5 Pin RGBW LED Strip - How To?


I’m very, very new to Arduino - I only know the basics as of yet. I’m aiming to make one of those sound-activated LED cloud lamps, but I’m unsure how to connect the LED strip to the breadboard (or just directly to the pins).

The LED strip in question is here, it’s the 1M long strip and it has a 5 pin connector. If anyone thinks that Adafruit’s RGBW strip might be easier to use, I’ll buy that instead, but I’d like to try and work my way around this as I already have it.

I just want to know what pins to connect the 5 jumper cables to, and whether I need external power or whether the USB connection would suffice.

Please go easy on me and try not to use any complicated terminology, I’m trying my absolute best :slight_smile:

No, USB will not do. Not because of it's voltage (5V vs 12V) and not for it's current. Even the Arduino output will not do for the same reasons.

Other then they have 5 pins instead of 4 for the regular RGB strips there is nothing special about them. Just have a Google (images) search for "Arduino led strip" and you can find all about in. As a recap, you need a transistor to drive them.

You will need a separate 12V regulated or switch mode power supply, with at least 1.5A output. For the transistors you can probably just use 3 x 4 x bc337 with 470R base resistors. You can run the Arduino off the same power supply as long as it is not doing much else other than controlling the strip. Don’t use the Vin Arduino pin to power the strip. Take separate feeds from the power supply for the strip and the Arduino. EDITED: thanks septillion!

use 3 x 4x bc337 with 470R base resistors.


And for 1m you can indeed use a BC337 but if you think about a longer strip I would switch to a MOSFET.

Hi eosa,

I got an Arduino and Alitove 16ft Ws2812b 150 led strip last week, and with the help of an electronics mate with a soldering iron have it all hooked up now. Might not be the same as your led strip but here’s how mine works.

Five cables - (pic is actually from the “other” end of the cable). The red/green/black on the left all go to the Arduino: the green goes into a digital pin and controls the leds, the black goes into the GND pin where the POWER pins are, the red goes into the 5v ping also where the POWER pins are.


This is where the black & red cables go into the PSU, which is a Sintron 5v 10amp. Note the beefy capacitor, which I believe smooths out any bumps in the power supply to protect the leds. ardpower2.JPG

Control of a 5V WS2812 strip looks nowhere near the control of the (much cheaper) normal 12V led strips :wink:

Sorry for delay, had to go out and buy a suit :frowning:

And finally, the connections to the Arduino… Of the three cables that go to the Arduino, from left to right:

The green one goes into a digital pin, in my case 6. Doesn’t matter which one you use really. But you have to modify code to say e.g. #define DATA_PIN 6. Data goes out from the Arduino through this one and tells the leds what to do.

The red one goes into the 5v pin on the other side of the Arduino to provide power for when it’s not getting power from the USB.

The black one (which became a blue Arduino pin cable) goes into the GND (ground) next to the 5v pin. This is necessary for some reason which escapes me :slight_smile:


The power supply is a "sourcingmap® DC 5V 10A Power Supply Switching Converter for LED Light" from Amazon: http://amzn.eu/btBK8DM
£10 ish.

Each led requires 60mA, as my strip is 150 it came to 9amps, so the 10am power unit covers it.

My ledstrip is "ALITOVE 16.4ft WS2812B Addressable RGB LED Flexible Strip Light 5m 150 Pixels 5050 SMD DC5V Black PCB Waterproof IP67". Amazon http://amzn.eu/fbcmjnd
£30 ish.

Hope this helps!

The capacitor info came from a commenter on the Amazon page for the led strip. He recommended a “5 volt 1000 micro farad electrolytic capacitor”. My electronics mate had a 10v one but apparently that’s just as good.

Many people also recommend a 480 ohm (or similar amount) resistor between the green cable (which feeds data instructions to the leds) and the leds, to prevent any sudden surges of power when the lights first come on from damaging the first few leds. I’m not using one of those but probably should be.

I bought an Arduino accessories kit which came with a bunch of resistors of various values e.g. 220 and 330, either one of those would help. They were labelled but you can use the colour bands (you’ll need a magnifying glass) to identify them online e.g. here:



"They were labelled but you can use the colour bands (you'll need a magnifying glass) to identify them"

or just measure with a meter to be sure. Expect some variance. 220 ohm won't be exactly 220 ohm for example.

Hope this helps!

It does not.

I hope someone finds all your advice helpful, but it won't help the original poster of this thread, and might also confuse other beginners in the future.

The OP's strip is a very different kind from the one you are describing. This has already been pointed out to you but you missed or ignored that and carried on posting advice not relavent to this thread.

Who knows? As a beginner one doesn't know where even to start, and looking at someone else's setup might be helpful, even if it's not the same model. Or someone else with a strip like mine might be very interested. Either way, no harm done.

Who knows?

We know :wink: Because the topic starter uses a completely different strip then you used which I already pointed out in reply #6. :wink: It has so little similarities (only being they both product RGB light) that it’s of very little use and indeed might even be more confusing. It’s like telling somebody how to change the wheels of there in-line skates but they need to change the wheels on a 40-ton truck… Both wheels, completely different.