Pixelblaze V3 Brings More Computing Power in the Smallest Form Factor Ever Made

Hencke Technologies has launched its latest Wi-Fi-enabled, live-codable LED controller with a web-based development environment.

Cabe Atwell
3 years agoSensors / Internet of Things / Lights

Brought to you by Hencke Technologies, the Pixelblaze V3 is a Wi-Fi LED controller and pattern development engine packed with more in an even smaller size. The latest iteration of the Pixelblaze still enables users to quickly write new LED patterns with its web-based live editor and expression engine, but has upped the game with power and features. User-friendly, even for those with limited coding experience, the Pixelblaze V3 also ships with dozens of patterns and is useable with over 100 community-created patterns. It was designed to both make it simpler to write LED patterns and to give users an intuitive feel for how code and math impact those patterns.

The most noticeable changes in the V3 model are a new form factor option and the added power of the ESP32 processor. Pixelblaze’s Pico measures 11 mm x 33.3 mm, making it the smallest LED controller on the market. Its compact size is easier to hide away and use in small places, but it doesn’t sacrifice power; it has the same power as the larger ESP32. V3 also incorporates several usability enhancements — such as faster Wi-Fi, easier setup, and improved documentation on new patterns — to pave the way for more advanced patterns and features.

The standard Pixelblaze format remains largely unchanged physically, allowing compatibility with existing V2 expansions and mounting setups. As with previous versions, this is the benefit of the standard size: expansion options. The Pico design supports the same processor and pattern rendering capabilities. It has the same LED driving capabilities but is stripped of analog and touch sensor input pins and the eight-pin expansion header. It does feature six programming pads that carry GND, EN, 3.3v, RX0, TX0, and IO0 for factory programming and can be hacked to support the sensor expansion board.

Both design options let the user focus on how a pattern looks in 2D or 3D space without worrying about coordinates or scaling — if a pattern looks great on one LED setup, it will work the same on another. Users just write a generative map in Javascript or use real-world coordinates in any unit. Adding UI to enable sliders or color pickers to a pattern is also as straightforward as writing a function. Pixelblaze has developed a community focus on creating LED art in any form, and both sharing and finding patterns for use or inspiration is an ever-simpler task with each new generation.

The Pixelblaze boards are now available on Crowd Supply, ranging from $29 for the Sensor Board to $35 for the Standard and Pico. Full kits, which include one of each along with an Output Expander and 8x8 matrix, are going for $132.

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