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TUTORIAL – Digital RGB LED Strip tutorial

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We love some good LED blinking as much as the next person but after years of LED-soldering we need something cooler to get us excited. Sure there are RGB LEDs and those are fun too but what comes after that? Well, we have the answer: Digital LED Strips! These are flexible circuit boards with full color LEDs soldered on. They take a lot of LED-wiring-drudgery out of decorating a room, car, bicycle, costume, etc. The ones we carry come with a removable waterproof casing.

There are two basic kinds of LED strips, the “analog” kind and “digital” kind. Analog-type strips have all the LEDs connected in parallel and so it acts like one huge tri-color LED; you can set the entire strip to any color you want, but you can’t control the individual LED’s colors. They are very very easy to use and fairly inexpensive.

The Digital-type strips work in a different way. They have a chip for each LED, to use the strip you have to send digitally coded data to the chips. However, this means you can control each LED individually! Because of the extra complexity of the chip, they are more expensive.

You can buy waterproof digital RGB LED strips by the meter at the Adafruit shop – and you can read the rest of the tutorial here.


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3 Comments

  1. Any chance of you stocking similar strips but with the WS2801 instead?

    8 bits/color would be nice.

  2. Andy, we can look into it but please note they’re much more expensive and use 50% more power!

  3. @Andy- in my experience, 8-bits/channel v. 6 doesn’t get you very much. The color rendition of most RGB LEDs is rather poor, and it’s unlikely you’d introduce any sort of “nuance” by adding 2 more bits. The way LEDs render color is interesting: rather than have a smooth color scale, they tend to lump into groups, centered around the emission wavelengths of the respective individual diodes.

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