I'm working on this project where I have interfaced a LED strip (a two wire LED strip) with this Arduino (its not an Uno). I have setup every thing correctly according to this instructable. I'm able to make a simple blinky pattern and I turn it on/off with an Android app I made to communicate with the Arduino using Bluetooth on my phone. Cool.

What I cannot understand is, since the strip is two wired, how should I address individual LEDs on the strip to make more complex patterns? Can I use bit shifts? Reading an article from Makezine (insufficient reps to post more than 2 links), it says that I should connect the strup directly to the output pin. IMO, this will fry the Arduino or in a less virulent sway, not light up the strip in any way.

  • Is this the article you mention ? It does say to connect directly only for 1 or 2 LEDs and you are right : typical limit is 40mA per Arduino output pin. And it won't work directly if you have common anodes like in the schematic.
    – FredP
    Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 14:54

1 Answer 1


Addressing individual LEDS on a simple strip with LEDs in series and/or parallel connection is just not possible.
Connecting the strip directly to an output pin is completely nonsense. Forget it.

You need a strip with digital LED controllers populated, as described (for instance) in another link mentioned in your second link: http://www.adafruit.com/products/306

Have a look at this, then I'm sure you will come back with more detailed questions ;-)

  • Nice ! Have you tried this type of LED strip, I'm very curious about it ?
    – FredP
    Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 14:59
  • @FredP: I didn't try. But I found a really awesome project with a similar type. Have a look at this: pjrc.com/teensy/td_libs_OctoWS2811.html
    – mic
    Commented Oct 21, 2014 at 6:20

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