Confused about how RGB LED strips work/Other advice for a lofty project

Ok, so this will take a bit of context (and a lot of patience from anybody who reads this, I'm TOTALLY new to this and just wanna get some feedback). My plan without going into a ton of detail is to make a PIU pad (Pump it Up, like Dance Dance Revolution but five keys) and I want one of the panel to light up when stepped on as well as have a keyboard stroke outputted, but the confusion mostly comes after this. Is there any way to sync the strips to an external ecosystem like NZXT CAM through a HUE+, but only have the strip shine when a panel is stepped on. Basically, I want to sync up the strips effects and lighting with NZXT's CAM, but not have the strips on 24/7 whenever the pad is plugged in and only when stepped on. My first idea was something along the lines of have an LED extension cable plugged into the HUE+ and then have that go into some kind of controller that doesn't allow the strip to turn on unless also receiving an input from a panel, but I'm not sure if, one, this is possible through an Arduino board, and two, if you can send data through something like that that can correctly tell how the strips to light up. I'm sorry if this all sounds super uninformed, but this isn't really something I can easily Google lol. If anybody has advice on maybe an alternative way to do this, it'd be much appreciated to hear! I know the whole syncing up with a different software's ecosystem kinda difficult, but it's mostly just an aesthetics thing in the end so it'll blend well with my setup. Thanks again, and please ask question if clarification is needed! I'll attach links below to the HUE+ if you don't know what it is.

https://www.nzxt.com/products/hue-plus

EDIT: A quick edit after the fact for clarification- I want to control LED strips through NZXT's CAM software in tandem with a HUE+, but only have the LED strip under a certain foot panel light up when pressed.

I think you have come to the right place.

An Arduino can accept button inputs, control lights and send data to a PC. It's very good at those 3 things. I would not like to add any other component to control the lights.

There's basically 2 ways of controlling RGB LEDs with an Arduino. You can control power to the individual R, G and B channels or you can send commands to "smart LEDs" which do the heavy power switching in a tiny chip hidden inside the LED housing. Sometimes the smart LEDs are called "Neopixels."

If you're making a lamp or lighting your house all one color then use individual RGB. If you have many lights to switch on in different colours and patterns, then Neopixels make it really easy. So easy that I would also use them for lamps and house lighting.

For me, the hardest part of the build sounds like the foot switches.

MorganS:
I think you have come to the right place.

An Arduino can accept button inputs, control lights and send data to a PC. It's very good at those 3 things. I would not like to add any other component to control the lights.

There's basically 2 ways of controlling RGB LEDs with an Arduino. You can control power to the individual R, G and B channels or you can send commands to "smart LEDs" which do the heavy power switching in a tiny chip hidden inside the LED housing. Sometimes the smart LEDs are called "Neopixels."

If you're making a lamp or lighting your house all one color then use individual RGB. If you have many lights to switch on in different colours and patterns, then Neopixels make it really easy. So easy that I would also use them for lamps and house lighting.

For me, the hardest part of the build sounds like the foot switches.

The basis of my build is this (Building a DIY Dance Dance Revolution | by Melanie Huang | Medium) and this (USB DDR Dance Pad (Arduino, Pull-Up Resistors) - Super Make Something Episode 9 - YouTube). In the first post, she details how she wires up her foot panels up to an Arduino Leonardo and how she made it, so I'm planning to do it how she did rather the alternative like in the second linked video of bridging two aluminum combs with a metal washer to complete a circuit. I'm still totally clueless on how circuits and all this in general work, so I don't wanna get too experimental. For lighting, I was planning something similar to Neopixels that can be controlled individually so I can create wave effects in addition to static or spectrum cycling. From what you're saying, it seems infeasible or highly inconvenient to try and sync this up with software like CAM, so should I give up on that and instead just control it solely from software meant to control an Arduino which can directly control the strips? I was only keen on the idea of CAM integration because aesthetics and something that's a bit more "plug-and-play" given I already have CAM set up with all my other lighting. I'm also still a bit confused if I need multiple Arduino boards- one for keystrokes and one for lighting. Can an Arduino output multiple commands for one input (e.g. center button can send the correct keystroke AND activate some kind of LED strip)? Thank you for the feedback!

An Arduino can do whatever you programmed it to do. While it is totally sequential (single-core to you) it does things fast enough that us humans think it's doing them all at once. Sending a key code and updating a few hundred neopixels can happen in a tiny fraction of a second.

I have no idea what CAM does other than making pretty graphs of CPU temperature. Is there a published interface standard? Does it have USB drivers or something else to talk to peripherals? It is likely that an Arduino could work with this although the amount of programming required may be large.

Can you post a link to CAM? Does CAM need to control the Arduino or the other way around?

And yes, an Arduino can send a keystroke to a PC and at the same time control a led strip ‘on command’ (serial, button, …).

MorganS:
An Arduino can do whatever you programmed it to do. While it is totally sequential (single-core to you) it does things fast enough that us humans think it's doing them all at once. Sending a key code and updating a few hundred neopixels can happen in a tiny fraction of a second.

I have no idea what CAM does other than making pretty graphs of CPU temperature. Is there a published interface standard? Does it have USB drivers or something else to talk to peripherals? It is likely that an Arduino could work with this although the amount of programming required may be large.

Ok, cool! I was moreso worried about the amount of connections needed on a single Arduino board than whether or not I could, so I'll probably try to find some tutorials on programming the lights with a Leonardo if I'm able to do so on that board since it seems to be the best candidate.

Why I brought up the idea of CAM integration is mostly for how it handles PC lighting and how it has the capability to seamlessly control all of the RGB jazz going on in my system (and with coming Razer Synapse integration, some of my other peripherals, please no hate for being a sheep lol). It's a monitoring software as well as lighting. I don't believe it's open source to develop third party applications to work with it, but let me amuse you with this idea. So, if my limited knowledge is correct, an RGB LED strip is comprised of a wire for power, and three for RGB channels. I'm assuming that the color is controlled through the RGB wires, so would it be possible to have only the power hooked up to an Arduino for it to control accordingly on when to turn on the strip, and not how? Could I then only connect the RGB wires to a device that syncs with CAM like the HUE+? I think this would work, but I don't know the capabilities of Arduino or how RGB LED strips work like the title states.

sterretje:
Can you post a link to CAM? Does CAM need to control the Arduino or the other way around?

And yes, an Arduino can send a keystroke to a PC and at the same time control a led strip 'on command' (serial, button, ...).

Here's a link to the software (NZXT CAM | PC Monitoring and Configuration Software | NZXT). I mentioned my idea above on how to control the strip, but I want CAM to control the lighting effects, while an Arduino to control the power for it (e.g. when it turns on) so the lights can be off when the foot panel isn't depressed, and then subsequently turned on when they are while still being synced with the lighting profiles I have set up on CAM and my other PC components.

Thanks for all the info so far, it's been extremely helpful!

an RGB LED strip is comprised of a wire for power, and three for RGB channels. I'm assuming that the color is controlled through the RGB wires, so would it be possible to have only the power hooked up to an Arduino for it to control accordingly on when to turn on the strip, and not how?

That is what I called individual RGB. Trying to stand between an RGB controller and that strip is like trying to modify the sound on the wires between your amplifier and your speakers.

You could use an Arduino to read the analog voltage on those wires coming from the HUE and then drive the LED strips through an appropriate high-current driver. You could even convert from RGB to Neopixel or RGBW if you were keen.

MorganS:
That is what I called individual RGB. Trying to stand between an RGB controller and that strip is like trying to modify the sound on the wires between your amplifier and your speakers.

You could use an Arduino to read the analog voltage on those wires coming from the HUE and then drive the LED strips through an appropriate high-current driver. You could even convert from RGB to Neopixel or RGBW if you were keen.

Oops I misspoke, I didn't mean the individual RGB as you put it. I did a tad more research on how digital LEDs work (like Neopixel, individually controlled) and it seems the in there's a 5v wire, Data In, Clock In, and Ground. I'm not trying to modify how the individual LEDs are controlled by an Arduino, but rather just taking the 5v and the ground and have the strip's power controlled by an Arduino accordingly. The data for the individual LEDs will still be handled by the HUE+ ideally, and the power is controlled by the Arduino so I can sync it up with the depression of the foot panels. Does this seem feasible? Sorry for asking so much about LED strips lol, and thanks for being so knowledgable. I do have spare parts to test this with, so I might just give it a shot regardless of if it works or not before making full commitment of buying more strips etc., I just need to learn how to code an Arduino now haha.

The pedals are just switches; so yes, it's very feasible to control neopixels using pedals.

The first thing you need to explain is how you see the CAM/HUE+ fit in your design. Is it necessary to use it? Why? What does it do exactly in your design? Do you already have / use it? To do what?

Arduinos can, to an extent, monitor audio and react on it (one of the functions (or the function) of the HUE+ as far as I understand it); this will/might require some additional hardware. Are there other things that CAM/HUE+ can do that you feel an Arduino can't do.

If you want the Arduino to monitor the HUE+ output that normally would control the lights, it might be tricky.

When I try to go to the guides, they are down. So it's a bit difficult to get a complete picture of what can be done with CAM/HUE+.

You mentioned keystrokes. Some of the Arduinos can act like a keyboard/mouse; is that what you're after?

sterretje:
The pedals are just switches; so yes, it's very feasible to control neopixels using pedals.

The first thing you need to explain is how you see the CAM/HUE+ fit in your design. Is it necessary to use it? Why? What does it do exactly in your design? Do you already have / use it? To do what?

Arduinos can, to an extent, monitor audio and react on it (one of the functions (or the function) of the HUE+ as far as I understand it); this will/might require some additional hardware. Are there other things that CAM/HUE+ can do that you feel an Arduino can't do.

If you want the Arduino to monitor the HUE+ output that normally would control the lights, it might be tricky.

When I try to go to the guides, they are down. So it's a bit difficult to get a complete picture of what can be done with CAM/HUE+.

You mentioned keystrokes. Some of the Arduinos can act like a keyboard/mouse; is that what you're after?

I realise that I'm being a bit stubborn with wanting to integrate the HUE+ haha. The goal that I set out wanting to use the HUE+/CAM was to sync up the lighting effects inside the pad to my PC peripherals so I can easily and quickly change the lighting in the pad as well as have it sync up with my PC. I don't currently have it, but I have a similar device (an extra NZXT Smart Device that's usually bundled with their H200i/400i/500i/700i cases I purchased with some fans off eBay a while back) that in essence acts the same way, so I was planning to test some stuff out with first.

To be honest, I'm not doubting the capability (or the much simpler) approach of just controlling the LEDs directly off an Arduino, I'm just, like I said, a bit stubborn probably not to my benefit.

I don't necessarily want the Arduino to monitor the HUE+, but rather give power to an LED strip that is controlled by the HUE+ when a foot panel is pressed down- the end effect of this being lighting synced with all other CAM operated lights in my setup, but the lights in the pad only turning on when I press down.

The HUE+/CAM work tangentially to monitor/control LEDs in a PC system typically. A HUE+ is needed to interface with the LEDs so they can be detected in CAM software.

And yes, my final goal of this is to have a keystroke sent out for each corresponding panel depressed (which I'm certain an Arduino can do, I'm planning on following this and this as general guidelines), but also in addition to a keystroke being sent out, it activating an LED strip underneath the foot panel to light it up.

I hope this answers everything!

EDIT: wait is there a way to just power the LED strip without the Arduino? Something like completing a circuit (I'm dumb and don't know electrical terms, missed that part of physics lol) when the panel is pressed and just have that directly power the LED? Would I only need an Arduino for the keystrokes then?

Yes you could use either a switch or an Arduino to control the 5V power to smart LEDs.