Adafruit Learning System Weekly Update: Hanukkah Edition

Since my last Adafruit Learning System update, we published a LOT of new guides. Create an rgb matrix dreidel game, make a fancy NeoPixel ring lamp, wirelessly code your bluetooth device with CircuitPython, make a no-code room occupancy sensor, and so so much more.

Favorite New Guide

This week my favorite new guide shows you how to use NeoPixel Rings to make a modern style looking lamp.

This project is an LED lamp with NeoPixels. It uses several NeoPixels rings to make a modern looking, functional lamp. The led rings are held in place with snap fit diffusers designed and 3D printed as a single piece.

The rings are grouped together and arranged to look like they’re gravity defying. To make the assembly modular, the project use PicoBlade molex cables so they can easily connect together. The 3d printed holder features slots on the back that allow the cables to pass through. In total, the lamp has 124 NeoPixel LEDs. It has one 60 NeoPixel ring, two 24s and a 16 NeoPixel ring.

Celebrating Hanukkah

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This week we have two fun new Hanukkah related projects. This week you can learn to make a NeoPixel Menorah, and a RGB matrix dreidel game. Let’s dig through the Adafruit Learning System and take a look at some of the other fun Hanukkah projects you can make.

CPX Mystery Dreidel

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Rolling for Hanukkah chocolate is even more fun with a programmable dreidel that flashes when it spins!

Dreidel is a traditional game played by families every year during the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. The dreidel itself is a four-sided top with a Hebrew letter on each side. The game is similar to dice. You spin the dreidel, and the letter on the side facing up tells you whether you get to take game pieces out of the pot, or have to put pieces in. You can play for any kind of small tokens, but at my house we always use chocolate gelt, or foil-wrapped coins.

This Mystery Dreidel has a Circuit Playground Express (CPX) inside to add even more suspense! The sides are unmarked, so you won’t know what letters are spinning by until it stops. Then the accelerometer built into the CPX microcontroller board senses which way it’s pointing, plays appropriate music, and flashes lights through the cut-out letters on the sides to show which face is up. To make it extra festive, when you first turn it on, the CPX plays the chorus of the Dreidel Song. (You can make it play again by turning the dreidel upside down.)

The dreidel is easy to build from cereal box cardboard, and the programming is a snap using MakeCode. This guide includes a PDF template to help you cut out cardboard pieces and sample code so you can get up and running in no time.

Hanukkah MakeCode Menorah Sweater

Keep warm and keep those candles burning

Late December marks the holiday season for much of the world. Seasonal songs, tree decorating and gift-giving seem to dominate the landscape. Everyone at the company Holiday party is decked out in their favorite Ugly Christmas Sweater, laughing in their red and green as Santa’s booming Ho, Ho, Ho drowns out every other sound.

Here’s an opportunity for all the Jewish folks to light up the holidays in their own style. Add NeoPixels and a Gemma M0 to your handmade Menorah sweater, and be the life of the party. Touch the center shamash candle to light all eight Hanukkah candles, and celebrate each magical night with your family and friends.

This is an easy beginner project – just perfect for crafting together with your kids this Holiday season. There’s no soldering or sewing required. Use our drag-and-drop code, or dig in and learn to create your own colors and sequences. Make one for everyone in your family and pose for the perfect Hanukkah family photo.

Mazel Tov!

Circuit Playground TFT Gizmo Dreidel

Cyber dreidel dreidel dreidel, I made you out of CircuitPython.

Dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, I made you out of…circuits and code? Well, in this guide we will. This guide will show you how to use a Circuit Playground Bluefruit along with a TFT Gizmo to create a digital cyber dreidel.

Instead of spinning, you’ll give your cyber dreidel a shake to set it into action. It will replicate the actual spinning top on the TFT Gizmo display. It even plays the catchy little Dreidel Song while the display is “spinning”. And then you get a random symbol to represent the dreidel landing on a side.

And…it’s all programmed in CircuitPython. Let’s get started.

ALS Deep Cut

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With so many guides on the Adafruit Learning System, some amazing guides of years past get buried and lost. ALS Deep Cuts brings these guides back up to the surface. This week’s guide is from back in 2013.

A simple cyberpunk/Tronpunk fashion project!

The Larson scanner is named after Glen Larson, producer of Knight Rider and the original Battlestar Galactica television series, both of which prominently featured the effect as the “eyes” of KITT, his nemesis KARR, and the Cylon Centurions.

Larson scanners were traditionally red (or yellow in KARR’s case), but thanks to the magic of NeoPixels you can change the software to use any colors you like.


As 2022 starts, let’s take some time to share our goals for CircuitPython in 2022. Just like past years (full summary 2019, 2020, and 2021), we’d like everyone in the CircuitPython community to contribute by posting their thoughts to some public place on the Internet. Here are a few ways to post: a video on YouTub, a post on the CircuitPython forum, a blog post on your site, a series of Tweets, a Gist on GitHub. We want to hear from you. When you post, please add #CircuitPython2022 and email circuitpython2022@adafruit.com to let us know about your post so we can blog it up here.

Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.

Join 32,000+ makers on Adafruit’s Discord channels and be part of the community! http://adafru.it/discord

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CircuitPython – The easiest way to program microcontrollers – CircuitPython.org


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