Pigtail End Types
So how do you connect pixels to a controller? The answer is with Pigtails.
Which end should I buy for my controller? Female. The male end is the beginning end of the strand, just like an extension cord.
Which pigtail is more popular? XConnect
What is the Wiring Color Coding?
Brown or Red + (positive)
Blue or Black - (negative)
Yellow and Green Strip - Data
What is the pinout for the male xConnect?
Now for the explanation.
There are many pigtails out there, from single wire, two, three, four and beyond. Examples of the more popular types are xConnect, Ray Wu, Paul Zhang, Daniel Zhang, and many others.
Lets start by looking at a single pixel, you will notice that there are either the more common three or less common four wires coming from a single node. Each of those wires either carries a positive, negative, clock, or data feed. The clock being the optional fourth wire not commonly used in the holiday lighting world. You may also notice a fourth slot, for the clock on your controller, which also isn't used.
But why not just directly put the wires into the controller? Simple, when using pigtails, it will allow you fast connection and disconnection from each strand. For example, when a pigtail is coming from your controller, you can easily hook up a string with a pigtail and begin using it, once done the lights can be disconnected and stored away. This can also aid in using a pixel cord extension. Again if you have a strand a distance away from the controller, add an extension in a few seconds and you can now use that strand.
Now for the hard choice, which is really a personnel choice, the type of pigtail. In the beginning it was making up you own connections by soldering to the controller. Then came a quick connection pigtail, with Ray Wu offering some of the first choices. Followed by the other designs. You can pick any pigtail connector that you like, but you must use that same pigtail style when connecting to another pigtail, they are not interchangeable and can cause damage if attempting to do so. So how do you chose? Well the Xconnect style seems to be the preferred pigtail for the time and you will see it as the most commonly offered. But again, it is personnel choice, and you will need to make sure they are matching.
As always, if you need further help, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be glad to assist you in your choice.