An LED controller is required to control multi-colored LED strips. This is also switched between the LED power supply and the LED strip and takes over the color management for the colored LED lighting. LED controllers offer the possibility of fine-tuning the desired color, generating color gradients, and controlling the brightness and the switching status of the lighting.
What’s a LED controller
The LED controller offers you the option of making settings on the light source with WiFi or Bluetooth. Depending on the LED light source, you can not only dim the light, i.e. switch it light or dark, but also change or adapt the light color. With light color, it is meant that you can switch the light from the color warm white, as you know it from the incandescent lamp, to a cold white or also daylight white. An LED controller is essential for all of these functions. Depending on the requirements, the controllers require a different number of output channels to control the LED strip lights.
What’s an RGB LED controller
There are many different LED lamps on the market, one variant is the RGB LED lamp. RGB stands for the basic colors red, green, and blue. To control this light source, we need a so-called RGB LED controller. The controller must then have 3 outputs or channels. Each color, therefore, needs a channel at the output. The advantage of an RGB LED controller is that you can create a lot of mixed colors. By adjusting the brightness of the individual colors to each other, there are millions of mixed light colors.
What’s an RGBW LED controller
You need an RGBW LED controller if you want to reproduce a good quality white light in addition to the mixed colors. If the light source can reproduce white light colors, an RGBW controller is required for control, the W is then at the output of the controller for the light color white. With such a controller you now have 4 channels instead of 3 channels at the output. Each color has its channel, which is also marked on the controller. If you swap a channel at the output, the lamp will of course not work properly. Therefore, pay close attention to which cable you connect to which channel. Of course, you can also change the brightness with this LED control device, i.e. dim it as you need it. RGBW LED controllers are for 4 channel RGBW LED lamps such as RGBW LED strips designed with a common anode. With this technique, the negative poles of the channels are switched. Common anode means that they all have the same positive pole.
What is a CCT LED controller?
CCT comes from English and means correlated color temperature. A CCT LED controller can reproduce all white light colors as long as the LED light source is suitable. This means the range of approx. 2700 Kelvin (warm white) up to 6500 Kelvin (daylight white as under solar radiation with blue components). The CCT controller has 2 channels at the output. One channel for the light color warm white and one channel for cold white. Using the remote control, I can now mix these two white light colors. Two different LED chips are built into a CCT lamp. Both chips can only reproduce one light color each. One chip is warm white for the light color and the other LED chip is cool white for the light color. I mix the two colors it is possible to reproduce light colors in the range of 2700 Kelvin up to 6500 Kelvin. With the CCT controllers, it is the case that both channels add up to 100%. As an example, warm white lights up to 75%, then cold white lights up to 25%, which adds up to 100%. It is technically wanted that 1 channel can never deliver 100%. If you were to theoretically connect both cables from the CCT lamp to one output, it is indeed much brighter, but the light color does not look good and the output doubles from 40 watts to 80 watts, for example. But that brings with it other problems. Firstly, the driver will not be designed for twice the power and there is also a lot more heat generation.
How do I connect a controller?
The controller is connected between the power supply unit and the lamp. This means that the output from the power supply unit or LED driver comes into the input of the LED controller. The lamps are then connected to the output of the controller. For a better understanding, I have attached a connection diagram.