
21
19
.11mm
.178mm
.19mm
22 0.282 - .341mm 17
17
19
.11mm
.178mm
.15mm

Examples of Connectors available from different vendors

These are selected connectors from the various vendors with a mix of properties. Visit their sites for the latest information and to see their entire product catalog. Many of the vendors can provide custom length wires and custom quantity pricing on the pigtails and extension cables.

PLEASE CONFIRM ALL DETAILS WITH VENDOR BEFORE ORDERING!! ALL OF THIS DATA IS SUBJECT TO CONSTANT CHANGE AND MAY BE WRONG!!!

Pricing is in US $. Pricing is as of 6-24-13.

PRICING DOES NOT INCLUDE SHIPPING, TAXES OR IMPORT DUTIES!

Shipping from overseas can be expensive, check with your vendor.

DIYLEDEXPRESS

(USA Based run by DIYC user tjetzer)

Type Color Conductors Length Diameter Link Image Quantity Price Price per Connector Note
2 Conductor
Pigtail White 2 10" link 10 $11.85 $1.190 18 ga wire
3 Conductor
Pigtail Green 3 10" link 10 $12.50 $1.25 18 ga wire, fits Pixabulbs
Extension Green 3 5feet link 1 $2.25 $2.25 fits Pixabulbs
Extension Green 3 10feet link 1 $3.50 $3.50 fits Pixabulbs
Tee Green 3 link 1 $3.79 $3.79 fits Pixabulbs
4 Conductor
Pigtail White 4 10" link 10 $12.00 $1.20 18ga wire
Extension White 4 5feet link 1 $2.25 $2.25
Extension White 4 10feet link 1 $3.75 $3.75
Tee Green 4 link 1 $4.50 $4.50 fits Pixadot strings

HolidayCoro

(USA Based run by DIYC user dmoore)

Type Color Conductors Length Link
Extension/Pigtail Black 3 5 Ft link
Extension/Pigtail Black 3 10 Ft link
Extension/Pigtail Black 3 20 Ft link
Tee - MMF Black 3 12 In link
Tee - MFF Black 3 12 In link
Extension Wire Red/Green/Blue 3 100 Ft Roll link
Extension/Pigtail Black 4 5 Ft link
Extension/Pigtail Black 4 10 Ft link
Extension/Pigtail Black 4 20 Ft link
Tee - MMF Black 4 12 In link
Tee - MFF Black 4 12 In link
Extension Wire Red/Green/Blue/Black 4 100 Ft Roll link
Extension Wire Red/Green/Blue/Black 4 Sold by the Foot link

Ray Wu

(China Based) Contact Ray Wu directly for lower shipping costs if you are ordering multiple items.

Type Color Conductors Length Diameter Link Image Quantity Price Price per Connector Note
Cap White 13.5mm link 10 $0.50 $0.05 End cap to go on unused male plugs
Cap Black 13.5mm link 10 $0.50 $0.05 End cap to go on unused male plugs
Cap Black 15mm link 10 $0.25 $0.03 End cap to go on unused male plugs
2 Conductor
Pigtail White 2 20cm 13.5mm link 10 $3.00 $0.30 2x0.5mm²wire
Pigtail Black 2 15cm link 50 $23.16 $0.46
Pigtail Clear 2 10cm link 100 $57.89 $0.58 Coaxial 5.5/2.1mm 22gauge wire
Extension White 2 1.5m(5feet) link 10 $10.00 $1.00 2x0.5mm² wire
Extension White 2 3m(10feet) link 10 $16.00 $1.60 2x0.5mm² wire
Tee White 2 40cm 13.5mm link 10 $17.00 $1.70 2x0.5mm² wire
Tee Black 2 40cm 15mm link 1 $2.20 $2.20 2x0.75mm² wire
3 Conductor
Pigtail White 3 20cm 13.5mm link 10 $5.00 $0.50 3x0.5mm²wire
Pigtail Black 3 20cm 13.5mm link 10 $5.00 $0.50 3x0.75mm² wire
Pigtail White 3 30cm 13.5mm link 10 $6.00 $0.60 3x0.5mm² wire
Pigtail Black 3 20cm 15mm link 10 $5.00 $0.50 3x0.5mm² wire
Extension White 3 1.5m(5feet) link 10 $12.00 $1.20 3x0.5mm² wire
Extension White 3 3m(10feet) link 10 $18.00 $1.60
Extension White 3 7.6m(25feet) link 10 $37.00 $3.70
Extension Black 3 1.5m(5feet) 15mm link 10 $12.00 $1.20 3x0.5mm² wire
Extension Black 3 3m(10feet) 15mm link 10 $22.00 $2.20
Tee Black 3 40cm 13.5mm link 10 $19.00 $1.90 3x0.75mm² wire
Tee White 3 40cm 13.5mm link 10 $18.00 $1.80 3x0.5mm² wire
4 Conductor
Pigtail White 4 30cm link 10 $8.00 $0.80
Pigtail Black 4 20cm 13.5mm link 10 $7.00 $0.70 4x0.75mm² wire
Pigtail White 4 150cm(5ft) link 10 $19.00 $1.90
Pigtail Black 4 20cm 15mm link 10 $7.00 $0.70 4x0.5mm² wire
Extension White 4 1.5m(5feet) link 10 $12.00 $1.20
Extension White 4 3m(10feet) link 10 $19.00 $1.90
Extension White 4 7.6m(25feet) link 10 $39.00 $3.90
Extension Black 4 2.5m 15mm link 10 $22.00 $2.20 4x0.75mm² wire
Extension Black 4 7.6m(25feet) 15mm link 10 $44.00 $4.40 4x0.75mm² wire
Tee Black 4 40cm 13.5mm link 10 $22.00 $2.20 4x0.75mm² wire
Tee White 4 40cm 13.5mm link 10 $22.00 $2.20 4x0.5mm² wire
Tee Black 4 40cm 15mm link 10 $24.00 $2.40 4x0.5mm² wire
5 Conductor
Pigtail White 5 15cm link 100 $96.84 $0.97
Pigtail Black 5 20cm 15mm link 10 $8.50 $0.85 4x0.5mm² wire

Seasonal Entertainment

(USA Based run by DIYC user Ponddude)

Type Color Conductors Length Diameter Link Image Quantity Price Price per Connector Note
4 Conductor
Pigtail White/Black 4 6.5" link 1 $4.00 $4.00
Extension White/Black 4 1m link 1 $7.15 $7.15
Extension White/Black 4 3m link 1 $10.30 $10.30

Related Links

Different Styles of Pixels
Controllers
Dumb RGB or Intelligent Pixels??
Things You Will Need To Get Started With Pixels
Power Supplies
Choosing a Pixel Voltage: 5V vs 12V
Power Injection
Waterproofing Pixels
Null Pixels
E1.31 Network Setup and Configuration