While everyone definitely loves the WS2812 LEDs, powering them can be a challenge. If you try to use your chipKIT board as the sole source of power, problems may arise. This is why it can be handy to have an external power supply. This Instructable by Larissa shows how to use a chipKIT Protoshield to create a custom USB battery supply adapter to power the chipKIT and the WS2812 LEDs.
To do this project, you’ll need a chipKIT board, the chipKIT Protoshield, a soldering iron, some solder, soldering braid, a USB cable, two breadboard wires with female headers, wire clippers and strippers, a 1000uF electrolytic capacitor, quick-set epoxy or hot glue, and an external battery pack that has USB connectors.
Gather your materials. Then, open the Protoshield and familiarize yourself with its components. Mount the indicator components and solder the headers. Check them to ensure they’re properly aligned. Create your power connectors, and then solder into the breadboard at the power terminals. Test your shield to make sure it’s receiving power. At that point, solder the electrolytic capacitor in and prepare your USB cable. Solder power and ground to the Protoshield. Test the external power, and then secure your wires and USB cable with the glue or epoxy. Connect it to the battery pack and it’s ready for use!
Now, get out there and build something fun with your external power supply and WS2812 LEDs.