Advanced WiFi LED pattern engine. Live pattern expression compiler, lightning fast fixed point math, and HDR!Designed by ElectroMage in United States of America
What is it? Pixelblaze V2+ is an advanced WiFi LED controller and pattern development engine. It makes it fast and fun to write new patterns with its web-based live editor and highly optimized exp...Read More…
Pixelblaze V2+ is an advanced WiFi LED controller and pattern development engine. It makes it fast and fun to write new patterns with its web-based live editor and highly optimized expression engine. Pixelblaze can store hundreds of patterns and lets you write new ones by entering mathematical expressions or code that update live as you type. No more time consuming compile, upload, test cycles! Pixelblaze is optimized for speed and can produce hundreds of frames per second for extremely smooth animations.
In this kit you get the Pixelblaze controller board (pictured), 5mm screw terminals, and 0.1" pin headers. It's sold as a kit, and some easy soldering is involved to attach the optional screw terminal and expansion header.
Check out my store page for LEDs.
Pixelblaze was designed for APA102 LEDs (aka DotStar). These LEDs, and their cousin, the SK9822, are state-of-the-art and provide rock solid updates, faster refresh cycles, and the possibility of a dynamic range well beyond 0-255.
WS2811, WS2812/WS2812b (aka NeoPixel), WS2813, WS2815, SK6812 RGB or RGBW, and WS2801 LEDs are also supported.
Pixelblaze has a single output capable of supporting the various LED types up to 5,000 APA102 LED or 2500 WS2812 LEDs. An expansion board can be connected to the output for 8 channels. Each channel on the output expander can drive WS2812 or APA102 compatible LEDs. For WS2812, up to 800 RGB or 600 RGBW pixels are supported per channel. For APA102, up to 600 pixels per channel are supported (one channel must be used for clock).
Any wiring configuration is supported, including strips, matrix panels, or other configurations. The pixel mapper can be used to take any physical layout and used to create powerful 2D and 3D animations even for complex wiring scenarios.
At it's heart, Pixelblaze runs on a powerful WiFi enabled microcontroller and has a websocket based API in addition to the built-in interface. Patterns can be controlled over the network, and variables can be inspected or changed on the fly.
Pixelblaze Firestorm (runs separately) adds network synchronization and centralized control. Animations are kept in sync, and patterns can be activated across multiple Pixelblaze controllers simultaneously.
Turn on the automatic discovery feature to quickly find your Pixelblaze on your network. If enabled and it has an internet connection, Pixelblaze reports it's IP address so that you can find it without having to scan your network. This feature is completely optional, Pixelblaze won't "call home" unless this feature is enabled.
Interface with the real world using 3-4 input/ouput pins. These can be used as buttons or switches, or to turn something on/off. The analog digital converter (ADC) can be used in patterns to read an analog signal such as a potentiometer.
A Sensor Expansion Board is available that adds sound (microphone and line-in), light, an accelerometer, and 5 additional analog inputs!
As long as your pattern is valid, it's live and running on Pixelblaze. Your pattern is recompiled and sent to Pixelblaze on every change so you can see your changes live. This is one of the most powerful pattern writing features, and you really get a feel for how your changes impact the pattern - all while it's still installed!
I created Pixelblaze because I wanted a better, faster way to write patterns for LED strips. I've used dedicated LED controllers and microcontrollers like Arduino, and I always felt that the compile, upload, and test iteration was cumbersome. Getting fast frame rates meant using cumbersome fixed-point math libraries as most of microcontrollers are much slower when working on floating-point numbers.
It was designed to be embeddable and integrated into LED art pieces, or used in costumes and props. Because it's 100% programmed over WiFi, the pattern can be written or updated AFTER it has been installed without needing to attach any cables.
If you've used Arduino to generate patterns for LED strips you'll appreciate the live compiler and lightning fast math engine.
Pixelblaze has WiFi built-in and serves up a web page with a pattern list and pattern editor. Changes in the editor are compiled on the fly and updated in Pixelblaze so you can see your changes live.
On the chip, the LED pattern engine uses high speed fixed point math and pipelines data to the LED strip while the next pixel is being calculated. Frame rates of several hundred frames per second are possible, yet the engine can generate patterns for arbitrarily long strips of LEDs (at a reduced frame rate).
Pixelblaze has an HDR color mode for APA102 LEDs that can produce incredibly high dynamic range of intensities. This means patterns can still look beautiful at very low light settings, adds subtle tones between transitions, and can be driven with a range that is not possible on other LEDs and is not available in most LED driver libraries.
Pixelblaze is easy to use, and can be used as a pattern selector without any math. Out of the box, or embedded in a art piece, Pixelblaze is usable by anyone (some soldering required).
Pixelblaze really shines in the hands of someone that is familiar with programming and is comfortable writing mathematical expressions in a C-like syntax or that can write code. If you are already doing this with a microcontroller, Pixelblaze was made for you.
If you aren't a coding wizard, don't worry, many people with limited programming experience have found Pixelblaze's editor approachable and fun to use. Real-time editor, instant feedback, and expression-centric pattern generation means you won't be pulling your hair out trying to find that missing semicolon or curly brace. Even run-time errors that would usually just crash your program are harmless and show up right in the editor.
Check out my store page for LEDs.
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