Step 1: Making Breakout Boards

During the labs we went over the basics of the NeoPixels and soldering so that we would be better equipped to properly make the breakout boards. During the lab I could not get my NeoPixel to work with my RedBoard (an issue that would persist throughout the entire project).

Creating the breakout boards my priority was spacing and clean solders. For the digital input breakout I chose to use a push-button switch. I used a 10K Ohm resistor as a pull down resistor. I made two of these to create my final interaction.

For the LED breakout board I decided to use green LEDs, which happen to require the same voltage and amperage as red LEDs (2v and 20amp). I chose a parallel circuit to make sure that both LEDs can be the same brightness.

Testing button and LEDs

Step 2: Troubleshooting NeoPixel

This was by far the hardest part of the project, mostly due to the fact I have been trying to use a Spark Fun RedBoard and not the traditional Arduino Uno. Initially I “broke” my RedBoard by selecting the wrong bootloader, but after hours of trying to fix it I decided just to use the alternate bootloader as it seemed to work with previous projects.

For some reason, on the RedBoard, it would not send out the control signal properly. I used an external power source with a voltage regulator to make sure I was getting the 5v to the NeoPixel, and had the ground attached to the pixel, the arduino, and the power source. Still, nothing. The only time it even slightly worked was when I had a power flicker at my house and it suddenly turned on. I’m assuming this is just something weird with my board as the NeoPixel works fine when using a friend’s board.

Going to exchange / take my board up to Sparkfun to figure it out. For the finale of the project I used my friend’s Uno.

RedBoard no good 🙁

Step 3: Final Interaction

After finally caving and using a friend’s board, I started to design the interaction using my two breakout buttons. Since the LEDs are controlled by RGB color values, I thought it might be interesting to have each button add a certain color to the strip. By default the strip is red, but one button adds green or blue to the mix. Thus when both buttons are pressed, the LEDs should be white.

Whole setup
Closer look at breadboard

Arduino Code: