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I am looking at purchasing a NeoPixel Ring for a project, but need it to work without an Arduino. Once the NeoPixel has been programmed by the Arduino, will it function when powered without the Arduino? I am not looking at changing colors or anything, I want to set the LEDs to solid red and not change.

I have found in the Adafruit website that it says "NeoPixels don’t just light up on their own; they require a microcontroller (such as Arduino) and some programming." But is this only to get them working initially, or do they require an microcontroller permanently?

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No, the settings for the colors are stored in RAM on the individual devices so they need to be reprogrammed every time they are powered on.

On the other hand, it is possible to use a much smaller device such as a surface-mount ATtiny85 to program them, and light_ws2812 runs on said device just fine. And once they have been programmed it is possible to put the MCU in deep sleep so that it consumes almost no power.

  • "And once they have been programmed it is possible to put the MCU in deep sleep so that it consumes almost no power." -- Why bother when the MCU running flat out consumes about 0.0001% the power of the average ws2812 chain? – Majenko Oct 13 '15 at 10:02

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