Neopixel Lightsaber: Everything You Need to Know | Lightsaber Terminology
A neopixel lightsaber, sometimes called a Plecter Pixel lightsaber, pixel saber, or Neo saber, is a type of custom saber equipped with flexible LED strips inside the lightsaber blade. Neopixel lightsabers feature bright blade illumination, RGB color changing customization, and extensive, customizable visual effects. The neopixel lightsaber blade is removable from the hilt.
Note that some custom saber companies and individuals do not use the term “neopixel lightsaber” since “neopixel” is a trademarked term owned by Adafruit. Calling the saber a “Pixel” is a popular, colloquial way of referring to the technology.
In 2018, custom saber companies Genesis Custom Sabers and Vader’s Vault add neopixel lightsaber technology to their sabers. By 2020, many of the larger and established custom saber companies offer pixel saber options in their stores. Now in 2022 and beyond, more budget friendly Xenopixel sabers, with components made in China, are widely available from multiple sellers.
Features and Capabilities of a Neopixel Lightsaber
Neopixel lightsabers are brighter than other lightsabers equipped with an in-hilt LED/baselit configuration. Neopixel lightsabers also feature more complex and customizable visual effects including:
• blade scrolling effects (realistic ignition and retraction effect)
• blaster bolt deflect
• flame blade/unstable blade effects (channel your inner Kylo Ren!), rainbow blade effect, etc.
• tip drag effect
• blade lockup effect
• other blade animations
Due to the bright blade and complex visual effects, pixel sabers are considered the most realistic custom sabers to date.
Can you duel with a neopixel lightsaber?
A neopixel lightsaber equipped with heavy grade/thick walled blade stock may often be used for light to medium lightsaber dueling. Ask the specific lightsaber manufacturer for details regarding the durability of their specific product. Certain hilt designs with sharp edges and obtrusive or clunky parts may not be suitable for dueling.
If you are part of The Saber Legion (TSL) or other saber dueling organization, contact your local chapter for more information.
Budget Neopixel Lightsabers vs Standard Neopixel Lightsabers
The ‘guts’ of a pixel saber, especially the soundboard, play a major role in both the quality and price point of a pixel saber.
Budget Friendly Pixel Sabers
A budget friendly pixel saber may be a suitable first lightsaber for some buyers who want a realistic, feature-rich saber at an attractive price point. Companies that sell cheaper pixel sabers sells products with names including (but not limited to):
• Eco Neo
If you see the word ‘eco’ in the name, the saber is probably using some type of budget friendly board. The budget friendly sabers are more affordably priced than standard pixel sabers, but they are are lower in quality as well. You get what you pay for, to some extent.
Many of the made in China OEM lightsabers by companies like LGT TXQ and YDD use budget soundboards, although sometimes a company may offer the option of a more premium soundboard like Proffieboard.
Choosing a Budget Pixel Saber Company
You many notice MANY companies selling the exact same budget neopixel saber models. Many companies even use the same exact stock photo as well. How do you know which company to choose when so many companies sell the same thing? Here are a few buying tips:
- Research the seller’s reputation, taking careful note of an negative feedback and the seller’s response to the negative feedback. How the seller RESPONDS to any negative feedback tells you a lot about their personality and how they may treat you as a buyer. Does the seller keeps their comments neutral, respectful and professional or does the seller name call and attack the buyer?
- Search custom saber groups like the r/lightsabers subreddit or Facebook groups like The Vault, Elite Lightsaber Society, etc for information about the company and their reputation and feedback from buyers. Check for existing threads first and then make your own post if you need more info.
- Shop around for price because some sellers may sell the EXACT same lightsaber for vastly different prices.
- Find out the return policy and order cancellation policy in case there is a problem with your order.
- Find out where the seller is located. Is the seller located in your home country or a different country? International ordering is extremely common and often smooth (assuming the seller has a good reputation). That said consider that with international orders you are more likely to run into certain snags like: import delays, higher shipping charges, currency conversion fees, import duties (in some cases), possible language barrier, etc.
Buying Neopixel Lightsabers on Amazon
You can find many custom sabers, including neopixel lightsabers, on Amazon. Consider that almost all custom sabers listed on Amazon are generic OEM lightsabers with budget soundboards. This means that you’ll see several companies selling the same items. Buying sabers on Amazon is certainly easy and convenient for some lightsaber enthusiasts. Nevertheless, make sure you still research the individual seller’s reputation, however.
Standard Pixel Sabers
Standard pixel sabers tend to use high quality electronics and more feature-rich and customizable soundboards than budget friendly pixel sabers. The three most common standard pixel saber soundboards are:
• Proffieboard (open-source)
• Plecter Labs Crystal Focus 10 (CFX)
• Sabertec Golden Harvest V3
The KR Sabers Verso soundboard is also somewhat common and is a bit more budget friendly and easy-to-use within the category. Additionally, Electrum Sabercrafts developed their own proprietary Diatium 3 (D3) soundboard and is the only company to use or offer the soundboard on their pixel sabers. Ultrasabers uses their proprietary Obsidian soundboard on their UltraPixel Sabers.
Drawbacks and Limitations of a Neopixel Lightsaber
Neopixel lightsabers generally cost more than in-hilt LED lightsabers, although there are some budget friendly pixel saber options as well. Neopixel lightsabers also drain their batteries faster than in-hilt LED lightsabers. If the saber uses a removable battery, some lightsaber enthusiasts will keep a fully charged spare battery with them, when hey know they’ll be spinning, dueling or otherwise using the saber for longer periods of time. Neopixel lightsaber blades cost a lot more than standard tube blades as well, typically around $100 or so.
Pogo pins in the blade holder may become damaged or misaligned due to improper electronics installation or rough blade installation in the hilt. The electronic components inside the pixel blade also may become damaged and require repair.
Neopixel Lightsaber Blades and Blade Plugs
Neopixel lightsabers only use neopixel lightsaber blades and neopixel lightsaber blade plugs. If you would like to use blades designed for in-hilt LED sabers, which are simple polycarbonate tube blades without any in-blade illumination, you need to get a small device called a neopixel to in-hilt LED converter. Similarly, neopixel blade plug adapters are available and may be used to convert many types of standard in-hilt LED blade plugs with open tubing on the bottom into neopixel blade plugs.
Sometime individuals may not care if the blade plug lights up. An individual may simply use a blade plug to complete the look of the hilt when the blade is removed. If lighting up a blade plug isn’t important, simply attach a static blade plug to the pixel saber hilt for aesthetics/display purposes.
List of Neopixel Lightsaber Companies
Quite a few companies now offer pixel sabers. In the market to buy one? We’ve dedicated a separate page for a List of Neopixel Lightsaber Companies here.