I would like to make a suit with 100 or more individually controllable Linear Resonant Actuators. Texas Instruments makes this http://www.ti.com/lit/ds/symlink/drv2603.pdf which take a PWM as an input to control the vibration intensity. I'm wondering if instead of lighting LEDs with http://www.adafruit.com/datasheets/WS2811.pdf could one of these be wired to 3 DRV2603s?

Looking at the data sheets, it seems the DRV2603 accepts a PWM between 10 and 250 khz. I'm not clear on what the WS2811 outputs. The datasheet reads 400 or 800 khz but that is operation freq. Here www.world-semi.com/en/Driver/Lighting_LED_driver_chip/WS2811/ I see 2.5khz scanning freq, so I'll assume that.

The other hurdle I see is digital input high current max of 3uA on the DRV2603 while the WS2811 has a constant current output of 18.5mA. I assume that would fry the DRV2603.

Are these totally incompatible? How would the DRV2603 treat a PWM of 2.5 khz? Would I get 25 levels of intensity instead of 255?

How does constant current work? Is there a way to make this chip output less current? Could I maybe drive an led and then throw a resistor in parallel with the LED to drive the LRA as a side-effect of lighting the LED? I've seen Running Man and I know that would look good at least.

I'm certainly open to more proper solutions but this seems appealing for the price of these components. I am planning on using an Arduino with adafruit's neopixel library if this approach proves feasible. The arduino will be used to communicate with a computer over USB serial, so if an alternate solution involves some kind of USB to lots of PWM outputs, that would be great too.

Thanks for any pointers.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Input currents are usually requirements, not limits. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 7, 2014 at 5:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ The ws2811 has open collector outputs. You can convert them by using a inverter or a npn transistor. The ws2811 also has selectable current control I believe \$\endgroup\$
    – Passerby
    Commented Nov 7, 2014 at 17:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ Do you want to individually control the strength of each LRA, or just be able to turn it on and off? \$\endgroup\$
    – bigjosh
    Commented May 6, 2015 at 0:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ @bigjosh I want to individually control the strength. \$\endgroup\$
    – meta-meta
    Commented May 7, 2015 at 2:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ I do not think using WS2811s is a good solution for this project. You could instead use something like an ATTINY25 to control the LRAs. Each ATTINY could control several LRAs and also have a connection link back to a central controller. While using a DRV2603 for each LRA may make controlling them easier, I do not think it is necessary and adds to space and cost requirements. Instead, I think you could drive the LRAs from the ATTINYs using some power transistors. LMK if you are still actively working on this project and more details. \$\endgroup\$
    – bigjosh
    Commented May 7, 2015 at 19:16

1 Answer 1


Not sure if you have found answers to all your questions. You could connect the DRV2603 to a Lithium battery supply. You need to maintain the voltage rating of the datasheet (2.5-5V) rather than connecting to a current source.

When the LRAs are vibrating you will see the DRV2603 will consume around 30-90mA to vibrate the LRA.

For vibrating multiple LRAs, you can hookup say OUT+ of 10LRAs to 10 DRV2603s and connect the rest of OUT-'es to a switch. There is an example of this one in the EVM schematic. I would get a digital switch for that one so that you can communicate with a micro-controller.

You can also post your question on the E2E TI Haptics forum too for an in-depth Haptic questions.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks, I was able to get some good info from the TI Haptics forum! \$\endgroup\$
    – meta-meta
    Commented May 13, 2015 at 20:16

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