Need advice regarding data cable length

Hello all,
I’m building an LED pool light based on this video: Build the BEST LED Pool/Spa Light, for $59! Better Than Anything On The Market. - YouTube

I have 3 - 9w leds in each pool light
LED Info:
IC type - WS2811 IC
Input Voltage - 9W: DC12-24V

I’m using a brand new Dig Uno board with wled and am having a problem with wled changing the colors correctly (the app also appears very unresponsive even though the wifi signal is 90% although that isn’t my primary complaint). I’m pretty sure the issue has to do with length of the data wire. If you think that is the issue, can you recommend a solution? I’ve read about level shifters but I’m just not sure if I need that with the Dig Uno.

Apologies for putting so much stuff in one post but I also have 2 ways of wiring things and wanted to see if one is preferred over another. I’m leaving off the main pool controller with GFCI, etc.

Edit: I think the length of the run may be more like 50 feet. As soon as I can get back out there, I will confirm.

Thanks in advance!

Put the DigUno closer to the point of use - inside a plastic waterproof enclosure. You can easily hide it in plain site using “great stuff” and some flecked gray and some matte black spray paint. Make a face rock enclosure in a shape that does not look friendly to stand, sit, lie or walk on so people leave it alone.
I’ve made a few fake rocks over the years. The flecked gray gives the great stuff foam texture, and light covering of matte black gives it color variation. The combination has fooled many people. My first attempt, the rock looked like a great place to sit, and it was discovered by kids who thought it was worth kicking and smashing rather than thinking wow that’s a cool fake rock.

Anyhow 50-100 ft is a long way for a data signal to run. You could also stick a single LED pixel along the option 1 path to pass along the data signal and have it boost the data signal back to 5V every so often. Just tape over the LED so it does not show light.

Huggy - thanks a ton for the super quick response. Love the ideas.

Since this is running to a swimming pool - I’m trying to “stay within code” as much as I can.
Is there an alternative to the Single LED pixel trick that would be the “best” or “proper” way of doing it?
I’m all for a some hacking but I’d really like to try to do this one by the book if possible.

Thanks again!!

Then a waterproof enclosure, not metal, containing the DigUno, DC power supply, terminals, fuses, mounted within 10-20 ft of the first LED. I understand what you mean by staying within code. You can find lots of places to place a waterproof enclosure near the first LED. I think the trick here is to be crafty with segment 0, like put up a strip of LEDs somewhere between the DigUno enclosure and the LED strip(s) at the pool. Would not need to be a lot of LEDs, maybe space them out a bit, inside a curved half-moon PVC tube - from which you hang a welcome sign - or some legalese in fine print to protect yourself, and at the far end, continue the wiring to the main pool LED strips.

Hope this is useful.

Not knowing the exact layout and whether there is an option for running wire overhead, it’s tough to say. The data line wire size is what? If it is not working with 50 to 100 ft you have now, does it work at 10 ft? 20 ft? If it works @ 10 ft, at 2 wire sizes and see if that gets you to 50-100 ft.

use data cable for datatransmission maybe shielded
cat6 for example

Huggy / Gerrit,
Thanks so much for the feedback.

I can’t use a data cable like cat6 because the wire is already run but I love the idea.

Most pools have to have a Junction Box “near” the pool - which we do
So, I think I can simply take the dig uno, disconnect it from within the pool controller and move it into its own box and/or in the Junction box which would be MUCH closer to the pool.

I will report back on how it goes (but it may be a few days as it won’t stop raining out here)!

Have a great one!

Is the closest JB plastic or metal? Probably metal. If you use metal, you want an ESP32 with external Antenna option so you can still communicate with WLED. Or, use WLED with ethernet/ESP32 to get robust communications inside a metal enclosure.

Hi All,
So, I moved the dig-uno to within 15 feet of the pool (the closest it can go) but I was having some issues at first so I ended up putting my Dig Quad in place of the Dig Uno just to see if helped. I didn’t notice much difference but went ahead and left it in there.

BUT - it’s still off a little bit - flickering, sometimes a light doesn’t change. Just not reliable.

I thought the Dig Uno and Dig Quad had a level shifter in them (I could be wrong).

Do you have any other ideas for me to give it that boost it needs to be dependable all the time?

I don’t mind ordering a specific part to make sure its just works - I’m just not a fan of the sacrificial pixel.

I have another question for you but I’ll make it into it’s own post.

The Digs have level shifters, so I would suspect your power supply or wiring.

What size wire(cable) is used for the data line? If it is too small, using a larger wire will help.

Huggy - just a quick FYI - the pool lights are built with 3 wires inside a sleeve. They are sealed and I would not be able to run any other cable to them. In other words, I have to work with what I’ve got :wink:

From the dig-quad, I have 16AWG wires ( from LED1, LED2 and LED3) that then connect to each pool light. The data wire for the pool light is also 16AWG.

I have a few pictures and drawings but it won’t let me upload anymore (strange).

As a test (not for a permanent solution), add another #16 in parallel from the DigQuad to the first LED strip. See if the flickering and such improves.
Make sure the DigQuad’s GND/DC 0V/Common output is also grounded. A very simple way to accomplish this is to connect the DC supply incoming ground from the house wiring to DC 0V output. It’s a very short wire. It should only be the size of the common wire (or even one size smaller - ex: #16 common wire, P/S jumper #18 or #16 is fine).
Many power supply output terminals have an extra 0V terminal which is perfectly suited for adding this little jumper.

Having the common wire bonded / grounded helps with a good many problems in DC circuits, but mostly, it’s safer since the terminals are never more than 0V + DC output voltage. Otherwise, it can float up to a few hundred (or more) volts. Some devices start arcing over, slowly destroying themselves when the DC common is not bonded.

Once you know whether either or both of these suggestions improve the flicker problem, you can remove one or the other to figure out which one helped the most. If the ground solves the problem, that’s fantastic and also the easier to permanently do. For the data line, there is no rule that says the data line must be run inside the same cable as the DC+ & DC- wires. In fact, many LED users find better results when they are run separately. You could simply put a non-conductive cover over each end of the existing data line, run a #12 or #14 or even try #16 outside of the cable with the DC power.

These are all suggestions you perform “above ground” strictly for testing. Once you find a solution that works, then you fish it through the PVC in the ground. If you can’t fish one wire down the underground conduit, it’s much too small. There should be room for 3 cables (minimum), not 3 wires, where a cable is shielded twisted pair for DC +/-, or shielded twisted 3-wire. The shielding is helpful if the conduit is not metal, or the wiring passes near AC power wiring (within ~6").

Hey rheide99, I am doing the exact same thing. This is a total pain in the ass. You and I are in exactly the same boat. I started with just a esp32 and then switched to the diguno and I have better luck with just the ESP32. When I sent email to the author of the video, he said he thought I had a grounding problem, but I don’t believe that to be true. The problem is the degraded signal on the Ground wire going to the light. Did you have an easy time exposing that ground wire? In my light housing I have a regular light fixture and I had to cut the ground out and drill it in to the fixture. That sucked as it was hard to get the fixture waterproof again. Anyhow, I am in the same boat with the responsiveness of the ESP32 and if I turn the brightness up, WLED goes offline, and I must reboot to get back online. I have it limping along, the first LED does not light at all and the second flickers at med Brightness. If I lower the brightness all 3 come on and stay stable. Also, did you check your voltage? When I first set this up, I was getting 12V, but after everything was installed, I checked the voltage again and it was at 17V, strange. I added an additional buck converter to enforce 12V. I already had one inline to get the 5V for the ESP32. One thing I did miss and have not changed is that the author of the video said to tie the negative going to the lights to the grounding bar in the electric box. I tried it and it did not help so I removed it, did you ground your negative?

yes always if possible always ground your stuff
in my world it works even on boats
all flikering and so on is caused by bad components
always try and test before u install
non light leds are a programming failure in hardware setup
under ground and under water its hard to recive wireless or even impossible
and read the beginning of the post and there u find everything
it also is helpfull to be or ask a soundengineer they can xplain and show how its done


there u will find information
and looking at ur wiering diagramm there is physicaly no difference 100ft data line in both casas
move the esp to the leds or shorten the data line or use shielded cables for data
and here