Spooky WLED action at a distance. 12 VAC to 5V DC adaptor recommendations?

Tis the season for tacky spooky Halloween props to be temporarily scattered around our yard.

How would you power ~20 ESP controllers, each with ~20-30 WS28xx LEDs scattered across ~7500 sqft? Each controller playing their own independent lighting effects.

Currently planning to run low voltage 12V AC landscape power transformer(s) and 14 AWG landscape wiring. Then for each controller, use small AC to DC regulator capable of at least 12VAC to 5V DC 2A. Can layout and position props so just a couple of landscape wires needed to run power.

I don’t have, or want to run, 120V AC outlets/extensions across the yard. Thinking to lay landscape wiring that I can spike attach (and remove later) each controller+light device.

Sound reasonable, or are there better/different options worth considering? I keep wondering whether anyone’s using Ethernet to run both power and data to many relatively low power consuming lights scattered around their yard?

Thinking stranded landscape wiring is more tolerant than solid core Ethernet in terms of being moved, removed, flexed and kinked. But then twisted pairs in Ethernet are better for carrying differentiated data signals. Could maybe run power and data if the devices could understand. Didn’t realize POE is DC because AC power interferes with data traffic, limiting distance can use for significant power.

Thinking about, and asking partly because Divsys recently shared interesting link about RS485 for long data lines Long Data lines - WLED Project


Making a guess at your total power consumption (worst case):

600 LED’s at .3W/LED => 180W total power at 12V that’s 15A.
If you ran 18V you’d only need 10A and at 24V you’re talking 7.5A.
Those current values tell what size of wire you need to supply this.
At 12V, you’re talking 14AWG, by the time you get to 24V you’re down to 18AWG.

But there’s two other factors that will affect your wiring choices:

  1. These calculations are based on the Total draw of all your WLED elements. The value for each element is only 1/20th of that.

  2. This is a Halloween display and as such it’s not likely that any element will run at full brightness white except for “flashes” (maybe lightning?) So your normal power consumption is likely to only be 1/3 of worst case. So each element is down to 1/60th of the worst case values.

At those levels you can think about much smaller wires to drive the elements such as 22/4 or even Cat5e (paralleling wires for higher current ability). That gives you enough conductors to handle the load for each element and give you an extra pair for an RS485 connection.

The higher voltages are dropped down with a buck converter at each element to give you the 5V you need to drive the LEDs (and the RS485 module).

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