HackSpace magazine

Crowdfunding: Pixelblaze v3

By Ben Everard. Posted

Pixelblaze has been around for many years as a WiFi-enabled controller for chainable LEDs. The firmware takes care of most of the setup – plug it in and it creates a WiFi network that lets you enter the credentials for your main WiFi network. Once it’s connected, you get a web-based programming setup where you can use JavaScript-like code to program the patterns.

If you want your lights to respond to the environment, you can add a sensor board which includes audio input (which can provide 32-band frequency data), a three-axis accelerometer, an ambient light sensor, and five analogue inputs.

There’s also a Pico option, which scales everything down to the form factor of an LED strip. The outputs line up, so you can solder the Pixelblaze Pico straight onto your LEDs.

While you can drive a few thousand LEDs from a Pixelblaze (note that you’ll need to think carefully about your power supply setup if you’re planning on using this many LEDs), the rate at which you can update the pixels goes down as the number of pixels goes up, so if you want large numbers of pixels and smooth animations, you may want to consider the output expander add-on, which has eight outputs for you to split your LEDs between. We’ve used and enjoyed the Pixelblaze V2 previously, and the V3 looks like it includes a great set of improvements – the biggest one being the boost in processing power from an ESP8266 to an ESP32. While we haven’t had a chance to get our hands on it yet, it looks like an evolutionary increase in specs rather than a revolutionary new product. Given that the Pixelblaze V2 is already a great device, we’re excited to see what the new processor capabilities mean for this device. 

From $35    crowdsupply.com    Delivery: February 2021


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