Disclaimer: Not an EE, I just write code, so apologies if terms are wrong.
Video demo of my issue here !!epilepsy warning!!
I have several strands of ALITOVE ws2811 12v leds connected in series that I'm using for christmas lights. A Raspberry Pi 4 Model B acting as the controller, running ws281x-python, is connected to the strip from GPIO 18 and GND. Then a 12v/5a power supply also connected to the strip. (Also tried using a variable dc power supply, same result.) Note: Connections from RPi and PS first go to some 3 pin connectors to make moving/installing everything easier. See diagram below.
When running with 12v, the lights produce a flickering effect and change colors unexpectedly. Some observations I've found:
- The entire strip flickers, not just ones at the end like other posts I found.
- Reducing voltage down to 5v significantly reduces the flickering, but not entirely. The LEDs are 12v though.
- Animations with more white increases the problem
- The video contains 250 leds. When reducing it down to only 50, I don't see a difference in behavior.
- If I leave it at 12v but kill the ws281x-python script, the lights look fine. It's only when instructions are sent to the lights that they mess up. Adding 1s delays between sending instructions shows that it doesn't flicker on it's own, but only when being sent commands. Demo video
- I have replicated my exact setup with a second raspberry pi, power supply, and light strip and the problem persists, so I don't think it's specific to a piece of hardware.
As mentioned, I don't know electrical engineering very well. But based on the digging I've done, I suspect it's something to do with the data signal to the lights getting interference or something with the way I'm grounding things. I've checked and rechecked the connections to make sure they're secure but haven't found anything that fixes it.
What else can I possibly try to diagnose this? Any help would be greatly appreciated! TIA!