How to Program WS2812 LEDs with Thonny and MicroPython?

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To program WS2812 LEDs with Thonny and MicroPython, you’ll need the following:

  1. A microcontroller board that supports MicroPython (e.g., ESP32, ESP8266, or Raspberry Pi Pico).
  2. WS2812 LED strip or individual WS2812 LEDs.
  3. Thonny IDE installed on your computer.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to program WS2812 LEDs using Thonny and MicroPython:

  1. Connect the WS2812 LEDs to your microcontroller board. Make sure to connect the data line of the LED strip to a GPIO pin of the microcontroller.
  2. Install MicroPython firmware on your microcontroller board if you haven’t already. You can find instructions specific to your board on the MicroPython website.
  3. Launch the Thonny IDE on your computer and connect your microcontroller board to your computer using a USB cable.
  4. In Thonny, click on the “New” button to create a new file.
  5. Write the MicroPython code to control the WS2812 LEDs. Here’s a simple example to get you started:
import neopixel
import machine
import time

# Configure the LED strip
num_leds = 10  # Number of LEDs in the strip
pin = machine.Pin(4, machine.Pin.OUT)  # GPIO pin connected to the LED strip
strip = neopixel.NeoPixel(pin, num_leds)

# Turn on all LEDs with a specific color
def set_color(color):
    for i in range(num_leds):
        strip[i] = color

# Example usage
while True:
    set_color((255, 0, 0))  # Set all LEDs to red
    set_color((0, 255, 0))  # Set all LEDs to green
    set_color((0, 0, 255))  # Set all LEDs to blue

In this example, we import the neopixel module, which provides the necessary functionality to control WS2812 LEDs. We then configure the LED strip by specifying the number of LEDs and the GPIO pin connected to the LED strip.

The set_color() function sets all the LEDs in the strip to a specified RGB color. In the example usage loop, we call this function to set the LEDs to different colors with a delay of one second between each change.

  1. Save the file with a .py extension (e.g.,
  2. Click on the “Run” button in Thonny to upload and run the code on your microcontroller board.

Your WS2812 LEDs should now start displaying the specified colors. You can modify the code to create more complex lighting effects or animations based on your requirements.

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