WS2812 addressable LEDs test

RGB LEDs are awesome – especially the new, fancy ones with the WS2812 RGB LED driver. These LEDs can be individually controlled to display red, green, and blue, but interfacing them with a microcontroller or computer.

To test controlling WS2812 RGB LEDs I bought a cheap addressable LED strip. An addressable RGB LED strip is a long flexible strand of LEDs each of which can be individually set to a certain color (hence: addressable). By varying the level of red, green and blue (RGB) per LED many color combinations can be made. Addressable LED promise is to be an easy way to add complex lighting effects to any project. WS2812 neopixels are addressable RGB LEDs. The integrated controller chip allows you to change the color of the LED and address each individual LED. ThoseWS2812 LEDs are powered with 5V – 7V power source (60 mA power consumption) and are controlled through a serial bus (one control signal).

I planned to use either Arduino or ESP8266 to control those LEDs. After some looking on vailable examples and technical data on the LEDs, I planned to use Arduino (Arduno Uno), because it’s 5V power and 5V logic level is directly suitable. And there are many Arduino tutorials for WS2812.

To get easy start, I planned to follow instructions fro Arduino Addressable LEDs & Splendid Projects page. That page had an example source code that looked to be useful and simple wiring instructions.

In the first test I fould out that in addition to the source code I also needed NeoPixel Arduno library. So I needed to get the library from and install it according to instructions. After downloading, I had to rename folder to ‘Adafruit_NeoPixel’ and move it to Arduino Libraries folder. After restarting Arduino IDE , I opened File->Sketchbook->Library->Adafruit_NeoPixel->strandtest sketch example file.  This worked well. I also tried the original code fromArduino Addressable LEDs & Splendid Projects page which I modified to use 8 LEDs instead of one. Both examples made a “random” color light show on my LED strip. Enough for first testing.






  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Interactive LED Table for 50€ © CC BY-NC

    Make an interactive table that displays games, audio spectrum, and animations on a 12×12 built-in LED matrix.

    a cheap interactive table that uses Bluetooth, physical controls and a LED matrix from a simple 7€ IKEA table. This table is able to display an audio spectrum visualizer, some games and animations.

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    See Sound with Audiolux One

    This plug-and-play device was designed by Deaf & Hearing engineers to transform sound into light with LED pixels.

    Audiolux One is a plug-and-play device that transforms sound to light. It represents a revolution for the Deaf in particular, as it makes “seeing sound” possible. Designed by a Deaf musician, the technology has drastically altered the way that he, and others like him see and experience music. Audiolux One is now being used to make arts & cultural events inclusive to the Dead & Hard-of-Hearing.

    In true Hackaday fashion, you have total freedom to customize the audio analysis, LED layouts and visualization algorithms or modify the functionality of the hardware knobs and footswitch since Audiolux Devices software is fully open-source and Arduino-compatible.


    Arduino UNO (or other compatible microcontroller)
    MSGEQ7 Spectrum Audio Shield:
    Neopixel (WS2811 or WS2812B) Individually Addressable LED Strip

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    1.5 Million Dollars Buys 850,000 LEDs and 29 Raspberry Pis

    You think you like RGB LEDs? Columbus, OH art professor [Matthew Mohr] has more blinkenlove than you! His airport-scale installation piece is an incredible 850,000 RGB LEDs wrapped around a 14-foot tall face-shaped sculpture that projection-maps participants’ faces onto the display. To capture images, there is also a purpose-built room with even illumination and a slew of Raspberry Pi cameras to take pictures of the person’s face from many angles simultaneously.

    Besides looking pretty snazzy, the scale of this is just crazy. For instance, if you figure that the usual strip of 60 WS2812s can draw just about 9.6 watts full on, that scales up to 136 kW(!) for the big head.

    PHOTOS: Columbus’ newest public art piece is a 3D multimedia sculpture that displays faces on a 14-foot head lit by 850,000 LEDs (Video)

  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    use sk6812 to make a digital led screeen.
    We buy SK6812 from amazon, want to paste sk6812 to a 80cm*80cm FPCB black borad.

    As I know, the smd led we use, sk6812, is a kind of popular smd led, and it can all replace a another smd led, ws2812b, we also have use a another individually addressable to make led screen, But I think SK6812 is best. and I find here is introduce about SK6812, individually addressable smd led.

    SK6812 is a smart LED control circuit and light emitting circuit in one controlled LED source, which has the shape of a 5050 LED chip. Each lighting element is a pixel, and the intensities of the pixels are contained within the intelligent digital interface input. The output is driven by patented PWM technology

    And about SK6812 smd led

    The data protocol being used is uni-polar NRZ communication mode. The 24-bit data is transmitted from the controller to DIN of the first element, and if it is accepted it is extracted pixel to pixel.

  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    A Solar Freakin’ Walkway

    Looking to add a little pizzazz to your back garden? Are those strings of lights hung in the trees looking a little dated? Why not try lighting your garden path with DIY solar-powered pavers?

    Using recycled glass blocks that are usually reserved for walls and windows, [jfarro] figured out how to attach Neopixel rings to the underside and waterproof them with a silicone conformal coating. The 12 lighted pavers he built draw considerable current, so a 45-watt solar array with charge controller and battery were installed to power the pavers. An Arduino and a motion sensor control the light show when someone approaches; more complicated programs are planned.

    Solar Powered RGB LED Magic Pathway

  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    FoTW: LED Strips Make Awful Servo Drivers

    [Orionrobots] had a conversation with a YouTube follower about LED strips. An LED strip contains a length of ready-made PWM drivers, they mused. Wouldn’t it be great then, if each of the drivers on a strip could be connected to a servo, making the strip a ready-made single-stop SPI servo driver. With a large multi-servo robot to build, he set to work on a strip of WS2801s.

    He concludes by recommending that viewers splash out on a servo driver board rather than trying an LED strip

  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Look Out DotStar, Here Comes Lumenati

    Adafruit has long been the undisputed ruler of the smart LED product, with their WS2812B (NeoPixel) and APA102C (DotStar) product lines dominating due to the robust assortment of sizes and form factors, as well as their ease of use. SparkFun Electronics recently announced Lumenati, their new line of APA102C breakouts that feature some intriguing features which do a good job of distinguishing the two lines.

  8. Tomi Engdahl says:

    ESP and WS2812 based clock
    Stylish clock project based on an ESP-01 module with arendst – tasmota software

    In the documentation for the Tasmota software I did find a referense to å clockmode. I did need to find out what it was. It was a analog clock on an WS2812 string. Here is my project to put it into use.

  9. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Word Clock base on RGB LED WS2812B

    Instead of showing the time like in classical type of clock with the hands or numbers, it shows you a time by displaying the text

  10. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Word Clock base on RGB LED WS2812B
    Instead of showing the time like in classical type of clock with the hands or numbers, it shows you a time by displaying the text

  11. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Room Lights

    My dorm’s bedroom didn’t come with lights, so I taped 15m of individually addressable RGB LEDs to my ceiling and control them through IoT.

    On a side note, when I started this project I used an ESP8266-12e which was unreliable and the lights would turn off after some time. One of my classes then required me to do an IoT project using the Photon from Particle and all of the issues I’ve had in the past are now gone.

  12. Tomi Engdahl says:

    RGB LED Ugly Holiday Sweater © GPL3+

    NeoPixel RGB LED strips for lights and an RGB LED star made this Arduino programmable holiday sweater fun to tinker with.

  13. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The Force Is Strong with This RGB Lightsaber

    Physically, the device is built with a “blade” made out of a light-diffusing polycarbonate cylinder, inside of which a pair of WS2812 LED strips is attached back-to-back. This allows it to emit light without a dim side that would be expected if just one strip. Control is via an Arduino Nano board, along with an MPU-6050 inertial measurement unit to sense movement and impact. Saber sounds are pulled from a microSD card, which played via a small speaker on the base.


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