Q. What’s the difference between PIXEL V2 vs. PIXEL V1?
A. Outside of the different form factors, the primary difference is PIXEl V2 has onboard storage and can display animations and still images when disconnected from your Android device or PC. In addition, PIXEL V2 also supports USB connections to PCs and the Raspberry Pi.
Q. I’m getting a “PIXEL not found message”.
A. Please follow this Bluetooth troubleshooting guide.
Q. Can my iPhone or iPad control PIXEL?
A. Sorry, it’s just Android, PCs, Mac, and Raspberry Pi. Unfortunately, Apple does not allow full Bluetooth access without going through a lengthy and expensive hardware certification program.
Q. Is there a way to control PIXEL from a command line for home automation and/or Raspberry Pi applications?
A. Yes, see the console app here. The console app runs on the PC, Mac, Linux, and the Raspberry Pi including the new Raspberry Pi B+.
Q. Does the power supply for PIXEL work with 220V/240V?
A. Yes, PIXEL’s power supply can run from 110V to 240V power. It outputs 5V DC up to 4 Amps and has a standard 2.1mm barrel jack connector. The plug it comes with is the “two-prong style” for US/Canada/Japan however so you’ll need to supply your own plug adapter for your country.
Q. Can PIXEL run off a battery?
A. Yes with the disclaimer this is an area that has not been fully tested and there is a known caveat. The easiest route is to use a high capacity portable phone charger battery pack, a 10,000 mAH or higher model such as this one. Using a USB to 2.1mm DC jack cable, you’ll connect the USB end to the battery pack and the DC jack to PIXEL power jack. The caveat is that if you run GIFs/images with a lot of white, the current draw will be too high resetting the board continuously resulting in an animation beginning to play, stopping, and then playing again (definitely not usable). Animations without a lot of white should play but again this is an area that has not been fully tested. If you are experiencing the reset issue, then the work around which for sure will work is to power the PIXEL board with a smaller power pack like this one and use the larger power pack to power the LED matrix directly. The downside here is that you’ll need to splice the LED matrix power cable to the USB cable coming out of the high capacity power pack. Alternatively, you may also use a LiPO battery but you’ll need to drop the voltage down to 5V.
Q. Will PIXEL work with any Android device?
A. Well that’s tough to say as each Android device manufacturer can make their own Android device modifications. What we can say is that with a few exceptions, the Android devices we have tested work with PIXEL. For sure your Android device will need to have Bluetooth so watch out for those el cheapo Android tablets as most of them don’t have built in Bluetooth. Android devices 2.3.3 and above are recommended. Android devices below 2.3.3 will also work with the caveat you’ll need to enter the Bluetooth pairing code each time the device is re-booted.
Q. Can I personalize PIXEL with my own pictures and/or animations?
A. Absolutely, just share your image or gif with the PIXEL: LED ART Android app. Just keep in mind that PIXEL has a resolution of 32×32 (each LED equals one PIXEL) so large, high resolution images will not display well. Also refer to the PIXEL content guide for guidance on what content looks good and what doesn’t look good on PIXEL.
Q. What’s a good image editor to use for creating pixel art?
A. Most folks use Photoshop. You may also use the PIXEL Editor app (adapted from the popular Pixelesque app) on Android for creating images within Android.
Q. How do I author my own GIFs for PIXEL and is there a color palette and recommended frame delay?
A. Use your favorite video editor (most folks use Photoshop) to author the animation and then export it in the animated .GIF format. Please refer to the Artists page for details on authoring GIFs including a color palette and recommended frame delays. Then just share your .gif with the PIXEL: LED ART Android app.
Q. When running in stand alone mode, how can I get PIXEL to play and loop multiple GIFs?
A. Use Photoshop to combine GIFs or a website like picasion.com to combine your desired GIFs into one big GIF. Here’s how to do this using picasion.com
Q. Where are some good Internet sites to get content for PIXEL?
A. There are some very nice sites dedicated to the pixel art scene, here’s a few good ones: pixeljoint.com , piq.codeus.net, Pixelation, and this Pixel Art Flipboard. 32×32 icons (use PNG format) also display very nice on PIXEL.
Q. Can I replace PIXEL’s front panels with different acrylic colors?
A. Yes, PIXEL’s front panels are easily interchangeable. Here’s how to change them.
Q. Does PIXEL tie up my Android device/phone or can I just set the image and then use other apps or turn my phone off?
A. PIXEL (version 2 only) has onboard storage and will display animations or still images when your Android or PC has been disconnected.
Q. Is there a DIY version of PIXEL available for custom installations?
A. Yes, the DIY version is called PIXEL Guts which includes the 32×32 LED matrix. Here’s an example custom build we did for a Halloween party and corresponding project write-up.
Q. I’m doing a custom installation, how do I mount the 32×32 LED display?
A. Follow the dimensions in this CAD drawing which will show you the mounting holes and cut-outs for your custom mount.
Q. The power cord shows, any way to hide that or can I power PIXEL from a battery?
A. When hanging on a wall, the only way would be to have an electrician run a power outlet into a recessed power box and then place PIXEL over the recessed box hiding the power cord and power supply in the box. The other option is to place PIXEL somewhere free standing like on a desk using the including stand where the power cord isn’t so much of an issue. Alternatively, we have tested PIXEL with a 4000 mAh LIPO battery which provides roughly a 12 hour running time, you’ll also need a LIPO UBEC to convert the output of the LIPO to 5V.
Q. How much power does PIXEL use?
A. When idle, PIXEL consumes 1.4 watts and when in use depending on the particular still image or animation being displayed, PIXEL will consume anywhere from 4 to 8 watts.
Q. Who developed PIXEL?
A. PIXEL is a joint collaboration between Al Linke, Ytai Ben-Tsvi, Roberto Marquez, and Seeedstudio.
Q. As PIXEL was a KickStarter project, do you have any advice for others thinking about doing their own KickStarter campaign?
A. Here’s a video and presentation with our experience and lessons learned.