GEMMA M0 boards can run CircuitPython — a different approach to programming compared to Arduino sketches. In fact, CircuitPython comes factory pre-loaded on GEMMA M0. If you’ve overwritten it with an Arduino sketch, or just want to learn the basics of setting up and using CircuitPython, this is explained in the Adafruit GEMMA M0 guide.

These directions are specific to the “M0” GEMMA board. The original GEMMA with an 8-bit AVR microcontroller doesn’t run CircuitPython…for those boards, use the Arduino sketch on the “Arduino code” page of this guide.

Below is CircuitPython code that works similarly tothe Arduino sketch shown on a prior page. To use this, plug the GEMMA M0 into USB…it should show up on your computer as a small flash drive…then edit the file “” with your text editor of choice. Select and copy the code below and paste it into that file, entirely replacing its contents (don’t mix it in with lingering bits of old code). When you save the file, the code should start running almost immediately (if not, see notes at the bottom of this page).

If GEMMA M0 doesn’t show up as a drive, follow the GEMMA M0 guide link above to prepare the board for CircuitPython.

# SPDX-FileCopyrightText: 2017 Phil Burgess for Adafruit Industries
# SPDX-License-Identifier: MIT
import time

import board
import neopixel

    import urandom as random  # for v1.0 API support
except ImportError:
    import random

numpix = 24  # Number of NeoPixels
pixpin = board.D0  # Pin where NeoPixels are connected
strip = neopixel.NeoPixel(pixpin, numpix, brightness=0.3)

mode = 0  # Current animation effect
offset = 0  # Position of spinner animation
color = [255, 0, 0]  # RGB color - red
prevtime = time.monotonic()  # Time of last animation mode switch

while True:  # Loop forever...

    if mode == 0:  # Random sparkles - lights just one LED at a time
        i = random.randint(0, numpix - 1)  # Choose random pixel
        strip[i] = color  # Set it to current color
        strip.write()  # Refresh LED states
        # Set same pixel to "off" color now but DON'T refresh...
        # it stays on for this and the next random
        # pixel will be refreshed on the next pass.
        strip[i] = [0, 0, 0]
        time.sleep(0.008)  # 8 millisecond delay
    elif mode == 1:  # Spinny wheels
        # A little trick here: pixels are processed in groups of 8
        # (with 2 of 8 on at a time), NeoPixel rings are 24 pixels
        # (8*3) and 16 pixels (8*2), so we can issue the same data
        # to both rings and it appears correct and contiguous
        # (also, the pixel order is different between the two ring
        # types, so we get the reversed motion on #2 for free).
        for i in range(numpix):  # For each LED...
            if ((offset + i) & 7) < 2:  # 2 pixels out of 8...
                strip[i] = color  # are set to current color
                strip[i] = [0, 0, 0]  # other pixels are off
        strip.write()  # Refresh LED states
        time.sleep(0.04)  # 40 millisecond delay
        offset += 1  # Shift animation by 1 pixel on next frame
        if offset >= 8:
            offset = 0
    # Additional animation modes could be added here!

    t = time.monotonic()  # Current time in seconds
    if (t - prevtime) >= 8:  # Every 8 seconds...
        mode += 1  # Advance to next mode
        if mode > 1:  # End of modes?
            mode = 0  # Start over from beginning
            # Rotate color R->G->B
            color = [color[2], color[0], color[1]]
        strip.fill([0, 0, 0])  # Turn off all pixels
        prevtime = t  # Record time of last mode change

This code requires the library. A factory-fresh board will have this already installed. If you’ve just reloaded the board with CircuitPython, create the “lib” directory and then download from Github.

This guide was first published on Oct 02, 2014. It was last updated on Sep 27, 2014.

This page (CircuitPython Code) was last updated on Sep 25, 2023.

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