This controller is awesome and one of the cheaper options out there! I went with the SanDevice e682 Controller because it allows up to 16 separate plug in spots supporting up to 2,040 RGB pixel lights using unicast or 1,190 using multicast. (Unicast is what I'm using, you just need to know the e682 IP address you set up) Powers 5v or 12v lights... or both! (I use 12v) Here is the SanDevice Website.
I purchased the kit because I figured as this project grows, I'll eventually need more controllers. Everything you need to build is found in their kit assembly manual.
I purchased a blue PC board holder on Amazon for about $12. You need something like it to be able to flip the board over multiple times to solder the components from the back.
I also purchased this HAKKO FX888D digital soldering station for about $100. It is super nice and heats up in seconds. The manual recommends Kester 44 Rosin core solder $10. Desoldering Wick $2 or Desoldering Pump $5 to cleanup mistakes.
Here it is in progress. In total, it took me about 6 hours because I've NEVER soldered in my life and carefully did it to make sure I would hopefully not mess it up. YouTube videos on how to solder taught me everything I needed to know. Rubber bands held parts on when I flipped the board over to solder the back.
You need a 12v 30a DC power supply $20 to power the e682. Good news is it can power both sides of the board (8 strings on the left and 8 on right). It does not have a power cord, I simply salvaged an old computer 3 prong power cord. This photo is testing the LEDs on the e682 and ethernet connection. You also need a voltage meter to verify correct power. I picked a cheap one up at Harbor Freights for about $6 (free with coupon!).
Here is the final SanDevice e682 Controller fully assembled!
Click to view THE MOMENT that launched my future in RGB lights. Correctly plugging my first set of lights into the controller and seeing the default test pattern run. Oh the internal JOY that I felt was amazing. (please ignore the mess on my workstation. It was about 2am and I was too excited to clean up.)