What Is a Neopixel Lightsaber?

When it comes to selecting lightsabers for personal use, Star Wars fans have made it clear that they prefer sabers that resemble as closely as possible the ones wielded by the Jedi—or Sith, for those who walk on the dark side of the force—in the feature films, TV series, and games that compose the canon of the Star Wars universe. This preference explains why the fan community has, in just a few short years, come to champion Neopixel lightsabers as representing an exciting new generation in saber technology.

“NeoPixel” is a trademarked name owned by Adafruit Industries, whose do-it-yourself lightsaber kits have played an important role in popularizing this technology among fans, but in practice the terms “Neopixel lightsaber” and “pixel lightsaber” are also used more generally in reference to a type of product manufactured by a growing number of companies, including Ultrasabers.

Lightsaber collectors owe it to themselves to learn about this increasingly popular design, which offers a broad range of customization options that empowers users to truly make the saber their own. This article is intended to help them in that endeavor by providing an overview of NeoPixel sabers and their various features.

NeoPixel Lightsaber

What Makes Neopixel Lightsabers Unique?

The most distinguishing feature of Neopixel lightsabers is the technology used to illuminate the blade. In standard sabers, the blade is lit from a light source embedded in the lightsaber hilt. Neopixel sabers depart from this design by using light emitting diodes (LEDs) inside the blade to produce lighting effects. To be more specific, Neopixel lightsabers generally have individually addressable RGB (Red, Green, & Blue) LEDs attached along the length of the blade. Often, a Neopixel blade will have more than a hundred of these diodes, embedded in flexible LED strips.

These RGB LEDs enable a far greater lighting customization options than is possible with a traditional baselit saber. Because there are many light sources all along the blade, rather than merely one in the hilt, Neopixel sabers look fundamentally different when lit than standard lightsabers. Furthermore, the individually addressable LEDs provide a vast array of lighting possibilities for Neopixel lightsaber blades. Unlike standard RGB sabers, each and every LED inside a NeoPixel blade can be independently programmed to generate a specific color or visual effect.

The result of this engineering is a lightsaber that provides a visual spectacle that other sabers can’t match. The advantages of the Neopixel lightsaber include:

  • Brightness – The in-blade LEDs produce a full, even glow from one end to the other, whereas standard lightsabers are typically brightest near the hilt and dimmest toward the tip. As a result, the blade illumination of Neopixel lightsabers more closely resembles their film and TV counterparts.
  • Color combinations – Neopixel lightsabers can display a huge variety of colors. This is another benefit supplied by individually addressable LEDs, as each one can be set for a unique color. Users aren’t limited to Jedi blue or Sith red—they can effectively switch allegiances with just a push of a button, or even opt for an entirely non-standard color.
  • Lighting effects – This is probably the most notable feature of Neopixel lightsabers, and it too is based on the lighting flexibility provided by RGB LEDs and their capacity for individual adjustment of each diode. This makes it possible for Neopixel sabers to produce a variety of neat lighting effects, including shimmering and flashing. These effects can be synchronized with the soundboard to generate an audio-visual spectacle that replicates the activity of clashing lightsabers from the silver screen.
  • Owners of Neopixel lightsabers can even reproduce the famed extension and retraction effects that movie fans all over the world readily associate with lightsabers. In Star Wars media, lightsabers do not simply “turn on” all at once; they emerge from the hilt until they reach their full length. When they are switched off, the operation works in reverse as the plasma lightsaber blade quickly retracts into the hilt. NeoPixel technology makes it possible for fans to create this striking lightsaber effect in the privacy of their homes. Some Neopixel lightsabers—such as the UltraPixel sabers from Ultrasabers—also enable the user to adjust the speed of extension/retraction to suit their preference.

    Unique NeoPixel Lightsaber

    What Can Neopixel Lightsabers Be Used For?

    Neopixel lightsabers are prized chiefly for their appearance and ability to replicate cinematic lightsaber effects. That’s why these lightsabers are popular among fans who enjoy taking their favorite collectible to conventions and other public venues where it’s acceptable to show them off in action. These sabers are also often preferred by serious students of lightsaber forms and stunts.

    Are Neopixel lightsabers good for sparring as well? Generally speaking, yes. If you choose a lightsaber with a sturdy polycarbonate blade, such as UltraPixel sabers, then you can be assured that it is well suited for most dueling applications. Having said that, it should be noted that Neopixel lightsabers are not primarily intended for sparring, and some manufacturers specify that these products should be used for light to moderate activity of this nature. If you’re really into full-contact sparring, you may wish to opt for a lightsaber with a heavy-grade blade specially made for that purpose.

    Neopixel Lightsaber vs Ultrapixel Lightsaber

    Additional Considerations for Neopixel Lightsabers

    One aspect of Neopixel lightsabers that shouldn’t be overlooked is their cost. This is relatively advanced technology, and the price tag tends to reflect that fact. These types of lightsabers are also more complex than most in terms of setup and operation, due to their wider range of functionality. Consequently, many novices prefer to start off with a more basic and less expensive lightsaber model before progressing to NeoPixel tech. Nonetheless, there’s no reason to pass up a Neopixel saber if you find one you really like.

    It should also be noted that Neopixel lightsabers tend to drain batteries significantly faster than standard models. Owners should be prepared for that before taking their lightsaber on a trip or in a public venue.

    Where to Buy a Neopixel Lightsaber?

    Anyone searching for a top-of-the-line lightsaber with Neopixel technology need look no further than the Ultrasabers catalog. Ultrasabers carries a variety of Neopixel lightsabers that come with an impressive array of options, including:

    • Your choice of Obsidian Lite, Obsidian v3, or Obsidian v4 soundboard
    • Gesture-controlled settings that enable on-the-fly adjustment of color, brightness, sound effects, and volume
    • Up to ten soundfonts and color configurations
    • Up to 6:40 of audio memory
    • 3.7V, 18650 Li-Ion rechargeable battery
    • Built-in Flash on Clash feature
    UltraPixel Lightsaber

    Feel free to explore Ultrasabers collection of high-quality Neopixel lightsabers.