LightBox Connections (External)

LightBox offers several inputs and outputs for connecting power, sensors, and other peripherals. Here’s a description of the external connectors.

Power & Charging Options

LightBox offers four powering options:
  1. Internal battery — Use this for compact, mobile applications. The battery is a 2000mAh lithium polymer rechargeable type. It’s ideal for powering short runs of LEDs (typically 60 pixels). See How Many LEDs Can I Run?
  2. Micro USB jack — The primary use of this connection is to charge the internal battery. It supports a 500mA charging current.
    Tip: If your USB power source supplies enough current, you can also use the micro USB jack to power connected LEDs. (Some USB battery packs and phone chargers provide 2A or more. But USB ports on computers typically provide only 500mA, so we advise not using your computer’s USB port to power LEDs.)
    If you do have a high-current USB power supply, the best option is to use a USB-to-barrel-plug adapter cable so you can connect to the high-current DC barrel jack in LightBox. LightBox supports up to 1.8A input current on its USB jack, of which it can pass up to 1.6A to connected LEDs.
  3. DC barrel jack — Use this connection to charge the battery or power longer runs of attached LEDs (or both at once). LightBox can pass up to 6A of current to connected LEDs. Physical specs: 5.5mm outside diameter, 2.1mm inside diameter, center-positive.
  4. LightSocket 5Vin — Use this connection for advanced setups with extended runs of LEDs that require more than 6A of current. In this case, you’ll power the LED strip directly (rather than through LightBox). The power from the strip will then feed through the LightSocket 5V input to power the LightBox and charge the battery. This input supports up to 1A.
    Note: This configuration requires a custom cable. You can contact RocketLife to buy an externally powered LED cable, or modify a standard LightBox cable by moving the 5V sw wire(s) to the 5Vin pin. (See diagram below.) If requesting a custom cable, please specify WS (3-wire), APA (4-wire), or WS+APA+sensor format.

When multiple power sources are connected, LightBoard automatically selects the best power option based on this priority:

LightSocket 5Vin ➔ DC input ➔ USB input ➔ Battery

(In other words, LightBox uses the battery only if no other power source is connected.)

LightSocket Pinout

LightBox-Pinout.pdf (175.8 KB)

Also see Can I use 12V LEDs with LightBox?

I love the idea of this product…but their isnt enough info for the beginner. Ive had my unit for 5 days and I need to finish my project. Its been very hard to get any help…the lack of info currently takes away a great deal of its ease of use. All i want to do is run an 8x32 matrix (256 pixels). I need to know how to power this matrix through the lightbox. Do i need other equipment?

Hi Blade.

Thanks for reaching out! I believe our support team sent you an email earlier today with information on powering your matrix. Please let me know if you didn’t receive it.

In short, we suggested starting by powering your matrix with the LightBox’s internal battery, setting Smart Energy Management to 1 or 2 amps, and seeing if that gets the LEDs bright enough. (Smart Energy automatically reduces brightness to limit the power draw.)

If not, then try adding an external power supply like this and increasing the Energy Management limit to 6 amps:

The Smart Energy Management controls are in the Device Settings panel.

In the video below, Amped Atelier runs 388 LEDs from the internal LightBox battery. They did that by using sparse patterns, which take less energy.

I appreciate you guys putting up with me. Am I supposed to use a capacitor with rocketlife? I am now trying to connect 3 8x8 matrixes. Thanks

Sure thing! Sounds like a cool project.

I’m not clear how you’d use a capacitor. We have a thread on matrices here; can you upload a picture and description of what you’re trying to hook up?