What’s a wearable project without LEDs? Our favorite part of the Flora platform is these tiny smart pixels. Designed specifically for wearables, these updated Flora NeoPixels have ultra-cool technology: these ultra-bright LEDs have a constant-current driver cooked right into the LED package! The pixels are chainable – so you only need 1 pin/wire to control as many LEDs as you like. They’re easy to sew, and the chainable design means no crossed threads.
These pixels have full 24-bit color ability with PWM taken care of by the controller chip. Since the LED is so bright, you need less current/power to get the effects you want. The driver is constant current so it’s OK if your battery power changes or fluctuates a little.
Each pixel draws as much as 60mA (all three RGB LEDs on for full brightness white). In theory, the Flora can drive up to 500 pixels at 30 FPS (it will run out of RAM after that). However, after about 10 pixels (or if the distance between pixels is more than an inch or two) the resistance of the thread can affect the power supply. For large quantities of pixels over 10, you may want to consider using stranded core wire or copper braid to provide a “power bus” for the pixels – the current draw will add up fast!
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Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.