August 27, 2014

Simplify using RGB LED modules with the FastLED Arduino library

Using RGB LEDs is not only fun, but the huge variety of colours possible can also be used for more serious purposes and also saving space when compared against using separate LEDs for status indication and so on. However the coding can get a little out of hand, and especially when working with difference chipsets.

However this is no longer a problem thanks to Daniel Garcia and his FastLED library. Not only does it work with a wide variety of chipsets (such as the WS2801 used in our own RGBLED: module), it uses an accelerated form of SPI interface to increase data speed to the LED controller and supports 8-bit math for RGB colour manipulation.

If you're interested in giving the FastLED library a try, it's available for download from github. And for more, we're on facebook, twitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well.

If you're looking to make your own colourful LED-based project, consider our Freetronics RGBLED: full colour module. It includes a bright RGB LED on the top of the board and a WS2801 constant-current, addressable, multi-channel LED driver on the back. This smart module can be daisy-chained, so you can connect a number of these together in a string and drive each of the module colours individually from your microcontroller. For more information and to order, visit the product page.

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