fiduciary

Author Topic: Neopixel strip/Classic LED string blade Connectors and Holders solutions  (Read 4649 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline ShtokyD

  • Board Moderator
  • Force User
  • *
  • Posts: 220
  • whatever
    • My facebook page
Neopixel strip/Classic string blade Connectors and 3D-printed Holders

3D-printed Connectors Holders Shapeways shop link:
ShtokCustomWorx by ShtokyD - Shapeways Shops

NPXL 3-pole (11 spring-loaded gold plated pins: 1 for Data, 5 for Positive lead, 5 for Negative lead) Lit Connector System







With growing interest in Neopixel LED strips technology in saber community we need blade connector holders solutions that are easy to install and use, have cool features, are durable and also nice looking in the hilt and chassis. So with this in mind I've been working on a few connector systems for almost a year now and here is the result I came up with:

- GX16 Connector and 3D-printed Holder (A cheaper connector solution, GX16 connectors are available widely on aliexpress, ebay, amazon and from some vendors in saber community like KR-sabers... are durable, can handle big currents (up to 15-20A) through each contact pin in 3-pin configuration, are available in models from 2-pin to 9-pin. But more pins you get - smaller they are, so each separate pin can handle less current, keep that in mind).

- NPXL Connector and 3D-printed Holder (A new connector system based on well known and widely used in different electronic devices (laptops, mobile phones for quick and easy charger cable disconnect or battery, other currently available neopixel blade connectors etc.) spring-loaded “Pogo pins”, but I designed them from scratch completely differently with additional new features and for high currents to use them safely with 3-4 strips blades. And the best feature - 5 on-board neopixels! Why we need them? - for regular blade plugs backlighting, battery level indication, charge status indication and all other cool accent animations and patterns having a second programmable Neopixel Data line output like in TeensySaber, because these 5 leds have a separate Data line from the main Blade Data line, which can be configured to be used stand-alone or in pair with the blade!. Very easy to use and install even in "thin-neck" sabers thanks to the extremely compact and low-profile design and looks incredible in the exposed blade socket, no indexed blade connection orientation, just "plug and play").

New NPXL Connector Features:

- biggest current rating (up to 15A constant current and 20A+ at peak currents) (tested)
- better and more stable contacts (more pins, randomized pattern)
- the smallest and low-profile size on the market for more install options
- 5 additional on-board neopixel leds for programmable animations, PLI, charge status, blade plug backlight (some features may be implemented only with particular sound boards)



NPXL connector PCBs are in production now, stay tuned for more news!


Real photos of connectors and 3D-printed holders:
3D-printed in nylon plastic:


3D-printed in brass, bronze and steel:
« Last Edit: September 02, 2019, 03:49:32 PM by ShtokyD »

Offline BEN KENOBI

  • Crazy Old Wizard
  • FX-SABERS VIP II
  • Master Force User
  • *
  • Posts: 8473
  • The saber scientist
Re: Neopixel strip/Classic LED string blade Connectors and Holders solutions
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2018, 05:51:50 AM »
Sweet!!

Offline Obi_1

  • Mining Colony Members
  • Experienced Force User
  • *
  • Posts: 476
  • Creator of DIYino - first open source FX-board
Re: Neopixel strip/Classic LED string blade Connectors and Holders solutions
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2018, 07:00:38 AM »

Technically speaking even 9A is going to be a killer. Why? From current boards supporting neopixles (DIYino, PL, NEC, Teensy), at least PL and DIYino support killing power to the stripes by the on-board drivers (programmable kill-key or stripoff, they are technically the same). Even advanced transistors in the size used for saber boards have min ~100mOhms of channel resistance, even if you put all 3 drivers in parallel, you are looking at ~30mOhms x 9A=270mV of min drop. That will lower your voltage right away from 3.7V to 3.43, which in turn reduces the current drawn, so there will be an equilibrium. If I factor in the IR drop over the wiring to the connectors and the pogos, then I can tell you for sure that even 9Amps is a gross overstatement, you will never reach that current (nor would it be healthy, such current over any of the current saber boards would instant kill it due to overheating, they are not designed for that kind of currents, nor would it make much sense). I can't tell you without making precise measurements how much the neopixel current limit will be, but my well informed gut feeling tells me it's not going to be more than 9A. More probably something like 6A.

As to saber boards supporting 5V with current regulation: never say never, but as stated many times, it does not make sense to supply neopixel stripes with 5V. 3.7V off from a single Li-Ion is just about the optimum for them. If you use a higher voltage, you do not gain brightness but waste energy. Not to mention that for such a board you might need a backback.

As a last statement: apart from all of this discussion, I love both your and TCSS's solution to pixel blade connectors. Never mind the Amps rating, the solutions with pogos and ring connectors are superb! Big thumbs up to all the guys who were involved in their development.

Offline Master Cram-Fu

  • No Force
  • *
  • Posts: 17
Re: Neopixel strip/Classic LED string blade Connectors and Holders solutions
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2018, 09:14:25 PM »
Good to see gold plating. Personally, I'd like the extra current draw capability since I'm using rgbw strips. They can theoretically draw up to 11 amps each (for a strip of 144)(also it would probably melt at that point if left on for too long). Right now I'm using some massive xt60 connectors but this has inspired me to make my own!

Offline ShtokyD

  • Board Moderator
  • Force User
  • *
  • Posts: 220
  • whatever
    • My facebook page
Update on the new Neopixel blade connectors, now have photos and demonstration video of a working prototype!

Offline Ridire Fíréan

  • Force User
  • ***
  • Posts: 105
  • Up&down&around the bend a Jedi's story never ends
Re: Neopixel strip/Classic LED string blade Connectors and Holders solutions
« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2019, 02:45:03 PM »
Hey @ShtokyD  !

I realize that the shorter pins connectors are for lightsabers like Obi-Wan's ANH, where there's a limited amount of depth within the blade holder.

But, if you didn't have any restrictions to depth within your blade holder...

can you explain what, if any, the advantages would be for chosing a long pins connector?

Offline illrigger

  • No Force
  • *
  • Posts: 2
  • Um...Hello?
Re: Neopixel strip/Classic LED string blade Connectors and Holders solutions
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2019, 03:27:34 PM »
The ones with long pins can hold a diffuser so that the light shining out when no blade is in isn't so obviously from 5 LEDs. Other than that, there's no real difference.

Offline ShtokyD

  • Board Moderator
  • Force User
  • *
  • Posts: 220
  • whatever
    • My facebook page
Re: Neopixel strip/Classic LED string blade Connectors and Holders solutions
« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2019, 09:41:49 AM »
Hey @ShtokyD  !

I realize that the shorter pins connectors are for lightsabers like Obi-Wan's ANH, where there's a limited amount of depth within the blade holder.

But, if you didn't have any restrictions to depth within your blade holder...

can you explain what, if any, the advantages would be for chosing a long pins connector?
Short pins are best for really short blade holders (Thin-Neck sabers for example) and for chassis connections inside the hilt to save space, Long pins for everything else, because they have a bigger contact pin travel, so less chance of bad connection with the blade.

Offline Ridire Fíréan

  • Force User
  • ***
  • Posts: 105
  • Up&down&around the bend a Jedi's story never ends
Thanks @illriger  and @ShtokyD  !

Hey @ShtokyD  !  Do you happen to have the dimensions for these?  I'd like to know their diamater and overall heights to see if they'll fit in my chassis design.

Offline SilantStrike

  • Padawan Learner
  • **
  • Posts: 80
  • Um...Hello?
Thanks @illriger  and @ShtokyD  !

Hey @ShtokyD  !  Do you happen to have the dimensions for these?  I'd like to know their diamater and overall heights to see if they'll fit in my chassis design.

From the manual

Hilt pcb: 17.5x17.5x2.6mm
Blade pcb: 17.5x17.5x1.6mm