Pixel Extender

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Pixel Extender Construction Manual

What is the Pixel Extender?

The Pixel Extender is an add on for the E1.31 Bridge. It allows Pixels to be run directly from the Bridge without the need for an additional controller. They are replacements for the tiny DMX to Pixel controllers but have some added benefits. You can configure the protocol, channels (Start, Total count) and RGB order all from within the Bridge configuration web page. Currently WS2811 and GECE protocols are supported. Since they use true RS485 drivers they can be located thousands of feet away from the Bridge giving you ample configuration options for those locations a full controller or Ethernet run is not optimal.

Revision History

V1.2 - Initial Release

Pixel Extender Parts

To build the Pixel Extender, you need 2 things:

  1. The PCB
  2. The parts to solder on the board, also known as a BOM (Bill Of Materials).

The BOM parts needed to build the board are:

Mouser BOM
Part IDMouser PNDescriptionQty
R1299-680-RCCarbon Film Resistors - Through Hole 680ohms 0.051
R2-R3299-1K-RCCarbon Film Resistors - Through Hole 1.0Kohms 0.052
R4-R5299-27K-RCCarbon Film Resistors - Through Hole 27Kohms 5%2
R6291-120-RCCarbon Film Resistors - Through Hole 120ohms 0.051
IC1701-SP485ES-LRS-485 Interface IC RS485 5000 kbps temp -40C to 85C1
5V Regulator512-LM78L05ACZXLinear Voltage Regulators TO-92 .1A Pos Volt1
C1-C3581-SA105E104MARMultilayer Ceramic Capacitors MLCC - Leaded 50volts 0.1uF 20% Z5U3
J1571-5556416-1Modular Connectors / Ethernet Connectors 8 PCB TOP ENTRY1
Pixel Connector538-39501-6004Pluggable Terminal Blocks 3.5MM EURO HEADER VE HEADER VERT GRN 4CKT1
Pixel Connector Plug538-39500-0004Pluggable Terminal Blocks EURO 3.5MM HOR PLUG 4CIRCUITS1
Shunt517-9691020000DAHeaders & Wire Housings 2.54MM SHUNT1
LED1604-WP7113GDStandard LEDs - Through Hole GREEN DIFFUSED1
JP1571-826629-2Headers & Wire Housings 2P SINGLE ROW1
X1,X3538-39890-0302Fixed Terminal Blocks 5.0MM ECONOMY 2P 14-24AWG1
Fuse504-ATM-7-1/2Automotive Fuses 7.5A 32Vdc 1kA IR Brown1
Fuse Holder534-3544-2Fuse Clips AUTO FUSEHOLDER .0321
IC Socket 1571-1-390261-2IC & Component Sockets 8P DIP SOCKET SOCKETS1

You can buy the parts directly from Mouser: Click here for Mouser Direct Project BOM or The BOM is also available at a discount in a kit that includes the PCB from DIYLEDExpress.com

Building the Pixel Extender

Take your time and ensure you install the components in the correct orientation when required. Start by sorting the components by type and values. Look over the PCB before starting noting the location of the various components. Follow the standard procedure of installing the lowest profile parts first and ending up with the tallest. You can click on any photo to see a larger version of the image.


  1. - Begin by inspecting the PCBs to look for any defects such as cracks or breaks. The holes on the board should be open on both sides. Then inspect and sort out the various parts for the boards.
  2. - Install the one 680 Ohm resistors (blue, gray, brown, gold) R1 The resistors are not polarized and can be mounted either way.
  3. - Install the two 1K Ohm resistors (brown, black, red, gold) R2,R3 The resistors are not polarized and can be mounted either way.
  4. - Install the two 27K Ohm resistors (red, violet, orange, gold) R4,R5 The resistors are not polarized and can be mounted either way.
  5. - Install the one 120 Ohm resistor (brown, red, brown, gold) R6 The resistors are not polarized and can be mounted either way.
  6. - Install the three 0.1uF (100nF) capacitors C1-C3. The capacitors are not polarized and can be mounted either way.
  7. - Install the one green LED LED1. The LEDs are polarized and must be installed correctly. The short lead is the cathode and must be placed in the top hole closest to the mount hole.
  8. - Install the one 8-pin IC sockets for IC1. Install with the notch to the bottom matching the notch on the PCB.
  9. - Install the 5v linear regulator. Note the regulator is polarized and the flat side should face the bottom to match the orientation on the silkscreen. NOTE: IF YOU PLAN TO USE 5VDC LOADS, SEE THE DESIGN OPTIONS SECTION BELOW BEFORE INSTALLING THE VOLTAGE REGULATOR.
  10. - Install the one fuse clip. The fuse clip has no polarity to worry about.
  11. - Install the pixel output block with the notches matching the PCB.
  12. - Install the one terminal block for the power input. Install with the openings for the wires facing off the edge of the board.
  13. - Install the one RJ45 modular jacks J1. Due to minor variations in manufacturing, some RJ45 jacks are a tighter fit than others. Care should be taken to ensure that the pins are aligned first before applying too much pressure to seat the locking lugs through the board.
  14. - Congratulations! That completes the construction of the Pixel Extender!


JP1 - 5V Bypass

Install shunt instead of 5V Regulator to use with 5V Pixels.

Powering the Pixel Extender

Power the Pixel Extender with a 5V or 12V power supply. Each Pixel Extender can provide up to 7.5A of fused power to the attached pixels. Apply power to the X1 terminal block.

Initial Testing and Connecting to the E1.31 Bridge

On the E1.31 Bridge, set the output jumpers to Renard. The Pixel Extender uses data on Pins 4/5 so the jumpers need to be set to Renard. Configure the output on the E1.31 Bridge webpage to be WS2811 or GECE then update that output. Now power off everything and connect your E1.31 Bridge to the Pixel Extender and attach your Pixel string. Power everything up (Order does not matter for WS2811, but for GECE power them up before powering up the E1.31 Bridge). You can now send E1.31 Data to the Bridge or use an internal test pattern to test the Pixel Extenders.


So - you've built your new Pixel Extender, connected it up to your E1.31 Bridge and tried a quick sequence and nothing happens! There are several checks to perform in order:

Visual Inspection

The very first step involves a close visual inspection of the board. Double check that you have the correct component in the correct location and in the correct orientation. Look at every single solder connection and if some are not shiny or look suspect - reflow them to be sure.


Measure the voltage supplied to the Pixel Extender and ensure it's either +5vdc or +7-24vdc and ensure the power jumper is set correctly. Measure the voltage with the supply plugged in and connected to the Pixel Extender to ensure it's not shorting out. If the voltage is correct then you know the input level is correct.

Remove any/all socketed chips from the board before proceeding.