ARGB projects questions

Hello everyone. Very first post here. First off, I have researched the subject of my post for 3 weeks to no avail. I have posted this same post at 3 other forums…to no avail. So I joined here in the hopes someone can help me. Having joined, I looked for a search field before posting. Alas, I don’t see one, so I decided to go ahead and post this. If these questions have already been answered, please link me to the approiate post. Also, accept my apology if this is in the wrong section.

Ok, I’ll try to make this simple, although I have many questions regarding 3 projects I am trying to finish. All three regard WS2812b ARGB strips, a microcontroller, a level converter etc. They only differ in the quantity and layout of the Led’s.

A little background first. A couple of months ago,after viewing a bunch of youtube videos, I became interested in building some ARGB Light bars and a custom computer ARGB setup for my workbench. These all used the Arduino Uno. But then, I found another youtube, using a different microcontroller which was the NodeMCU. The author gave a list of components, which seemed easy enough although my intended project was much easier than his and he used a 12v strip vs 5v. These are the components I finally purchased per his list.
(1) 5m strip, 60 WS2812b leds per meter. This is for the horizontal light bar on top of my upper cabinet. More on this one later.
(3) 1m strips, 144 WS2812b leds per meter. These are for (9) vertical lightbars at each divider in the cabinet. Each strip cut into 1ft lengths
(1) string fairy lights w/ 50 WS2812b, (4) strips w/ (8) WS2812b per strip. These are for the computer RGB system.

(3) NodeMCU’s
(5) pack of 4 channel bi-directional 3.5v/5v Level Converters
(2) 15 amp 5v power supplys. These are the metal chassi type.
(1) 2 amp 5v wall wart power supply. This is for the computer RGB setup.

I also downloaded the Arduino IDE and FastLed library from this site. As for this, I am a complete nube to programming. More on that later.

As soon as I downloaded the IDE, I went back to the video, where the author had linked to a Github page where he had posted some IDE configuration changes and a wiring diagram. Unfortunately, that page had been archived. So I began searching the web for this info. While researching, I came across an article that described a flaw in WS2812b series strips, whereby if one LED burns out, all others past it will go dead as well. Not good, as per the assembly of this horizontal light bar, the strip would be a real PITA to replace should a LED burn out. As luck would have it, the author went on to describe a newer LED/chip called a WS2813, which because it has a data circuit AND a clock circuit, means it is a 4 conductor strip. Moreover, something about the *timing" is not as strict as with the WS2812b. Now I was stumped. I began a search for a wiring diagram using the components I already purchased in conjunction with WS2813’s. No such luck. This is primarily why I am here.

HOWEVER, during my research, I also came across so much new info I began to get really confused. Let me explain.
During my search for info on how to implement the FASTLed library, I found a Reddit site, called…of all things… FASTLed. So I joined and asked my first set of questions. The author of the very first reply told me …FORGET FastLed. Use Wled. Whoa! Ok, I began researching Wled. Which led to many, many other setups, mostly using the FastLed library. One was a setup where you could place all your FastLed sketches?(I get sketches and animations confused) into ONE sketch, and toggle between them using a momentary switch. Which sounded cool to me as I know nothing how the FastLed works…yet. However, this setup used a mini D1, as opposed to a NodeMCU. And THEN… I came across the Teeny 4.0…the fastest microcontroller on the planet. And here is where all my questions come into focus. I’m mindboggled.

Given, even though I builld my own computers, I know virtually nothing about computer electronics in general, nor these librarys, please forgive my ignorance if these questions appear dumb.

One other thing. In regards to the horizontal light bar strip, here is what my intent is. After seeing many videos about ARGB setups, I decided I did NOT want any animations(or sketches?) to begin at one end and progress to the other end. I want IDENTICAL animations, to begin at the CENTER of the light bar, and move outwards towards the end of their respective strip. This means, I would cut the 5m strip into (2) 7ft strips, and place each strip with the data feed direction, 1/4" apart at the center, with each strip data feed parallel from one channel on the Level converter. I don’t know how to accomplish this on WS2812b strips, wiring wise, let alone the WS2813 as they require an additional data circuit. Maybe using (2) Level Converters? Anyway, see the attachment below.
As for the VERTICAL light bars, I envision each of the 9 strips, running the same animations, and if possible both directions…ie… up and down. More over, in addition, I envision animations beginning at the middle strip, and moving outwards in both directions using the same animation, just like the horizontal strips. Maybe even using the same animations as it does. I know this sounds incredibly complex, perhaps programming is the answer, but this is what I envision. I did see a page where the author of the Wled library shows a ton of preprogrammed animations which appear to be just what I envision.

Ok, first question.
Given I have already purchased items to build these projects, can someone provide me with a wiring diagram using the WS2812b strips? Especially if what I described abover is possible.(I have seen quite a few, but all were 12v setups. Some even showed a resistor and capacitor in the circuits, as well as injecting power every 2 meters or so along the strip. I am pretty familiar with wiring as I owned an audio recording studio for years, but not circuits like these.)

2). If there is a possibility to use the NodeMCU and Level converter to drive WS2813 strips? If so, can someone provide either a link to, or a wiring diagram? Also, if possible, any info regarding using Wled vs FastLed library in this setup.

(3) Any advantage/disadvantage using a Mini D1 vs what I have already purchased? This is in regard to the momentary switch/toggling thing.

(4) And finally, is there any advantage/disadvantage to using a Teensy 4,0 vs what I have already purchased? And moreover, is it compatible with the WS2813 strips as well as the Wled library vs FastLed?

Ok guys. That pretty well sums it up. Any help would be absolutely appreciated as you are my LAST hope in understanding what I am dealing with.

Only experience I have is with Arduino Uno + FastLED + WS2812B RGB LED strips.


How much work have you done so far? Do you have any working prototype hardware and/or software? A project like this should be done in incremental steps.

I'm puzzled about some of your questions. Two weeks of internet research couldn't show you how to connect a LED strip? My impression is that the web is almost saturated with that stuff.

I'm puzzled about some of your questions. Two weeks of internet research couldn't show you how to connect a LED strip? My impression is that the web is almost saturated with that stuff.

Hello Arrg. Thanks for replying. Oh yes, I've seen many... but not one, using my components w 5v. If you know of one, please post a link. In reality I've looked at hundreds, but not one single one using a 5v power supply, a NodeMCU, a Level Converter, resistor and capacitor connected to TWO WS2812b strips, as I show in the last attachment Also, zero concerning TWO WS2813 strips, notwithstanding NINE. So please, if you know of one, please link to it. Thanks

Ok, here are a few examples of what I found today, yet not one of them use exactly what I have, or it only shows ONE strip, or no resistor(for signal reflection) or capacitor across the power, or it shows an Arduino Uno, or mini…etc etc. Others show breadboards which do not show where the wires connect to the components. This is why I came here.

Meanwhile, I’ll keep looking.

Ok guys. I searched and searched and finally found one circuit that I could extrapolate all but the 12v power supply. I just substituted a 5v at the point where the 5v emerged from the 12v to 5v converter.

And this is only for the WS2812b. My main question is: Can you simply parallel the data line to 2 strips? Or does each strip need a separate data line from the NodeMCU? If so, which pin on the NodeMCU should I use?

My second question regards something that seems odd to me. In the diagram I got off the net, up in the upper left corner, it shows a 3.5 OUT connection on the NodeMCU, going to a connection on the 3.5v side of the level converter. On the 5v side, it connects to the 5v at the 12v to 5v converter. How can that be? It appears both sides of the converter are getting power. Why would you convert 3.5v to 5v when the other side is already 5v? Can someone explain that to me? To me, this looks like a mistake. Could it be that 3.5v OUT should be an IN???

Third question. Up at the top of the same diagram, it says “NEVER connect the USB and power from a supply at the same time”. Does that mean that once you flash the NodeMCU with say the FastLED you need to remove the mini USB plug from the NodeMCU BEFORE you apply power to the NODE MCU??

Finally, I have yet to find any diagram whatsoever that shows how to hookup these same components to TWO WS2813 strips. Any help along those lines would tickle me pink! :slight_smile: