Programmable RGB and RGBW LEDs, such as the very popular WS2812 strip format, have revolutionized the amount of bright light and number of colors that can be easily added to maker projects. Hundreds, even thousands, of these tiny light units can be controlled with a single data line.
As amazing as this is, if you need even more lighting power, the Serial to 8 Channel WS2812 Driver from ElectroMage presents an interesting option. One of these devices can control 180 RGB or 240 RGBW pixels on each of its 8 channels, giving it the ability to control up to 1920 RGB pixels per board. Up to 8 boards can be controlled by one serial connection, giving such a system the ability to control an astounding 15360 pixels from a single serial port.
Perhaps less impressive on the surface, but still important for a well-running system, the device takes care of all WS2812 timing requirements, freeing up your main CPU and interrupts for other tasks. It also features CRC error checking, and shifts 3.3V inputs to 5V for reliable LED performance.
On a related note, if you’d like inspiration for your next massive LED project, why not check out this post about hacked Christmas lighting? It’s never too early to begin preparing for the 2019 holiday season!