WS2812 Breakout Hookup Guide

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Contributors: jimblom
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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.

LED strip overview

The LED strips come on a reel as shown above.

The WS2812 addressable LED strips come in a few flavors, which vary by size and sealant. You can get them in either 1m or 5m lengths, high density, or side emitting. For each length the strip, they can be either covered by a waterproof sealant or left bare. Below are a few listed from the catalog.

Each strip usually contains 60 LEDs per meter, which are spaced about 1.65cm away from each other. Higher density strips with the smaller IC packages contain 144 LEDs per meter, which are spaced about 0.69cm from each other. The waterproofed strips are rated IP65 -- dust tight and protected from water jets.

Zoom in on LED strip

Connecting to the Strips

Each end of the LED strip is terminated with a set of three colored wires: red, green, and yellow. Two wires are for power, and the third transmits data either into or out of the strip:

Wire Color
Function
Notes for the WS2812
Notes for the WS2812B
Alternate Wire Color w/ the Compatible APA104
Red Vcc WS2812 power supply. Should be a regulated supply between 5V and 7V. WS2812 power supply. Should be a regulated supply between 3.3V and 5V. Red
Green Data In/Out Serial data in/out. Look at arrows and labels on strip to check which it is. Serial data in/out. Look at arrows and labels on strip to check which it is. Green
Yellow GND Ground. 0V. Ground. 0V. White

Each of the wire pigtails are terminated by a three-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 female housing receptacle (with male pins) connected to the DIN side and the male housing receptacle with (female pin sockets) coming connected to the DOUT side.

Female Housing, Typically the Input Side for WS2812's Male Housing, Typically the Output Side for WS2812's

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 (3-pin)

LED Strip Pigtail Connector (3-pin)

CAB-14575
$1.25