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Topic: Building my own ws2801 string (Read 11121 times) previous topic - next topic


LOL!  Considering how small they are, yeah.  Though the cutting isn't as bad as the grinding.  After cutting them apart, I switch to a grinding tool and grind the corners down a bit.  At 0.8mm thick, those corners end up very sharp.  And because of their tiny size, I will inevitably grind some of my finger or nail in the process.


Apr 07, 2013, 02:53 am Last Edit: Apr 07, 2013, 05:53 pm by AceoStar Reason: 1

While these aren't RGB pixels, the process is the same for any panelized design I create, including the layout for the WS2801 + SMD RGB pixel in this thread.  I needed to make 630 bright green LED pixels and rather than buying the LilyPad pieces (https://www.sparkfun.com/products/10046) which would've cost me upwards of $500, I decided to make my own.  On a 50mmx50mm piece I can cram 23 of them: a grid of 7x3 plus two extra to fill the rest of the board.

Production of boards was $30 + $5 shipping.  LEDs and resistors just over $200.  My time: priceless.  :)

Here's me cutting a single board into pieces, takes me a little over 2 minutes each (I already trimmed off the extra two that are along the top edge of each board).  I should point out that these are 0.8mm FR4 boards, however the WS2801 pixels I created above were done on 2mm FR4 boards.  Cutting is just a bit slower for those.


Sorry for the delayed reply, I just moved to my first (owned) home so I've been slammed the past few weeks. That's an awesome video! I have a dremmel on my wish list, but I think that sort of cutting may be out of my level until I get some better gear (and experience). I could probably order a board pre cut tho.

You had mentioned bending the LED's using the module you have.  
Like I said, you could just take a regular 3mm through hole LED, bend the bottom 3-5mm of the legs at a 90 degree angle and solder that to the boards I created.
Do you still have a few spare of these available? If I could use this technique to piece together a small 4 or 5 string light, I'd have the confidence to order all the rest of the parts I'll need. (part of my problem is I want my boss to pay for the bulk order once I know for sure what I'm doing, this is a team morale project:p) I would  certainly be willing to pay for the parts, I just don't need the whole gambit.


Nope, I only have 5mm RGB ones.  Or SMD.


I would be tempted to use something like this


Cut into individual 2811 pixels at less than  24 cents per pixel each on their own little flexy board. Snip snip snip.


Cut into individual 2811 pixels at less than  24 cents per pixel each on their own little flexy board. Snip snip snip.

Wow, that's cheap.

And these are even cheaper: http://www.aliexpress.com/item/4m-WS2811-LED-digital-strip-60leds-m-with-60pcs-WS2811-built-in-tthe-5050-smd-rgb/633124138.html

They're about half what I paid for some a few months ago. Always good to see prices dropping...  :) :)

Advanced Arduino


Yep, you can certainly use those and cut them up.  Or just buy the individual LEDs themselves and build your own, smaller, PCBs.


I was looking at the EAGLE PCB design files in KirAsh4's WS2801 Breakout design and was wondering why there are no traces connecting the components to ground. I'm completely new to PCB design, so this is a likely very basic question!


Run the ratsnest tool and you'll see the groundlayer.


Follow the datasheet.  This is something I have done, it's not rocket science.  I used 5050 RGB SMD LEDs though.  The attached image shows the LEDS in the various stages:

Directly above the pencil: blank boards, front and back.
At the very top is one side of the board with the WS2801, 3 resistors, and a capacitor (each in a corner).
At the very bottom is the other side of the board where you see the 5050 RGB LED attached.
Directly below the pencil are the individual pieces once I cut them apart.

The second picture is a closeup of the IC side of the board, where you can see the WS2801, resistors, and capacitor in the corners.

The row of four holes on either side is the data/power cable, a 4-core ribbon cable, that allows me to daisy chain them to whatever length.

If you want to use through hole LEDs, you obviously can't use this method as everything on here is SMD.  These LEDs are 5x5mm by the way.

Ultimately the strings I created ended up in my window, which you can see here:


Why did I do that when I could've bought ready made strings?  I wanted to learn to work with double sided SMD by doing it myself.  I'd say I was successful ...

where did you get the PCB's fabbed? they look spot on


Those particular ones were made through BatchPCB, however I have since moved to iTeadStudio.


I have just ordered from Itead, hope they turn out ok.

My design fits the size almost exactly, I noticed you have managed to squeeze lots in!

I heard that Itead don't allow internal cutouts, so did you manage to panelize?


I heard that Itead don't allow internal cutouts, so did you manage to panelize?

Yes, without the cutouts.  I cut them myself.


just straight cuts then? It is a shame Itead does not allow internals :(


Straight cuts then grinding the corners round: one swipe along a sanding blade on a Dremel.

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