How to add software-controlled LEDs to your 3D printer!


I was watching several of your videos, which i quite like, but was watching the video called “How to add software-controlled LEDs to your 3D printer!” (this one: ), and really liked the idea of controlling the LEDs with GCODE.

I happened to have a couple of strips of RGB LEDs in my parts box so thought i’d give it a go.
Got them all wired up nicely, no dramas, but could only get the first LED to light up. And i couldnt control the brightness or colour, even though i was definitely using a spare PWM capable pin, and had the right pin number.

So i watched again a bit more carefully, and realised theres a rather important detail you left out of the video.
This does not work with addressable LED strips, only strips with separate inputs for each of the RGB colours.

Its an important difference to note as most of the strip options on Aliexpress that you linked to, are the addressable kind and could catch a lot of people out.

Just a detail i think should have been pointed out in the video.


Thanks for being so observant, I’ll fwd it to Tom and add it to the Blogpost.


I didn’t exactly follow how to wire up all of the RGB channels using single channel mosfet boards like he showed, the red board that said ‘keyes’ on it. I have a bunch of those and an RGBW strip that I would like to use. Can I just use multiple boards?


What kind of rgbw strip is it?
The kind Thomas used in his video has an input for R, G, B, and GND, which controls the entire strip at once.

But most RGBW strips tend to be the addressable kind using 5050, 2812, 2801, etc integrated drivers, which allow you to control each LED seperately.
They work totally differently and require a clocked signal. This type also only have 3 inputs, Data in, +, and gnd. (they also have a data out which connects to the next data in).

That type will not work the way Thomas had in his video.