Crazy Idea: LED Strip Emulator

Looking around the shop, I’m short on LED strips and power supplies, but I have a lot of microcontrollers…

So, here’s my idea: I’d like to hook the clock and data lines from the Pixelblaze to input pins on another ESP/Arduino device, and have that device emulate an LED strip of arbitrary length. At the end of each frame(or every few frames), it would shoot the data to a waiting PC via serial port or datagram.

The PC which would then display the virtual LED strip, allowing you to test patterns, mappings, different physical arrangements, etc.

My question is this: Does Arduino LED strip emulation/testing code like this already exist somewhere? I haven’t turned it up with Google, but maybe I’m just searching for the wrong thing.

Also, I had exactly one semester of EE before deciding that I preferred CS – I kinda know the basics of how these things work, but I have no feel at all for the limitations. Is there an instantly obvious reason why this would be impossible? Otherwise, I’m just gonna wade in and see what happens. (All these years later, I wish I’d taken more EE – in fact, more of pretty much everything. It all works together in the end. :slight_smile:

You can get a virtual LED strip of 100 pixels in Pixelblaze in the live preview bar. It works with or without LEDs attached, and if you want to stop driving LEDs and still get the preview, you can switch it to “No LEDs” in settings.

I don’t know of any projects that do exactly what you are looking for at the data signal layer though. I’ve seen some simulators for OPC and other network protocols, but nothing over the wire for ws2812/apa102 style signals. Might be out there though!