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Using the FastLED Library

It felt good to get connected with fellow Arduino members today. After a quick discussion, we settled in on solving using the FastLED library to drive a string of NeoPixel LEDs. Rob led the way and provided some excellent instruction to catch the rest of up. By the end we all had strings of LEDs blinking. Providing the details here, it's actually really easy once you remember the process.


FastLED 3.3


This is a library for easily & efficiently controlling a wide variety of LED chipsets, like the ones sold by adafruit (Neopixel, DotStar, LPD8806), Sparkfun (WS2801), and aliexpress. In addition to writing to the leds, this library also includes a number of functions for high-performing 8bit math for manipulating your RGB values, as well as low level classes for abstracting out access to pins and SPI hardware, while still keeping things as fast as possible.



Arduino Uno wiring configuration

note: it is recommended to use an external power source for the NeoPixels, though I did not in this setup, everything worked great powered from usb only.

  • Green to Digital Pin 3

  • Black to Ground (GND)

  • Red to 5v


Install the FastLED library:

  1. Tools menu - 2. Managed Libraries - 3. Search for fastled, by Daniel Garcia



Provided example Sketch files from FastLED


Start with the Examples from Custom Libraries, next select FastLED followed by the Blink program. This Blink code blinks a single LED from the string. We use this to validate wiring is correct and that program installs correctly on the Arduino. See example next page.



Test the rest of the examples as you please, my favorite is DemoReel100.


The FastLED Library seems to be an improvement over the Adafruit Neopixel library, this could be the library for your next project.


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