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By Carlos7777777
Hi all, I am new to arduino / raspberry pi programming!

I am thinking about programming an RBG LED strip to flash from left to right in a range of colours. I am new to microprocessors although do have sufficient experience in PLC's.

For a simple RGB LED strip would i be best to use a raspberry pi; if so, which one? Or would I be best to use an arduino; if so, which one?

I want to be able to generate a 'swooping' effect on the LED strips to flash from left to right and as it progressed to then sequentially turn off the first LED, then the second LLED, then the third LED; etc.

Are they are good training guides for programming available and a breakdown of whats best for different tasks?

Any help would be greatly appreciated! I'll have a look through the forums and see what I can find.

Thanks in advance,
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By TS-Mark
Hi Carl,

For this project, you really cannot go wrong with either a Raspberry Pi or Arduino to control an addressable RGB LED Strip. We have several different types of these LED strips you can browse in our Addressable LEDs Category.

If you want to use an Arduino, I would recommend taking a look at either of our APA104 Addressable LED Strips: Sealed 1M Strip and Bare 1M Strip with Adafruit's NeoPixel Arduino Library. We cover how to wire them up and upload code to an Arduino in our Hookup Guide. (This tutorial was originally written for WS2812 LEDs but APA104's function identically so you can use all the wiring and examples from this guide for the APA104 strips) That guide will also go over some recommended power supplies and Arduinos.

The Arduino Uno or our Uno clone, the SparkFun RedBoard are great starting points for an Arduino. If you need to save some space in your project, the Pro Mini or Pro Micro will work as well. We have guides to get started with all of these boards in the "Documents" tab on their respective product pages.

If you want to go with a Raspberry Pi, the Pi 3 B+ and Pi Zero W are two good options that will work with our addressable strips with minimal adjustments. Just note, while it is possible to use the Arduino IDE on a Pi, it is much easier to use Python as that comes pre-installed with most distributions of the standard Pi operating system, Raspian. We have guides linked on the product pages to get you started. For coding an addressable LED strip on a Pi, a good place to start is Adafruit's DotStar CircuitPython library.

One other, somewhat simpler option, is the SparkFun LumiDrive. The LumiDrive works with APA102 LEDs like our LuMini LED Rings or this APA102 LED Strip. The LumiDrive is a neat board that allows you to edit the basic firmware that comes pre-loaded on it to create all sorts of different colors and effects on an attached LED strip or board with just a basic text editor. You can also re-program it with the Arduino IDE if you want to customize your LED driver. Our Hookup Guide for the LumiDrive will cover editing the firmware, re-programming, and more.

I hope this is not too overwhelming and gives you some options to get started with this project. If you have any follow-up questions about any of these products, let us know and we would be happy to help as much as we can.