Addressable LED Strip Hookup Guide

Contributors: Nick Poole
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Extending Battery Life

The 60 LEDs on your addressable LED strip can drain a lot of batteries really fast. At full brightness, the strip will pull over 2 amps!! With a capacity of only 1.5 amp-hours, the AA batteries will only power the strip at full brightness, continuously, for under an hour. If you want to get more bang for your battery-buck, there are a few tricks you can use.

Cap the Brightness

60 LEDs in a linear meter is a lot of LEDs, so running them at full brightness is really... impressive. And mostly unnecessary. Luckily, the NeoPixel library includes a handy function called setBrightness(); which limits the brightness of an LED strip. You'll notice that the examples in this tutorial all include the line strip.setBrightness(64);, which sets the strip brightness to about 25%. You can set it lower before noticing a huge difference in brightness, so play with that number until you find the right balance between brightness and battery life.

Take a Break

Sometimes a cool lighting effect is more impressive if it isn't continuous. Try dropping a delay(); into the main loop so that there's some downtime between animation cycles. Obviously, the less time you leave the LEDs on, the longer your batteries will last.

Cut it Short

Maybe you don't need 60 LEDs. Maybe 30 would do just fine. You can cut a portion off the end of the strip with a pair of standard craft scissors. Just cut across the copper pads in between the LEDs, and now you have another small strip you could use elsewhere. You can always solder them back together if you change your mind!