I recently purchased a 5m long strip of ws2801 leds. I've been trying in vain to get them to light up. During part of my troubleshooting I decided to confirm that I was getting power across the strip and to my surprise I wasn't! I adjusted my set-up to power the strip directly (there is a bunch of 4 cables for data, clock and power and two additional cables also for power). Now some of the lights come on but it's clearly not working correctly.

I removed the cover and it looks to me like the strip I received isn't wired up correctly, I was wondering if someone more knowledge than me could confirm? I've attached a photo of what it looks like. I've been treating (from the bunch of 4): red as ground blue as positive yellow to MOSI green to SCLK

but as shown in the photo yellow and green are soldered to the same point. I would have thought blue and green should move up a space!?

Thanks for any help!

(I've also posted this question on raspberrypi.org)


1 Answer 1


The labeling is the same as on the left of the next chip in the strip.

The red and black cable is for power. Where red is 5V, and black is ground. You can't us the 5v on the GPIO for power, as 5 meter would draw way to much current. Connect these two to a separate power supply.

The other cable (blue green yellow and the other red) are for communication. This red one is connected to the same point as the black so that one goes to ground on the pi. yellow and green are connected together, you just pick one and connect it to MOSI. The blue one is for SCLK.

Who wired this one up is totally bonkers. I would probably resolder those wires to prevent any wrong connections in the future. Using red for ground is just bad.

PS I hope your spi-gpio pins are still working as you had them shorted together, in the way you described above.

  • Great. Good luck.
    – Gerben
    Aug 4, 2014 at 18:45

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