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Adding more AURA RGB headers

CX_gamer
Level 7
Hi,

for my build with the ROG Zenith Extreme, 2 AURA RGB headers are not enough. Therefore I have decided to use the addressable RGB header as a means to control several of my RGB components: a future EKWB monoblock, GPU waterblock, reservoir (separate 5mm LED's) and a lot of fans separately. This is possible by using WS2811 IC's to decode the values of each individual LED into separate RGB (or GRB for AURA Sync). This can easily be done by chaining these IC's, each one outputting 3 PWM signals. The fourth pin -the 12V connector- will need to be powered separately.

The IC's are pretty cheap, but if I were to print a PCB, it would become quite costly. So if anyone is interested in a PCB of this, let me know and we'll drive the cost down a bit. For the while being, I'll be wiring this on a prototype board.

The only question I still have is where to find female AURA RGB headers? The ones that come on a motherboard I mean. This would be a cleaner solution than alternatives where I would need to cut and strip wires coming from the RGB components.

Thank you in advance,

CX
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22 REPLIES 22

CX_gamer
Level 7
I went ahead and tinkered around a bit, resulting in this PCB. Just wanted to share for anyone interested (and possibly getting some feedback). This won't be easy, as the soldering is extremely small (the height of the WS2811 is about 5 mm). The slanted resistors here are for dimming red LED's a bit, since they usually have less resistance, and has an added bonus of bridging over green. I got all information of components to use from the PDF I linked in the first post.



Really I would like this to be on one layer, but I'm not sure if it can be done without adding extra wires. There's also some more research to be done on the actual performance, as too many RGB components on one 12 V line may cause problems. Besides that, I'll also need some form of protection to not fry the motherboard, but instead bust a fuse instead. I'll have to let some electronics people take a look at it, since I'm not competent in this field.

Here's the second iteration. I unified the 6V VCC inputs with one voltage regulator for all. Besides that, I added a fuse, which is needed to not fry the motherboard header. Still looking for suitable headers for in and outputs. I was going molex for inputs at first, but I'm not sure if it's very easy to fit it on there. Thinking about going with regular pins or so. The RR resistors are variable depending on the resistance of the red LED's, might make this a potentiometer instead of a static one.



Note that the left green wire (GND) will loop around with the rightmost green wire (which is mostly hidden behind the red 12V one). I fit 8 of these on here, hopefully this won't exceed any current spec.

Hey CX gamer o/

That's a great idea, i have nine RGB components (fans, wb, reservoir rings) and it would be incredibly cool if i could control it independently instead off just two groups...

Did you made progress ? Do you have a working prototype ? I don't understand electronics, so i can't help you in designing your PCB, but i would instantly buy one, or make one at a nearby electonics workshop if you provide informations !

Thx a lot anywey for your great work !

Hey PsY, thanks for showing interest. I'm ordering the components today, so I'll first make a proof of concept. It's coming from china, so it will be more than a month before I'll get them. Which is fine, since my system isn't complete yet (waiting for several components to arrive, which may take another month). But the good news is that I have learned some things that will aid the next iteration:




  • Added pins compatible with aura sync connectors, without the need to solder.
  • This made it possible to have the whole PCB single-sided (with only one overbridging nessecary per component).
  • The input data and output data can now be chained, so that multiple of these PCB's can be chained. 8 components per 12V power supply connection should be reasonably safe, but one should check the maximum power draw of each component with the max power draw of the power supply cable.
  • I first thought I needed between 6V and 7V for the VCC input of the IC's, but turns out that's the maxmim. 5V will work perfectly and removes the need for a voltage regulator, which would need to be cooled.
  • The output RGB pins are staggered, because otherwise they'd block each other.


Since there's interest, I'll order some extra IC's, so that I'll be able to make more. I'm now going to an electronics forum to have their take on my design, since I'm still very inexperienced and don't want to risk frying my motherboard. Oh and I found out that I may be able to have the PCB milled cheaply at the university I'm a student of, so that's sweet. 😄

EDIT: The electronics forum post.

EDIT2: Ordered enough parts for 5 PCB's. 😉

Wow, what a progress ! That's great !

The enhanced power side is great, this allows more powerful components. And the chaining is great, and it also allows adding an addressable strip in the end.

On my side, i'll try to know more on controlling colors on these components.
Aura software control is very restrictive on what we can do on the addressable channel, and i want more.
I tried the SDK, and it's still very basic and don't even covers all functions available in the software. I'll contact Asus to find out what we can expects on next updates;

If they can give access to addressable leds from the SDK, i could make a manager for your new "Aura Extender" 😉

Keep up the good work !

Thanks for the kind words guys! 😄

PsY4Meuh wrote:

If they can give access to addressable leds from the SDK, i could make a manager for your new "Aura Extender" 😉

Thanks man, but I have plans of my own with the SDK. ^^ I want to make RGB lighting synced on music, like a planned lazer show. I will use the thousands of available songs from games like Stepmania and Guitar Hero.

JustinThyme wrote:
What are you lighting up? Your front yard?
At first glance without researching it too much isn't this defeating the entire concept of addressable RGB? WS2811 is a driver, not a decoder. All strips downstream of this concept will not work as individually addressable but all together much like whats already there on the two headers where you can simply use splitters to add more unless you are coming out of your case and around the room and back.

Yeah I have 6 fan grills, a reservoir, a GPU block, a CPU block and some loose RGB LED's which I want to control individually. Having them all in the same color won't cut it for the project I'm going for. My mobo and my RAM both already have addressable LED's, so I don't think I will add another strip to this. Even if I would, I could just hook it up to the output data I provided.

Another advantage is that it would become possible to use non-aura RGB components, such as RGB fittings, using this technique.

JustinThyme wrote:
If you really want to go ballistic with it it can be done easily with a raspberry pi, open source, decoders, drivers and a power supply then you can infinitely expand it to your neighbors house if you want. All of which is already commercially available if you don't want to reinvent the wheel .


Good suggestion of the RPi. I could indeed set up a communication line to the RPi and have it control a number of components. But even then, I don't think mine has enough data lines to steer them individually without using a serial signal as in the circuit I'm building. Additionally, latency is a problem for my use case as well, I need it to be response.

JustinThyme
Level 13
What are you lighting up? Your front yard?
At first glance without researching it too much isn't this defeating the entire concept of addressable RGB? WS2811 is a driver, not a decoder. All strips downstream of this concept will not work as individually addressable but all together much like whats already there on the two headers where you can simply use splitters to add more unless you are coming out of your case and around the room and back.

If you really want to go ballistic with it it can be done easily with a raspberry pi, open source, decoders, drivers and a power supply then you can infinitely expand it to your neighbors house if you want. All of which is already commercially available if you don't want to reinvent the wheel .

Good luck with your project.:cool:



“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, I'm not sure about the former” ~ Albert Einstein

Yes Justin, this seems actual overkill for a pair of leds, but here are the devices i'd like to control individually :
- 8 Cooler Master Masterfan Pro RGB on radiator
- 2 Alphacool Aurora RGB Reservoir Ring
- 1 EK RGB Monoblock
- 1 50cm RGB Strip

Actually i'ts divided in two groups, one on each RBG header of the mobo, and it's already fine, but it could be better, specially compared to
- 4 G-Skill RGB Sticks (5 addressable led each)
- 2 ROG Strix 1080ti (1 led each)
- 1 Strix X299-E (6 addressable led )

JustinThyme
Level 13
Latency? Response? we are talking about RGB lighting?

I still dont see how you will control these individually by feeding a data line into a driver with no decoder.



“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, I'm not sure about the former” ~ Albert Einstein