The sheer number of projects we've seen making use of Smart RGB LEDs—whether it be strips, modules, or custom PCBs—over the past 3 years is quite astonishing. This outbreak of RGB LED usage has gone hand-in-hand with a significant drop in pricing and an increased ease of use of these electronic devices.
Amongst LED manufacturers, WorldSemi has seemingly become the de facto standard amongst DIYers, hobbyists, and wearable electronics designers. The company's WS28XX family of Smart RGB LEDs includes an easy-to-use control protocol, a convenient pinout and footprint, and an incredibly bright luminescence, all within a tiny 5mm x 5mm package. But, what really has made a difference in the products' DIY market success is the $0.30 to $0.40 unit pricing in small quantities.
In the latest version of these LEDs, the WS2812B, WorldSemi yet again has made significant improvements upon its predecessor, the WS2812. Since there is very little information out there about this relatively new version, we decided to make a short Instructable to highlight the design upgrades, and advertise some of the already existing features of this nifty device!
Difficulty level: Beginner+ (some familiarity with smart RGB LEDs)
Time to completion: 5-10 Minutes
Step 1: List of Materials
1 x WS2812 RGB LED (pre-soldered onto a tiny breakout board)
1 x Solderless Breadboard
1 x Breakaway Pin Connector, 0.1" Pitch, 8-Pin Male
1 x Arduino Uno R3
1 x WS2812B Lumina Shield for Arduino
Solid Core Wire (assorted colors; 28 AWG) and Wire Strippers
Power Supply (Optional)
Both the WS2812 and WS2812B carry an embedded constant-current LED driver, as well as 3 individually controlled LEDs; one red, one green, and one blue. The LED driver comprises:
- An internal oscillator
- A signal reshaping and amplification circuit
- A data latch
- A 3-channel, programmable constant current output drive
- 2 digital ports (serial output/input)
Note: the LED driver itself is also available in a 6-pin Integrated Circuit (IC) form, which we can use to connect directly to 'non-smart' RGB LEDs of our choice; the IC in question is non other than the WS2811.