How to calculate the total RGB LED power draw?

Feb 25, 2019 | 3-Min. Read

Atila Gobor

What is RGB?

RGB stands for Red-Green-Blue, the three light emitting diodes (LEDs) that exist on a single spot. By mixing those 3 colors you can get any of the 16.7million variations in the RGB spectrum.

There are two different types of RGB LED that are currently common in PC building:

  • 12V RGB analog LEDs

  • 5V RGB digital (addressable) LEDs

12V RGB ones are mostly standard and compatible with all motherboard 12V headers as well as cheap external IR/WIFI controllers. The 5V ones are digital/addressable, which means each LED can shine a separate color at any time. The 12V ones do not give you the options of having different colors on different LEDs at a specific time but, shine the same color as the others on the same strip.

5V D-RGB LEDs on EK Velocity shining different colors and 12V RGB LEDs on EK Velocity shinning only one color at a time on the right

Standards and pinouts

Many companies use their proprietary pinouts, different connectors and use exclusive controllers. All EK products use standardized connectors and follow motherboard-manufacturer standard. Thereby, they are compatible with all motherboard headers and RGB control software.

Both 12V and 5V RGB LEDs use the same connector, but the 5V one has 3 pins. Pinouts are as following:

  • 5V RGB LEDs – +5V D Blocked G

  • 12V RGB LEDs – +12V G R B

How is the right way to connect to the motherboard header?

If you incorrectly plug any of those you risk damaging the LEDs. Several of EK monoblocks use the 5V digital LED’s so always read the instruction manual for guidance.  Also be sure to connect the connector on the correct side, as instructed in the manual.

Make sure the arrow aligns with the +5V pin on the motherboard header. Same stands for regular 12V RGB where the arrow needs to align with the +12V pin on the motherboard header.

How can I link several Vardar fans and blocks to a single 12V motherboard header?

We offer EK-RGB 4-Way Splitter Cable that allows you to easily connect several products onto a single header. Daisy chaining is also possible, as long as you do not exceed the rated RGB header power output.

How many EK products can I link to a single motherboard header?

That is a bit of a harder question, you will have to do the math or contact us. We are always happy to assist. A single motherboard RGB header usually outputs a maximum of 2-3A of power. We advise you to consult your motherboard manual for details on specific headers. For example, a single 3A 12V RGB LED motherboard header on ASUS Rampage VI could power 10 EK-Vardar 120ER RGB fans, an R6E RGB monoblock, RGB GPU block, an RGB reservoir safely and still have power left over for an additional LED strip of ~1m length.

Below you may see a table of LED power consumption of EK products:

We hope today’s guide has helped you in creating the most bling for your PC and as always if you have any questions you can contact us over social networks or support channels .