Adafruit NeoPXL8 Friend - 8 x Strands NeoPixel Level Shifter (ID: 3975)
The NeoPXL8 Friend is designed for use with the associated Arduino library for rapid control of NeoPixel LEDs. The library runs on any of the Adafruit ATSAMD21 (M0) and ATSAMD51 (M4) board and handles all the NeoPixeling for you, up to 8 strands of concurrent DMA output each one can be 250 pixels long for a total of 8 x 250 = 2000 pixels. That leaves you some RAM for your code to run in as well - the theoretical max is 340 pixels per strand but you'd be using all the RAM on the M0 chip.
To make connection easy, this Friend does the level-shifting and logic booting for you. All 8 strands have a level shifter that converts the 3.3V logic level to 5V logic, there's even a little switch-cap converter that generates the clean 5V power supply for you. Then a 100 ohm resistor in line after the buffer reduces ringing on long wiring runs.
The breadboard friendly design plugs into your perf board or breadboard, wire up the 8 data lines, a ground line and a 3-5V power supply for the level shifter boost (10mA max draw). Outcomes beautiful 5V logic for any NeoPixel compatibles.
You get two options for connecting NeoPixels:
- 2 x 8 Header with ground and 5V-logic signal, in pairs
- 2 x RJ-45 'Ethernet' Jacks, with ground and 5V-logic signal per twisted pair. This matches the same wiring as the OctWS2811
The Friend comes as a kit, so you can solder in the headers or jacks however you like. You can even just solder both edges to plug into a breadboard on both sides. Then, of course, you'll also need to provide lots of 5V power to the NeoPixels. Since you'll need many Amps of current, that isn't managed through the Friend - the PCB copper would be too limiting.
Since we are using TCC0 (Timer 0), we are limited in what pins can be used for NeoPixel output. We recommend using with Arduino Zero or Metro M0 Express, with pins 0-7, that's what the library works best with. On M4 you can use pins 2-7, 10 and 11. You can also use with ItsyBitsy M0 or M4. Check the library example for other pin configurations you can use.
While the friend was designed specifically for use with our SAMD21 and SAMD51 boards and library, you could use it with other boards like ESP32, Teensy or STM32, for the level shifting capabilities. You'll just have to figure out what NeoPixel driver firmware you can use and what pins are available.
If that all sounds groovy to you, pick up one of these friends and check out the NeoPXL8 Arduino library examples to get your massive LED project going!