LedStripShow – Build Instruction

To build your own LedStripShow as described here the following items are needed:

  • Arduino UNO R3 or equivalent (e.g.  Arduino Mini Pro Atmel 328 5V/16Mhz)
  • LedStrip or LedPixels with an WS2801 Controller driven with 5V
  • Rotary Encoder with a built-in push button
  • 3-Position Switch / Toggle Switch (or similar)
  • Jumper cables
  • Breadboard
  • 5V Power Supply. For 160 LEDs the power supply has to provide at least 7.5A continously
  • PC with Arduino IDE 1.05 installed
  • USB cable and for the Arduino Mini Pro a serial adapter
  • LedStripShow Sketch plus libraries (see below)
  • Single sheet of paper


  • Install the Arduino IDE – assuming you know how to.
  • Get a copy of the LedStripShow sketch from here and copy it into the sketch folder.
  • Get a copy of the required libraries from here and copy them  into the libraries folder (within the sketch folder).
  • Get a copy of the two additional libraries from here and there
  • Load the Arduino IDE and the LedStripshow sketch.
  • Adjust in _LED_COUNT_ in LEDStripShow.h to the number of LEDs of your strip.
  • Set the Arduino board type and the com port.
  • Compile and upload the sketch.


The figure below shows the circuit wiring:



  • Consult the datasheet of the LedStrip – they come with various connection diagrams and cable colors.
    Most LedStrips are not protected against wrong wiring, errors in the power wiring can easily cause damage.
  • Do not use Arduino’s 5V header pin to drive the Ledstrip.
    The Arduino PCB might not be able to carry the current to the leds. You can solder cables directly to the VCC and GND on Arduino’s the power jack and use these cable to power the strip.
  • If the LedStrip comes with an extra connector for the power, use this it
    Some LedStrips are quite sensitive on correct power and therfore have a separate power connector.
  • Ensure that you can disconnect the power between the Arduino and the LedStrip.
    While the Arduino is programmed, it is powered by the attached USB port. If the LedStrip is connected, the programming system  will disconnect the Arduino when the LedStrip drains more than 500mA. Whenever you program the Arduino disconnect at least VCC from the LedStrip.

If the circuit is assembled, power it and see what happens. If nothing happens, take the prepared sheet of paper, crunch it, throw it and do whatever you need to do. Then review the wiring, try again or move to the troubleshooting.


  • The leds are flickering wildly – check the data and clock are connected correctly, eventually swap them.
  • Tthe LedStrip is partially ok but the end is flickering – check the power connector.
  • Everything is ok but the effects seem to be incomplete – check the configured number of LEDs.
  • Nothing works at all – disconnect the LedStrip, connect the Arduino to the PC, open the Arduino IDE, load the LedStripShow sketch, uncomment the debug switch definition in (LedStripShow.ino), upload the program, open the serial monitor, set the IDE to 38kbps and see if you receive any debugging messages.
  • Everything tried – nothing works – drop me a message here


Building the LedStripShow is quite easy and should be completed within a few minutes. In case you struggle just post a comment here. If you have found a bug or suggestions for new effects or any other improvements, you can leave me a comment here or you drop a request on github.

In the next post I explore the LedStripShow sketch so stay tuned.

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