Dead Led

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This is a little of a public service announcement as I didn’t follow the instructions and have now killed my NeoPixel ring leds.

At the top of the NeoPixel Best Practices information ( is some text about including a capacitor across the positive and negative terminals of the NeoPixels and a resistor in line with the data pin.

I didn’t have either of these things and was impatient to make things happen. Things were definitely happening and it was exciting to progress. However, the lighting configuration in the picture above is not what it is supposed to be doing. I think that the lack of those precautions means that I have killed the control chips in the LEDs and so now they are dead.

Smiler remains chipper (I glued her smile on) and I have a replacement pixel ring on the way along with the capacitor and resistor that I should have used in the first place. I also have a selection of male-male, male-female connectors on the way so I can tidy up the wiring a bit.

How does the expression go? More haste, less speed.


Rob Miles
Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Oh well. I’ve managed to do this to a couple of my LED rings over the years. However, it is not usually the lack of a capacitor and a resistor that causes a problem. I usually miss-wire them, or have the ground become disconnected which can cause nasty current flows through the controller. It can be a bit weird, because sometimes one or two leds work and the rest don’t. And one time I got this rather nice random light feature that I really wanted to keep.

Consider yourself a proper hardware engineer now that you’ve blown something up…

Reply to Rob Miles

In reply to Rob Miles
Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Ooh, my first proper comment with this new system.

The lights shown in the picture now seem to be permanently set like that now and all of the other ones are just off like you mentioned.

I can’t think of exactly what the sequence of events was before they died. I know that my Uno board arrived and I switched to it over the Leonardo that I borrowed. The new Uno was a cheap and cheerful one rather than an official Genuino one (like the Leonardo was) so maybe there is something with a built in protection going on there? Maybe it is all just a coincidence and I stopped being lucky.

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