Arduino powered WS2811 pixel lights tester

Hello all,

I am adapting my Arduino Uno to test old strands of WS2811 pixel lights. These are 12v strands with a data line. I am planning on power injecting the pixels with my 12v power supply. So I will only provide output from my Arduino to the data line of the strand.

I have quite a few strands so I am thinking of using my 74HC595 module so I can test several strands.

My goal is not to create a sequencer but just a simple tester. Turning on a single pixel for a brief second or two and then move on. Eventually, I would like to add a button to speed the cycle up/down as well as a pause when I discover a problem. And maybe increase the single light to 2 up to 5.

Any help would be most appreciated.



Not sure how a 74hc595 is going to help with that. Was the idea to hang a strip off each '595 output? If so, I don't think that would work, but maybe CD4051 would. Alternatively just use 8 Arduino outputs.

Having said that, if the circuit is only for testing, why do you need to attach more than one strip at once?


WS2811 needs a timing sequence to control them. See Neopixel library at
Shift register will just hose things up.

WS2811-preliminary.pdf (320 KB)

My thought was to test several strands at a time. I would let it run for a while not just one pass.

Thanks for the PDF. I will check out the NeoPixel library.

So in theory, i should be able to use my Arduino without any extra hardware. Correct? Or am I missing something?


Nevermind. No extra hardware is required. That library, in fact, was the missing link. Looks like their example code will get me going.