RGB LEDs basically contain three LEDs used in one. The combination of these three colours covers the full spectrum of colours. The RGB controller works with PMW (pulse-width modulation), which means - at a certain frequency - it turns the LEDs on and off fully (this is exactly the same technique single coloured LEDs are dimmed). If you turn the blue LED off completely for instance, the red and green will create a yellow light together. The colour can be manipulated with the frequency of the individual LEDs on and off modes. If you add a bit of blue to this yellow, you will receive a lighter green shade. To create a single colour output the frequency of the full LED must be over 50Hz.
So, what is the full range of effects possible with RGB LED strip lighting?
The simplest RGB LED string lights have a pre-programmed set of colour they can emit ranging from four to 16, and the colours rotates according to these programmes. The range of colours displayed can be widened with the knowledge of the strip and obviously the knowledge of the controller. RGB LED ribbons which allow DMX controllers can display several million colours. Besides the regular RGB LED strip lights which can emit several shades of colours, but only one at a time, exist the multiple colour strips - also called magic LED strips or pixel LED tape lights. This type of RGB LED rope light requires a special RGB controller. RGB LED strip lights are most often sold with the controllers suitable for their operation, or there is a list of recommended controllers indicated at the strip light's description. Controllers can basically be manual, automatic, semi-automatic, pre-set sequence or DMX.
Besides the most commonly used pre-set sequence RGB controllers, a popular solution for creating your own effects is DMX controllers, which allow users a wide range of settings of the brightness, the colour and the pace of colour changing of the strip light. DMX controllers allow you to set the level of brightness, usually have a range of colours over several millions, different speed of display or colour change, this speed can often be set to follow the rhythm of music. With this wide range of possibilities to create your own, unique lighting, only your imagination is the limit.
By: Anita Samuelis
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Anita Samuelis works at LEDcentre.uk.com, an online distributor of LED lights, light bulbs, spots, and LED strips. To help their customers make a conscious and well-informed choice among their products, LEDcentre tries to provide additional, useful information in its articles. To see the full range of articles and LED lights go to www.ledcentre.uk.com