NeoPixel Stick - 8 x WS2812 5050 RGB LED

This is the NeoPixel Stick from Adafruit, a small chainable board with eight 5050 WS2812 RGB LEDs. The WS2812s are each addressable as the driver chip is located inside the LED. Each NeoPixel Stick has ~18mA constant current drive so the color will be very consistent even if the voltage varies, and requires 5V.

Every stick is equipped with a single data line with a very timing-specific protocol requiring a real-time microconroller with a 8MHz or faster processor such as an AVR, Arduino, PIC, mbed, etc. There are solder pads on the back for connecting wires or breadboard pins and two mounting holes for securing this board to many different surfaces.

NeoPixel Stick - 8 x WS2812 5050 RGB LED Product Help and Resources

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Core Skill: Soldering

This skill defines how difficult the soldering is on a particular product. It might be a couple simple solder joints, or require special reflow tools.

3 Soldering

Skill Level: Competent - You will encounter surface mount components and basic SMD soldering techniques are required.
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Core Skill: Programming

If a board needs code or communicates somehow, you're going to need to know how to program or interface with it. The programming skill is all about communication and code.

2 Programming

Skill Level: Rookie - You will need a better fundamental understand of what code is, and how it works. You will be using beginner-level software and development tools like Arduino. You will be dealing directly with code, but numerous examples and libraries are available. Sensors or shields will communicate with serial or TTL.
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Core Skill: Electrical Prototyping

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.

2 Electrical Prototyping

Skill Level: Rookie - You may be required to know a bit more about the component, such as orientation, or how to hook it up, in addition to power requirements. You will need to understand polarized components.
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Customer Comments

  • A word of warning about this (I posted it on the Adafruit site, too): Be very careful with the wires that you solder onto it. I’ve been soldering for nigh on to 5 decades now, including a lot of SMT stuff. (I’ll admit I have trouble soldering anything smaller than an 0402 by hand, even with a good microscope.) Anyway, the wires I soldered onto the 8X stick (which I bought directly from Adafruit) have all pulled off their pads. I did not get them excessively hot or heated for an excessively long time. I was able to solder the wires onto the SMT parts on the “front side” and get the experiments done, and am OK with that. I soldered the V+ and GND to the bypass caps, and although I tried to get the Din wire onto the Din pin on LED1, I was unsuccessful, but did get it onto the Dout pin (more accessible), so was able to use the other 7 LEDs. (I’d already decided to use single Neopixels in my project, but since I had the 8x stick in-hand, I was able to “experiment” until I could get the singles.) I’ll also admit that sometimes a panel will “sneak through” production chains with minor problems that lead to poor adhesion, so mine may be an oddball.

    I’ve also suggested to Adafruit Engineering (SF Engineering: LISTEN UP!) to check with the PCB manufacturer and find out what the smallest via they support (without special handling charge) and put one (or more) at each end of any pad that you expect the user to solder to, unless it is a plated through-hole already. (Put a small pad on the other side, even if there’s nothing connected to it.) This approach greatly improves the strength of pads. (It’s also good for the solder pads under any connector that might have physical stress, e.g., a mini USB connector – especially on those ground connections.)

    Oh, yes: I also discovered (guess how!) that the melting point on the Neopixel LEDs is lower than that on a normal IC, so be careful with that soldering iron.

  • To everyone wondering: it’s 51.10mm / 2" x 10.22mm / 0.4" x 3.19mm / 0.12"

  • Is dimensional data available on these boards? Any data sheets with spacing of mounting holes, board size, ect?

  • A simple communications protocol converter for these LEDS would be great.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5

Based on 5 ratings:

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1 of 1 found this helpful:

Be careful and don't hold heat too long!

The solder pads are not that well bonded to the pcb, use as low a heat as possible, when soldering, otherwise, an excellent product!

Nice RGB LED

I use it to get the Naza Fligthcontroller Status LED signal on different places on the Multicopter so i can allways se the status of my fligtcontroller,

Teaching tool

The NeoPixel stick was very useful teaching my college class on Microprocessors. It was a very visual way to shift/set/clear bits especially for those very new to the ‘guts’ of a microcomputer. Plus, they’re just fun.

Colorful and

I really like working with these “smart” RGB LEDs (Adafruit NeoPixels and DotStars) because they make it easy to create a colorful lightshow using very little hardware apart from the microcontroller (I’m using the Arduino Pro Mini 328 and the Adafruit Trinket) and the RGB LED module(s).

The only observation I can make about the NeoPixel Stick is a self-inflicted issue: I managed to cause some of the solder pads on three different sticks to lift-off the PCB rendering it difficult/impossible to daisy-chain another stick because of the absence of the Dout line.

Edit — I hadn’t read the post by the other customer who noted the issue with the solder pads before I posted my review.

Boom I've got a Rainbow!

Quick to solder and start outputting some full color LED action. NeoPixels are very easy to work with and chain together, also this works well with FadeCandy for connecting to Processing or OPC via JavaScript and Node.