Power for Neopixel Cube

I am currently working on an LED cube made from 6 Adafruit Neopixel Matrices, with an internal structure made from Makerbeam:

I have successfully connected it to a 5v 4A switching power supply (wall wart as it's known in the US), and separately, powered it with Lithium-Ion batteries.

I've successfully used one battery - powering the Adafruit Feather 2u4m and via the 5V and GND, powering the Neopixels) and two batteries - one for the board, one for the LEDs.

Being very new to this, could anyone recommend (or point to what I might need to research)in a system that would allow me to:

  • power the cube via the 5V 4A power supply, for running the LEDs at a high brightness
  • have the power supply power the board and LEDs
  • have the battery be recharged while plugged into the power supply
  • switch seamlessly between battery and DC power supply.

As I say, I'm totally new to this, so start me off easy!

Please let me know if you need additional info.

Many thanks,


Hmm, .06A/neopixel at full white * 64 neopixels/face * 5 faces = 19.2A.
.06A x 64 LEDs = 3.84A/face
Seems you a little short on power.
Switch between supply and battery, done simply with diode separation, diode each from supply and from battery going to common supply point on a face, higher voltage source blocks out the lower voltage source.
Might want a separate battery/face to cut down on current coming from each battery and to reduce the size/cost of the batteries and diodes.

HI CrossRoads,, sorry for the late reply.

Yeah, I know currently it's underpowered, but I'm surprised at the brightness I'm getting out of the 5A 4A supply, and even just one 3.7 volt battery works 'ok'.

Oh, and I've got the full six panels working - the plan is to be able to place the cube on a stand for full, mains power through switching DC supply of some sort...

As I'm at the beginning of prototyping this, I'm starting low power, and will move up once I have things working well. If I did want to go for a full power, what would you reccommend? I'd like something 'for the home' - i.e. not a huge thing, but then I don't know what's possible/available.

Regarding batteries - one for each side sounds ok - again, what kind of thing? I've been using something like this, (one for the MCU, one for the panels:

Should I get some kind of powerboost? Is the adafruit powerboost something I could use for upping the supply to 5V and for charging?

Totally new to this, so any help gratefully received.

I'd actually like to collaborate with someone on this for things like power/charging etc - you interested? :)'

Regarding power - can anyone tell me what the best way to wire for power with the six panels?

I've tried power in series - running from one panel to another, and I've tried parallel, where I've broken pout the (+) and (-) to a mini breadboard, and then to the pins on each panel.

I get a problem where some of the panels are brighter than others - can anyone advise? See images for the three ways I think it might be wired up, but please tell me if I'm wrong!

Simplified diagrams...

Anyone have any advice?

Can't open the pics at timothycubed.com.
Can you Reply and Attach them instead?

How about these…

CrossRoads? Whadya reckon?

OK, whatever. I got it working for anyone who's interested, using the Serial Option Two. I've also added a soldered perf-board power strip, making the power distribution FAR better, so now there is no flickering, and all the panels are showing exactly the same colour, where before there were very noticeable differences.

Here are some images, and yeah thanks for the help.

and a video of the thing with some frosted plexiglass housing. Looks sweet, and running at 5v 10 amps it's super-bright. I don't run it that high for more than a minute, as the whole device gets quite hot, so I set brightness to around 50 (out of 255) for normal running, and it's lovely.