Look, just bolt this to your ceiling fan already – we know that’s the first thing you thought of! OK, so you already know what DotStar LEDs are – those digitally controllable LEDs that have two data wires and higher refresh rates for than NeoPixels. You can control them with any microcontroller since the timing on the data lines isn’t particular, and you can use an SPI peripheral to send data pretty fast. DotStars come in the classic 5050 (5mm x 5mm) size as well as an adorable 2020 (2mm x 2mm)
So what we have here is a special rigid PCB with 128 those tiny 2mm x 2mm LEDs on em, as close as possible. We already have flexible LEDs, but with the ultra high density (240 LED/meter density) we have here, you have to go rigid. Also, instead of a plain FR4 PCB it has an aluminum backing for extra strength and heat dissipation. Note that the PCB is rigid but requires support so it doesn’t droop and crack. It’s not intended to be bent or curved at all, and if you do so you may crack the copper traces.
This rigid LED Bar is just under half a meter long (400mm, excluding connectors) with 128 addressable LEDs and looks fantastic as accent lighting, back lighting, edge lighting, etc! However, we must note these bars are not cheap, and require some care to use. First, they must have mechanical support so they don’t bend & crack. Second, you could turn on all the LEDs on at full brightness and draw about 6 Amps but you’ll overheat and damage the LEDs. So instead, keep your brightness at 50% or don’t light up to many LEDs. Keep the power usage at under 15W (3A @ 5V)
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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.
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