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What is a NeoPixel LED?

What is a NeoPixel LED?

Here at PMD Way we have received many email asking us if we sell the fabled "NeoPixel" LED products. And the answer is yes, yes we do. However we would like to share some background knowledge to help you with this process.

First of all, the term "NeoPixel" is a marketing term created by Limor Fried for the surface-mount WS2812B digitally addressable RGB LED. Nothing more, nothing less. Here is an example of a WS2812B:

WS2812B RGB LED from PMD Way with free delivery worldwide

What is the WS2812B LED?

It's a 5V RGB (Red Green Blue) LED that is controlled by a stream of digital data in serial form. More technically-minded people can download the datasheet and examine the details. 

And the best thing is - data flows through each WS2812B LED so you can connect hundreds of them together and control them all from one digital output pin on your microcontroller or development board. 

You can create all sorts of lighting effects, for example this huge roof-mounted installation:

 ... or something different such as the projects in the following video:

 That's a lot of awesome, so how can you make it happen? With the wide variety of WS2812B LED products from PMD Way, a suitable power supply and a controller based on an Arduino, Raspberry Pi or other development platform. Wiring is very simple, for example with an Arduino:

Arduino and W2812B RGB LED strip from PMD Way with free delivery worldwide

Using with Arduino

We recommend the FastLED library

Using with AVR

Suitable AVR library

Using with Raspberry Pi

Library for use with various languages such as python

Powering your W2812B LEDs

At this point we want to note that you shouldn't power too many WS2812B LEDs from your development board. At full brightness, each W2812B can draw up to 60mA of current. 

So you need to think about an external 5V power supply with enough current for the LEDs in use. You can use the formula: Current = number of LEDs x 0.06. 

For example if you had a 4x4 LED matrix, that's 16 LEDs. Current = 16 x 0.06 = 0.96A, so you want a 5V DC 1A power supply.

PMD Way has a wide range of 5V power supplies for your use, in easy to use wall wart format up to 10A or switchmodes up to 60A. 

We're working on some individual projects, but don't be a stranger if you need help in the meanwhile.  

WS2812B Products

PMD Way offers a wide and growing range of W2812B LED products:

  • WS2812B LEDs - bare LEDs for your own circuit boards, in both through-hole and surface-mount
  • WS2812B LED modules - these are circuit boards with the LEDs in strips, squares, circles, rings, rectangles, and convenient great-value mini PCBs
  • WS2812B LED strip - flexible LED strips with LEDs in various densities (LEDs per metre), PCB strip color, weatherproofed and more

As always if you have any questions about products from PMD Way and their use, please email

Finally - to keep up to date with interesting news, offers and new products - interact with us on facebook, instagram, and twitter.

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