I'm working on a project that will drive a long length of LED strips, the WS2811 kind built into 5050 LEDs on a flexible strip. I've got most of the project worked out, except for power. Since it needs to be completely mobile, I'm trying to figure out how to run the strips at full power off of a large battery (probably from an RC car or something).

My problem here is that the strips I want to use run at about 3.6A @ 5V max per 1 meter (All LEDs showing full brightness white). I'm hoping to use as much as 10 meters for this project... so you can see where this is going :P

Mind... It's obviously NOT going to be running at full current all the time, but I kind of what the option to run it at full for a few seconds if I want to. I've used these strips before and under normal use they were drawing maybe 25% of max on average. But I will probably have 10 roughly 1 meter lengths, so I would either need a really big 36A DC/DC converter or like 10 4A converters.

Is there any decent component out there that:

  • has minimal component count - some switching converters I've used also require all sorts of other stuff - inductors, caps, etc. I'd like to keep my part count per converter low
  • can do at least 3A each, preferably 4-5A
  • won't completely kill my budget (I'd prefer less than $100 for the power conversion system - not including batteries).

Also, in doing something like this I know that a linear regulator is going to be more efficient if input V is closer to output V, but with a switching regulator does that matter as much. Like would I be better off going with a 7.4V RC battery than a 12V version?

Any suggestions on a component?

  • \$\begingroup\$ "High-current" means "switching", and "switching" means "inductor". \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 3, 2013 at 13:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ Please explain further... not sure what you mean. \$\endgroup\$
    – Adam Haile
    Commented Sep 3, 2013 at 13:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ You don't want to use a linear regulator for anything more than 1A, and switching regulators need the inductor in order to supply electricity when the switch is off. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 3, 2013 at 13:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ahh... ok, makes sense. I guess what I meant is if there is a part that is generally all self contained. \$\endgroup\$
    – Adam Haile
    Commented Sep 3, 2013 at 13:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ There are self-contained switching regulators, but they're only rated to a couple of amperes or so. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 3, 2013 at 13:19


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