Flashing orange 'status' light on Output Expander

Hello! My lil’ bro and I just got a V3 + Expander as a winter pandemic project at our place. We’re both major noobs when it comes to this sort of hardware so please bear with me :smiley:

We’re just trying to run tests right now after an evening of soldering. When we power the Pixel (via simple microUSB), the following occurs on the Expander:

  • LED strip flashes with colour for a split second
  • “Draw” light turns green and then fades away
  • “Status” light starts flashing orange

Meanwhile, the Pixel has a solid orange light on it.

(took a video but looks like I’m not able to post it!)

We were planning on getting a 5V power adapter anyways, but I’d thought if there was a power issue we would still get some light on our LED strip that would then sort of bleed out along the line.

Any insight into the problem, or at least what the flashing orange means on the Expander? It seems very programmed.

FYI, it seems to be connected in the web interface, although no previews of a pattern are shown in the top bar when you click on them. Output expander is added as per instructions, WS2812 selected.

Thank you!!

How many LEDs? It won’t fade out, just fail, if you’re drawing too much power, I believe.

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Hi @ShyPete - in addition to letting us know the number of LEDs, can you screenshot your entire settings page for us? If there’s nothing in the preview bar, some common things that can cause this are the global brightness slider, brightness limit setting, output expander config (number of LEDs per channel), and the scheduled on/off.

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On V3 expanders, a flashing orange led means it is not seeing any valid data.

It will go solid once data comes in even if it is not for that board address. The green led will light if it gets valid data to it’s address.

I would double check the settings, led type = output expander, and any connections for the data.

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So it was about 60 pixels when I made that initial post… definitely too much for the USB power supply, so I’ve since attached a little scrap 7 pixel strip to try and get things going. The preview bar is there now, thanks for the tip about # LEDS per channel. Still not getting any data to the LEDs though!

Thank you for the clarification!

It’s now solid orange, so I’ll try tinkering with addresses and reset the wiring between the Pixel + Expander’s little green bridges

(second half of my settings screenshot)

If it’s a non-pro expander, unless you cut traces it will have address 0. On a Pro expander, moving all the address switches up will set it to 0, all down will be 7.

Once you get a green “draw” LED, I would expect the LEDs to start working too. If not send us a photo of the wiring and we can help troubleshoot!

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So we got it working!! It just took some re-soldering and re-wiring on top of the settings adjustments y’all suggested.

Next step is to program these as Christmas lights… then get our hands on a power supply and make proper use of the expander. Let me know if you have any PSU recs?

Thanks so much for everyone’s help! :smiley:


Calculate the top usage in power given X LEDs, figuring that you want to size roughly for that usage plus some, so you then can run the PSU at 80% of capacity comfortably.

If cost is an issue (ie if sizing up means a much bigger and more expensive PSU), then take the smaller size and just make sure you power limit at the PB settings level to ensure you don’t reach max of the PSU. Ideally you want some ceiling headroom on the PSU both for heat and life of the unit.

As for brands, Meanwell is the gold standard, cheap Chinese units might be much cheaper but you risk potential problems (including cheap builds leading to fire/etc). If you want to run it long hours and not worry, spend for a high quality PSU.

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If you’re looking at Meanwell, I just wanted to share that I now slightly regret buying an LRS-350 for an indoor application instead of multiple LRS-200s - the 200’s don’t have a fan, and the fan on the 350 turns on occasionally even when the supply is well below 50% of max. The fan is pretty noisy.


Thanks @wizard - I just hooked up four v3 expander pro boards the other day, and was scratching my head as to why it kept showing only solid orange after triple checking everything else. I’ll try again this evening and see if the jumpers were not fully engaged in upper position. Hoping that does the trick!

FYI: Two of the four new v3 pro boards arrived damaged, each with broken off fuse terminal posts. I suspect the damage occurred during transit since they arrived without sufficient packaging on the outside nor the inside between each board. I resoldered the posts, and appear to be working, so if the jumper test does not work, there may be some additional damage elsewhere that’s not visible.

Thanks - be back soon!

Hi @CrazyLegs ,
Thats concerning! Can you send me photos and order details? wizard@electromage.com
I’ll talk to my shipper about improving packaging. I can replace these if they are damaged.

It will go solid once data comes in even if it is not for that board address. If you are seeing the pulsing orange LED, then its a data connection issue. How long of a run do you have between the PB and expander? There’s only a small resistor between the data connection and the MCU, not a whole lot to go wrong, but if the fuse holders broke off, there was enough crushing force to scratch traces or break the resistor.

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