BlinkStick Pro and Adafruit NeoPixel matrices


What is an Adafruit NeoPixel matrix?

Adafruit NeoPixel matrix consist of 64 WS2812 LEDs on a square PCB. The LEDs are connected in series on the matrix starting with the top left corner as the first LED.

Pinout description:

  • PWR is 5V power supply
  • GND is common ground
  • IN is data input pin
  • OUT is data output pin

Blinkstick-pro-with-1-neopixel-matrix Blinkstick-pro-with-3-neopixel-matrices

Connecting to BlinkStick Pro

All NeoPixel matrices share PWR and GND lines with BlinkStick Pro. You can connect only one matrix per each R, G and B channel.

The first example shows the connection of one NeoPixel matrix to the R channel of BlinkStick Pro.

The second example shows how to connect maximum amount of matrices to BlinkStick Pro.

IMPORTANT: Please note that you will have to limit the brightness of LEDs in order to run them directly from USB port.

Regular USB port can supply about 500mA of current. It's safe to run 8 LEDs from USB port directly at full brightness. About 50mA is required for BlinkStick Pro, so you can only use a safe 400mA to drive the LEDs.

Here is how you can calculate the maximum brightness limit of LEDs:

Brightness = 400mA / [Number of LEDs] / 50mA * 100%

Number of LEDs - is the maximum number of LEDs that will be turned on at any time.

For example, if you will be turning on 24 LEDs at the same time, then:

400mA / 25 / 50mA * 100% = 32%

This means that you will have to limit the brightness of LEDs to 32% in order to run them safely from USB. Please note that these pixels are bright even at 1%!


Using external power supply

In order to control more than 8 pixels at full brightness, you will need an external power supply.

The power supply must provide 5V and the amperage rating depends on how many LEDs you are going to use. For example, to run maximum 192 LEDs at full brightness, you will need a 10A power supply. Here is how you can calculate the amperage of power supply to drive the LEDs:

Current = [Number of LEDs] * 50mA

For example, in order to drive 64 LEDs, you will need 64 * 50mA = 3.2A power supply.