For those of us who are maybe a little tired of rainbows, we now have ‘smart LEDs’ in monochrome! Make your own smart Cool White LED or Warm White LED arrangement with the same integrated LED driver that is used in our NeoPixel LED strips. Unlit, the cool color resembles a Starburst while the warm color resembles an egg yolk. Lit up these are insanely bright (like ow my eye hurts) and can be controlled with 24 bit high-frequency PWM. The phosphor helps diffuse the 3 white dies inside together for a very bright but consistant light, compared to what you get by trying to mix RGB to make white (which never quite looks right).
NeoPixels are 5050-sized LEDs with an embedded microcontroller inside the LED. You can set the brightness of each of 3 individual cool white dies epoxied into the case. Each LED acts like a shift register, reading incoming data on the input pins, and then shifting the previous data out on the output pin. By sending a long string of data, you can control an infinite number of LEDs, just tack on more or disconnect unwanted LEDs at the end. The PWM is built into each LED-chip so once you set the brightness you can stop talking to the strip and it will continue to PWM all the LEDs for you.
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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.