Letting WS2812 LEDs shine warm white

By | 21. September 2017

Oh, what a hassle to adjust the color temperature of the normal WS 2812 (B) LEDs to some kind of a warm color temperature, not the blue-ish 8000K light which it produces at (255,255,255). So, maybe you can save some time reading this instead of trying colors out for yourself. Some tips for you:

  • The color temp is highly dependent on the power your PSU can deliver.
  • The stronger your 5v PSU is, the harder to adjust while maintaining bright light
  • Use these LEDs with a solid PSU – with only USB, my color temperature is waaaaaay off.

I’ll give you two settings you should try out: (255,160,140) gives you a bright white light if used with a PSU which can hold its Voltage. Of course you loose a fair bit of brightness, but there’s no other way of getting the LEDs „warmer“. Want to have it even warmer? Subtract more from the B and G values.

Option two: Using a not so great PSU (like your USB Port), the light looks really different. Using the values from above, it’s more of a yellowish white which we of course do not want. You can adjust the Colors like this: (255,140,140) to get a light round about 3000-4000K.

You always should look in diffusing the used LEDs so that there’s a more even light which also helps to get a uniform, non-blueish and more natural light.

Two possible hardware solutions

Well, those three adjustments done in Arduino are not the only possibilities you have in correcting the color a little bit. Maybe try color filters you know from old bulbs (Par56) from bigger events. These foils literally cost nothing. They really do a good job getting your color where you want it. You may use yellow, orange and red filters.

#2: Some time ago, Adafruit, the company behind the NeoPixels / WS2812 LEDs, released a newer version of the LEDs. They now can do RGBW which means that there’s a dedicated LED just for white color. You can go (0,0,0,255) and get bright white. This is a cold white, by mixing red with it you get it warmer and more natural (50,0,0,255). It’s definitely worth a try for new home installations since the Light looks much more natural. The costs are not much higher than using the „old“ WS2812 Neopixels as well.

Hope I could help!