It's easy to use the 12mm LED pixels with CircuitPython and the Adafruit CircuitPython WS2801 module.  This module allows you to easily write Python code to control the lights.

You can use these LEDs with any CircuitPython microcontroller board or with a computer that has GPIO.

CircuitPython Wiring

You can wire up the WS2801 strand for CircuitPython and using any two GPIO pins. One will serve as the clock Pin and one as the Data Pin.

Although the driver is capable of using Hardware SPI, we recommend not using it because the timing can vary from microcontroller to microcontroller and isn't reliable on certain boards.
  • Microcontroller GND to Blue Ground line
  • Microcontroller D6 to Green Serial Clock line
  • Microcontroller D5 to Yellow Serial Data line
  • 5V Regulated Supply +5V to Red +5V Line
  • 5V Regulated Supply Ground to Blue Ground line

Python Wiring

Wiring for Python is pretty simple as well.

  • Microcontroller GND to Blue Ground line
  • Microcontroller D6 to Green Serial Clock line
  • Microcontroller D5 to Yellow Serial Data line
  • 5V Regulated Supply +5V to Red +5V Line
  • 5V Regulated Supply Ground to Blue Ground line

Hardware SPI Wiring on the Raspberry Pi

The Raspberry Pi seem to be an exception in that Hardware SPI seems to work pretty well on here.

  • Microcontroller GND to Blue Ground line
  • Microcontroller SCLK to Green Serial Clock line
  • Microcontroller MOSI to Yellow Serial Data line
  • 5V Regulated Supply +5V to Red +5V Line
  • 5V Regulated Supply Ground to Blue Ground line
This guide was first published on Jul 29, 2012. It was last updated on Jul 29, 2012.
This page (CircuitPython and Python Wiring) was last updated on Oct 22, 2020.