I came upon some very interesting info on how to use the first pixel in a LED strip as (for a lack of better words) a “Make-Shift Shifter”. From This page: www.elec-tron.org/?p=1184 The page talks about using a WB2812 strip with a NodeMCU 3.3v line. However, I see no reason this would not work with a Rpi and/or a apa102c strip as well. A stole a pic from that sight, it details the connections. I've attached it. Just don't forget to separate the first and second pixels "+" line And the bit about "You then code out Pixel 0 from in your software and make sure its never activated." from that post.