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January 17, 2011 AT 1:36 pm

RGB LED Pixels and OLED Display (video)


RGB LED Pixels and OLED Display (video) ny Matt Makes!


20Mmledpixel Lrg-1

20mm Clear Digital RGB LED Pixels (Strand of 20) – 20mm Clear. RGB Pixels are digitally-controllable lights you can set to any color, or animate. Each RGB LED and controller chip is molded into a ‘dot’ of silicone. The dots are waterproof and rugged. There are four flanges molded in so that you can ‘push’ them into a 20mm drill hole in any material up to 2mm/0.08″ thick. They’re typically used to make outdoor signs. Compared to our ’12mm’ dots, these are clear-coated and brighter. The pixels are connected by a 4-conductor cable. Red is +5V, Blue is Ground, Yellow is Data and Green is Clock. Data is shifted down from one pixel to the next so that you can easily cut the strand or attach more onto the end. Each dot is digitally controlled, with an internal 5-bit PWM LED driver (15-bit color for 32,768 different shades). The pixels must be clocked by a microcontroller, we have an example code linked below that works on an Arduino, it should be simple to adapt it to any other microcontroller.


Oled12864Circle Lrg-2

Monochrome 128×64 OLED graphic display. These displays are small, only about 1″ diameter, but very readable due to the high contrast of an OLED display. This display is made of 128×64 individual white OLED pixels, each one is turned on or off by the controller chip. Because the display makes its own light, no backlight is required. This reduces the power required to run the OLED and is why the display has such high contrast; we really like this miniature display for its crispness!

The driver chip, SSD1306 can communicate in multiple ways including I2C, SPI and 8-bit parallel. We prefer SPI since its the most flexible and uses a small number of I/O pins so our example code and wiring diagram will use that.

The OLED and driver require a 3.3V power supply and 3.3V logic levels for communication. The power requirements depend a little on how much of the display is lit but on average the display uses about 20mA from the 3.3V supply. Built into the OLED driver is a simple switch-cap charge pump that turns 3.3v-5v into a high voltage drive for the OLEDs. You can run the entire display off of one 3.3V supply or use 3.3V for the chip power and up to 4.5V for the OLED charge pump or 3.3V for the chip power and a 7-9V supply directly into the OLED high voltage pin.
You’ll need a level shifter to communicate with this OLED using a 5V microcontroller such as an Arduino, but we include a DIP level shifter chip!


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