Pixel Protocol Overview: APA104

This pixel protocol was designed by APA Electronic Co. in Taiwan. Also known as “Superled”, APA104 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 APA104 pixel drivers that work with Art-Net or sACN? All PixLite Mk2 and Mk3 products support APA104 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.

Technical Specifications

Clock Type Data-Only
Color Resolution 8 bits
Physical Package SMD5050 with integrated LEDs
Output Pixel Voltage 5 - 12V
PWM Rate 400Hz
Suitable Camera Unsuitable for cameras, see Refresh Rate and PWM Rate
Data Transfer Rate 800kbps
Redundant Data Line No

Color Specifications

Color Brightness Wavelength
Red 390 – 420 mcd 620 – 625 nm
Green 660 – 720 mcd 522 – 525 nm
Blue 180 – 200 mcd 465 – 467 nm

APA104 Advantages

APA104 Disadvantages

  • Low PWM rate makes theses pixels unsuitable for cameras
  • Data-only restricts refresh rates to be limited by the speed of the protocol, which will generally be slow
  • Only 8 bits of data for each color makes dimming curves less smooth
  • No redundancy in data
Categories: Pixel LEDs