The ezPixel FPGA Board

When you really need to light up 9,000 RGB LEDs.

Alasdair Allan
2 min readDec 20, 2017

The NeoPixel has become a staple of the maker movement. Like french fries, pepperoni pizza, or perhaps Twinkies, they’ve become a secret vice. Every maker has a project, or more than one, that uses them. The WS212B-based LED strips have become an almost ubiquitous solution when flashing coloured lights are needed. But what happens if you need to control over 9,000 of them?

The ezPixel board, by Thomas Burke of MakerLogic, is built around an Intel MAX10 FPGA and can drive up to 32 strings of WS2812Bs, for a total of 9,216 LEDs.

The ezPixel board. (📷: Thomas Burke)

Designed to interface with other micro-controllers and handle thousands of programmable LEDs, Burke demonstrated the first prototype version of his board at Maker Faire New York back in October driving a display of 32 strings, each 2m (~6.5ft) long with 120 pixels per string—display content being generated from a laptop connected directly to the board via USB serial.

Since the faire, Burke has added flash memory to the board allowing it to store content, making it a stand-alone display driver.

The board should be available via a crowdfunding campaign early in the new year. But if the ezPixel isn’t enough for you, Burke’s next project is the ezMatrix, another FPGA based board—but this one is being designed to control LED matrix panels of 32×32 LEDs.

[h/t: IEEE Spectrum]