Super Strip

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Kostyun RGB+W LED Super Strip Flood


What is the Super Strip Flood?

The Super Strip was designed and sold by Frank Kostyun. Now it is sold by Radiant Holidays as a pack of three strips. The Super Strip Flood is a 3/4" x 18" long strip that can hold up to eighteen RGB SuperFlux LEDs and an additional eighteen White SuperFlux LEDs (hence the RGB+W moniker). Here is a schematic of the strip.


Typically the RGB LEDs are common anode to support typical usage with DCSSRs or other DC controllers that implement switched grounds and common positive voltage. The circuitry has each LED/color with a series current limiting resistor and all LED/resistors are in parallel for each color. While this increases the number of resistors required, it does allow operation with just 5v as well as allowing you to partially populate the strip. The strips are usually run with either 5v or 12v as these are common DC power supply voltages. The use of 5v supplies allows smaller resistors (1/8W) to be used whereas the use of 12v supplies requires larger (1/4W) resistors.

How to calculate the values of the limiting resistors using Ohm's Law

When usng 5vdc:
R = V / I or (5v - Vf) / .02
The assumption is 20mA for the LEDs (this is what they are from the group buy)
The assumption is a Vf of 2v for Red and 3.1v for Green, Blue and White

Red - (5v - 2v) / .02 = 3v / .02 = 150 ohms
150 ohms is a common value so the actual current is 3v / 150 = 20mA
P = V x I = 3 x 20mA = 60mW so a 1/8W will work fine - you can use Mouser 299-150-RC

Green/Blue/White - (5v - 3.1v) / .02 = 1.9 / .02 = 95 ohms
The next common value up is 100 ohms so the actual current is 1.9v / 100 = 19mA
P = V x I = 1.9 x 19mA = 36mW so again you can use a 1/8W - you can use Mouser 299-100-RC

When using 12vdc:
R = V / I or (12v - Vf) / .02
The ssumption is 20mA for the LEDs (this is what they are from the group buy)
The assumption is a Vf of 2v for Red and 3.1v for Green, Blue and White

Red - (12v - 2v) / .02 = 10v / .02 = 500 ohms
The next common value up is 510 ohms so the actual current is 10v / 510 = 19.6mA
P = V x I = 10 x 19.6mA = 196mW so you must use 1/4W - you can use Mouser 291-510-RC

Green/Blue/White - (12v - 3.1v) / .02 = 8.9 / .02 = 445 ohms
The next common value up is 470 ohms so the actual current is 8.9v / 470 = 18.9mA
P = V x I = 8.9 x 18.9mA = 168mW so again you need a 1/4W - you can use Mouser 291-470-RC

If you fully populate the board you will require eighteen resistors for EACH color so in all you will need seventy-two resistors for each strip - - it's a lot of soldering! Use of 24v supplies is not recommended as you will need to switch to 1/2W resistors and it's very inefficient as the resistors will be dropping 21-22v of the 24v supplied. If you are using something other than 5v or 12v, just use the same formulas above to calculate the resistor values.

Using the Super Strip

The Super Strip can have an RJ45 installed at each end of the strip. The connections are identical for either end so it doesn't matter which side is plugged in. Note that if you are not planning to daisy-chain the strips, that you can get away with installing just one connector. A fully populated strip draws up to 360mA per color (18 LEDs x 20mA = 360mA) so it is not advised that you daisy-chain the strips since the current draw would be too much for Cat5 cabling.

The pinout of the strip is as follows:

  • Pin 1, 3, 5 and 7 are physically tied together and are typically connected to the +DC output of the power supply that is being used.
  • Pin 2 drives the Red LED path
  • Pin 4 drives the Green LED path
  • Pin 6 drives the Blue LED path
  • Pin 8 drives the White LED path

NOTE - Regarding the RGB LEDs - the actual color lit may be different than the path color - it is important that you verify this BEFORE installing the LEDs and resistors on the strips. This is due to different manufacturers not using standardized pinouts for the colors used. The first group buy had the Green and Blue colors swapped while the latest group buy had the Red and Green swapped. You may want to monitor the forum closely to ensure which layout is correct.

NOTE - Regarding the White LEDs - the silkscreen has always been incorrect for the White LED position - it is 180deg out from what they should be. Here again, you will want to monitor the forum to ensure there has not been a change to the layout but so far, this has always been the case. Note also, you can use any single color SuperFlux LED you want here that runs at 20mA. You could for example install UV (400nM) LEDs for Halloween use instead of White. You may need to recalculate the current limiting resistor and as always check the pinout with one LED first before installing an entire boards worth.

There are a variety of controllers that can be used to drive the Super Strips. Examples of these are the Ren24LV, a Ren64XC with DCSSRs and the Ren48LSD. Note that the Ren48LSD was designed specifically for the purpose of driving the Strips. The Ren24LV (also designed by Frank) has some limitations driving the strips so care must be taken when sequencing or the outputs can be overdriven which will damage the ULN2803 driver chip. The Ren64XC/DCSSR combination will work as well but it's a more expensive, larger and more cumbersome configuration to use but if you are driving other higher current DC devices, it can work fine.