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.

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, 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.

Join 35,000+ makers on Adafruit’s Discord channels and be part of the community!

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.

Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!

Follow Adafruit on Instagram for top secret new products, behinds the scenes and more

CircuitPython – The easiest way to program microcontrollers –

Maker Business — How (some) chips get made

Wearables — Need a lot of power for your project? Read on!

Electronics — Storage Safety 101

Python for Microcontrollers — Python on Microcontrollers Newsletter: 10K Subscribers, Picos Made in Africa and more!! #CircuitPython @micropython @ThePSF @Raspberry_Pi

Adafruit IoT Monthly — Turtle Eggs, Pool Monitors, and more!

Microsoft MakeCode — MakeCode Thank You!

EYE on NPI — Maxim’s Himalaya uSLIC Step-Down Power Module #EyeOnNPI @maximintegrated @digikey

New Products – Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers! — JP’s Product Pick of the Week 11/29/22 ENS160 MOX Gas Sensor @adafruit @johnedgarpark #adafruit #newproductpick

Get the only spam-free daily newsletter about wearables, running a "maker business", electronic tips and more! Subscribe at !

No Comments

No comments yet.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.