This week we have Daniel J Lewis from The Audacity to Podcast on the show to talk about how he installed RGB lighting in his home studio. We also cover the ins and outs and install successes and mistakes made during the project along with a long list (in the show notes) of lessons learned. Daniel also spends some time talking about his latest projects, like with My Podcast Reviews, and the updates he has made on this Social Subscribe and Follow WordPress Plugin.
Full show notes, transcriptions, audio and video at http://theAverageGuy.tv/hgg460
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Podcast, Home Gadget Geeks, Daniel J Lewis, Podpage, The Audacity to Podcast, Strips, Panels, Lights, Power supply, Acoustic Panels, LED, RGB, Color Adjustments, Brightness, Studio, Volts, MDF
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[1:18] Daniel J Lewis Intro
[10:50] Patreon and BQQ, Grill and Smoker Meetup Announement
[12:48] Tim is home from his time in the Marines
[15:01] RGB lighting in Daniel’s Studio
[1:17:48] Show reminders
Key lessons learned:
- MDF is great for this! But make sure it’s cut straight!
- Don’t get thicker MDF to prevent bending. Instead, place a cross-beam at the wire-mounting location and use thinner MDF for lighter panels.
- 24”-wide panels are big! 16” could have been fine
- Use 24-volt RGB strips and powering to reduce voltage-drop effects
- Get the right power supply! Make sure the fan is automatic, it has plenty of margin, and it’s a reputable company (I chose Mean Well).
- Tuya Smart Life controllers are easier to set up and the app has a nicer interface, but MagicHome controllers give more control.
- Test connections with a multimeter, not live voltage!
- Not all RGB strips are alike, even if they’re all SMD 5050! Some have weird color balances. Most important thing is to match them all. For this reason, Amazon isn’t a good source for cheap strips because stock and providers change all the time. AliExpress is far more consistent.
- Consider how you’ll use the lights. If only for effects, then RGB is fine. If for room lighting, stick with whites. If for both, consider the RGB with different whites.
- Corners are tricky for RGB strips in precision-mandated design
- Consider how things will be mounted and buy the appropriate RGB strips. 120 LEDs/m is more difficult to work with (bending, cutting, connecting), but gives shorter cut segments. 60 LEDs/m is easier to work with but gives longer cut segments.
- Know how to avoid coil whine or fan noise in the PSU.
- Don’t trust the sticky tape back of the RGB strips!
- Don’t be in a hurry, but test each part as quickly as possible in case there are defects.
- Acoustic panels
- Roxul Safe ‘n’ Sound insulation 23” × 47”: special order (because 23” width) from local construction store
- Black speaker fabric (also available in white or use burlap): local craft/fabric store—watch for 50%-off coupons!
- MDF sheets cut to needs
- Door stoppers from Walmart for spacing from the wall
- Power supply: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005T9HCSA/?tag=theaudacitytopodcast-20
- Home wiring: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000BPG1ZC/?tag=theaudacitytopodcast-20
- Enclosure: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07HMJ7WKD/?tag=theaudacitytopodcast-20
- RGB strip connectors (work well for high-density strips): https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07VKL4XJ1/?tag=theaudacitytopodcast-20
- Wire for box to panel: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00J3DNKX4/?tag=theaudacitytopodcast-20
- Fuses: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4000083196793.html?spm=a2g0s.9042322.214.171.124e84c4dJcAtCs
- Power distribution PCB: https://s.click.aliexpress.com/e/_d6uijUT
- Power switch: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32916324872.html?spm=a2g0s.90423126.96.36.199e84c4dJcAtCs
- DC connectors (not the best): https://s.click.aliexpress.com/e/_dYGEKYn
- 24-volt RGB lighting strip: https://s.click.aliexpress.com/e/_d7n9qV1
- Magic Home RGB Smart controllers: https://s.click.aliexpress.com/e/_d7kDsJ9
- RGB cable splitters: https://s.click.aliexpress.com/e/_dWO1pD9
Jim Collison [0:00]
This is The Average Guy Network and you have found Home Gadget Geeks show number 460 recorded on September 17, 2020.
Daniel J Lewis [0:22]
Here on Home Gadget Geeks we cover all your favorite tech gadgets that find their way into your home news reviews, product updates and conversation all for the average tech guy. I’m your host, Jim Collison broadcasting live from theAverageGuy.TV Studios here in a very beautiful Bellevue Nebraska fall has arrived and you guys know I like fall, and I appreciate it in every way. It’s beautiful out there. Of course, we post a show with World Class show notes now today and I’m introducing here in just a second. Today, we got some really good show notes. You’re gonna want to head out. As Daniel talks about what he’s gonna do, you’re gonna want to head out and capture those show notes because there’s a lot to get do out there. But there’ll be at http://theAverageGuy.TV/hgg460.
Jim Collison [0:58]
I mentioned him just a second ago. But Daniel J. Lewis is joining us tonight he from the audacity to podcast and Daniel was on seven and a half years ago. Home tech no home tech interview is what I called it back in that day number four, not even Home Gadget Geeks came on and we talked about audio. Daniel, welcome back.
Daniel J Lewis [1:18]
Thank you so much, Jim. It’s, it’s been a long, long time getting from here to there. But it’s good to talk to you again.
It’s good, good to have you lots going on in our lives and lots of things have happened. Three March 8 2013 is the date that you are here and in we talked about audio. So if you want to go back you can just put in Daniel J. Lewis, you’ll find them out there and go back and talk about that. Daniel Have a sit tight for a second here we’re going to spend if you’re coming in on YouTube and you came in because we’ve got the subject which is RGB lighting that we’re going to kind of talk about hang tight, we got some community stuff to go through and then we’ll get to that stuff. Daniel, always get those comments like took them 10 minutes to get to the point right now. That’s the point. That’s kind of what we do here. So hang tight for me.
One second. One is I’ve been using pod page. Daniel, have you seen? Have you seen pod page?
Yes, it’s a service that when I first saw it, I thought, really I don’t think we need this. But then after I looked at it, I thought, Oh, yeah, we need this.
Jim Collison [2:19]
It’s really, really good. In fact, I’m going to just get rid of my app. So I’ve had an app. I’ve had an iPhone and a Android app. I’ve been paying 99 bucks each for that. Big thanks to our Patreon subscribers who helped me pay for that every year. But I think people are moving away from dedicated apps. I just find like most people that are listening to podcasts are listening to it on their own player. Don’t you think?
Daniel J Lewis [2:43]
There was that classic thing that? Yeah, people know how to install an app better than they know how to listen to a podcast. But I think that delta is so much smaller now that we should just tell people to subscribe in their podcast app.
Yeah. Yeah, I think so. In Okay, wait a minute. Before we go too much farther, you’ve got a great service as well. I think there’s probably nobody that knows podcast and podcast numbers better than you. Can you give us just give us a one minute little promo of your plugin that helps podcasters
I made a WordPress plugin. Is that what you’re referring to that? Yeah, I made several things for that’s what I do is I make stuff for podcasters. So the WordPress plugin, and Jim is probably one of the power users of it is called social Subscribe and follow icons are for short, subscribe and follow. And he gives you I think, at this point more than 50 different icons, vector icons that you can put on your website, make them into buttons, make them into icons that adjust the colors and such to match and fonts to match the rest of your site
so that you can put these handy subscription and follow icons or buttons on your site. And when I created it, I used to code this stuff completely manually for some of my clients and For myself, and I thought I could make a plugin for this. And it, it helps podcasters it helps social media people like it’s the only place I think it might be the only plugin that has a vector stitcher icon in it or for a while it was at least it’s got, you know, all of the other ones in there.
It’s had an Amazon icon for a while. So if you’re excited about having your podcast on amazon music, you can already use the Amazon icon there, you could use the Amazon icon for something else, you know, support us through our Amazon affiliate link. That’s not quite their policy though. But things like that, that you can do Twitter buttons, Patreon buttons, all kinds of things, get hub, almost anything you can think of is in it or simply request it and it will be in it and that’s it. Subscribe and follow calm.
Jim Collison [4:46]
Yeah, let me let me just show it really quick because I I’m super proud of the work. You can see these icons right here. I’ve got them on the page that are available. And then if you go to the http://theaverageguy.TV/subscribe, or you just click the subscribe button. You’ll actually See the all the ways you can subscribe to the audio for Home Gadget Geeks the video because we have we have a video RSS feed, why wouldn’t you? So Cyber Frontiers the same thing that are out there. And Daniel makes all these available. You can customize them. They’re super great. So if you were wondering like, hey, how do I subscribe? Or how do I find the YouTube channel? or where to go on Facebook that to the average guy, TV slash subscribe. This is all Daniel. Daniel, you’re also doing a bunch of stats around and I think this is the really nerdy stuff because I think you’re one of the few who’s got a really good handle on how many active podcasts are there today? I asked you that question. Could you tell me?
Daniel J Lewis [5:39]
Oh, yeah, I’ve got the number in front of me when we active podcasts. Okay, that gets into technical definitions, though, because then it’s like, how do you define active? Yeah, but what I would define active as would be that they’ve published at least one episode in the last 90 days, they could still be new, but they have at least one episode from the last 90 days. And that’s six Hundred 48,650 podcasts right now.
Jim Collison [6:03]
600 so let’s say 700,000 active podcasts available. Would that be? Would that be a fair number to say if we’re just gonna round it up?
Daniel J Lewis [6:12]
650,000? Okay, round currently, and that’s as of September 17 2020. Yeah, number 10 is always fluctuating too.
You also have a service called my podcast reviews, right that are available. So if podcasters want to get it, see the reviews that are available on iTunes, they can subscribe to that. I think I’m doing that as well for you to get those updates. How’s that going? Yeah,
That’s going well, we have released a brand new feature no one else is doing this week. We basically created this industry of this software as a service for this kind of thing. gathering your podcast reviews. We checked all of 175 Apple podcasts and iTunes countries plus stitcher, podchaser, castbox and more coming soon, and we just added a feature that now you can see all your ratings as well as your review. Because many people didn’t realize that ratings can be left without reviews, but every review requires a rating. So you can see like that engagement level to see you have 100 ratings, and 80 of them have reviews. That’s a very high engagement. But if you’ve got 100 ratings, and only 10 of them have reviews, then you know, you need to engage your audience a bit more help them to write a review and for helping people write a review, we’ve got a new feature coming out. I can’t tell you about completely yet, but it will help you do that. And that is coming out late September, early October 2020.
Jim Collison [7:35]
Oh, cool. So So as we’re recording this pretty quick, where would folks go to to find that thing?
Daniel J Lewis [7:42]
MyPodcastReviews.com. And you can sign up for a free trial over there to check it out. And give it a try for your podcast, multiple podcasts, monitor your competitors podcast to mypodcastreviews.com.
Jim Collison [7:55]
That’s super cool. You got a lot of great stuff going on there. I started that with pod page and then we went totally off the rails, but pod page. Now I’ve converted HomeGadgetGeeks.com. So many of you are getting the app through that. And like I said, I’m gonna switch over to pod page is kind of the kind of landing spot because one of the things I like about it Daniel is he got all the kind of every place you can think about subscribing castbox, overcast iTunes, Google Play, right, we’re not google play anymore, but Google podcasts. There we go. I’m trying to have trouble getting that out of my, I think it’s Apple podcast, too.
And so it’s tough to get that out of your vocabulary. Um, so if you go to HomeGadgetgeeks.com, you’ll see that’s kind of where I’m going to send everybody now who’s like, new, say, hey, find your player. And, and you can, you can kind of subscribe however you want. It’s there.
One of the cool thing that’s about it for those who are regular listeners is it’s got a what some folks have used like speakpipe or some ways to get it done, but it has a service associated with it where you can leave a message. So I’d like you guys to try that. If you’re listening to this week or whatever week you’re listening to it, head to HomeGadgetGeeks.com on the right hand side or on the mobile device, there’ll be a button click it, it has a little microphone icon and leave me a message doesn’t have to be anything productive or even about the show I just love to hear your voice.
So again head out to HomeGadgetGeeks.com in order to give that a try we’re gonna give it a spin I’ve really liked what’s going on at pod page I would never switch away Daniel from WordPress, let’s just be Let’s just be really clear, but what they’re doing over there a pod page is pretty cool. Again, HomeGadgetGeeks.com
and then don’t forget I don’t know how you’re doing it during the pandemic but hellofresh has saved my life during the pandemic. The averageguy.TV/hellofresh if you want to take advantage that 40 bucks off your first box, Daniel, you’ve been eating okay during the during the pandemic things going okay along those lines?
Daniel J Lewis [9:47]
Yep, no sleep. Yeah, you know, I get it a little caesars pizza here and there but still eating healthy. I enjoy cooking I really do anything, but and this is perks to what you can get with hellofresh sometimes just going out and getting the ingredients is something that sometimes deters me from one. It’s like oh, I don’t want to find cilantro because then I’m gonna have all of this cilantro leftover I’m never gonna use it’s just gonna rot in the refrigerator because all I need is this one little sprig.
Jim Collison [10:20]
Tonight we had chicken ravioli and is peeling back the the ravioli was in a container peel back thrown in hot water. I made this sauce on a pan in the back, I had exactly what I needed. Toss the bag, it had nothing left, we ate it all. It was it was pretty great. Um, this is two of us, right? It’s just my wife and I kids are going we do have I’ll talk about this here in a second. We do have one coming back. But if you want to try that, just give it a try. You can do it one week. You can quit it after that if you want but hellofresh give it a try the averageguy.tv/hellofresh
they don’t forget September 24. We’re doing the Patreon meetup. So if you’re a Patreon subscriber, and I haven’t heard from you yet, I’ll send another email out this week but Next week, this is next week, Kyle Wilcox will be on the show. Just Patreon subscribers coming in for the first hour 630 to 730. And then we’ll start the show at eight. Just to meet up just to get together, see how guys everybody’s doing during the pandemic. We want to make sure you guys are eating well, as well. And so check that out if you want to. You can still there’s still time to participate, go to theaverageguy.TV/Patreon. Join us over there and you can join us for the meetup
and then don’t forget I’m also going to be scheduling the barbecue grill and smoker meetup that’s coming up October 24. Daniel, we’ve been thinking about just different ways to get together and we’re going to actually live stream throughout the whole day. Folks grilling and barbecuing and smoking. That sounds pretty good.
Daniel J Lewis [11:44]
Yeah. My neighbor today was grilling and when my son and I went outside and we’re playing outside and I just love the smell of grilling meat. Yeah, it made me think I have got to get another grill again.
Jim Collison [11:58]
Yeah, no for sure you got it. come across one fight, look on look on Facebook marketplace or some of those, sometimes you get a Weber for 50, 60 bucks, and that’ll get you get you back in the game, we’re going to have a morning session where we do kind of prep and dry rub, we’re going to do a noon session where we all kind of check on what we’re doing. And then we’re going to do an evening session where we kind of come back around and then I’m going to try and find a few folks who will live stream and we’re going to do it all day. Live Stream a webcam on the smoker, like that’s all it’s going to be is just on the smoker, watching smoke come out. But that’s what we’re going to do all day. So that’s coming up October 24. By the show next week, I’ll actually have an EventBright I just started building that today. I’ll have an event bright event for that setup. And you can register and join us no costs, Just Want to Have you jump in those as well.
Then one more thing. So five years ago, we talked about Daniel being seven and a half years ago, five years ago, next month. Tim our son joined the Marines and I actually spent some time in show 234 talking about him we had just sent him off in the Marines did some really interesting things with social media. And what was super cool about it is I found it really quick on my phone tonight during dinner, I was like, you know, I wonder what I said about that. And we got an opportunity to listen to the to that podcast where he talked about all the cool things the Marines were doing to keep kind of parents involved and, and and not overseeing their kids, but at least knowing what’s going on during it. So it was fun to go back and do that.
One of the things I appreciate just a lot of listeners here that have been around during those times, and it’s just weird to think it was five years ago. He’ll be home on Monday, and he’s out of the Marines. So for those of you who’ve been on the show that long and have hung around that long, it’s about the time I started, ask the podcast coach, to be honest with Dave Jackson. Thanks for coming on the journey with me. I appreciate it. It’s been it’s kind of fun and it was kind of fun to go back and listen, I wonder how many other times I mentioned the Marines in the last five years.
Daniel was with us tonight because he old by By the way, if you want to go out to the show notes, I’m gonna have this exact spot listed for you where this conversation starts. So if you haven’t started checking out the show notes, I actually now put a little catalogue of all the things we talked about on the show notes. And right here will be the time we talked about RGB lighting. Daniel, you reached out to me and gave us a little preview and ask the podcast coach, but you’ve spent a little time putting in and we have the guys from the computers on Oh, and we talked about RGB lighting for computers, right? There’s lots of stuff you can do with fans and lighting inside of computers. But you took it kind of to the next level in in the kind of lit your whole studio that way. And so today we’re going to talk a little bit about what you did. I’m not sure where the best place to start on this, but tell me, let’s just maybe start at the beginning as you think about what was the genesis for kind of outfitting or redesigning your studio with this kind of lighting where you have some control over the over the temperature and over the color and Those kinds of things.
Daniel J Lewis [15:01]
For the first several years of my podcasting and my business helping podcasters I was podcasting and recording videos and everything from my basement. in my basement has carpet, it has the speckled ceiling, it had a couch it had a lot of furniture in it. So it really helped the acoustics nicely and there wasn’t much echo. There wasn’t much sound from outside because it’s a bi level and so it’s partially underground. It was a pretty good acoustic space. Some reverb a little but it was manageable. And then I moved to corporate space, rented some office space for a couple years. And that was flat walls completely squared rooms, no couches only flat furniture was what I had desks and screens and stuff.
And reverb was a real problem there especially when I would have an in studio co host with me because one microphone, you have to think about how sound bounces off from you. Your voice back into the microphone. But when you have two microphones open and two people talking, then that that maybe more than doubles the problem because then you’ve got two voices bouncing at different angles, two microphones picking up so reverb became a real problem in that environment. And I tried these cheap ways of treating the acoustics by hanging up horribly ugly looking foam that someone gave me when they were going to throw it away because of how ugly it was. I thought no that could that could work for acoustic stuff. It didn’t really do all that much. It was ugly, it was cumbersome. I tried all kinds of things in it. It just either didn’t work well. It didn’t it certainly didn’t look well.
And I I decided All right, I want to do something that really fixes the acoustic problem and looks nice. I, I looked at things like the acoustic tiles that you might see people have they refer to them as like a crate style or the wedges There’s our acoustic tiles. They’re one foot by one foot or so squares made out of foam that people would often glue on their walls. Please don’t glue that stuff on your wall to anything other than gluing it on your wall. You will regret it if you glue it, but I knew I didn’t want that. What about
Jim Collison [17:15]
like coming in strips? Would that be okay? If you were
Daniel J Lewis [17:17]
probably worth getting off again, just want to make sure yeah, you can, you can pull it off without leaving residue. But um, those things actually aren’t that good. They do help, but they’re just not the best at reducing reverb in your space. Especially with my particular space. The reverb was so horrible. And so I was watching YouTube videos and reading acoustic stuff and discovered that panels are the much better thing a panel would be something that’s much larger, much thicker, and it absorbs the sounds much better and you don’t even have to line an entire wall with a panel because sound goes behind the panel you can have gaps behind the panels you really only need to think about where his sound bouncing off and that’s where you put a panel is in those places but I went a bit overboard in made enough panels myself so that I could have one with only a six inch gap on every wall
Jim Collison [18:17]
on every wall. So how do you make them What do you make them out of?
Daniel J Lewis [18:19]
So the panel’s themselves before getting into the lighting, the coolness factor and anyone watching in the video. And if you’re listening to the audio, you’ll want to look at the video because I’ve had the signature look now for a while with these large black like 2001 A Space Odyssey looking obelisks behind me these are the panels that I’ve created. So the frame is made out of MDF boards and instead of wood and the reason why I like that is for one thing. It’s something that was recycled from something else so that’s kind of cool. But what I really like about it is MDF boards are completely straight, they’re completely flat. You don’t have to spend so much time trying to pick one that’s not working or anything like that. They are very easy to work with. For precision kind of work like I wanted with my panels, I wanted them perfectly aligned and everything. So I got the big MDF sheets, they’re four feet by eight feet. I had them cut them there at the Lowe’s or Home Depot or wherever I went. And by the way, if you do the same thing, make sure they have it perfectly straight. And the saws perfectly straight. There was one of the boards I got cut, the board was leaning in the little gap. And so all of the cuts were just slightly angled and it threw everything off. But MDF boards also, I think a little bit cheaper than doing the same thing with wood.
Jim Collison [19:42]
A certainly now, especially now what’s gotten so expensive, really? Yeah. Oh, yeah. The pandemic has driven the price of wood.
Daniel J Lewis [19:50]
Yeah. Everybody’s doing home improvement projects.
Jim Collison [19:53]
Daniel J Lewis [19:55]
I was doing home improvement before was cool.
And that So I made these basic frames there’s nothing really fancy about the frame itself. It’s just a square frame and there are some supporting beams in the back of it. And then on the inside of the so each of the large acoustic panels like one that I have directly behind my head is two feet by four feet.
And the the insulation or what I’m using on the inside to absorb the sound is insulation. insulation is fantastic for this and specifically rouxel safe and sound insulation is designed for absorbing sound. And that’s what I’m using in this case. Now, you may be thinking that some construction, my panels are 24 inches wide, I had a special order. The installation didn’t actually cost all that much more. But some I could make 24 inch wide panels instead of 16 inch wide panels. And the installation works great. I’ve seen some people just layer towels.
So some towels together. layer them and that can work really well too and maybe even be a bit cheaper. I didn’t know about that when I did the installation but the and then so after all of this is put together these panels are about four inches thick or so there’s a little bit of space behind them which is good. Then I wrapped them in black speaker cloth because like Lego Batman, I only work in black and sometimes very, very dark gray, which is actually a problem that I’ll get into in a little bit. But I really like the look of black so I went with black speaker cloth if I was redoing these, I probably redo them in white or gray or something else but I like the black and I like the contrast. So I wrapped them in this black speaker cloth.
You can use other color speaker cloth you could get burlap is also something you just need, sound and air to be able to pass through the cloth. So if you can hold up a piece of the cloth and blow through it and feel you’re on the other side That’s the kind of cloth you’d want for this. So I wrapped it in that then I heard that it’s best if your acoustic panels are sitting away from the wall a little bit or whatever surface they’re protecting, because that gives more space for sound to get around behind the panel and get absorbed by the panel as well as more space for sound to dissipate when it gets through the panel bounces off the wall and then hits the backside of the panel.
So I tried to think of different ways to do this and found a simple hack is door stoppers not the springy the hard stiff kinds just from Walmart but every single one that my local Walmart’s I had to visit several Walmart’s I bought them all out if they’re door stoppers and put them on the four corners of these boards and these panels and made panels in different sizes. I cut some of the insulation half size. So the result are these large black obelisks, but they work really well. The acoustics is Fantastic now with these all over the walls,
Jim Collison [23:03]
I mean I’m going to make you big screen so we can kind of see kind of what they look like how much what’s the most expensive part of that? The MDF? The end is this the right is this the right installation that the safe and sound is that the right
Daniel J Lewis [23:17]
rouxel safe and sound you can find it the the standard 16 inch stud size you can find at any local hardware store probably but the 24 inch I had to go to an independent hardware store in special order which didn’t cost much more
Jim Collison [23:32]
and it’s designed for for fire and soundproofing so that’s that’s pretty cool. So what was the most expensive part of that then
Daniel J Lewis [23:42]
I think of the acoustic aspect of it not the lighting because the lighting is probably the most expensive but the acoustic aspect the insulation i think is the most expensive which so if you want to save even more money, you could just find a bunch of towels and when I say towels, they can look like anything you could go to Goodwill and buy every single towel they have, because you’re putting speaker cloth or some kind of cloth over it to hide whatever is in there. So whatever’s on the inside doesn’t really matter.
Jim Collison [24:10]
Yeah. So what do you think? What do you think it just for the installation part? What do you think the end bill is?
Daniel J Lewis [24:18]
for the installation itself? I’m not sure. I think
Jim Collison [24:20]
that think about the panel and the panel.
Daniel J Lewis [24:22]
Yeah, the whole panel. Yeah. Yeah. So this kind of thing. You can buy this kind of thing commercially, for $200 and up per panel, right? easily. I’ve seen these kinds of things go for $500. I built these for about 20 to $25. Each. Oh, okay. Yeah. And that’s including the fancy RGB going. Yeah.
Jim Collison [24:48]
Cool. So, the dollars one of the things to think about sound, enhancing, let’s just say that’s what we call this right or sound deadening does isn’t necessarily just for Studio for just for podcasters. If you’ve got, if you got a theater room, if you’ve got a spot in the house that’s just loud, you could create and instead of using speaker cover, you could put art in front of it right? You could use Canvas or you can, and it’s a great way to kind of deaden if you’ve got some loud spots in your house.
A lot of homes are coming with hardwood floors. And those are super loud and super noisy. And just a great, just a great opportunity. There already Tony’s already telling me that they look great in the new Home Gadget Geeks Studio. I don’t know where that new studios coming from you of course, so you got new panels up, and that’s begging for lights. So let’s talk a little bit about what what did you give us a little idea of what you went through your thought process you were thinking about? How you know? And let me ask you this, like we only see one part of the light Daniel, like we only see what’s behind you. Is everything live that way? Or do you just have what’s behind you live that way?
Daniel J Lewis [26:00]
Have, since I’ve redone the RGB lighting, I have about half of the panels in my room lit that way, I’d love to do them all. It’s just not necessary I, the lighting is really there for it to look good to the camera, not to me. In fact, when I’m just down here in my studio working on my own, I almost never turn on the lights for one thing because of sometimes a little bit of glare off the screen. The other thing is just the color balance.
I can’t quite get the right color because I went with RGB instead of some of the other options that are available for lighting strips, but it’s mainly just an accent thing to look great. Now it’d be really cool if every panel in my room had it. And where I actually got this idea was a while back I was looking at maybe moving homes, and I found this one home that the basement had acoustic panels already on the walls with light It’s glowing behind them. And the homeowner wasn’t selling the acoustic panels.
They were musicians. I had asked they had this whole recording studio in their basement I had asked, Are you, including those acoustic panels? They said No, probably not. But I loved how much how good that looked. And that’s where I got this idea of, it’d be really cool to have light glowing behind the acoustic panel, not only just for the, the fact that that would remove shadows, but what you could do with that when you start adding color.
So talk us through a little bit. So what’s it take? If I’m thinking about doing something like this, walk me through the parts list of what’s going to be required to do something like you did start from the wall and work your way to the PAL.
HomeGadgetGeeks.com/hgg460. And I get that right. You got to write good,
Jim Collison [27:53]
nice job. Yeah, you’ll have a parts list out Yeah, but just kind of walk us through a little bit of it.
Daniel J Lewis [27:57]
Yeah. So I’ve provided the parts. So I don’t need to go into too much detail about some of these smaller pieces but so I’ll first tell you the mistakes I made with this, because I learned some major lessons. The first panels I made, I bought different RGB strips from Amazon, based on what I saw going on sale for Lightning Deals because I saw, oh, these are RGB SMD 5050 strips, so they’re all going to be the same, right? Wrong. They are not all the same. They’re different densities of lighting.
Like you can have 30 lights per meter 60 lights per meter, 120 lights per meter. There are, of course, different SMD like 3828, something like that. There are different styles like that by sticking with SMD 5050 s, which are red, green, and blue are all in one tiny little spot instead of separated bulbs, like separated by an inch or so from each other. Each color But I learned that not all of them were made the same, even though they have the same basic design. And the way you could really see that was if you set them to white. Now, if you want white from RGB, there are different options either get white strips, or they make RGB strips that have RGB and white, even make strips that have RGB, plus cool white and warm white. So you can get lots of control there if you want to, and those have different numbers of wires that connect with them too.
I just wanted to RGB. So these strips that I got, if you put them to white, some of them looked kind of blue, some of them look kind of green, some of them look kind of pink, and that mess things up because that meant the color wasn’t quite balanced. Or if I set them all to blue, some might look more blue than others or be brighter than others or nicer looking blue than others. So that was a mistake. I made the other mistake. I had no idea about voting. Drop.
And these RGB strips are really thin, there’s very little copper inside of these things. So when you’re sending voltage through one end, the lights on the other end will be noticeably dimmer than the lights at the very beginning. Because there’s so little copper that that voltage just can’t be carried in full to the very end. It’s very small. And if you’re working with 12 volts, and you lose four volts along the way, then that’s, that’s, you know, 25% of your lighting power.
And I could see it on my panels where I would wrap the lights around the back of the panel, start at one corner, wrap it all the way around in that that same corner. You could see how different the lighting was from from one end to the other light quality would be different. Yeah.
Jim Collison [30:54]
Well, you don’t think about that. Right? You don’t think like, yeah, this is a math you know, math problem. The problem Yeah,
Daniel J Lewis [31:02]
yeah, I just thought you plug it in, it’s gonna be the exact same brightness at one end from the other. And this is cutting the strips shorter than they come they come in three or five, whatever. 16.4 feet is that five meters, yes, five meters. They come in five meter kits. And I just assumed same brightness all the way across. It’s not the case. I’ve learned a lot about electricity since then.
And so I had all of these different strips and when I moved my studio back to my home, and I started working with these things again, I was really thinking, I think I might want to redo this first not because of the lighting quality or the colors, but because I realized I had a safety issue. Somewhere along the way, I realized I’ve got these 12 volt strips plugged into these power adapters and they were all the wrong kinds of power adapters. They the strips needed five amps of power, but I had all of these 12 volt, one amp adapters lying around from you know old laptops, old hard drives old, everything geeky, that have since thrown away except the power adapters because I thought I might need that someday. And it was a mess. Like I, on the on the video here I’ll show if I move to the
Jim Collison [32:20]
side, let me make a big screen there
Daniel J Lewis [32:22]
what what you would have seen before both in the old studio and before I redid the things here was you would have seen a wire hanging from every single acoustic panel because every one of them needed power in order to keep the brightness. And now the only wire I have visible is a wire to a speaker and everything else. I’ll explain how I hit the wires in a moment. But I was trying to think of how can I make it so that the cables aren’t showing?
And could I just get better power adapters and connect all the panels together and that’s when I realized my power adapters are not right. And I started looking into things more and realizing well I’ve got this voltage Drop problem and it’s a fixed that means buying all new power adapters. But these still means having to have enough outlets for all of these power adapters and plugging 20 power adapters into my house and running out of outlets, I was just realizing this is going to be a mess. And so I started looking at, alright, I just want to completely redo this and redo it the right way. So that’s when I got into looking at things like how instead of using 12 volt RGB strips, instead getting 24 volt strips because the voltage drop is the same.
There’s the same amount of copper, but it’s a mathematical difference. four volts droppage for four volt drop for 12 volts is 25%. But a four volt drop for 24 volts is a much lower percentage. So because it’s a percentage thing The brightness difference at the end of a strip was noticeably different using 24 volt strips. The other thing I learned about is that voltage Did you know you can have voltage being added at both ends of a strip, know that I thought that started a fire I, yeah, I just didn’t understand certain things like that.
So just simply splitting the power input and putting it at both ends of the strip so that then there’s a tiny measurable voltage drop in the middle of the strip, but it’s not enough especially working with 24 volt strips, it’s not enough to see a lighting difference. So now my panels still wrapped around in the back with the RGB lighting. But the power goes in once and then gets split and then connects all the way through so it’s much smoother. Getting 24 volts meant different power supplies. But also I was thinking, I really don’t want wires hanging down.
I don’t want to get a bunch of 24 volt power supplies and having all of these wires behind me that always looked clunky. And so what I did instead is this wall that’s behind me in my home. So if you have ever been in the Midwest, and you know what seems like the federally mandated by level home, or it’s, it’s like let’s make a hill and build a house half way inside of that hill, and let’s make it so when you walk inside the house, you’re faced with a crisis. Do you go upstairs? Do you go downstairs because there’s not enough space to stay where you are. You have to make a decision. It’s not good for Midwesterners. I don’t know why these Bibles are so popular on here. I hate them.
Jim Collison [35:43]
tons of them are built,
Daniel J Lewis [35:44]
but they do work pretty well for podcasting and behind me. So behind me is the stairway that goes up to the entryway and then up to the upper level. So right behind this wall that’s behind me is underneath the stairwell, some unfinished area. So I have actually Access to the back of the drywall that’s there.
So I got this idea that what if instead of powering every panel with a power adapter, how about I get a central power supply, tap off of it as much as I need to. And then just drill a hole through the wall and run the power line directly to the panel that way. And so the end result. Yeah, I’ve got a bunch of holes in the wall behind me but they’re behind the panels. The end result then is that these panels are just floating there with the light glowing behind them.
That’s these RGB lights, I can change the colors for them. And no wires hanging underneath. It looks really clean. It’s now definitely safe. I made sure that I got enough wattage for that the power supply really shopped around for name brand power supply, because when you’re working with power, don’t think you want something cheap from China. You want something high quality that’s not going to start a fire and I put this all in in a nice enclosure and you The end result I’m really happy with it because it looks very clean. But then of course, there’s also the professional, really cool aspect of it with that RGB lighting.
Jim Collison [37:10]
Yeah, can you? Can you manipulate the colors then on the fly? Are you able to Ghana? Yeah, let’s just show us a bit about what’s available.
Daniel J Lewis [37:17]
That’s the other thing I wanted to do. I’ve got all of these smart bolts inside my home like life x, smart bulbs are what I have. So they can be controlled with Amazon, Google or even Apple homekit. And I wanted the same kind of thing from my panels instead of having a remote control where I have to point every single one to turn it on and change the color and, and all of that I’m wanting to be able to control it with my voice. So for so I’m not triggering anyone’s speakers.
I’ll mute myself here, but I’ll demonstrate what I can do with this. Set the audio background to red. Every one of these panels is connected to its own RGB controller and so I can manipulate each Have them independently but I’ve made them all one group. So I can change their color to anything I want or any brightness that I want as well.
Jim Collison [38:09]
individually controlled. So you could do red, white and blue across the across that if you wanted to. You’d need to name them you need to call their names individually, but you’ve got to put in a group. So do all changes.
Daniel J Lewis [38:20]
Oh, yeah. Like I might be able to do that. Let’s see if I if I have that setup.
Set audio background to to blue.
And moment of truth. No, I must not have the individual ones setup.
Jim Collison [38:41]
That’s okay. That’s always it’s it’s I we didn’t test that in advance. But since they’re all on their own individual, you could you could really do that. You have app control as well can you go into
Daniel J Lewis [38:51]
the app and so certainly in the app, I can easily go in and set the individual colors of the panels. I could save that as a particular scene. So if I wanted red, white and blue or Any particular specific color to save as a scene, I can do that inside of the app. And and I love being able to do that to adjust the brightness to change the color, like for a particular mood or something, controlling it through the app as well as through the smart speaker and then setting up the routines for that as well.
Because like I mentioned, I’ve got all of these smart bulbs, and what you’re seeing me now and out like the red background, I’m just gonna change and change your back. Yeah, so audio background to blue. So I’ve got studio lighting on me to make me look better exposed for the camera. I also have just regular lights in my office. And so I can turn those lights on and off my my studio lighting isn’t as smart but at least it does have a wireless on an infrared controller.
But I set up a scene so I can say certain things like turn off the office and it turns off everything for me or I can Switch to podcast mode. And it turns on the audio background to the right color, it turns off the office lights. And then I just turn on the studio lighting on me. And these different routines that I’ve set up inside of the smart speaker is that you know, the workflows, routines, whatever they call it, and in particular workflow.
And that, that just, it feels so good to be able to do that. And it’s also less frustrating to, you know, having to turn around and press a button pointing at every single one. I’ve just got so much more control now. And flexibility and versatility and it just looks so much
Jim Collison [40:34]
nicer to know it’s super cool. Have you have you thought about Okay, so in some of the if this the net routines that exists, you can say, hey, when somebody at the front door or when I get a package delivered, turn my lights on to this color. So I know have you have you looked into any of those to kind of check because you’ve got I mean, you’ve got a whole wall you could you could create a whole bunch of different visualizations. Have you thought about that at all?
Daniel J Lewis [40:59]
Yeah. There are some technical limitations there on what I can do with some of the different devices I’m using, like the cameras and such. But I have thought about certain things like that. And generally for me, I’d rather not something else have control of my life.
But I do. I do things like with my regular home lights, I do have them on a schedule where they’re daylight color during the day, and then they turn into warmer colors at night just like the the truetone on a screen or the flux or something like that on your screens, reducing the amount of blue I’ve done, I tried something similar with the LED lights to see if I could have them kind of complement the room lights they’d be like a daylight color during the day and a warmer white during the night.
It’s just you can’t quite get that with RGB strips. That’s where the RGB and then Gosh, a bunch of different letters on options come after but giving you the warm white the cool light options after like RGB CCT i think is one RGB W, RGB, w w, I think is another there are all of these different ones that you just have to consider what do I really want my lights to do and then get the right strips for those for me these RGB strips behind the panels creating the glow is really just for the visual effect for the camera not so much for the room although with so many black panels around it did darken the room
so I had to add more lights to the room so that’s what made me kind of wish maybe I should have gone with something where I could have used these as additional light room light but they’re just accent so RGB works fine for me.
Jim Collison [42:39]
Yeah, it looks good. Did you are those lights actually dimmer than they appear to us in on camera because you know, these these c 920s have a little sensor and backlit stuff sometimes there’s a little dimmer you know this monitor here I can even barely see any yet it shows up on the camera are those as you look at them, are they as good As they appear or talk a little bit about that
Daniel J Lewis [43:02]
they Yeah, pretty close. There’s some interesting things that I run into with this space like being farther away from the panels and lights, the way that my studio lights create shadows or create additional light on my backdrop. But with these particular strips that I got, and the links to these things, everything I bought for this is either from Amazon or alley Express. So this is your opportunity to really get stuff done, or something you really want and wait for it for 30 days, you will feel like you’ve got the world of time to do stuff you’ve wanted to do.
And that’s what happened for me. So the strips were from Ollie Express, so I could order I think 10 different or 10 strips all exactly the same since you don’t want to mix and match from Amazon. These are 120 LEDs per meter, very dense, I think too dense actually. But the advantage of that is That they can be in a very low brightness level and still put out a decent amount of light. And right now, these lights are at 1%. I’ll bump up the light here.
Set audio backgrounds to 100%.
And this you’ll see a couple problems come in now. Now they’re so bright that they’re being exposed as white. To to the camera mostly,
Jim Collison [44:28]
it almost looks fake. It looks like your background like now you’re in a virtual background.
Daniel J Lewis [44:33]
It just needed a little ticker underneath with stock symbols and stuff. The other interesting thing that’s happening right now Well, you can’t hear it. But the now there’s one of the other panels just finally caught up. The power supplies on the other side of the wall, some noise does come from it. It has a fan on it that automatically turns on based on how much load is being pulled from the power supply not based on how high It gets just based on how much load comes through.
And that fan can be picked up on my microphone at times. And so I’ve had to play with learning. Alright, I can put them up to this brightness level without activating the fan. Or I can put this many colors together like right now they’re blue, they’re solid blue, only the blue LED lights are on. So that’s using one third of the potential power that these strips could pull RGB three, if all of them are on if I got them set to white, like I’ll do right now. Set audio background to white. Now, all three lights are on and there
Jim Collison [45:43]
that looks cool. You got if you’re only listening to the audio, you got to come over to the video on YouTube and watch that the averageguy.TV/hgg460, so you got to come over and run behind me because that really does look fake. Now I mean, that almost looks like you know Jesus has a rived in, like, angels, right?
Daniel J Lewis [46:04]
Yeah does it’s it’s because I’ve exposed the camera to how my skin looks not based on the background and I’ve adjusted the background to complement my face. Now Yeah, with the lights at White and at full brightness and so many lights, it’s so dense the white The wall is now a solid white overexposed to the camera actually causing a little bit of a lens flare I just noticed that’s kind of a JJ Abrams effect there.
And now the power supply is revving up. And one of the other things I discovered is not only to be considered of the power supply fans, when that might turn on, and this isn’t a problem for people who are doing this for just their home entertainment, or something like that. But if you’re recording a podcast you have to be considered of what other noise there is. The other problem that came up is coil whine which a PC builder We’ll probably be familiar with it.
This is one of those other things I learned about in this whole process. I’m gonna, I’m gonna turn this off. Yeah, this will stop blaming that audio background to 1%. So I’ve learned certain things by the way of like, I can have it at White up to this percentage level, I can have it at Blue at this higher percentage level. And one of my panels needs to be rewired because I did not do a good job on it. And so sometimes the coloring is a bit off. But the the coil wine is where there are these different coils that are for different reasons inside of the power supply, and electricity goes through this wire that’s wrapped around this thing that looks like a doughnut with wire wrapped around it. And it’s an electromagnetic thing that’s happening and electricians are probably just cringing, it might be a bad description. That’ll be
Jim Collison [47:52]
Daniel J Lewis [47:53]
What happens is, as this electricity is going through, wrapped around this thing is it started to vibrate, and that vibration will cause a high pitched whine to come out of the power supply. And that happens depending on how much power you draw. So I’ve learned like with my system, if I get to just below triggering the fan, that’s when the coil whine is the loudest. So I have to find that particular balance of Okay, this is going to trigger the fan but this is going to trigger the coil whine. And now that I know what those levels are, from my particular setup, I can work around that Yeah,
Jim Collison [48:34]
yeah, so little. Oh, it sounds like a lot of testing and, and judging and like okay, How’s this? What is this sound like what’s there you go, you get your lights back to the way they were. You How long do you think it took you from after install to get it all kind of the way you want it like the way it is today.
Daniel J Lewis [48:54]
As far as figuring out the lighting levels,
Jim Collison [48:57]
like this is you think about from the time you started Doing the install of these things to the time it got to that what’s, what was the duration? How long did you test this for,
Daniel J Lewis [49:06]
um, for maybe an hour just playing around with it. Some of it was just playing to see what can I do you know, turn it on, turn it off, turn it on again, turn it off, turn it on. Just having fun with being able to control a wall of light is is pretty fun. You got it?
Jim Collison [49:22]
Oh, yeah, yeah, the different things that you can do. If you could do anything different. Now, I mean, it’s working right? And you’re gonna break it again, probably at some point. Just because you’re gonna try to do something that you’re like, oh, why did I break it? But what would you do differently today, if you you know, had to do it all over again. What else? You mentioned a couple of lessons that you learned but anything else that you learned through the process?
Daniel J Lewis [49:46]
Yeah, some of the things like when I first got these strips, so these RGB strips are really not made for precision measurements. You can only cut them to certain lengths like each That strip is wired so that depending on how many LEDs there are per meter, you have these sections and you can cut for each section and 120 meters or 120 LEDs per meter makes a nice small section very dense with LEDs but it’s also kind of inflexible because are so many LEDs in a single strip.
And it it makes it not so actually physically flexible. It also makes it difficult to cut because the space for the contacts, I found that I have to actually waste a section in order to over cut so I leave plenty of space for the electrical contacts if I have to connect the wires. So I think two things I would have done differently. One is gotten a lower density strip so it would be physically more flexible, and also a little bit easier to work with with some of the connectors and attachments. The other thing is that working with a precision sized thing, it’s not just hanging strips on a wall or behind a desk or something like that where you doesn’t have to be so precise here I have to be precise to you know half an inch or less than that.
Or else I’ll have things sticking out the edges of my panels and looking clunky. What I started doing how I did my first panels was I did this complicated thing where I got a wire based connector, and then I wrapped it around itself to make a overlapping corner and then had to staple down the excess wire. And so I was making corners with adapters and connectors. And when I got these new strips I got new adapters and connectors as well and I started trying to do the same thing by discovered like this is a little cumbersome. And then I realized well wait a minute. Why do I need these adapters these are flexible strips. By the way for indoor projects. Do not get waterproof strips. You will hate yourself for using the waterproof strips, because they’re inflexible. Yeah, they they’re thick.
They’re inflexible. They’re pain to work with. If you get non waterproof strips, they don’t have the like the rubber over them the clear rubber, they’re much easier to work with and they’re much more flexible. So what I did instead of the one panel I have I mentioned where the color is a little wonky is because I still haven’t fixed it with this. It’s still the corners are connected with little connectors, all the other panels, all I did is I simply bent the strip to make a corner where you know, just like taking a ribbon, if you were to imagine, make a corner, a 90 degree angle with a ribbon, you end up with a little bit pinched in the corner.
That’s fine when you’re working with these strips, especially if you’ve got lower density strips than what I have. That makes it really easy then, and then you can reinforce the stickiness of the strips isn’t quite as good as I’d want for sticking onto the back of these particular panels. So I just have a used a staple gun and stapled in every here and there for just some extra stability and especially near those corners. And that made it really easy like doing the corner thing with the connectors and and stuff now is taking me an hour or more per panel. But when I threw that out and decided to just bend and pinch these things, I was able to put the LEDs on a panel in about five to 10 minutes have it fully connected.
Did you find if you did lower density that your power so you’re saying like right now you’re running these at 1% if you would have had lower density would you have had to push that power up a little bit to get the same amount of brightness that you’re looking for?
I have to correct your words. Okay. Are you even don’t realize the words.
Jim Collison [53:53]
Let me just Just do it. Just do it.
Daniel J Lewis [53:55]
Well edit this all in post.
Jim Collison [53:58]
I remember I’ve never been Have these before.
Daniel J Lewis [54:01]
So with lower density, and this is something I didn’t realize what happened. The strips I worked with before were 60 LEDs per meter. These new strips are 120 because of something about the way the electronics work in order to get the smaller sections for 24 volt strips, you had to get 120 LEDs and I was still when I bought these LEDs, I was still in the mind of Okay, I’m gonna have to cut these at the corners and connect them so I need to have that flexibility of the smaller sections.
So I can be more precise in my cuts instead of like six inch long sections right. Now I know I didn’t need that. And so with so many LEDs, twice as many LEDs, I can have the brightness down. I’m running these at 1% brightness. I never thought that I’d only need 1% brightness. That’s because there are twice as many bulbs back there. As my 60 LEDs were, so if I was using the 60 LEDs per meter, I think I could then just turn up the brightness and I don’t think it would have made any difference to how smooth the lighting looks because I had the 60 LEDs before. a side note on that though, the closer the LEDs are pointing at the surface, so my LEDs, I don’t think I explain this, my LEDs are on the backs of the panels on the frames, they’re pointing at the wall, they’re not pointing out they’re pointing directly at the wall.
The closer the LEDs get to the wall, the more you would see the separation between the bulbs. And you might see like you know that dotted look behind you. That’s why I used door stoppers is to give me about three inches of space from the wall not only for the acoustic benefits of that, but also that gives more space for that light to mix together so you don’t see the individual dots of each bowled when I had the 60 LEDs per meter, you didn’t see those dots, you definitely don’t see them with 120 LEDs. But if I was using 60 LEDs per meter, I would probably have to make the brightness just a little bit higher. But the result would balance out that I probably still be drawing the same amount of power. Yeah,
Jim Collison [56:18]
yeah. Yeah. Just wondering with with, with the less you’re pulling a little bit more, but it’s not technically more power because the all that works out in the wash. Just kind of wondering, it’s his folks are thinking about, hey, if I was going to do this, thinking through it, those are great tips already. In other words, no, I don’t need the corner connectors. I don’t need the you know, and maybe I want to go lower density on that. I love the idea of the DIY doorstop. Sure they just had a screw on the right on the back end and just right in the MDF. You have to drill out the MDF to screw it in before you put because empty is tough to get a screw into.
Daniel J Lewis [56:57]
But yeah, yeah, everything and that’s The other thing is, you don’t before I did this, I never understood the need for pilot holes, drilling pilot holes. Now I understand because here if you are as ignorant as I was not that long ago, if you drill or if you drive a screw through would guess what happens? it cracks, right? I didn’t know. But yeah, just drilling pilot holes. And actually my braces that help keep the frame together in the back are wood just because I wanted something cheap. So it is actually wood in the back. It’s I think one by two little boards. That’s what I drilled into because it’s a larger flat surface for the base of the the door stoppers and I drilled into that and then just screw in the doorstopper.
Jim Collison [57:49]
Yeah. Oh, that sounds like that sounds like a great solution. Have you thought about hooking it up to any kind of vocal or music monitor to They go along with the vocals of the music. Imagine if you were talking and it was, you know, maybe too much movement for you
Daniel J Lewis [58:06]
now that now that it’s app powered, it could do that kind of thing. Like, while we’re still talking here, I am going to open the app to see if there is that that feature. And that’s another thing. Now, there are two popular apps that control these things. And this is on the cheap end of RGB strips. You can get stuff like from Philips Philips Hue line, or life x or you know, all of these very well known brands that are digital LED strips and digital LED strips are so much fancier where you can actually address each bulb individually, not the entire strip, like I cannot make one of those bulbs, white, neither can I change the length of a hair on my head. All that scripture and with digital bulbs, you can do that, but digital cost much more. So he’s, it was like $80 a strip
Jim Collison [59:03]
for for Philips.
Daniel J Lewis [59:05]
And these strips By the way, for a five meter long strip were about $7 I think. reasonable.
Jim Collison [59:14]
Yeah. Yeah. But you waited a month to get them because they’re coming from China, right?
Daniel J Lewis [59:18]
Yeah. But But the nice thing was, again, I if you’re going to go on the cheap side of these strips do not buy from Amazon. I bought as much as I could. I mean other stuff I bought from Amazon, but on Amazon, it’s just, it’s hit and miss. I’ve got all of these other strips that are different coloring in different quality levels. And you find like I found one Finally, I found a good provider on Amazon. And apparently that one strip I bought was their last strip gone forever. I think these are just people who buy this stuff from alibaba.com or the consumer side aliexpress.com and resell it on Amazon. I mean, I even thought of that when I saw the prices on Amazon Express.
And then when they run out, they’re done, they close up shop. And then you don’t know exactly what strip that was. But so on this cheap side of things, there are two controller apps that you’ll be looking at for this stuff. One is smart life. And the other is magic home. And those are the apps are available for iOS and Android that would control these things. And also handle that connection with your smart speaker devices. Only. The Google and Amazon devices support these things. But the smart life app I think looks nicer and is easier to work with, especially the connection process and the setup process is easier. But you don’t get as much control in it. Like if I know I want these to be RGB 50 or are 50 G 100 and B zero.
I can set that inside of the magic Home app, but I can’t set that inside of the smart life smart home. It was a smart life app. And that’s based on the controller. So those little RGB controllers that I have that connect to the Wi Fi are connected to one particular app ecosystem or another. It’s not you can’t switch the apps, you’re stuck with a particular app. And that’s the other thing is, I wish I got different controllers that work magic home because magic calm lets you set specific RGB values, and also save preset colors. So if I know Okay, this is the color I always want to be able to use without making a scene inside of your smart speaker settings. Magic home gives you that control. The Magic Home app doesn’t look as good, but I think it works more precisely than the smart life app. A smart life is a bit easier to use. So it’s, it’s a bit of one or the other. And that’s the other thing is and I had no idea about that when I when I bought all of those controllers.
Jim Collison [1:02:00]
So Daniel, you’re saying we should watch in in avoid I’ve got an Amazon deal up on the screen right now. 66 foot RGB LED strip for 40 bucks, probably avoid something like this if we were going to go down this route or no
Daniel J Lewis [1:02:17]
yeah avoid that. Now that’s that’s not too bad of a price now if you bought all the strips you need if you could get from that one place and they’re all the same, I think it’s more important to have them all the same than necessarily the particular strips but what I did find and I lined up, I had, I think five different strips. I lined them up I set them all to white.
Again, you’re making white from red, green and blue, so don’t expect it to be a perfect white. But it was crazy how different they made white and then I could also set them to different colors. Red seem to be always the same with them. But like I set them to blue and some of them look more blue than others and some of them the blue lips. More artificial. And that was the weird thing. So I think it’s more important that they all match whatever it is. But the ones I got from AliExpress. And you’ll have the link in the show notes for these. I like them the white they produced from RGB, the white looks white, I was amazed at how good the white luck to coming from them. I did not expect that. I just wanted them all to be the same. But yeah, if you’re looking at Amazon, just get get more than you need, because you’re probably going to run out No,
no, that’s a good that’s a good point is get them all at the same time if you can, because there may be different manufacturing specs there may be may be getting the LED lights that they may come with from different places. Hey, Brian, in the chat room is asking curious what the power consumption is on these types of lights. So as you think about and I don’t know, if you’ve put a meter on on the lights at all to see what kind of voltage it’s drawing, but you have any idea what What kind of how much PowerPoint?
Yeah, that was something I had to think about because I was buying a power supply like a raw power supply the company that I the power supply brand that I bought, I bought it from Amazon, but the brand is meanwell. And they are very highly rated. I think they’re manufactured in Taiwan or China or something like that. But there, they are very high quality. They’re very highly respected. They cost more than what you might find from AliExpress.
But the thing was, like I said earlier, working with power and voltage, I don’t want to start a fire. So not one thing I wanted to make sure I got name brand reputable name brand. And you have to look at things about the wattage. So you’re the strip’s, you’re getting set, whether you’re on 24 volt or 12 volt, like I said, Go with 24 volt. Almost everything you see on Amazon like I didn’t pay attention to that I didn’t check the voltage but that strip you probably found on Amazon was probably 12 volt. Almost everything you’ll find will be 12 volt 24 volt you have to really look more closely. So the entire strip will take a certain number of watts like I think for me each if I was powering the entire strip fully all three bulbs at full brightness, each strip I think uses 75 watts. So what I had to do was then calculate roughly how much of the strip Am I using per panel, how many panels Am I using, that’s okay, that adds up to this many watts that I need to be able to supply through this power supply and then the power supplies you never want to run them at full usage just for the life of the power supply as well as you might have to keep in mind the coil whine fan noise anything like that if you’re in a studio setting, so all that you need more margin with the power supply.
So I got a you know now I forgot how I need to check my order I got because I I went through multiple power supplies. I got one I learned before I decided I needed to go 24 volt I bought a 12 a 12 volt return that then I got a 24 volt that had an always on fan and being a podcaster I knew always on is not good. For me I need more control over the fan. So I returned that and got all right, it said mean my particular one for all the panels that you see behind me there are only like six panels behind me for our vertical and then there are two actually horizontal stacked above them at the top that you usually don’t see but just add I have too many panels so I would just think because I’ve got too many now since I moved home.
So I got from my needs for all of these panels plus other panels that are in another part of this room for video use. It’s the minimum Well, h Rp 600 dash 24 sorts of 600 watt power supply. I think I misspoke when I said 75 watts per strip, I think it’s actually much lower than that. I forget the exact number, but you need to look at those strips, generally, every particular configuration of a strip, like 120 meter, LEDs per meter at 24 volt, every brand is going to be about the same wattage consumption. So once you know that, then you can just do the simple math of this many strips are going to be connected to this power supply. So I need at least this many watts.
Jim Collison [1:07:44]
I think you’re right in that strip, we were looking at 12 those are 12 volts and then I think down here it says 65 watts, maybe per length so perfect. 16 feet. But yeah, would that be Do you think that’s that’s accurate?
Daniel J Lewis [1:08:00]
Yeah, I think that is accurate. Yeah. 65 Yeah. So it must be 75 watts for the full.
Jim Collison [1:08:08]
Yeah, it’s if it’s on full blast. Yeah, that’s
Daniel J Lewis [1:08:11]
right, is that since I’ve heard you say only 1%. And that’s not 1% of the total power usage that’s more like point three 3% because I’m using one bowled out of three potential bulbs. And that one bulb is running at 1%. So I’m, I’m barely tapping the power that my, my power supply can provide. But if I didn’t get the kind of power supply that I did when I did that thing, where I set it to 100% White, where every bulb was on at full brightness, I might have started to fire if I didn’t have the right power supply.
Jim Collison [1:08:49]
Yeah, no, it’s important to get that right. And, and so it’s good. Those LEDs have some have some energy efficiency to them. And so like in your case, you can really dim Those things down and get what you’re looking for in there. It looks good. Daniel looks real. It really looks really really good. Anything else any other advice you’d give if somebody was like all of a sudden now I want to put like LED lights underneath my, you know my shelves. That’s a real common right. It’s a real common look.
Daniel J Lewis [1:09:17]
Yeah, I might do that eventually to over with Mike.
Jim Collison [1:09:19]
Yeah, where else where else would you put them? I seen a lot of people put them like behind couches. Yeah. So to kind of shine up the walls that way. What else?
Daniel J Lewis [1:09:27]
Well, you can, you can use stuff like this or just buy an outright bias light to go behind your TV. So there’s a slight glow behind your TV. It’s supposedly better for your eyes if you’re watching a screen in the dark. I’ve since I have leftover strips, I plan to Yeah, line my bookshelf with them eventually because right now when I’ve got the studio lights and everything on my bookshelf is just blackness back there. I’ve got I’ve got my podcast award back there. You can see it in the darkness and I’ve got cool little things back there Lego things and stuff, you can’t see it at all because it’s so dark. So I’m thinking of adding some strips inside there. And also maybe just along the back of my desk to give kind of my, my desk that sort of bias lighting. Some of that just starts to get well, I was gonna say that starts to just get fancy but as if this wasn’t already fancy back
Jim Collison [1:10:22]
then oh, this sounds kind of cool. I it first you know, Tony asked me earlier to show you gonna set that up in that new studio. He I Daniel, there’s a running joke. I can’t say too loud because my wife’s on the other side of that. She wants to move and I’m dragging my feet. So like I don’t want to move. So I’ve been joking that you know, the new studio that we go to but I’m actually in a pretty good spot here where I could you know, I have a shelf here and an dresser. I don’t need any of that stuff there. There’s actually an open wall. I don’t even have any drywall on it. At this point. It’s completely I could, I could add all the wiring that I want behind the scenes wired. All up that way, put the drywall on it with some outlets for each one of those panels and then install the panels right into the
Daniel J Lewis [1:11:06]
outlet. I’ll tell you this. Yeah, don’t put up drywall. Okay, because you put the insulation in the wall. Yeah, and just put speaker cloth or some kind of whatever you want over it. So because if you put the drywall up, then you’re creating a surface trim to reflect your noise. And if you really want to have a noise free environment, and you don’t need drywall, then you would get much better results by actually leaving it slightly unfinished with the installation there and then just put the speaker cloth or something over the walls so that it looks good. And then it would be your whole wall would be an acoustic panel.
Jim Collison [1:11:46]
Yeah, but then I couldn’t have the I couldn’t have the contrast like in the panel tray that you have there. Although there’s some probably different ways to do that. Yeah, you
Daniel J Lewis [1:11:58]
can do some different things there. Like even Uh, they you know, Dave Jackson from school of podcasting and ask the podcast coach has these, you know, the lights that people get for outside to shine on their home. They make those things now in RGB, and controlled by smart speakers. And I see these things go on Lightning Deals all the time on Amazon. You could get a few of those like mount them kind of like rack mounted lighting, pointing down on your walls, maybe put a couple on the floor pointing up, and then you could color your entire wall with something. And yeah, you couldn’t have the contrast of black blue, black, blue, black blue like this.
But you could still do really cool things. And by the way, I teased earlier I wanted to make sure I mentioned this why I regret going with all black is because if you’re recording in a studio environment where you’re doing the lighting kinds of things with a webcam and such, having a very dark background makes automatic color exposure from webcams very difficult because the way the red webcams typically work As they’re looking at the overall scene and trying to expose it for that. So if I if I was letting my webcam do automatic exposure, I would be bleached out like a ghost right now, because there’s so much darkness in the scene.
The other problem is and I had to choose, I had to change my T shirt. Before doing this tonight. If I was wearing a black t shirt, then you just see this floating head and it would look really creepy. And I used to have this high back black, of course, chair behind me too. So I have to be a bit more conscious about the clothing I wear because everything behind me is black and if it was white, or gray or something like that, I wouldn’t have to be so concerned but stuff disappears in black stuff doesn’t disappear in white, but it does disappear in black. So that’s, that’s why I kind of wish I might have done something differently there.
But then again, when I look at how I just like the black and the blue LEDs I I’ve been on Big Time fan of blue LEDs for you know, I might have gotten it from the daily GIZ Wiz podcast many out Have you ever listened to that? I remember Yeah. Dick debartolo from there yeah once said something like, I love anything if it’s got a blue LED. I think it was around that time that I realized you know what? I think I do to blue LEDs are cool. Yeah.
Jim Collison [1:14:23]
Yeah. No It looks good. I like it. It’s a good it’s a good look. I you know again it’s I’ve always kind of gone with this kind of homey Look, I’ve moved things around. I’m always shifting things around. lately. I’ve been throwing a bunch of monitors up there just to kind of have something I haven’t really thought about it but this is gets me thinking a little bit killing. I could miss her. I’m in a spot where I could do it. I mean, it already people I don’t know if you’ve ever had that. If you have a home service person come in like the guy who does who sprays for the bugs or like if I have a plumber come down, down downstairs. They come to the this office location. Now I’ve got eight monitors. Four, that’s eight just on the desk and then there’s four back here. And they’re like, what
do you do? What
Daniel J Lewis [1:15:08]
do you do here? I used to get that all the time to the cleaning staff at the old office that you know, they go from office to office. It’s like lawyers, massage parlors, lawyers, massage parlors, lawyers, accountants just using the same old, same old, same old and then they get to my office. They’re like, Whoa, what do you do here?
Jim Collison [1:15:26]
Yeah, my own kids this morning, I dropped my kids off at the airport. So they they came over early, like 615 and I drove them in and they came in and I was working I was waiting for him. So I was working on my laptop here from work in there like what do you do with all this? All these monitors, add them all off. So that you know they I just was just on the to work on computers, but that’s like, No, no, I like I like real estate. That’s what I like. I like like screen state space.
Daniel J Lewis [1:15:53]
And your look does look nice. It’s a Yeah, it’s a completely different look from my life. I would describe mine as probably edgy, modern or edgy, high tech looking. And that’s kind of just me, I tend to like that kind of thing from a kid, you know, one of my favorite TV shows as a kid was beyond 2000. And I like that modern high tech sort of look, yours is a very comfortable, very warming, very welcoming, still professional look. And I like that too. I see many different people have their, you know, their studio look with different things. And some people you know, have all these cool little gadgets or toys or things on the background behind them. And that that stuff looks cool. And sometimes I just, I’m that kid who, when I got the opportunity to mix ice cream toppings or sodas or something like that I mixed everything together and ended up regretting it, because I wanted to taste everything. No, you sound like one of my sons who used to do that all the time, too. Yeah, we call it a suicide right? When you
Jim Collison [1:17:00]
Mix all the sodas together? Or what are all that I still like to go to Kwik Trip we have Kwik Trip you guys have no
Daniel J Lewis [1:17:09]
we don’t have them there. But I do have the cups in my car for whenever I’m traveling to a place with a quick trip and they got all the slushy. All the slushy things right carry the cups with me. It’s
Jim Collison [1:17:21]
so good. It’s so much sugar like I’m I am on a sugar high for weeks after I got when one summer my wife was out. It was out of the country and I had the two small kids with me. We were doing construction projects while she was done. And every afternoon I would reward good behavior with the two by going into Kwik Trip and we get slushies. And and and I must have had about eight pounds of sugar through that throughout that week of you know a slushie a day. It never ends.
Daniel thanks for thanks for suggesting by the way you you jumped on. Ask the podcast coach last week or two weeks ago I guess now. Again, gave us a little update there on your Mac. While there’s a little bit of an update if you’re only listening to the recorded show, we actually in the pre show talked a little bit about his Mac so if you’re interested in getting kind of update on some on some new hardware from Apple that’s available on the pre show, you can find that on the Patreon page if you want to do that head out to theaverageguy.TV/Patreon and subscribe love to have you as part of a supporter and thank everybody on our as a Patreon supporter for doing that as well.
Don’t forget we have this September 24 that’s next week if you’re well it’s next week as we’re recording this live we’ll have to have the Patreon subscribers out for that as well not too late and to the average guy TV slash Patreon you can join us pre show for the hour before the show join in we’re just going to kind of have a good time together and I want to get to know the Patreon subscribers a little bit better so we appreciate you doing that as well. If you want to join us in the discord group, theaverageguy.TV/discord will get you there as well.
Of course you can always send me an email Jim@theaverageguy.TV and we’d love to hear from you always love your feedback. Appreciate that.
Want to remind you that the average guy TV though the both media and web hosting powered by Maple Grove Partners if you want to get secure, reliable, high speed hosting from people that you know and you trust, and that’s Christian, right? He’s been doing this for 10 years with me. We call that in the industry, we call that self hosting. But Christian does a pretty good job of having a pretty decent infrastructure set up for us. And so you can get plans as little as $10 a month they get your web and media hosting together with plenty of power in a ton of bandwidth. Maple Grove partners.com Daniel, thanks for coming out tonight. Always great to have you. One more time where do folks like if folks want to find you what’s what’s the best place to go to get everything?
Daniel J Lewis [1:19:36]
Go to TheAudacitytoPodcast.com. That’s my podcast about podcasting that links to all the other products and services I have. That’s also where you can contact me if you want to send any questions and such. I will be trying to keep an eye on the comments for this episode as well on the show notes page, in case you want to post any comments or questions there. And so the audacity to podcast comm my main site And I’m on most social networks as the Daniel J. Lewis.
Jim Collison [1:20:03]
If they wanted to do any of those things we talked about the beginning of the show can they get to all the your plugins and all that other stuff through the audacity to podcast all its data?
Daniel J Lewis [1:20:13]
It’s all there. Nice near the top. Easy to reach. All right, perfect.
Jim Collison [1:20:17]
We are live every Thursday. 8pm Central nine t shirt after TheAverageGuy.TV live. Kyle Wilcox joining us next week. He’ll be on to talk about some he’s been doing some stuff in schools. We’ve got he’s got the shirt on. That’s the podcast coach me and email No. Now we’ll have to find out next week. You’ll have to come out and find out what kind of camera he’s been working on and some new stuff with his school. We’ll see you next week. With that, we’ll say goodbye.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
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