NeoPixel

The neopixel module lets you use NeoPixel (WS2812) individually addressable RGB and RGBW V2 LED strips with the micro:bit. Note to use the neopixel module, you need to import it separately with:

import neopixel

Note

From our tests, the Microbit NeoPixel module can drive up to around 256 NeoPixels. Anything above that and you may experience weird bugs and issues. The micro:bit can only supply 90mA V1 or 190mA V2 to external devices,larger numbers of NeoPixels require an external power supply with common ground.

NeoPixels are designed to work at 5V, but luckily they still function using the 3V supply of the BBC micro:bit. Please note that the micro:bit edge connector should not be connected to anything supplying 5V.

NeoPixels are fun strips of multi-coloured programmable LEDs. This module contains everything to plug them into a micro:bit and create funky displays, art and games such as the demo shown below.

Neopixel flexible tile

Image attribution: adafruit flexible Neopixel matrix

To connect a strip of neopixels you’ll need to attach the micro:bit as shown below (assuming you want to drive the pixels from pin 0 - you can connect neopixels to pins 1 and 2 too). The label on the crocodile clip tells you where to attach the other end on the neopixel strip. The VDD pin may be labelled as something else on some variants of neopixels - for example “V+”. In some cases it may be called “+5V” and it is only safe to use this if you have no other 5V devices connected.

Warning

Do not use the 3v connector on the Microbit to power any more than 8 Neopixels at a time.

If you wish to use more than 8 Neopixels, you must use a separate 3v-5v power supply for the Neopixel power pin.

_images/neopixel-croc.png

Classes

class neopixel.NeoPixel(pin, n)
class neopixel.NeoPixel(pin, n, bpp)

Initialise a new strip of n number of neopixel LEDs controlled via pin pin. The V2 micro:bit can also support RGBW neopixels, so a third argument can be passed to NeoPixel to indicate the number of bytes per pixel (bpp). For RGBW, this is is 4 rather than the default of 3 for RGB and GRB.

Each pixel is addressed by a position (starting from 0). Neopixels are given RGB (red, green, blue) / RGBW (red, green, blue, white) V2 values between 0-255 as a tuple. For example, in RGB, (255,255,255) is white. In RGBW, (255,255,255,0) or (0,0,0,255) is white.

clear()

Clear all the pixels.

show()
write()

Show the pixels. Must be called for any updates to become visible. For micro:bit V2, an additional write() method is available and is equivalent to show()

fill(colour)

V2 Colour all pixels a given RGB/RGBW value. The colour argument should be a tuple of the same length as the mumber of bytes per pixel (bpp). For example fill((0,0,255)). Use in conjunction with show() to update the Neopixels.

Operations

Writing the colour doesn’t update the display (use show() for that).

np[0] = (255, 0, 128)  # first element
np[-1] = (0, 255, 0)  # last element
np.show()  # only now will the updated value be shown

To read the colour of a specific pixel just reference it.

print(np[0])

Using Neopixels

Interact with Neopixels as if they were a list of tuples. Each tuple represents the RGB (red, green and blue) / RGBW (red, green,blue and white) mix of colours for a specific pixel. The RGBW values can range between 0 to 255.

For example, initialise a strip of 8 RGB neopixels on a strip connected to pin0 like this:

import neopixel
np = neopixel.NeoPixel(pin0, 8)

Set pixels by indexing them (like with a Python list). For instance, to set the first pixel to full brightness red, you would use:

np[0] = (255, 0, 0)

Or the final pixel to purple:

np[-1] = (255, 0, 255)

Get the current colour value of a pixel by indexing it. For example, to print the first pixel’s RGB value use:

print(np[0])

Finally, to push the new colour data to your Neopixel strip, use the .show() function:

np.show()

If nothing is happening, it’s probably because you’ve forgotten this final step..!

Note

If you’re not seeing anything change on your Neopixel strip, make sure you have show() at least somewhere otherwise your updates won’t be shown.

Example

"""
    neopixel_random.py

    Repeatedly displays random colours onto the LED strip.
    This example requires a strip of 8 Neopixels (WS2812) connected to pin0.

"""
from microbit import *
import neopixel
from random import randint

# Setup the Neopixel strip on pin0 with a length of 8 pixels
np = neopixel.NeoPixel(pin0, 8)

while True:
    #Iterate over each LED in the strip

    for pixel_id in range(0, len(np)):
        red = randint(0, 60)
        green = randint(0, 60)
        blue = randint(0, 60)

        # Assign the current LED a random red, green and blue value between 0 and 60
        np[pixel_id] = (red, green, blue)

        # Display the current pixel data on the Neopixel strip
        np.show()
        sleep(100)