NeoPixel / smart LEDs are a type of digital LED that can be controlled and programmed using a microcontroller or computer. They are known for their high brightness, wide viewing angle, and ability to display a wide range of colors. They are also known as individually addressable LEDs, meaning each LED in a NeoPixel strip or matrix can be controlled independently. They are commonly used in DIY electronics projects, such as lighting displays, home automation, and interactive installations.
Smart NeoPixel LEDs typically use a protocol like WS2812, WS2812B, APA102, SK6812, SK9822, LPD8806, APA104, WS2801. They can be controlled using a microcontroller like Arduino or a Raspberry Pi, which allows for advanced programming and animation.
The WS2812B protocol, used in most digital LEDs is a one-wire protocol that allows for the control of multiple LEDs with a single data pin. The WS2812B protocol is very similar to the older WS2812 and WS2811 protocols, but it is faster and more reliable.
The WS2812B protocol uses a single data pin to send a stream of bits to the LED. Each LED in the chain has a built-in microcontroller that interprets the data and sets the color and brightness of the LED accordingly. The data is transmitted serially, one bit at a time, with each LED in the chain passing the data on to the next LED.
It's important to note that the WS2812B protocol requires strict timing, any deviation from it can cause errors on the signal and make the LEDs not work properly, also the microcontroller should be able to handle the high-speed data transmission required by the protocol.
Connecting a digital LED, such as a NeoPixel LED, typically involves connecting it to a microcontroller or computer and programming it to display different colors and patterns. Here is a general overview of the process: