Setting up RGB LED on CleanFlight Naze32 – Colorful WS2811 WS2812 Strip

CleanFlight supports RGB LED strip, which is really great. In this post I will show you how I setup and configure LEDs in Naze32 Cleanflight. Same should work for CC3D too.

RGB LED does not only help you identify your quadcopter easier, it can also indicate many flight data using different colours, such as battery level warning (voltage alarm), flight mode indicator, orientation lights, RSSI singal strength, thrust levels etc.

To learn how to flash CleanFlight Firmware on your Naze32 or CC3D.

To learn other ways of turning LEDs on and off using Radio transmitter.

Recommended LED Strip for Cleanflight

This LED feature of Cleanflight are primarily designed for addressable LED strips. The recommended type of LEDs are called WS2812. These LEDs comes all connected as a strip, you can cut it to whatever length or number of LEDs you like. They only needs 1 data input, and takes 5V power supply.

I am using WS2811, they look identical to the WS2812, which also seem to work fine. These LEDs are left over from my TV ambilight project and DIY bike light project a year ago, they are super bright and the colours are great. This feature can support up to 32 LEDs, that means Cleanflight can changes the colour of the LEDs independently at the same time.

It’s about $15 for 1 meter on eBay. Alternatively you can also take a look at this and this on Banggood.

Soldering the Connectors to the LED strip

I am not a crazy LED fan, so I decided to only use 9 LEDs, and divided them into three strips so I can place them at different places of the quad.

Soldering isn’t my strong point, and it was quite a challenge to solder the pins on the pads.

WARNING: These LED strips are directional! make sure you are soldering the right direction with your connectors. (Thank you Brian for pointing this out in the comment :) )

WS2811 RGB LED soldering connector pin plug

LED strips size comparison with the Naze32. I am surprised the colours actually match quite well. :D

naze32 cleanflight led rgb WS2811

Right after soldering, I tested the LEDs with my Arduino. You will need to use a BEC to supply the 5V for the LEDs, because these LEDs are super bright and requires quite a bit current. The Arduino (which is connected to the computer with USB cable) is not capable of supplying enough current, you might risk burning the Arduino if running the LEDs with it. I use the library called NeoPixel on the Arduino for testing.

test with arduino naze32 cleanflight led rgb WS2811

With the male and female connectors I soldered, they can also be connected in series if I want to.

testing led with arduino cleanflight rgb WS2811

With some heatshrinks to protect the connector soldering, just perfect :)

WS2811 with heatshrink protection naze32 cleanflight led rgb

* Warning: These LEDs are extremely susceptible to heat. I damaged a few when I was soldering connectors on them. When they are damaged, they just won’t turn on. Remember don’t leave your solder iron on those pads on the LEDs for too long, and use lower temperature for soldering.

* Update:

There are people unsure about the detail.

I used female and male PCB connectors on the LED strips, male connector on the input, female on the output. (the male pins are compatible with Servo leads)

To connect the LEDs to the Naze, use a single jumper cable to connect the LED signal pin to the Naze, and power the LED strips with the spare motor power +/- using 2 jumper cables.

To slit the LED strips, just use scissors.

To connect slit up LED strips, I just use servo leads. I don’t use anything to protect the LEDs, they are pretty solid. I only concern about the connects and solder joins, so used heatshrink and a bit of hot glue to secure that.

LED strip Current Draw

You might wonder, how much current do these little suckers draw? The answer is around 18mA per LED. (of course, current draw changes as colour changes, blue actually uses more energy than red, but it’s not a big deal for our LiPo batteries :) ) This is the result for 3 LEDs.

current test of 3 led naze32 cleanflight rgb WS2811

Enabling LED_Strip Feature in CleanFlight

As you know the Naze32 has very limited pins on the board. To use the LED feature we can take advantage of some of the spare radio input pins. Be default pin1 to pin 8 are all have PWM signal input, in order to use them as outputs, we need to enable PPM feature. That allows you to use only pin1 as radio signal input (including channel1 to channel8) and the rest of the pins will be come spare. PPM feature is a great feature, it will make your wiring easier and tidier. I would recommend it even if you are not going to use LED_strip.

Enter the following commands in CLI to enable the LED_Strip feature.

# feature rx_ppm
Enabled RX_PPM
# feature led_strip

Connecting LED strip to the Naze32

Depends on how many LEDs you are planning to use, make sure your BEC is capable of supplying enough current. I would recommend getting power from spare ESC BEC, and not using the BEC that powers your radio and flight controller. In this case I will just connect the + and – to the spare motor pins.

As mentioned, these LED only need 1 data input, and the pin used for the LED is Radio pin5 on the Naze32 and CC3D.

Naze32 RC5
ChebuzzF3/F3Discovery PB8
Sparky PWM5

Since RC5 is also used for SoftSerial and Parallel PWM on the Naze32, that means you cannot use LED_Strip with these features at the same time.

Configuring LED strip in CleanFlight

There are two ways of configuring LEDs in Cleanflight, 1 – LED Tab in GUI. 2 – CLI Commands.

Configure LED in CLI Command

You can configure the LEDs using the led command. By entering “led” only in CLI it prints out your current configuration.

Each LED can be configure using this template “lednumber x,y:ddd:mmm”.

LED number is the sequential ordering of your LED in the LED strip. LED number should start at 0 (0 for first LED).

The LED system is a 16×16 grid. x and y are the grid coordinates. So if x,y=0,0, it’s top left corner cell. If it’s 15,15, you get the last cell in the bottom right.


ddd is direction – N – North E – East S – South W – West U – Up D – Down. For instance, an LED that faces South-east at a 45 degree downwards angle could be configured as SED.

mmm is the LED mode. The currently available LED modes are

  • W – Warnings.
  • F – Flight mode & Orientation
  • I – Indicator.
  • A – Armed state.
  • T – Thrust state.

To erase or mark the end of the LED strip.

led 4 0,0::

So for example, if I were using only three LEDs, one on the left front arm, one on the right front arm, and one one the tail of the body.

     1             2
         FRONT / 
         |     |  
       /    3    

I would define my LED strip in this way.

led 0 0,0:ND:IA
led 1 0,15:ND:WF
led 2 8,8:D:IA
led 3 0,0::

Configure LED in Configurator LED Tab

As I posted this page, a new version of CleanFlight GUI was released. Along with other updates, was the LED strip Tab. It’s probably the easiest way to configure your LED strip, in a graphic interface rather than command lines.

Get the latest version of CleanFlight Configurator. Go to the LED Strip tab. If you already have LEDs setup and don’t want them, you can press “Clear All Wiring”. To start adding LEDs, click “Wire Ordering Mode”.


Now click on the grid to place your LEDs. I will place three LEDs, and Exit Wire Ordering mode.



Now click on each individual LED, and you should be able to assign them LED functions, and their Orientation.


After you have assigned all of them, click save. (Remember to update your firmware to 1.6, otherwise “Save” will not work).


For more examples and detail, visit the CleanFlight LED strip page.


For the example above, here is the demo result. Just imagine the LEDs are splitted and placed where they should be.

Another CleanFlight LED Example

This time I will actually mount the LED strip on a mini quadcopter. I will be using 8 LEDs, 3 on the front left arm, 3 on the front right arm, and 2 at the back of the frame.

My CLI commands for LEDs:

led 0 8,9:SD:A
led 1 8,8:SD:AT
led 2 0,0:WD:IA
led 3 1,0:WUD:FT
led 4 2,0:WD:WFT
led 5 13,0:ED:WFT
led 6 14,0:EUD:FT
led 7 15,0:ED:IA
led 8 0,0::

Or the equivalent LED Strip tab in configurator:


I still find it a bit hard to use the LED feature in CleanFlight, hope in the future it can be improved and made more user-friendly.

This is how I mount the LED strip at the bottom of my mini quadcopter:


And finally here is a quick demo of the result.


101 thoughts on “Setting up RGB LED on CleanFlight Naze32 – Colorful WS2811 WS2812 Strip

  1. NorwegianBuddha

    Hey and first of all thanks for this informative blog. Been using it a lot!!!! Keep ut up.

    In my first racing fav build I have gone for a mean 250 angry machine. I always been flying rc chapters and planes so I had a JR radio and receivers lying around. This receiver only weigh 3.5 grams and is perfect. The down side its not serial or ppm. My question is. On the Emax Skyline32+ OSD adv FC there is a own output for led bar. It had DI 5+ gnd on it. Is it possible to use that for the rgb strip ? Other boards require signal pin 5. But with a designated output for led bar is this necessary ?

  2. Dave Pierce

    First of all, thank you so much for all of the good you do for our hobby. Your information has be invaluable to me and I’m sure thousands of others.
    I did want to pass along some of my 40 years experience in the electronics industry and correct a misnomer about soldering, heat and component damage. Far too many people have the perception that you will cause less damage to components and PCBs when your soldering iron produces low heat and nothing could be further from the truth. Having adequate heat allows the user to limit the duration of contact, complete the soldering joint and get out before too much heat has been conducted to the part in question. When you don’t have adequate heat, you are forced to maintain long durations of contact and that is what conducts large amounts of heat into the component and board causing damage.
    The same can be said for using to small of an iron tip. Think of the tip as a reservoir of heat, if the tip is very thin with a needle point, the amount of heat reserve is very low … inversely, if you use as large of tip as is practical for the job, you will have the heat reserve to again, get in and out in the smallest amount of time.
    One more tip while I’m at it … if you tin the tip (flow some solder on the contact portion of the tip) before you return the iron it to the holder, your tip’s life will be extended many times over returning a clean tip.
    I sincerely hope this information is a help and again, you, your website and wonderful articles really are deeply appreciated.
    Thank you,

  3. Qazi Farhan Ahmed

    Hi, how I can use 4 wire LED strip (+ve,RGB)? every one is using 3 wire strip. Should I mix RGB? I need to use white in front and red at back and have done by direct connect to Lipo battery. Want to use this way.

  4. Kgb1

    I am using Spektrum satellite and NAZE32 but could not get the LED working on Ch5. I can get it to work in PPM only. Any Ideas?

  5. Robert

    Hi Oscar,

    I wanted to set up a LED backlight as well, but my Turnigy 8-channel receiver only talks PWM. Then I saw that you’re using the Turnigy 9x as well. Which receiver do you use to get PPM?


    1. Oscar Post author

      TX has 8 available channels, just use a spare one to control your LED and setup LED strip in cleanflight…

      1. Robert

        Yes, it has 8 channels but all PWM. And according to your description, the RC5 pin can only be used if your RX is NOT PWM.
        Or did I misunderstand something?

      2. Oscar Post author

        yes that’s correct, RC5 will be programed into PWM input if PPM or serial RX is not active

  6. Bill

    I know this is an older thread, and it’s cleanflight related… but I’m having trouble getting Betaflight 2.9 to recognize mode_color 6 1 1… thought you might have some inisight. I was able to use the mode_color CLI command in Cleanflight to change the led color when armed and disarmed, but I am getting a parse error in Betaflight.

  7. Viktor

    For those people who have trouble with erratic led blinkinks please read this article about WS2812 voltage levels:
    STM chip provide only 3.3v on his output channel. Too low for some WS2812. Read this for walkaround.

  8. Alex

    Hi Oscar,

    Thanks for this very informative and helpful article on LED strips and the Naze32. Over a year old and it’s still helping a lot of people all over the world. I’m one of them. Using your guide, I was able to hook up and program the lantian 2 in 1 LED strip with buzzer to my Naze32 Rev5.

    I do have a problem and maybe you can help me. Initial setup went well. all 8 lights light up and change colors as per setup. The buzzer works fine. However, later on, whenever I power up my quad (where the led/buzzer is attached) there is noise coming from the buzzer. It’s a combination of static, hissing and something akin to microphone feedback.

    Any ideas?



    1. Oscar Post author

      possibly faulty buzzer, or dirty power supply? I have not personally seen this before…
      try a different buzzer, if not, could you try putting a 120-220uF capacity on your FC 5V power?

      1. Alex

        I forgot to mention that it makes this noise even with the buzzer not connected to the buzzer pins on the naze. I’ll try adding a capacitor. Thanks!

      2. Oscar Post author

        so the buzzing noise isn’t from the buzzer? maybe it’s the PDB/voltage regulator?

  9. J

    I set up some indicator lights on my quad for turn signals. They work fine left and right but both of them flash when I pitch forward, seems like a brake light but it’s functioning upside down. Can I change this in the cli? I’m thinking that maybe my transmitter pitch channel might be upside down and maybe I set it in cleanflight to see it the right way? I’m not sure.

  10. Josh

    I’m having an issue with some of these. I’ve got the LEDs working on my quad, but when I enable indicators on them the only indicators it shows are for right turns and pitch up commands and all the LEDs flash instead of just the ones indicated in those directions. I just want a solid color that goes to a turn signal, and I can’t seem to find this issue anywhere else. Any ideas would help.

    1. Oscar Post author

      Hi Nick… i don’t think it does yet…
      lastly… i would really appreciate it if you could post your questions on the forum: … I only check my blog comments once a week, but I use the forum everyday!

  11. Nick Andraka

    Hi Oscar,
    Great articles, they have really helped me get started.
    I have some very basic questions :)
    Does a transmitter have to be PPM to use a PPM RX ? (I will be using a DX6I)
    Is a sat RX a PPM, as it is 3 wire ?
    Do you know of any “brushed boards” that support RGB LED, that will run on 3.7v (1S) , I am building a sub 100mm quad.

    Many Thanks,

  12. Steven

    Hi Oscar,

    Great site and tutorials. Been very helpful in my first quad build. I’m wanting to wire up some LED’s to my quad but my issue is that i’m using soft serial for telemetry with the d4r-ii and i have an OSDoge. Do you know of any work arounds to have LED, OSD and telemetry all at the same time. Seems like this is a pretty common setup now days with mini quads.

    BTW im using naze32 rev6 and betaflight

    1. Steven

      Answering my own question i think the only solution here is to get a F3 based Controller which has 3 serial connections which would solve the issue. I’m looking at the TornadoF3 which is priced pretty good.

  13. Tony

    Hi Oscar

    I am trying to set up LED lights on the quad I have a Skyline 32 Advanced FC to connect to what would be pin 5 on the Nazen32 should I use RC5 from the board?


  14. MikeP

    Hi Oscar,

    This post is really helpful, thanks a lot! I’m almost there, it’s all wired up, but I’m having the issue that seems to be noted on the main Cleanflight documentation, that there’s too much difference between my Vin and signal voltages? My LEDs are flickering, and usually completely white regardless of my settings in the software.

    My knowledge of electronics is pretty slim, it said something about an inline diode that would drop the Vin voltage, do you have any advice on this? Thanks!


    1. Oscar Post author

      yea most likely to be voltage level differences between signal and power.
      make sure Ground of LED strip is connected to FC GND?
      if that doesn’t solve it, also try adding a diode in the power line to input drop voltage.

  15. boolat

    me actuel cli led

    Entering CLI Mode, type ‘exit’ to return, or ‘help’

    # led
    led 0 7,5:N:AC:2
    led 1 6,5:N:AC:2
    led 2 5,4:N:AC:2
    led 3 5,3:N:AC:2
    led 4 6,2:N:AC:2
    led 5 7,2:N:AC:2
    led 6 8,3:N:AC:2
    led 7 8,4:N:AC:2
    led 8 0,7:W:TC:2
    led 9 1,7:W:TC:2
    led 10 2,7:W:TC:2
    led 11 3,7:W:IC:2
    led 12 4,7:W:IC:2
    led 13 5,7:W:IC:2
    led 14 6,7:W:IC:2
    led 15 7,7:W:IC:2
    led 16 8,7:E:TC:2
    led 17 9,7:E:TC:2
    led 18 10,7:E:TC:2
    led 19 11,7:E:IC:2
    led 20 12,7:E:IC:2
    led 21 13,7:E:IC:2
    led 22 14,7:E:IC:2
    led 23 15,7:E:IC:2
    led 24 0,0:::0
    led 25 0,0:::0
    led 26 0,0:::0
    led 27 0,0:::0
    led 28 0,0:::0
    led 29 0,0:::0
    led 30 0,0:::0
    led 31 0,0:::0

    # color
    color 0 0,0,0
    color 1 0,255,255
    color 2 0,0,255
    color 3 30,0,255
    color 4 60,0,255
    color 5 90,0,255
    color 6 120,0,255
    color 7 150,0,255
    color 8 180,0,255
    color 9 210,0,255
    color 10 240,0,255
    color 11 270,0,255
    color 12 300,0,255
    color 13 330,0,255
    color 14 0,0,0
    color 15 0,0,0

    I would have to ARM OFF RED and GREEN for ON how to please?

    look this

  16. Tyler

    Hi Oscar , I am having trouble with erratic LEDs on my quad, running a Naze32 full and a frsky receiver in ppm mode. I have 2 of these

    I have the signal pin attached to pin 5, and the LEDs light, but do not work properly. At startup they are all white except for one green, and stay steady (not what I have programmed at all.) Over time, they start to blink and flicker. Once I arm, then they really go nuts, with all kinds of colors and flickering. Changing the LED settings in cleanflight don’t seem to make a difference. Changing the data pin to any other pin makes them not light at all.

    Any ideas? Interference? Everything else works great, no problems.

  17. Gregorio Costa

    Hi Oscar,
    I appreciated your efforts to explain many things, but I still have many doubts.
    My setup:
    1. zmr250
    2. kiss 18A esc
    3. multustar elite 2204/2300
    4. Naze32 acre
    5. MinimOSD
    6. Nucleus PCB
    7. Tx FrSky Taranis
    8. Rx D4RII
    9. CleanFlight 1.10.0
    After great effort I managed to make it all work, and I get the correct telemetry. Excellent level of stability of the model.
    I wanted to experiment with the RGB LED strip (Readytoflyquads) but I can not! Enter all conflicts and crashes also video transmission. The ports SoftSerial not allow me to use them because I automatically disables LED_STRIP.
    The ports are so configured:

    Identifier Data Logging Telemetry RX GPS
    UART1 MSP 115000 No Blackbox Disabled No Serial RX No GPS
    UART2 No No Blackbox Disabled No Serial RX No GPS

    I hope you can give me help!
    Thank you

    1. Alex

      Hello Oscar, Thank you for this post..I’m starting to have headaches here…

      I’m running Beta Flight wit LED_STRIP on in cleanflight, PPM receiver..

      I have tried with a led stick and also the flexibl long strips that i cut into two leds..

      using rx chan 5 for the signal and the 5v+ and ground from the spare motor pins on the Naze32 FC (using 5+ and GND from the 5th motor)

      Here are pictures with both set-up.

      Do you see anything wrong?

      PS: They flash for A fraction of a second when i unplug my lipo from the quad.I also measure 4.97 volts on the 5V +Red wire.

      Best regards

      1. Preben

        Hey Alex!
        Were you ever able to fix this? I have the EXACT same problem! Could it have anything to do with BetaFlight?

  18. Ari

    Hi Oscar

    Thanks for the tutorial!

    Quick question – I am using a Hitec Optima 7 receiver which I believe runs in PPM mode. Does this mean I can’t use these LEDs? :( as this receiver doesn’t support PWM mode from what I know. Any other way to do this?



    1. Oscar Post author

      Ari, you can only run these LED if you are running PPM (RC5 pin is freed up), so from what you described, you should be fine!

      1. Ari

        Hi Oscar. Thanks for the reply. I believe I meant PWM and not PPM.

        As in, I have connected RC signals 1,2,3,4 on my Naze32 to my Optima 7 receiver Ch1,2,3,4.

        Can I still wire the LEDs data connection to RC5 pin even though (i believe) it is in PWM mode? Or will the NAZE32 not be outputting the correct signal to the RC5 pin?

        Is there no way you can get the NAZE32 to use adressable LEDs if your receiver is PWM?

        Many thanks!

      2. Oscar Post author

        Hi Ari… i never tried it… but I read somewhere, if PPM is disabled (PWM enabled) RC5 is configured to be an input for PWM signal, and not as an output for LED strip.
        Is there any reason you can’t use PPM? it seems to be the only way to go… if you can’t find a PPM RX for your radio system.. search on my blog how to mod a PWM RX to output PPM signa.

  19. Martin

    Hello Oscar,
    I’m sorry to bother but I’m cornered with this feature. I managed to make it work ok. Only problem is that LED set up as Throttle indicator is not working. Even if I swap with the one next to it (originally working for “indicator”) still it won’t help.
    Bassicly Throttle feature is not working. Any idea where the problem can be. I’m using flip 32. And of course throttle itself on my quad if of course working. Thank you in advance for reply

  20. Michael Anburaj

    Hi Oscar,

    I have 8 + 8 LED in my setup. powering them using a spare BEC (from 12A EMAX ESC), that is rated for 1A/5V, running all LEDs white.. still within a few minutes the LEDs blink and the motors seem to be going through the INIT sequence, seem to me the ESC is RESETing. splitting the LEDs between 2 ESC-BEC’s, it lasts longer, but still in the end it does get into the same situation. (FYI: I have a diode on the V+ at the 1st LED).

    Thanks for you help.

    1. Oscar Post author

      sounds like your ESC BECs are not having a good time working with the LEDs, possiblily your LEDs are drawing too much current, or your ESC gets overheat after certain point. consider adding a dedicated voltage regulator in your setup for the LEDs maybe.

  21. Richard Taylor

    Hi Oscar,
    I notice that you’ve used servo extension leads to make it nice and neat, but this means a lot to cables to daisy chain between LEDs. I’ve got a Hoverthings Flip 360 I’ll be building for my Naza Lite. I’ve already done a proof of concept to use these LEDs in connection with the status LED of the Naza using an arduino; Shows orientation lights and replicates the Naza LED pulse.

    My question is, given that I’ll have 4 arms of these, rather than daisy chain the cables, (essentially then 6 per arm closest to the frame), is there any merit to using 4 cables; 2 for power from JST say, a power cap per arm, and 2 cables for data in and out (which WOULD still have to be daisy chained off a resistor to clean the signal)?

  22. David

    Hi Oscar,

    I am using the CC3D and I connected the Data input into the WS2812 LED strip from the output pwm servo pin 5 instead of the receiver input pin 5. Pins 1-4 are used for the motors instead. I used cleanflight configurator and it works when I set “rx feature ppm” funny enough. I am not sure if that was the correct way to set it up.

    My main problem is when I set “receiver mode” in the configurator to PWM, I can see the throttle, roll etc… but the LED’s do not work. If I change the receiver mode to PPM, I dont get any throttle or roll reponse from the controller but my LED’s work. My only assumption is I didn’t connect it properly or my receiver doesn’t PPM. If you could just clarify that. Thanks heaps.

    Maybe more images with connection for this particular tutorial but awesome job.

    1. Oscar Post author

      Like I said, you have to enable PPM to use LED. if you are using PWM mode, your pin 5 is used by radio so you can’t have LED… i don’t know what connection you have trouble with… PPM only requires 3 wires… 5V, GND and Signal

  23. steven

    Great article – very helpful!

    The software is so comprehensive – so many things it does automatically. Unfortunately the one thing I can’t seem to make it do is drive lighting based on AUX channels with any flexibility. Apart from LEDLOW flight mode turning everything off. Any tips or should I be tinkering with my own fork of cleanflight?

    1. Oscar Post author

      i think this is something people have asked for a very long time… not sure why it’s still not available… if you know how to fork it, then do it :) sorry i can’t offer much advice on this as i am not using LED much on my quad :)

  24. Garrett

    hello i am having a issue getting the leds to work. i am using naze32 with cleanflight and futaba sbus. receiver mode is rx_serial and serial receiver provider is sbus. i have the signal line from the leds to pin 5. will pin 5 output signal if cleanflight is set to rx_serial instead of ppm? if it is then i may be getting to much voltage to the leds at 5.4 volts. thanks

    1. Oscar Post author

      I don’t use sbus in my quads, so i can’t verify it. easy test to do is to enable ppm, and test the LED see if that works? If still not working, it’s probably your LED is faulty.

  25. Jocó Zolg

    Dear Oscar!

    Nice Work!
    I also have some of these leds from my own TV ambilight project :).
    My question is, that theese leds operates from 3.3V logic levels, or do i need a logic level shifter?
    I’d like to use it with my CC3d panel (which outputs the signals direcly from the uC’s terminals).
    I dont know mutch about the Naze32, does it outputs 5V signals?


    1. Oscar Post author

      HI Andrew, is it WS2811/WS2812 you have? I use them directly with my Naze32 (which is 5V output), and not seen any issues.

  26. Mikiway

    Bonjour pourriez-vous me dire sur port d’une carte Flip32+ me connecter pour brancher une barre de leds RGB ou une barre Adafruit neopixel bâton.

    Merci par avance.
    Hello can you tell me about wearing a Flip32 card + connect to connect a RGB LED bar or stick Adafruit neopixel bar.

    Thank you in advance.

  27. nazha

    Hi Oscar, thanks for this article.

    I have a question how to power the LED strip.
    Do u get +/- power source from the FC (ESC 5th Pin) and connect the RadioChannel 5 Pin to the LED ?

    1. Oscar Post author

      HI Nazha,
      Yes I do get power from spare motor pins… and LED signal to Radio pin 5.
      but it’s always a good idea to have a separate BEC for LEDs, especially so if you have a lot of them.

  28. Dan Geukes

    HI Oscar…

    I am new to this exciting sport and just now setting it all up. I have the quad flying sort of… but I have a strange problem with the led strip.
    I set up the leds WS2812B on my Naze32 Acro board. They work great. I can not even get them to light on my Naze32 FULL controller. Both have Firm ware 1.8 and both led checkboxes are checked in configuration and power and ground goto the spare motor plugs and the Din goes to pin 5 on the rc input. I use Clean flight software.
    Any ideas????

    1. Oscar Post author

      have you tried dumping CLI commands from the acro board, and copy them to your full board? try that first.

      1. Dan Geukes

        No have not. Even tried to reflash the entire board and start over. no luck so far. going to try it one more time. funny the less expensive board is working fine.

      2. Dan Geukes

        TADA!!! Copy and Pasting did not carry over the config of the leds BUT it turned them on and I am now able to reprogram them again. THANK YOU!!!

        Now I need to know WHY that worked. I am very curious and need knowledge if I am going to pass on to other builders.

  29. MadD MackX

    To connect the led strip to a cc3d flashed with cleanflight 1.7.0 which pin or port in this case would i connect up to get the leds to light up currently i have the wire connected to the 5 hole in the main flight connection plug. im running ppm and have it working on my naze32.


  30. Davhed

    I have just picked up a Neopixel ring. When I first hooked it up it worked OK, and then I attached ti using a UBEC to lower the draw on my Naze. After doing that, the UBEC meters 5v and the LED ring won’t turn on. I metered the RC5 pin from the Naze and it’s only providing .03v. I understand it should be pushing 3.3v on that pin, and I assume it must have been initially when I hooked it up. Any thoughts on why the Naze might stop outputting the right voltage on that pin? All other flight control functions seem to be normal.

    1. Davhed

      Actually my BEC meters 5.4v and that seems to be the problem because when I power the ring from my ESC’s BEC it works fine. That is right at 5v. I even tried knocking the BEC voltage down using a resistor to 4.98v, and it still didn’t work… I’m totally confused, but it’s working at the moment.

  31. Carlos

    Oscar, any help appreciated. I just cant get the LEDs to work. I am using these but dont know whats up. I got the display to work but not the LEDs.

  32. Dj_Garfield

    Hey , I just test The one I recieve , but not stripped , this works Great with the Neopixel Lib :) I prepare a little case to put the nano on the 450 or test with some APM output , this should be possible :) It’s Open :)
    Thx for the share :)

  33. glue hand brian

    Thanks for sharing :) one thing i think you’ve missed is that the led’s are directional, have an input and output or at least the WS2812b one i got have, mine wasn’t lighting up as i had one strip in backwards.
    but now all working and awesome!!

  34. Cristian

    Hi there!
    So, i got My naze32 acro setup with cleanflight and ledstrip. Selected what I want to have to signal, warnings, etc… Save all the changes. Unplugged from the PC, disconnect the lipo… On reboot, no LEDs light up. The only way I can find the get them up and running again is disable the led strips on the config or cli, and re enable them.
    This happens on clean flight 1.6 1.7.0 and 1.7.1

  35. Richard

    Hi Oscar,

    Thanks for all the help so far, Ok, I broke the LED strip up into sections of three and got them working on the Arduino. I then connected them to the craft in a series of 12 LED’s (4X3) . … power and ground from the Main Header Rail and then the Singal to M5 (I am using CPPM)

    A couple of questions please If I may,

    1. Are you using a separate Power Source (I have a Turnigy 5A UBEC +5V) which I could use.
    2. If I use the UBEC, do I use that for power and ground to the LED Strip?
    3. If no to the above, where would I connect the Power and Ground from the UBEC?
    4 The Signal still goes to the same place (M5) – This is a statement not a question.

    Appreciate your assistance!


    1. Oscar Post author

      Hi Richard,
      1. no I am powering them with the spare ESC BEC (ESC2, 3 and 4).
      2. you can also use a UBEC, you need to connect both ground and power.
      3. –
      4. –


      1. Richard


        thank you for your reply,

        Ok, so it will be ok to power them with the separate UBEC, All I need to know now is, when I connect the UBEC I will solder the POWER and GROUND from the UBEC to the LED STRIP, the signal wire will come from the Naze32 flight controller .. I don’t need to connect a common ground to Naze32 at all?


      2. Oscar Post author

        I dont think so, all of your equipment are powered by the same lipo, ie connected to the same ground.
        But if you want to be safe, or if there is any problems,, you can also run a wire between the ground on FC and UBEC, doesn’t hurt.


  36. Neil

    Thanks Oscar! I just threw in a purchase for a few different WS2812 boards.

    I bought 20 –

    and a 5 pack –

    I have two clone frames to light up.. Figured I may run the 8 strips on front and back and an individual one under each motor or something.. Sound like it could work?? We will see.. Thanks again for the great tutorial. I really dig the development that continues to build in cleanflight! The sonar stuff looks interesting as well! Keep the tutorials coming!


      1. Neil

        Oscar. You think I am better off pulling directly off my 3s battery into a 5v voltage regulator that can handle say 3amps or so or.. using the three extra bec’s off motors 2-3-4 to power up say 10 leds per esc? I realize I will have to throw a diode in line to drop the slightly higher than 5v spitting out of the esc’s as well? I guess I can do either just trying to lay out my wiring in my head..

      2. Oscar Post author

        Hi Neil, You can use both ways. But I would personally use the spare BEC from motor 2, 3, 4. Extra BEC is extra weight and money :)
        like I tested in the post, each LED only draws 18mA, for a BEC that can supply 1A current, you should be able to run 40 with one BEC (I would suggest to test yours for current draw just to make sure, anyway your idea of dividing LEDs to be powered by each spare BEC is a safer method, but messier cabling)
        thanks, Oscar

  37. Richard

    Bro, please could you help me out here, I have an Adruino Uno, V3 please could you tell me how to connect it up to test my LED strips. I have a seperate 5V UBEC, I also need you to please explain the “Library” NeoPixel ??


    1. Oscar Post author

      Hi Richard,
      You don’t need to change anything in the NeoPixel example “Strandtest”, the defined pin number for data by default is pin6:
      #define PIN 6
      Just compile and upload the example to your Arduino, connect your LED data pin to pin6 on the Arduino, and power.
      Remember, The ground of your 5V BEC needs to be connected to the Arduino Ground pin (Common Ground).


      1. Richard

        Oscar, I am getting this error when I try upload the Sketch to Arduino Uno

        This report would have more information with
        “Show verbose output during compilation”
        enabled in File > Preferences.
        Arduino: 1.0.6 (Windows NT (unknown)), Board: “Arduino Uno”
        strandtest:12: error: ‘Adafruit_NeoPixel’ does not name a type
        strandtest.ino: In function ‘void setup()’:
        strandtest:20: error: ‘strip’ was not declared in this scope
        strandtest.ino: In function ‘void loop()’:
        strandtest:26: error: ‘strip’ was not declared in this scope
        strandtest.ino: In function ‘void colorWipe(uint32_t, uint8_t)’:
        strandtest:41: error: ‘strip’ was not declared in this scope
        strandtest.ino: In function ‘void rainbow(uint8_t)’:
        strandtest:52: error: ‘strip’ was not declared in this scope
        strandtest:55: error: ‘strip’ was not declared in this scope
        strandtest.ino: In function ‘void rainbowCycle(uint8_t)’:
        strandtest:65: error: ‘strip’ was not declared in this scope
        strandtest:68: error: ‘strip’ was not declared in this scope
        strandtest.ino: In function ‘void theaterChase(uint32_t, uint8_t)’:
        strandtest:77: error: ‘strip’ was not declared in this scope
        strandtest:80: error: ‘strip’ was not declared in this scope
        strandtest.ino: In function ‘void theaterChaseRainbow(uint8_t)’:
        strandtest:95: error: ‘strip’ was not declared in this scope
        strandtest:98: error: ‘strip’ was not declared in this scope
        strandtest.ino: In function ‘uint32_t Wheel(byte)’:
        strandtest:114: error: ‘strip’ was not declared in this scope
        strandtest:117: error: ‘strip’ was not declared in this scope
        strandtest:120: error: ‘strip’ was not declared in this scope

      2. Oscar Post author

        It’s saying the Arduino IDE cannot find the required library for NeoPixel. I think you might not have installed the library correctly. Take a look at this tutorial how to install Arduino library.

  38. Dj_Garfield

    Great Job !!!! Your quad have very nice turning Light :) It’s crazy !!! Actualy I Limit the light at a strict minimum : Orientation :) Can’t wait to see your Quad in the air :)

    1. Oscar Post author

      ha, thanks! yes turning light is working pretty good. There is also throttle level indicator light, I forgot to show in the demo, it’s pretty awesome too!


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