NeoPixels At Kitronik:What's better for your project than rings, boards and sticks of pulsing, colourful miniature LEDs? We can't think of much else, and that's why we've added them to our range.
What Are NeoPixels:NeoPixels are full colour (RGB) LEDs that each have an onboard driver chip. They can be used individually or chained together in series, once powered they can then be controlled by a single wire from your microcontroller (eg microbit). Once chained together, and even though they are in series, each LED remains individually addressable through the code that you write. Although you can chain NeoPixel boards together there are some limits as to how many you can chain, below you'll find a list of the limiting factors.
- RAM: NeoPixels require some RAM from the host microcontroller; more pixels = more RAM. It’s only a few bytes each, but as most microcontrollers are pretty resource-constrained, this becomes a very real consideration for large projects.
- Power: each NeoPixel draws a little bit of current; more pixels = more power. Power supplies likewise have some upper limit.
- Time: NeoPixels process data from the host microcontroller at a fixed data rate; more pixels = more time and lower animation frame rates.
NeoPixels And The microbit:The Microsoft MakeCode editor for the microbit has recently been updated to allow you to write code specifically for NeoPixels. Simply select Add Package, select the NeoPixels library and you now have a number of new blocks specific to the job in hand. You can write and test your code in the safety of the MakeCode Editor before exporting and placing on your microbit. We plan on producing a few how-to guides in the very near future, so keep an eye out for those!
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