Adafruit Learning System Weekly Update: VU Meter Edition

Since my last update, there have been quite a few new guides published on the Adafruit Learning System. Build a rotary phone dial keypad, create a three button foot switch, make a motion aware BLE media controller, and much more!

Favorite New Guide

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This week my favorite new guide shows you how to make a party parrot visual art display with CircuitPython

Build a zoetrope inspired visual art display with 3D printed parts and Adafruit CRICKIT. This creates the illusion of motion by rotating a series of acrylic panels that feature engravings of a single frame of animation. A NeoPxiel illuminates the artwork engraving on the acrylic panels and changes color each frame to make a stunning effect.

A zoetrope is an animation display that gives the illusion of motion by displaying a sequence of frames that progresses over time. Powered by the Adafruit CRICKIT and Feather M4 running CircuitPython, this uses a DC motor and a photo interrupter to trigger a NeoPixel whenever the sensor detects a break. The t-slot photo interrupter is mounted to the side of the enclosure and the NeoPixel is mounted on the other end right below the acrylic. Each time the sensor detects a break, the NeoPixel changes color.

See Sound with these VU Meters

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The Ruiz Brothers recently published a new guide showing you how to make a NeoPixel Mini VU Meter. This is hardly the first VU meter guide on the Adafruit Learning System. Here are some of my favorite VU meter guides:

The LED Ampli-Tie

Make a wearable VU meter necktie with Flora

Make your necktie light up like a VU meter! This Flora project uses the Electret Microphone Amplifier to trigger 16 Flora NeoPixels sewn with conductive thread along the length of the tie.

VU Meter Baseball Hat

Make a sound sensitive NeoPixel cap

Add sound-reactive NeoPixels to your baseball cap! Use our 144-density NeoPixel strip as a wraparound VU meter with a small microphone at the side. The FLORA microcontroller takes input from the mic and sends the LEDs flashing according to the volume in the room!

PyLeap NeoPixel Sound Meter for Circuit Playground Bluefruit

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Leap into sound sensing!

There is a microphone (sound sensor) and ten NeoPixel LEDs on your Circuit Playground Bluefruit. This example uses the ten LEDs to indicate sound level from the sensor.

Try talking to your board to see the number of NeoPixel LEDs increase.

ALS Deep Cut

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 2016.

Make this sound reactive NeoPixel LED peace pendant and help radiate some love!!

This Peace pendant project is a great way to hone your 3D printing + electronics skills.

The circuitry for this wearable project isn’t that complex, and the 3D printed enclosure will provide a compact pendant that you can wear to your next party or event.


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.

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


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