An Arduino Shield to control high current Red-Green-Blue LED unitsDesigned by The Curious Electric Company, Ships from United Kingdom
Overview This kit is an Arduino shield to control a Red/Green/Blue LED board. Use it to help add colour to your projects. It contains an IC which controls the output colour PWM using serial comma...Read More…
This kit is an Arduino shield to control a Red/Green/Blue LED board.
Use it to help add colour to your projects.
It contains an IC which controls the output colour PWM using serial commands. If you need to change the colour then just send a new colour setting. These units are also stack-able so you can run lots of large RGB units from just two digital pins.
This Arduino shield controls 3 outputs for red, green and blue with pulse width modulation. These outputs can control any 12V load, up to 1.5A.
The circuit uses a serial interface and pulse width modulation (PWM) control to maintain an output colour. It is based upon the WS2801 RGB LED controller IC, but has higher current output buffer transistors which means it can be used with higher current and higher voltage RGB LED displays. Only two Arduino digital IO pins are required to control virtually any number of RGB led boards.
This board was developed to run a number of strings of RGB LED strip. It was so useful we thought we would make a number of boards up. (Please note: This kit requires both an Arduino (or another micro-controller) and an RGB LED unit.)
The input voltage (at P1) can be in the range of 7 to 30V DC. It is designed to be used with 12V LED boards, hence the supply will need to be 12V DC.
This shield uses the WS2801 RGB controller IC. This reads in serial data and then controls three pulse width modulated channels (one for each colour: red, green and blue). The data sheet for the WS2801 is available here.
Once the output colour has been set using the serial interface, then the Arduino does not need to do anything else until the RGB LED needs to be changed, as the PWM control is handled by the WS2801 IC. The output from this IC can only control a maximum of 20mA, so additional transistors have been used to control a higher output power than this (up to 1.5A).
The board has an in-built 5V regulator to power the Arduino from the input supply.
This board is quite hackable, for example:
These boards can be stacked to have multiple RGB outputs, although some changes and extra components are required. Here is a guide to the changes required if you would like to stack these boards to run more than one RGB LED shield from an Arduino.
This was used to control the RGB LED strip in this ‘Stickman’ fancy dress costume. It can be used anywhere that some 12V LEDs need to be controlled.
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Matt Little from The Curious Electric Company is an electrical and electronic engineer mainly working on renewable energy projects.
He is also a founding member of Nottingham Hackspace in the UK and is interested in helping people make stuff. Every so often there is the need for a device which has not been fulfilled elsewhere. Hence the projects here are a random mixture of things, including LEDs, displays, micro-controller development boards and renewable energy products.