APA102 Pixel LEDs Protocol Overview


Pixel Protocol Overview: APA102

This pixel protocol was designed by Taiwan company.  APA102 is one of the most common protocols for pixel lighting displays. The control circuit and LEDs are integrated in a 5050 SMD package, which provides a small physical footprint for each pixel. (Newstar provide same type, named NS107S-SA)

PixLite Support

Are you looking for APA102 pixel drivers that work with Art-Net or sACN? All PixLite Mk1 and Mk2 products support APA102 as an available Pixel IC type, so get in touch with us to find out how the lighting specialists at Advatek can support you in your pixel lighting project.

Technical Specifications

Clock TypeClocked
Color Resolution8 bits
Physical PackageSMD5050 with integrated LEDs
Output Pixel Voltage5V
PWM Rate19.2KHz
Suitable CameraUp to 64fps, see Refresh Rate and PWM Rate
Redundant Data LineNo

Color Specifications

Red500 – 650 mcd620 – 625 nm
Green370 – 530 mcd522 – 525 nm
Blue120 – 165 mcd465 – 467 nm

APA102 Advantages

  • Presence of a clock allows for faster refresh rates
  • High PWM rate allows for filming these pixels with cameras up to 64fps

APA102 Disadvantages

  • Only 8 bits of data for each color makes dimming curves less smooth
  • Limited to 5V, causing short cable lengths
  • No redundancy in data
  • Dissipates heat less efficiently than APA102C

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