Teensy 4.1 is Amazing

For the future Turtle Antenna, I’m using 16 of these “flex led” strips. Each strip is 5 meters of WS2815 in a nice IP68 frosty silicone sleeve which creates beautiful, diffuse pastel colors. They are 60 pixels per meter so I’m using a total of 4800 LEDs.

If you asked me a year ago I would have said that this year I’d be using ESP32s as controllers.

Teensy 4.1 is a game changer.

Here I’m running:

  • 4800 LEDs (WS2815b)
  • 107 frames per second
  • 16 strips, in parallel, each on their own pin
  • RAM used 111284 bytes (21%)
  • CPU load: negligible
  • Peak AC power consumption (full white) 500 watts / 6amps
  • For each WS2815b strip of 300 12v LEDs, I am only injecting power once at the bottom.

The prototype breadboard here shows one Teensy 4.1, two level shifters (8 strips each), and four RS422 encoders (4 strips each). Then I drive the signal over CAT5 to a tiny RS422 decoder board. The whole RS422 thing is not necessary if your controller is within about 5m of your strips. I haven’t tried going further but I would not be surprised if you could run 20,000 pixels at 60fps off of one Teensy 4.1…. without using any kind of shift register or extra hardware.