Ever hear of a thing called RGB? Red, Green, Blue? How about an RGB LED? These 5mm units have four pins - Cathode is the longest pin. One for each color and a common cathode. Use this one LED for three status indicators or pulse width modulate all three and get mixed colors!
Note: As of 1/2010, the pins in the datasheet are correctly labeled. Pin 3 is Green and Pin 4 is Blue. Those purchased prior to then will have Blue on Pin 3 and Green on Pin 4.
If it requires power, you need to know how much, what all the pins do, and how to hook it up. You may need to reference datasheets, schematics, and know the ins and outs of electronics.
Skill Level: Competent - You will be required to reference a datasheet or schematic to know how to use a component. Your knowledge of a datasheet will only require basic features like power requirements, pinouts, or communications type. Also, you may need a power supply that?s greater than 12V or more than 1A worth of current.
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Very nice and bright led
In the ones I got, there is a significant misalignment among the three colors, i.e. each color beam points in a different direction. If you just want to use each color one at a time, say as an indicator, no problem. But if you want to provide a nice blended color like yellow, they aren’t very good. If you use them as an indicator, where you are looking at the LED, you see the three colors clearly and this is even worse off axis. For example if you mix red and green, rather than seeing yellow, from some angles you see mostly green, and from others mostly red. This is true even if you add a lot of diffusion. If you use them as an illuminator, where the LED shines on something else, there are three very distinct color circles rather than a blended color.