Blog  /  RGB Pinout: Interesting Facts You Should Know

RGB Pinout: Interesting Facts You Should Know

NeoPixel Ring - 24 x WS2812 5050 RGB LED with Integrated D… | Flickr


Source: Flickr



Do you need a multi-colored indicator for your project without having to install multiple LEDs? Well, all you need is an RGB LED. Why? First off, the RGB LED produces three primary colors: red, green, and blue. Hence, installing separate LEDs to get different colors saves you stress. However, it's crucial to consider a few things when dealing with RGB LEDs, like the different RGB pinouts.

What does that mean? Not to worry, in this article, you'll learn everything about RGB pinouts and how to use them on your circuits.

Are you ready? Let's begin!

Types of RGB Pinouts

Usually, most LEDs come with two leads—one for the LED and one for the anode or cathode. However, there are other LEDs with multiple charges. As a result, we have various types of RGB pinouts.

But it's worth mentioning that LEDs always have pins of unequal length. Why? Well, it helps you identify the pins and eases the assembly process.

That said, here are the different types of RGB pinouts:

2-Pin RGB Pinout

The 2-pin LED is the most common type of LED pinout available. Usually, these LEDs are single, but there are other bi-colored variants.

And the bi-colored variants of 2-pin LEDs change colors when you reverse the current flowing into them. Other types contain two LEDs with the same color or different colors.

So, how do you get the right color? You can do that by checking the bi-color LED datasheet.

3-Pin RGB Pinout

When it comes to the 3-pin pinout, a pair of LEDs share one anode or cathode, usually of different colors. So, you can either create a combination of colors or turn on each LED independently.

4-Pin RGB Pinout

In truth, the four-pin pinout is the most commonly used RGB LED package. Interestingly, you can also get the common anode and cathode versions if needed.

6-Pin RGB Pinout

Amazingly, RGB LEDs with up to six pins allow you to make various unusual combinations. So, for example, you can bring out the individual pins of each LED to create one common anode, cathode, or a series of LED configurations.

You can also have two different three-pin setups in a six-pin package.

Pin Configuration

Here's the pin configuration of the more common four-pin RGB LED.

Pin Number Pin Name Description
1 R This pin glows the LED in red
2 Gnd This pin is the common cathode (ground)
3 G Illuminates the LED in green
4 B Lights the LED in blue

Features and Specifications

Here are the features and specifications of the RGB LED:

  • It does not use UV rays
  • It has an operating temperature between -25°C to 85°C
  • Its storage temperature can be anywhere between -30°C to 85°C
  • RGB LEDs have an incredibly high luminance and flux output
  • These LEDs have a low thermal resistance
  • The forward current for the RGB colors is 20mA
  • Each color has a different wavelength: Red has 625mm, Green has 467.5mm, and Blue has 520mm wavelengths
  • Each color also uses various forward voltages: Red uses 2v (typical), Green uses 3.2v (typical), and Blue uses 3.2 (typical) forward voltages.
  • All the colors have different luminous intensities: Red has 800 mcd, Green has 900 mcd, and Blue has 4000 mcd luminous intensities

.Where to Use RGB LEDs

In truth, you can use RGB LEDs as indicators in most electronic circuits. But that's not all. You can use this component in various applications like portable flashlights or flashy light effects.

Additionally, you can use RGB pinouts to work according to conditions. For instance, when your video player circuit is on video mode, the red LED will glow when it's on standby mode. Also, the green color LED lights up, and when it's loading, the blue color LED will glow.

Note: You can use three different LEDs to create an RGB effect on your circuit, but that would take up more space and increase your circuit's size.

How to Use RGB Led

Indeed, it's easy to use an RGB LED in your circuit. But, first, if you want to activate a typical anode RGB LED, connect the common terminal to the power source. Also, ensure to connect it to the positive terminal of the power source.

Again, if you want the red color to glow, connect the terminal of the red color to the power source's negative terminal. You can also repeat the same for the terminals of the other colors if you want them to glow.

Additionally, you can light them up simultaneously to create different color combinations.

Interestingly, if you have a standard cathode RGB LED, connect the common terminal to the power source's negative terminal. If you want the red or other colors to glow, connect the respective airport to the power source's positive terminal.

Furthermore, when you apply voltage directly to both the common anode and standard cathode LEDs, you activate the following color combination:

  • Red and blue
  • Blue and green
  • Green and red
  • All three colors combination

Thus, with the addition of the three primary red, blue, and green colors, you can get up to seven shades from the RGB LED.

Arduino RGB LED Pinout

You can also use an RGB LED with an Arduino board. So, for this project, you'll need the following components:

  • Arduino UNO board (1)
  • Resistor 220 ohm (3)
  • Generic breadboard (1)
  • RGB diffused common cathode (1)
  • Jumper wires (1)

Circuit Diagram

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 9P3H7DFpiSG8HEKVIKCD_z7w3elT2W4BYV8fhW3iFa9qjJRDnhdrXYGEpNdjg6ylhnZ4eukCL3cgL-GGyTjrxtyep4uDjWn0Smm1U3tYKq8xn9iW7l2n6uezzAvSzGhr7fmhBHs

Arduino Circuit Diagram

Source: Wikimedia Commons


In truth, you can quickly assemble this circuit by connecting the RGB LED's cathode (longer pin) to the Arduino's GND. Then, join the remaining three pins to the Arduino's pins 9,10, and 11 via the resistors (220 ohms).

By doing this, you'll stop the overload of current from the power supply and prevent it from reaching the LED.

On the other hand, if your RGB LED is the common anode, connect the long lead to the 5v terminal of the Arduino.

Here's the code you need for your Arduino RGB LED.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is s0ijwOY5p9gU5IOdmWl9u80URZjBb3VwAWKb1U3rUGi_wvI66qBic_RJ_e1Z-W7mpFPj-Q7QawEyCr29Zsvdc3RqesVJ2E2C7BvmVQRX4qW_e2g6-9SrALyO0Yh36yT-T-rJw2A

Arduino Code

Source: Wikimedia Commons

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 8_MV6jWGgLghxlqYbwKAyBNwSBl58_ZcL6dheOYhan15Y5Q82mK_ofKfG4iDH6LE_iXqcYgSRr_0RkFq1UwSWbOwC3ZOhMKzzuzP1Oc09109GWfzO_B0zurOKj3jAw_qjYg7OxA

Arduino Code

Source: Wikimedia Commons


Here are the various applications that work with an RGB LED.

Traffic Lights

Traffic Lights

  • Decoration lights
Decoration Lights

Decoration Lights

Room Lights

Room Lights

  • Industrial applications
  • Multi-colored lighting
people inside disco, colorful, colourful, crowd, lights, night, nightlife, arts culture and entertainment, music, multi colored, lighting equipment, nightclub, party - social event, illuminated, enjoyment, event, light beam, people, group of people, laser, dancing, light - natural phenomenon, clubbing, disco dancing, silhouette, light, abstract, popular music concert, disco lights, stage light, black background, 4K

Multi-colored Lighting

Source: Piqsels

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is aO5-oPq0t1Kd-Q_rEHTBR-KfW49e7nZUqZVa5ESNTVL-tdNq35fHP2rZo7LeKPu7Wx7CMIsgnV10JP36RMGpCxUC_WYuIJnr436fkD4Dxu1tpY4uXXmqNSYqETOtOBSinZcGdhU

Light Guide

Source: Wikimedia Commons

  • Portable flashlight


Rounding Up

With an RGB pinout, you can achieve any color you want. Usually, it’sit'sllenging to differentiate RGB LEDs from regular LEDs—since they have similar appearances. So, there are three extra LEDs inside a standard RGB LED package.

Also, you can mix any color you want by adjusting the brightness of the LED. Interestingly, the common anode is more popular than its cathode counterpart and usually has four leads instead of six—one lead for each color and the common anode.

In closing, we'de to know if you have further questions about the subject topic. If you do or still having challenges understanding the RGB Pinouts, contact us.