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RGB LEDs, 8mm, Integrated IC, NRZ Controlled, Chainable, 5-pack US$4.95

RGB LEDs, 8mm, Integrated IC, NRZ Controlled, Chainable, 5-pack

This is a pack of five "addressable" RGB LEDs in a large diffused 8mm package. Each of these has a control IC built right into the LED. This PTH version is simple to solder into your project. It's great when you need a lot of color from not a lot of board space.

These LEDs behave similarly to the SMD LEDs found on the RGB LED Breakout Board and the LilyPad Pixel Board which use a WS2812 control IC. Note the timing difference below, however.

Data Transmission Interface

The communication interface between a microcontroller and the LED's control IC is unusual. It's one wire, but it's not like a standard UART serial interface. This interface is very time-specific. Both a logic 0 and a logic 1 require a square pulse; it's the length of the pulse that defines which it is. See the timing diagram below:

The data are sent in a sequence containing 24 of those bits 8 bits for each color followed by a low Reset pulse of at least 50s. The channels are in the order Green, Red, Blue.

The larger the value of a specific color is, the brighter it will be. If every color is set to 0, the LED will be off. If every color is set to max (255) the LED will be brightest white.

Because the interface is so time-specific, you will need a real-time processor like an Arduino or Propeller to run the LEDs. Microprocessors like those on the Raspberry Pi or pcDuino can't give you a reliably-timed pulse; even if one bit is less than a microsecond off, that could mean the difference between purple and maroon.


The pinout of these LEDs makes it very easy to chain them together so you can create smooth motion effects between a string of LEDs. Each LED's IC passes data onto the next IC in the chain automatically.
  • 1. DIN
  • 2. VDD (4.5V - 6V)
  • 3. GND
  • 4. DOUT

Controllable RGB LED Resources

This product was added to our catalog on Monday 16 June, 2014.


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