Powering a LED strip from a Pico?

Is it possible to power to a LED strip from something like a Pimoroni Pico LiPo (or similar), with the microcontroller itself powered by a LiPo battery? From what I gather, most strips require 5V for power, and some even want 5V for the data pin.

I know this has been asked a few times here, with the answer usually “no”, or “probably no” but I was wondering how the Particle Photon in the Infinity mirror kit does it.

Would it work? I assume the LEDs would be dimmer.

I’m thinking of doing an infinity mirror coffee table build myself.

My requirements:

  • LED strip around 1.5 - 2m long
  • Want to control brightness
  • LEDs don’t have to be individually addressable
  • Doesn’t necessarily have to be RGB, white/warm white is ok.
  • Battery powered as I’m trying to avoid running a power cable across the living room.

Thanks for your help everyone!

1 Like

It depends on how much current your particular LED strip draws.

The electronics side is pretty easy , id struggle building one to put the leds in lol

Hi Steven,

I’ma answer your questions out of order so they hopefully ship information a bit faster…

The Infinity Mirror kit is able to use the power passthrough via the 5V pin on the photon.

It’s a little harder for standard Neopixels (WS2812B’s) to be powered by a battery since they have a much higher current draw (60mA at max brightness), the GlowBits (WS2812Bv5) boast a much lower current consumption at max brightness - though unfortunately they arent available as strips.

It most likely would work but at lower voltages Neopixels don’t uniformly lose brightness across each channel (RGB) .

I got a deece pic of the effect a while back (the end of the strip measured 3.8V, just above a LiPo’s nominal voltage):

To throw out some figures:

  • 30led/m at 2m = 60 LED’s = 60*0.06A = 3.6A - at 60mA, 20mA is more reasonable and only 1.2A - enough for a USB battery bank to power, double this for 60led/m and so on
  • Brightness control will be a breeze with addressable LED’s otherwise the ‘analog’ strips are a lil bit harder to put together IMO
  • Kmart, Coles and some other supermarkets stock different styles of LED strips, some with in-built USB inputs, might be worth a look in though you don’t have that :ok_hand: customisability :ok_hand:
  • Batteries will very much depend on the type of LED’s you wanna use

I’m keen to see what you do!