An upcoming “Ugly Christmas Sweater” party was the perfect opportunity to build my first real Arduino project using NeoPixels, the RGB LED strips from Adafruit. I learned a lot on this simple project that I thought might help other beginners.
The Arduino sketch code is broken up into multiple files and is object-oriented to make it easier to understand and extend. I used sketch tabs, .cpp, and .h files
I used the FastLED library instead of the Adafruit NeoPixel library for more variety in light patterns and better control over the color palette. It also supports other kinds of LED strips, so experience with this will help with other lighting projects in the future.
I used a coding pattern that supports multitasking the Arduino, and combining multiple light patterns with each other.
I moved the project from breadboard to “ProtoShield” and learned about using protoboards and perfboards to permanently connect components.
Note: Also, I made several decisions that I later regretted and I’ve put those in italics. Avoid my mistakes and make your own.
Make a robot friend with Adafruit’s CRICKIT – A Creative Robotics & Interactive Construction Kit. It’s an add-on to our popular Circuit Playground Express, FEATHER and other platforms to make and program robots with CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. Start controlling motors, servos, solenoids. You also get signal pins, capacitive touch sensors, a NeoPixel driver and amplified speaker output. It complements & extends your boards so you can still use all the goodies on the microcontroller, now you have a robotics playground as well.