Is it possible to plug led strips into the roborio?

I got a 4 pin led strip at target and I was wondering if it’s possible to connect it straight to the roborio?

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I don’t know about 4 pin, but you can control 3 pin addressable LED strips over PWM.


Would an Arduino work for a 4 pin?

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I’m sure if you can figure out what each pin is used for. You will have to communicate between the rio and the arduino if you want to swap LED profiles. A simple way is to have multiple digital output pins running from your rio to the arduino and you can get 2^n number of combinations based on if you set the digital output pins high or low.

Check the current draw for the led strip. Its almost guaranteed to be too much for the roborio. Is it a 12v strip?

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Yeah you are right, it is too much draw. I would additionally advise connecting the strip to a VRM for power.

It is likely too much for the vrm as well.

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20mA per LED, 50 LEDs per A, use math to calculate if you can put it on a 2A slot

I did not see where he posted the length of the strip, the led density, or the amperage draw.

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Thats fine. They can make an adjustment to his power source based on whatever LED strip he is using.

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It’s a 12 volt strip. The ac adapter says it’s max of 1 amp. It came with an rgh control box and remote. The box says max of 6 amps

What we did last year was having the power wires of the strip go into the pdh and the signal wire going to the rio.

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This model works straight over PWM, but note the direction of the data flow, as well as the fact that the data pin is the middle one 5V Addressable LED Strip - 1m - REV Robotics

Then program as explained at Addressable LEDs — FIRST Robotics Competition documentation (

If the LEDs can be controlled individually, it likely uses a proprietary protocol. If the entire strip is always the same color, then it’s likely the wires are just red, green, blue, and common. It should be fairly easy to tell with a multimeter.

yes the leds are all the same color. Could I plug each wire into a different PWM signal port and set the color using the 3 PWM outputs?

The RoboRIO PWM outputs can’t supply enough current to drive an LED string directly.

Depending on the design of the outputs, you may damage them or brown out the entire RoboRIO in the attempt. I don’t know if either is true, but that’s something you should be thinking about before blowing up a scarce RoboRIO.

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On the rev page it says to use a blinkin, is this required?

There are no 12V output pins on the Rio. So you can only do the 5V LEDS powered from the RIO. The power rail for the PWM outputs is actually 6V. The power rail on the DIO is 5V The logic pins for both the DIO and PWM only source logic levels of current.

The short answer: Can’t say anything about the Target LEDs without seeing the specs. You can run 5V addressable LEDs from the RIO as long as you stay within the power limitations of the RIO.

Blinkin is not required. You may get an adapter such as BTF-LIGHTING 20 Pairs JST SM 3… to make wires that go from the PWM port to the LED strip, and you may want to cut the LED strip in the middle to stay below 10 W at max brightness.

The specs of the Rio say that the PWM port can deliver up to 2.2 A at 6 V. The full LED strip mentioned consumes about 15 W per meter at full brightness.

So we tried this last night, with a 5V LED into our Rio’s PWM, and with our LEDs the PWM did not seem to be enough (granted there could be a error on our part we didn’t catch). Im sure its possible, but you’d really have to find the right lights and/or the right number of lights.

I would recommend going straight to the VRM for power for static RGBs and using a blinkin, raspberry pie or another kind of control for dynamic RGBs. If you have any laying around it would be more convenient and potentially more reliable. Besides our 5V were fairly cheap and not the brightest; the 12V just look better on our robot