Using inexpensive WS2811 chips as serial seven segment drivers #Electronics #NeoPixels @mohitbhoite @idlehandsdev

Via Mohit Bhoite on Instagram – when the first strips of smart LEDs were available, they were driven by a WS2811 chip next to the LEDs. They were later replaced, for the most part, by the WS2812 (NeoPixels) and other devices where the chip was integrated into the LED package.

The WS2811 is still widely available and is very inexpensive – what can be done with these three channel driver chips?

Mohit says:

Testing these addressable 7 segment displays designed by Sean Hodgins @idlehandsdev on Instagram and Twitter. I love his clever use of WS2811, which are traditionally used to control RGB LEDs, to control the 7 segment displays. They only need a single GPIO!

Being able to control 10 (or more) of these with a single wire is pretty cool.

Using the Adafruit Neopixel library to control them with a Trinket M0

With this approach and some clever programming, you can control a large number of displays with one digital I/O line! Brilliant!

Here is a picture from the Sean Hodgins, the developer, with 4 displays being driven from an Adafruit Feather microcontroller board.

Sean Hodgins –
Tindie Store –
Twitter –
Instagram –
Patreon –

One of the commenters writes:
I just discovered the Chinese TM3130 chip. It drives 4 digits at seven segments and is addressable and chainable pretty much like a WS2811, plus it can push 2MHz data rate!

We look forward to investigations in this direction.

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