Pixelblaze V3

A Wi-Fi-enabled, live-codable LED controller with a web-based development environment

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A photo showing the V3 and V3 Pico side by side

Advanced Wi-Fi LED Controller and Pattern Development Engine

Pixelblaze makes it fast and fun to write new LED patterns with its web-based live editor and highly optimized expression engine. You can store a hundred patterns and write new ones by entering mathematical expressions or code that update live as you type. Pixelblaze was designed to make it easier to both write LED patterns and get an intuitive feel for how code and math impact those patterns.

More Power in Less Space

Pixelblaze V3 Standard and Pico

The latest iteration of Pixelblaze, the Pixelblaze V3, brings more computing power and a smaller form factor so it can be used in even more creative ways, both larger in scope and smaller in size.

No more time-consuming compile-upload-test cycles! Pixelblaze supports a subset of JavaScript for control-flow, loops, functions, etc., and simple-yet-powerful expression capabilities for generating patterns. It also ships with dozens of patterns, and over 100 compatible patterns are available through an active community of Pixelblaze users.

Pixelblaze can interface with hardware and sensors using the available GPIO, analog, or touch inputs, like our easy-to-use add-on Sensor Board with microphone, accelerometer, light sensor, and co-processor that performs audio frequency analysis.

Pattern Demo

Made for LED Enthusiasts and Novices Alike

If you aren’t a coding wizard, don’t worry, many people with limited programming experience have found Pixelblaze’s editor approachable and fun to use. The real-time editor, instant feedback, a variable watcher, and expression-centric pattern generation means you won’t be pulling your hair out trying to find that missing semicolon or curly brace. Even run-time errors that would usually just crash your program are harmless and show up right in the editor.

You’ll also find that Pixelblaze really shines in the hands of someone who is familiar with programming and is comfortable writing mathematical expressions in a JavaScript or C-like syntax. If you are already doing this with a microcontroller, Pixelblaze was made for you.

Sensor Expansion Board

Sensor Expansion Board

The Sensor Board makes it easy to write and use sound, accelerometer/tilt, or light to create reactive patterns. Frequency data, acceleration, and light data are fed directly into your pattern as variables so you can focus on using instead of formatting the data. No libraries needed.

Creating & Sharing Patterns

Pixel maps let you focus on how your pattern looks in 2D and/or 3D space without having to worry about coordinates or scaling for different installations. A pattern that works on one LED setup will work the same on a different LED setup. Write a generative map in JavaScript, or use real-world coordinates in any unit. It supports arbitrary LED configurations without impacting pattern code. Examples include rings, 2D matrix, walled cube, and volumetric cube.

Adding UI controls to a pattern are as easy as writing a function. This lets you add sliders and color pickers to a pattern that can be used to adjust the look and feel of a pattern.

Sharing and finding patterns written by the community is easy, and there are over 100 patterns available that can be loaded as-is, or used for inspiration in your own designs.

Pixelblaze is great for anyone making LED art large or small, costumes and wearables, or decorating cars and houses inside and out! With Pixelblaze V3’s improved tools and documentation, it’s easy to learn how to write patterns and dissect existing patterns to discover their secrets!

What’s New in V3?

Here’s a summary of the improvements in V3:

  • New Pico form factor option
  • ESP32 dual-core 240 MHz processors
  • Twelve GPIO supporting more analog inputs and/or touch sensors
  • 2X to 2.5X faster pattern performance
  • 5X more array elements and 2X more global variables available to patterns.
  • Faster Wi-Fi, more responsive web interface, and WebSockets API!
  • Easier Wi-Fi setup
  • New patterns with much improved documentation and comments

Pixelblaze V3 adds the power of the ESP32 processor and usability enhancements, paving the way for more advanced patterns and features. The physical differences of the standard Pixelblaze form factor are intentionally minimized so that V3 is compatible with existing V2 expansions and mounting setups.

Also, the new Pixelblaze V3 Pico form factor is the smallest and most powerful LED controller made. It was designed for minimal size, while having the same ESP32 firepower of its larger sibling. The Pico can be hidden away more easily and used in smaller places. The Pixelblaze Pico is only 11 mm x 33.3 mm (366.3 mm²)!

Even Easier to Set Up

Pixelblaze creates a Wi-Fi network for initial configuration. Once you connect to the network from your phone or computer, a captive portal pops up and shows the Wi-Fi Setup page, allowing you to connect the Pixelblaze to a local Wi-Fi network or set it up as its own hotspot for portable installations or in areas without any internet.

Features & Specifications

Both the Standard and Pico form factors of Pixelblaze V3 support the same ESP32 processor and pattern rendering capabilities, and have the same LED driving capabilities:

  • Processor: ESP32 dual-core, 240 MHz
  • Pattern storage (1.4 MB): 100 patterns with previews, preloaded with dozens of patterns and annotated examples
  • Available memory per pattern: 256 global variables, 256 stack variables (recursive functions supported), and 10,240 arrays/elements - plenty of room for complex patterns
  • LED compatability: APA102, SK9822, DotStar, WS2811, WS2812 (up to 2,500 LEDs), WS2813, WS2815, NeoPixel, and WS2801 actively driven at 5 V with 100 Ω resistors for long-distance signal wiring; also works with 12 V LEDs with a separate power supply
  • Direct connection: output can be connected directly to LEDs, with support for any RGB color order and RGBW/GRBW
  • Adjustable refresh rate: up to 5,000 APA102/WS2801 LEDs can be driven from 250 kHz to 20 MHz
  • User button: press to change LED patterns or enter Wi-Fi setup mode (additional external button can be connected via solder pads on the underside of the board)
  • Status LED: indicates connection, setup, and power states
  • Current draw: 72-145 mA in client mode, 150-172 mA in AP mode

The Pixelblaze V3 Standard: lots of expansion options

V3 front and back
  • Dimensions: 34.2 mm x 39.5 mm, including antenna
  • LED strip mount: 5 mm screw terminal or 0.1" pin header for connecting 5 V, data, clock, and ground
  • Power supply: micro-USB (1.8 A pass-through) or 5 V back-feed from the LED strip, with an onboard 3.3 V regulator for the ESP32 and expansion boards
  • Power protection: reverse polarity protection and up to 18 V overvoltage protection to prevent damage from common wiring mistakes
  • GPIO: three on the expansion header and nine on the underside of the board
  • Analog inputs: five (pins 14, 25, 26, 27, and 33)
  • Touch sensor inputs: five (pins 2, 4, 13, 14, and 27)
  • Expansion header: eight-pin header supports the Sensor Expansion Board or USB Serial Arduino Programmer, carries GND, EN, 3.3v, RX0, TX0, IO0, IO25, and IO26

The Pixelblaze V3 Pico: minimal size

V3 Pico front and back
  • Dimensions: 11 mm x 33.3 mm
  • LED strip mount: directly-solderable castellated pins and 0.1" header for 5 V, data, clock, and ground
  • Power supply: directly from the header, with an onboard 3.3 V regulator for the ESP32
  • Programming pads: six pads on the underside of the board carry GND, EN, 3.3v, RX0, TX0, and IO0 for factory programming and can be hacked to support the Sensor Expansion Board

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