This guide is for LPD8806 LED strips, if you have NeoPixels check out our guide here

We love some good LED blinking as much as the next person but after years of LED-soldering we need something cooler to get us excited. Sure there are RGB LEDs and those are fun too but what comes after that? Well, we have the answer: Digital LED Strips! These are flexible circuit boards with full color LEDs soldered on. They take a lot of LED-wiring-drudgery out of decorating a room, car, bicycle, costume, etc. The ones we carry come with a removable waterproof casing.

There are two basic kinds of LED strips, the "analog" kind and "digital" kind. Analog-type strips have all the LEDs connected in parallel and so it acts like one huge tri-color LED; you can set the entire strip to any color you want, but you can't control the individual LED's colors. They are very very easy to use and fairly inexpensive.

The Digital-type strips work in a different way. They have a chip for each LED, to use the strip you have to send digitally coded data to the chips. However, this means you can control each LED individually! Because of the extra complexity of the chip, they are more expensive.

Technical specs:

  • 32 LEDs per meter (16 segments)
  • 2 common-anode RGB LEDs per segment, individually controllable
  • Removable IP65 waterproof casing
  • Maximum 5V @ 120mA draw per 2.5" strip segment (all LEDs on full brightness) - about 2A per meter
  • 16.5mm (0.65") wide (LPD8806), 4.5mm (0.18") thick with casing on, 62.5mm (2.45") long per segment
  • LED wavelengths: 630nm/530nm/475nm
  • Microcontroller required to control strip

Know Your LED Strips

Adafruit carries several types of flexible LED strip. Examine your strip closely. If it looks like this:
Then you’re reading the right tutorial. Proceed!

If your strip looks like this:
Then you have the prior generation HL1606 strip. Adafruit no longer sells this model, but our tutorial is still available for reference.

If your strip resembles this:
Then you have one of our “analog” LED strips, a different animal altogether. Here’s the appropriate tutorial to get you started.

This guide was first published on Jul 29, 2012. It was last updated on Mar 08, 2024.

This page (Overview) was last updated on Mar 08, 2024.

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