Best Microcontroller for controlling 2000~ LEDS

Hey Guys!

I've been working on a project which will involve using several thousand WS2812's, and I'm not sure which microcontrollers are best for controlling a mass amount of LEDs in strips. They will be powered by other means, so the microcontroller will be providing instructions.
Currently, I'm using an Uno for testing the prototypes, but I'm not sure what it's limitation is. Will a Pi3 / Teensy / Nucleo work alot better? and what are their limitations?

Thanks for any help you guys can give would be awesome!

This is an Arduino forum.
Each pixel needs 3 bytes, you do the math. :wink:

RAM and speed may not be an issue, if the 2000 LEDs contain repeating patterns. For example, if LEDs 501 to 1000 always show the same pattern as 1 to 500, as do LEDs 1001 to 1500 and 1501 to 2000. In that case, as far as the Arduino is concerned, there are only 500 LEDs.

If there are no repeating patterns, what update speed will be required? RAM may not be the only limitation you need to worry about. Even if you choose an MCU with enough RAM and lots of speed, ws2812 LEDs have a fixed and relatively slow update rate. Updating 2000 of them as a single string might not be fast enough. If so, you need some way of treating them as multiple strips, and sending data out to each strip in parallel.

Updating 2000 of them as a single string might not be fast enough.

Well the LED's signal rate is 800KHz and you need 32 bits to update one pixel, so you can update one LED 25,000 times a second. So if you have 2000 LEDs then you can "only" update them at a maximum 12.5 times a second. I say maximum because you also need to do other stuff to change the patterns that you want to update.

If so, you need some way of treating them as multiple strips, and sending data out to each strip in parallel.

While this might be possible on some of the faster processors I have not seen anyone that has done this as a libiary so you are into quite heavy complex code and in machine code at that.

What about a number of Pro Minis? Hooked up to a controlling Arduino as SPI slaves. Each tiny is sent the data for, say, 500 LEDs over SPI, and then sends this out to 500 ws2812. The slaves would have identical sketches loaded, and could receive the data at close to 8MHz.

But this idea is definitely into "desperate measures" territory. If distinct patterns and high update rates are not needed, don't go there.

Grumpy_Mike:
While this might be possible on some of the faster processors I have not seen anyone that has done this as a libiary so you are into quite heavy complex code and in machine code at that.

https://www.pjrc.com/teensy/td_libs_OctoWS2811.html

Yep, teensy is the best.

Thanks not come across that one but it is not an "Arduino" as such.
The OP has remained quite on pattern update rate. Often beginners over estimate what sort of update rate they will need vastly over specifying it.