I am building an ambilight. So I bought a 3 pin LED Strip which I power with the USB hub from my TV. Next step is to connect it to the Arduino Nano. Is it OK when I only use the dataport from the Aduino and the power only from the television?

3 Answers 3


I think it is not a good idea to power the LED strip via USB.

Normally USB delivers a maximum of mA (see below). Assuming you have 30 LEDs (minimum for a normal LED strip), and each LED gives 40 mA (maximum), this is already more than what most USB ports can deliver. This can ruin your USB port.

For the Arduino Nano you can use the 5 V, and you should connect all GNDs together.

But you will need a decent adapter anyway for the LED strip, so than you can power your Arduino Nano from the adapter you use for the LED strip.


According to Wikipedia USB power

Low-power devices (such as a typical USB keyboard) may draw at most 1 unit load (1 unit load is 100 mA for USB devices up to USB 2.0, while USB 3.0 defines a unit load as 150 mA), and all devices must act as Low-power devices when starting out as unconfigured.

High-power devices (such as a typical 2.5-inch USB Hard Drive) draw at least 1 unit load and at most 5 unit loads (500 mA) for devices up to USB 2.0 or 6 unit loads (900 mA) for SuperSpeed devices.

  • I am totaly new to this but the lightstrip got a 5v connection it is a WS2812B strip with 300 leds. I use a 3.0 usb port but an old cable witch i got long before 3.0 was out does this made any differnce?
    – kerim p.
    Commented Nov 7, 2018 at 12:49
  • To be honest, I don't have much experience with current from USB, but 300 LEDs * 40 mA = 12 A, 12 A * 5 V = 60 W. Of course you can software wise make sure not all LEDs are on at maximum current at the same time, but this is not so safe (in case of a programming error). Commented Nov 7, 2018 at 12:59
  • Your TV certainly cannot power a strip this long. You will blow your USB port with this (at least). Keep in mind, that even most high power USB charger will only give you a few amps. You have to buy a 5V power source, that can actually handle this current. Also you should provide the power to both sides of the strip (Start and end of the strip) to avoid it getting too hot.
    – chrisl
    Commented Nov 8, 2018 at 22:08

Yes, you can take +5v from the TV's USB and supply data from the Arduino, as long as you connect both the TV's USB-Ground and the Arduino-Ground together.



simulate this circuit – Schematic created using CircuitLab

Can you follow this? Connect all GNDs. TV 5V can power the Arduino, connect to the 5V/VCC pin and not the Vin pin. 5V power supply only powers the LED strip. No reason it couldn't power the Arduino as well tho, in which case there would be no need to connect to connect anything to the TV.

PC USB ports typically can only supply 500mA, only enough for 8 RGB LEDs at full white. I doubt your TV can do much more.

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