APA102 Addressable LED Hookup Guide

Contributors: bboyho
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Addressable LED Strips

If you need an abundance of WS2812 LEDs in a slick, pre-assembled form factor these addressable LED strips might be for you.

1M APA102 Bare LED Strip

The APA102 addressable LED strips come in a few flavors, which vary by size and sealant. You can get them in either 1m or 5m lengths, or high density. For each length the strip, they can be either covered by a waterproof sealant or left bare.

Connecting to the Strips

Each end of the LED strip is terminated with a set of four colored wires: red, blue, green, and yellow. Two wires are for power, one wire for clock, and another wire transmits data either into or out of the strip:

Wire Color
Notes for the APA102
Red Vcc APA102 power supply. Should be a regulated supply between 5V and 5.5V.
Blue Clock Clock
Green Data In/Out Serial data in/out. Look at arrows and labels on strip to check which it is.
Yellow GND Ground. 0V.

Each of the wire pigtails are terminated by a four-pin JST SM connector, which you can use to connect string strips together. Typically, the addressable LEDs use a polarized JST SM connector with the male housing receptacle with (female pin sockets) connected to the DI side as shown with the connector on the left side of the image. The female housing receptacle (with male pins) coming connected to the DO side as shown with the connector on the right side of the image.

four pin JST SM connector

For the first strip in a string, you can either connect to a mating connector, or cut and strip the wires, and connect them to your controlling device. To reuse the rest of the LED strip, check out the LED strip pigtail connector to easily connect the cut strips:

LED Strip Pigtail Connector (4-pin)

LED Strip Pigtail Connector (4-pin)