Pixel Protocol Overview: APA102

This pixel protocol was designed by APA Electronic Co. in Taiwan. Also known as “Superled”, APA102 is one of the most common protocols for pixel lighting displays. The control circuit and LEDs are integrated in a 5050 SMD package, which provides a small physical footprint for each pixel.

PixLite Support

Are you looking for APA102 pixel drivers that work with Art-Net or sACN? All PixLite Mk1, Mk2, and Mk3 products support APA102 as an available Pixel IC type, so get in touch with us to find out how the lighting specialists at Advatek can support you in your pixel lighting project.

Current Control

APA102 has the ability to digitally control the current of the connected LEDs. Use the 5-bit global current control to lower the brightness without sacrificing resolution. This global brightness control can be set when configuring your PixLite Mk3 controller

Technical Specifications

Clock Type Clocked
Color Resolution 8 bits
Physical Package SMD5050 with integrated LEDs
Output Pixel Voltage 5V
PWM Rate 1920Hz
Suitable Camera Up to 64fps, see Refresh Rate and PWM Rate
Redundant Data Line No

Color Specifications

Color Brightness Wavelength
Red 500 – 650 mcd 620 – 625 nm
Green 370 – 530 mcd 522 – 525 nm
Blue 120 – 165 mcd 465 – 467 nm

APA102 Advantages

  • Presence of a clock allows for faster refresh rates
  • High PWM rate allows for filming these pixels with cameras up to 64fps

APA102 Disadvantages

  • Only 8 bits of data for each color makes dimming curves less smooth
  • Limited to 5V, causing short cable lengths
  • No redundancy in data
  • Dissipates heat less efficiently than APA102C
Categories: Pixel LEDs