LongPixel - Digital Control for Analog LED Strips
The LongPixel is a chain-able board that turns a strip of Analog RGB LEDs into a giant, digitally-controlled LED.
In our previous KickStarter, we brought you the AllPixel: an easy way to control various kinds of digital RGB LEDs. This time, we wanted something that would bring that same level of ease to analog RGB LEDs. Enter the LongPixel .
The LongPixel is able to drive 12-24V Common Anode RGB LED analog strips (the kind that have +V, R, G, and B wires). By using the WS2801 LED driver chip, multiple LongPixels can be chained together and treated as a "strip" of digitally addressable super-LEDs. The LongPixel can work with just about any platform that supports SPI communication, including the Arduino, the Raspberry Pi, and our AllPixel LED controller. Screw terminals, standard headers, and integrated mounting points make hardware setup a snap.
- Architectural Lighting
- Under counters or cabinets
- TV Bias Lighting
- Music Interactive Lighting
*Product shown is pre-production, final appearance may vary.
Very basic soldering skills are needed. NO SMD SOLDERING REQUIRED. Each LongPixel comes with all SMD parts pre-assembled. Should you choose to use them, the optional 0.1" data headers and screw terminals are included in the kit.
The LongPixel is capable of driving 12-24V Common Anode RGB LED strips at up to 4A per channel, or 10A combined current across all 3 channels. An on-board voltage regulator supplies 5V for the control chip, so no extra power is required beyond the 12-24V LED supply.
WARNING: The LongPixel is NOT a Constant Current driver! If there are no resistors involved, you risk damaging your LEDs, the LongPixel, personal property, and/or yourself!*
The brain of the LongPixel is in the form of a WS2801 LED driver. Note that the WS2801 chip is a constant current driver, but in this application, the LongPixel itself is not! (see warning above). This chip allows multiple LongPixels to be chained together via the 3-pin data headers (Clock, Data, and Ground). Each board can then be addressed as an individual "pixel." Note that the Data and Clock lines operate at 5V logic levels!
The LongPixel officially supports data line lengths of up to 6 meters per the WS2801 datasheet. However, with decent wires (e.g. a cut-up shielded Ethernet cable), we've seen lengths of up to 10 meters work with no issue. Of course, many factors can influence the quality of the data signal, so your mileage may vary depending on your setup.
*By using the LongPixel, you agree to do so at your own risk. Maniacal Labs assumes no responsibility for any damage caused as a result of using the LongPixel.
The Software (and Controllers)
If you chose to use an Arduino-based platform to drive the LongPixel, we highly recommend the fantastic FastLED library. this library supports the WS2801 chipset (among others), and provides a wide range of useful functions.
If you prefer to use a Python-base platform like the Raspberry Pi or Beagle Bone Black, we recommend our own BiblioPixel library. BiblioPixel can use the SPI bus on these devices to control the LongPixel directly; the same way you would control a strip of WS2801 LEDs. An added bonus of using BiblioPixel is that you can utilize our awesome web-based GUI PixelWeb to run animations, queue up animation "playlists," and interact with your setup over Wi-Fi from just about any mobile device that has decent web support.
And in a final bout of shameless self-promotion, if you want a way to interface with the LongPixel over USB, our AllPixel LED controller supports the WS2801 chipset and features integrated support in the BiblioPixel library and PixelWeb GUI.
To get a further idea for the setup and usage of the LongPixel, be sure to checkout the documentation over on our LongPixel Wiki.
You can also check out our many other open hardware and code repositories on the Maniacal Labs GitHub page.
To get you up and blinking quickly with your new LongPixels, we will be offering the following via BackerKit, post-campaign.
- Additional LongPixel: $12
- 4” 3-pin jumper. $0.50
- 5m RGB, 12V 30 LED/m: $20
- 5m RGB, 24V 30 LED/m: $20
- 5m RGB, 12V 60 LED/m: $25
- 5m RGB, 24V 60 LED/m: $25
- AllPixel: $25 *May ship separately or after the LongPixel
Who is Maniacal Labs?
Adam Haile - Software Design
Dan Ternes - Electrical Design
See full company bio here.
To keep up with all things Maniacal Labs, including the AllPixel, follow us on:
Risks and challenges
We know that the biggest concern with any Kickstarter is that it will be delayed or, worse, never delivered. To avoid as many potential problems as possible, we have accomplished the following before launching the Kickstarter:
-LongPixel PCB designed, prototyped, tested, and proven
-Partnered again with SeeedStudio for the final device manufacturing and shipping
We have been in contact with SeeedStudio over the past few months. During that time, we've verified pricing, component availability, and estimated manufacturing and shipping times. This has been done against design files that we provided, which they have evaluated and approved.
As with our previous successful KickStarter, we have allowed as much time as possible for manufacturing and fulfillment, in case there are any hiccups.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)