Q: I have seen that some of your controllers list outputs of 60W to 180W across 4 channels but I don't understand how that works in relation to the power supplies I have.
A: This often causes confusion when trying to understand if you have enough wattage on your power supply for the controller to cover. While it may seem as though the controller is saying it can handle high wattage drivers, this isn't the case and we need to think of it in terms of amperage.
Take our RGBW-RX01E for instance. This controller states Pout = 4 x (60-180)W. This does not mean that you can wire it to a maximum driver load of 720W and be covered, but rather relates to the fact that our controllers can carry a maximum 5 amps per channel.
These controllers can operate at 12-36 volts, so by dividing these we can reach amperage. For example:
12v = 60W (60/12 = 5)
24v = 120W (120/24 = 5)
36v = 180w (180/36 = 5)
When calculating for LED strips and controllers, always remember the basic rules. If the controller can handle 5 amps per channel then you need to be sure that the amount of LED strips being fed to a single controller is done with safety in mind. This doesn't mean that we should push the controller to its limits, as we should always calculate for overhead and sometimes this means settling on 3-4 amps. There are always workarounds in the event that you need a lot of metres covered, one of which is simply doubling up on controllers and pairing them to the same zone, or, in the case of single colour strips, you can even pick up a HL-SC1ZRX01
and bridge channels to create a maximum of 10 amps per channel.
We often use an example that a strip at 14.4 watts per metre can be run up to 20 metres to a single controller. If you were to run 20 metres in this case, then 14.4 x 20 = 288W. Multiply this by 1.2 to account for overhead and that leaves you with 345W, so a 350W power supply is needed.
As long as you calculate correctly for your driver size and follow the 5 amp rule, you won't experience any issues.