Christmas LED strings recommended for PixelBlaze


I’ve finally got my ‘new’ boards soldered after 8 months since buying!

I’ve got my APA102 LED strip running fine.

However, I’d like some advice on the best LED strings (not strip!) to use. This will be for Christmas, so all green wire is a must, then they should be fast with a data and clock signal. And Also 5 volts, so I don’t have to do complicated wiring.

I hope that many of you have already crossed this bridge and can advise.


Hi @MarkEMark,
Both WS2811 strings and WS2801 strings work pretty well for this. There may be other strings that are specifically aimed at Christmas that are compatible as well with all green wire, though I don’t have direct experience with any.

The WS2811 are not clocked, but usually plenty fast given the lower density per meter.

The WS2801 are clocked, and generally work well up to the 2MHz range, but don’t fare well too much above that.

I have a bunch of WS2811 I’m planning on adding to the store soon.

Here’s what they look like (the WS2801 strings are identical except with an additional wire):


Thanks Wizard. I’ve tonnes of different types lying around. But none look good on a tree because of the multi-coloured wiring. I found some old green wired ones, but they are 12v.

Just to double check - you can’t power the board with 12v, I’m guessing?

(I’m actually surprised how little the LED technology has come along in the past decade. Still the same old chips, or variations of.)

Right, you’ll need a separate 5V supply for PB. A small buck/step-down converter will work, or a separate supply like a small USB power supply. Keep GND connected between both systems.

If you do find a supply with nice wiring, let us know!

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There are a few options at 5V with green wiring on Ray Wu’s Aliexpress store (warning: link requires an AliExpress account to be logged in. It’s just a search of his store for query “green DC5V”).

Almost all are WS2811, though there’s one WS2818 which I guess has dual signal lines to sustain a single data line break, but isn’t actually separately clocked.

I’m considering doing up my tree this year too, but maybe in 12V. Here’s a spool of 500 at 18AWG for $88.

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Thanks Jeff - These look more the thing… then it turns out I have 100 very old WS2801 green ones lying around! I should really label things better…!

Hi everyone I’m a little late to the party and have been stalking the forums but finally ordered my PB! I have a regular strip coming in with it from the ktit but I want to go ahead with some string lights such as the WS2811; I know I want to be able to power the PB with the power supply because I am on a small scale for this year and think it would be easiest for my apartment to do the 5v. Does anyone have any recommendations on how I should power a relatively small system of about 200-300 lights? Realistically with the budget it will be $200 on the high end. Should I just create a post?

Yeah, a new post would be good if you have more Qs, but thats a pretty easy question.

For very small 5V installs, I tend to use USB charger adapters.

For about 300 LEDs, I’d go with a “power brick” style supply. Figure on 0.06A per LED if you run white, about 1/3rd that if you just run colorful patterns, and you can always trim brightness to save power.

Something like this should work great:

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Wow that’s amazing, I was going to keep searching while I awaited a response from the community and eventually message you if I really needed the help but thanks so much for the prompt response!

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I have been buying these…
(5v LED strip, 300 LEDs across 16ft

(5v LED individual LEDs wired together, like Christmas lights, 50 LEDs across 11ft

…can confirm both work great with PB

You know we sell LEDs on Tindie, for about the same cost? All proceeds go to making better Pixelblaze tech :slight_smile:

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I saw that only after I placed the amazon order, got it and connected everything, and then realized I needed more output expanders… oops… next time! I’d definitely rather buy from you!

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Hello jpm, just got the PB and trying to configure with 300 LED’s (5M) how did you power up the PB ?
external 5 v or thru Screw Power Terminal? post here if you have pictures of your connections?

In my case the LED strips I used were 5 volts, same as the PB, so it’s fine to use the same supply for both. In my case I am using this …

…but you probably don’t even need something as big as 15amps for a single strip/reel of 5 meters/300 LEDs.

Creating a tap off the power supply wires, going to both ends of your LED strip, and the the PB screw terminals, is the safest way.

If you put something like this …

…inline with your power supply, and then make the whole LED strip go red, blue, green, white, you could easily find the max amperage it would draw, then go 10 to 20% over that amperage with your power supply and it will surely run cool and last longer.

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