Cheerlights is a project created by Hans Scharler that allows folks to sychronise LEDs across the world to one color using Twitter. It's an IoT project that listens for the word "cheerlights" on Twitter in real-time, and if there's a color name in the tweet, all of the projects connected to Cheerlights change to that color.

CircuitPython makes working with LEDs very simple. The Adafruit MagTag makes it easy to connect a strip of LED and connect to the Internet at the same time. Combined, they make doing WiFi-controlled LED projects a breeze, and the basic Cheerlights concept was no exception. However, why stop there....

Instead of simply lighting up the LEDs to the particular color, why not display an LED animation in that color? CircuitPython LED Animations turns Cheerlights into animated LED fun!

This guide will show you how to put together a festive wreath with your Adafruit MagTag and an LED strip. Then, you'll learn how to get CircuitPython set up on your MagTag, and load the necessary libraries needed to run this code. You'll save the code to your MagTag, and before you know it, you'll be delighted by colorful LED animations.

This project requires quite a bit of power between the network connectivity and the LEDs, so it is suggested that you power it from a wall plug using an appropriate USB type C cable or adapter.

Parts

Adafruit MagTag - 2.9" Grayscale E-Ink WiFi Display
The Adafruit MagTag combines the new ESP32-S2 wireless module and a 2.9" grayscale E-Ink display to make a low-power IoT display that can show data on its screen even when power...
Out of Stock
Mini Magnet Feet for RGB LED Matrices (Pack of 4)
Got a glorious RGB Matrix project you want to mount and display in your workspace or home? If you have one of the matrix panels listed below, you'll need a pack of these...
Out of Stock
Adafruit NeoPixel LED Strip with 3-pin JST Connector - 1 meter
Plug in and glow, this Adafruit NeoPixel LED Strip with JST PH Connector has 30 total LEDs and is 1 meter long, in classy Adafruit...
$12.50
In Stock

Alternately, instead of purchasing the MagTag and Mini Magnet Feet separately, you could purchase the MagTag starter kit, which includes the magnet feet. Either way, you still need to purchase the LED strip separately.

Adafruit MagTag Starter Kit - 2.9" Grayscale E-Ink WiFi Display
The Adafruit MagTag combines the new ESP32-S2 wireless module and a 2.9" grayscale E-Ink display to make a low-power IoT display that can show data on its screen...
Out of Stock

Options for Power

  • Plug it into a wall plug using an appropriate cable or adapter. One possible combination is shown below.
USB Type A to Type C Cable - approx 1 meter / 3 ft long
As technology changes and adapts, so does Adafruit. This  USB Type A to Type C cable will help you with the transition to USB C, even if you're still...
$4.95
In Stock
5V 2A Switching Power Supply w/ USB-A Connector
Our 5V 2A USB power adapter is the perfect choice for powering single-board computers like Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone or anything else that's power hungry!This adapter was...
$7.95
In Stock

Additional Parts

  • Wreath or other festive item to hold LEDs and MagTag. You can be creative here!
  • Zip-ties or other appropriate mounting option to attach the LEDs and MagTag to the chosen festive item.

This project is super easy to put together. Let's get started!

Gather together the necessary parts.

Attach the mini magnet feet to the MagTag by screwing them into the standoffs in the corners on the back.

Plug the JST connector on the LED strip into JST port on the MagTag labeled D10.

Lay the strip out how you want to attach it. This will give you an idea of how many zip ties you'll need, and where you'll want to attach them.

Start by securing the two ends together snugly. This will make securing the rest of the strip much easier. Then place a zip tie intermittently around the strip on the rest of the wreath. You can leave them relatively loose so you have some ability to move the strip around if necessary.

Secure the MagTag by nestling it into the wreath and wrapping a few of the wreath bits around the magnet feet, or if desired, you can use zip ties.

Fluff the wreath to hide the strip.

 

Use a wall power supply with enough current to power the project and a USB C cable - plug these into the MagTag.

CircuitPython is a derivative of MicroPython designed to simplify experimentation and education on low-cost microcontrollers. It makes it easier than ever to get prototyping by requiring no upfront desktop software downloads. Simply copy and edit files on the CIRCUITPY drive to iterate.

Set Up CircuitPython

Follow the steps to get CircuitPython installed on your MagTag.

Click the link above and download the latest .BIN and .UF2 file

(depending on how you program the ESP32S2 board you may need one or the other, might as well get both)

Download and save it to your desktop (or wherever is handy).

Plug your MagTag into your computer using a known-good USB cable.

A lot of people end up using charge-only USB cables and it is very frustrating! So make sure you have a USB cable you know is good for data sync.

Option 1 - Load with UF2 Bootloader

This is by far the easiest way to load CircuitPython. However it requires your board has the UF2 bootloader installed. Some early boards do not (we hadn't written UF2 yet!) - in which case you can load using the built in ROM bootloader.

Still, try this first!

Try Launching UF2 Bootloader

Loading CircuitPython by drag-n-drop UF2 bootloader is the easier way and we recommend it. If you have a MagTag where the front of the board is black, your MagTag came with UF2 already on it.

Launch UF2 by double-clicking the Reset button (the one next to the USB C port). You may have to try a few times to get the timing right.

If the UF2 bootloader is installed, you will see a new disk drive appear called MAGTAGBOOT

Copy the UF2 file you downloaded at the first step of this tutorial onto the MAGTAGBOOT drive

If you're using Windows and you get an error at the end of the file copy that says Error from the file copy, Error 0x800701B1: A device which does not exist was specified. You can ignore this error, the bootloader sometimes disconnects without telling Windows, the install completed just fine and you can continue. If its really annoying, you can also upgrade the bootloader (the latest version of the UF2 bootloader fixes this warning)

Your board should auto-reset into CircuitPython, or you may need to press reset. A CIRCUITPY drive will appear. You're done! Go to the next pages.

Option 2 - Use esptool to load BIN file

If you have an original MagTag with while soldermask on the front, we didn't have UF2 written for the ESP32S2 yet so it will not come with the UF2 bootloader.

You can upload with esptool to the ROM (hardware) bootloader instead!

Follow the initial steps found in the Run esptool and check connection section of the ROM Bootloader page to verify your environment is set up, your board is successfully connected, and which port it's using.

In the final command to write a binary file to the board, replace the port with your port, and replace "firmware.bin" with the the file you downloaded above.

The output should look something like the output in the image.

Press reset to exit the bootloader.

Your CIRCUITPY drive should appear!

You're all set! Go to the next pages.

Option 3 - Use Chrome Browser To Upload BIN file

If for some reason you cannot get esptool to run, you can always try using the Chrome-browser version of esptool we have written. This is handy if you don't have Python on your computer, or something is really weird with your setup that makes esptool not run (which happens sometimes and isn't worth debugging!) You can follow along on the Web Serial ESPTool page and either load the UF2 bootloader and then come back to Option 1 on this page, or you can download the CircuitPython BIN file directly using the tool in the same manner as the bootloader.

To use the internet-connectivity built into your ESP32-S2 with CircuitPython, you must first install a number of libraries. This page covers that process.

Adafruit CircuitPython Library Bundle

Download the Adafruit CircuitPython Bundle. You can find the latest release here:

Download the adafruit-circuitpython-bundle-version-mpy-*.zip bundle zip file, and unzip a folder of the same name. Inside you'll find a lib folder. The entire collection of libraries is too large to fit on the CIRCUITPY drive. Instead, add each library as you need it, this will reduce the space usage but you'll need to put in a little more effort.

At a minimum we recommend the following libraries, in fact we more than recommend. They're basically required. So grab them and install them into CIRCUITPY/lib now!

  • adafruit_requests.mpy - A requests-like library for HTTP commands.
  • neopixel.mpy - Helper library to use NeoPixel LEDs, often built into the boards so they're great for quick feedback

Once you have added those files, please continue to the next page to set up and test Internet connectivity

Once you have CircuitPython installed and the minimum libraries installed we can get your board connected to the Internet. 

To get connected, you will need to start by creating a secrets.py file.

Secrets File

We expect people to share tons of projects as they build CircuitPython WiFi widgets. What we want to avoid is people accidentally sharing their passwords or secret tokens and API keys. So, we designed all our examples to use a secrets.py file, that is in your CIRCUITPY drive, to hold secret/private/custom data. That way you can share your main project without worrying about accidentally sharing private stuff.

Your secrets.py file should look like this:

# This file is where you keep secret settings, passwords, and tokens!
# If you put them in the code you risk committing that info or sharing it

secrets = {
    'ssid' : 'home_wifi_network',
    'password' : 'wifi_password',
    'aio_username' : 'my_adafruit_io_username',
    'aio_key' : 'my_adafruit_io_key',
    'timezone' : "America/New_York", # http://worldtimeapi.org/timezones
    }

Copy and paste that text/code into a file called secrets.py and save it to your CIRCUITPY folder like so:

Inside is a python dictionary named secrets with a line for each entry. Each entry has an entry name (say 'ssid') and then a colon to separate it from the entry key 'home ssid' and finally a comma ,

At a minimum you'll need to adjust the ssid and password for your local WiFi setup so do that now!

As you make projects you may need more tokens and keys, just add them one line at a time. See for example other tokens such as one for accessing github or the hackaday API. Other non-secret data like your timezone can also go here, just cause its called secrets doesn't mean you can't have general customization data in there!

For the correct time zone string, look at http://worldtimeapi.org/timezones and remember that if your city is not listed, look for a city in the same time zone, for example Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington DC, and Miami are all on the same time as New York.

Of course, don't share your secrets.py - keep that out of GitHub, Discord or other project-sharing sites.

Don't share your secrets.py file, it has your passwords and API keys in it!

Connect to WiFi

OK now you have your secrets setup - you can connect to the Internet using the Requests module.

First make sure you are running the latest version of Adafruit CircuitPython for your board.

Next you'll need to install the necessary libraries to use the hardware--carefully follow the steps to find and install these libraries from Adafruit's CircuitPython library bundle. Our introduction guide has a great page on how to install the library bundle.

  • adafruit_requests
  • neopixel

Before continuing make sure your board's CIRCUITPY/lib folder or root filesystem has the above files copied over.

Once that's done, load up the following example using Mu or your favorite editor:

import ipaddress
import ssl
import wifi
import socketpool
import adafruit_requests

# URLs to fetch from
TEXT_URL = "http://wifitest.adafruit.com/testwifi/index.html"
JSON_QUOTES_URL = "https://www.adafruit.com/api/quotes.php"
JSON_STARS_URL = "https://api.github.com/repos/adafruit/circuitpython"

# Get wifi details and more from a secrets.py file
try:
    from secrets import secrets
except ImportError:
    print("WiFi secrets are kept in secrets.py, please add them there!")
    raise

print("ESP32-S2 WebClient Test")

print("My MAC addr:", [hex(i) for i in wifi.radio.mac_address])

print("Available WiFi networks:")
for network in wifi.radio.start_scanning_networks():
    print("\t%s\t\tRSSI: %d\tChannel: %d" % (str(network.ssid, "utf-8"),
            network.rssi, network.channel))
wifi.radio.stop_scanning_networks()

print("Connecting to %s"%secrets["ssid"])
wifi.radio.connect(secrets["ssid"], secrets["password"])
print("Connected to %s!"%secrets["ssid"])
print("My IP address is", wifi.radio.ipv4_address)

ipv4 = ipaddress.ip_address("8.8.4.4")
print("Ping google.com: %f ms" % (wifi.radio.ping(ipv4)*1000))

pool = socketpool.SocketPool(wifi.radio)
requests = adafruit_requests.Session(pool, ssl.create_default_context())

print("Fetching text from", TEXT_URL)
response = requests.get(TEXT_URL)
print("-" * 40)
print(response.text)
print("-" * 40)

print("Fetching json from", JSON_QUOTES_URL)
response = requests.get(JSON_QUOTES_URL)
print("-" * 40)
print(response.json())
print("-" * 40)

print()

print("Fetching and parsing json from", JSON_STARS_URL)
response = requests.get(JSON_STARS_URL)
print("-" * 40)
print("CircuitPython GitHub Stars", response.json()["stargazers_count"])
print("-" * 40)

print("done")

And save it to your board. Make sure the file is named code.py.

Open up your REPL, you should see something like the following:

In order, the example code...

Checks the ESP32-S2's MAC address.

print("My MAC addr:", [hex(i) for i in wifi.radio.mac_address])

Performs a scan of all access points and prints out the access point's name (SSID), signal strength (RSSI), and channel.

print("Avaliable WiFi networks:")
for network in wifi.radio.start_scanning_networks():
    print("\t%s\t\tRSSI: %d\tChannel: %d" % (str(network.ssid, "utf-8"),
            network.rssi, network.channel))
wifi.radio.stop_scanning_networks()

Connects to the access point you defined in the secrets.py file, prints out its local IP address, and attempts to ping google.com to check its network connectivity. 

print("Connecting to %s"%secrets["ssid"])
wifi.radio.connect(secrets["ssid"], secrets["password"])
print(print("Connected to %s!"%secrets["ssid"]))
print("My IP address is", wifi.radio.ipv4_address)

ipv4 = ipaddress.ip_address("8.8.4.4")
print("Ping google.com: %f ms" % wifi.radio.ping(ipv4))

The code creates a socketpool using the wifi radio's available sockets. This is performed so we don't need to re-use sockets. Then, it initializes a a new instance of the requests interface - which makes getting data from the internet really really easy.

pool = socketpool.SocketPool(wifi.radio)
requests = adafruit_requests.Session(pool, ssl.create_default_context())

To read in plain-text from a web URL, call requests.get - you may pass in either a http, or a https url for SSL connectivity. 

print("Fetching text from", TEXT_URL)
response = requests.get(TEXT_URL)
print("-" * 40)
print(response.text)
print("-" * 40)

Requests can also display a JSON-formatted response from a web URL using a call to requests.get

print("Fetching json from", JSON_QUOTES_URL)
response = requests.get(JSON_QUOTES_URL)
print("-" * 40)
print(response.json())
print("-" * 40)

Finally, you can fetch and parse a JSON URL using requests.get. This code snippet obtains the stargazers_count field from a call to the GitHub API.

print("Fetching and parsing json from", JSON_STARS_URL)
response = requests.get(JSON_STARS_URL)
print("-" * 40)
print("CircuitPython GitHub Stars", response.json()["stargazers_count"])
print("-" * 40)

OK you now have your ESP32-S2 board set up with a proper secrets.py file and can connect over the Internet. If not, check that your secrets.py file has the right ssid and password and retrace your steps until you get the Internet connectivity working!

To use all the amazing features of your MagTag with CircuitPython, you must first install a number of libraries. This page covers that process.

Get Latest Adafruit CircuitPython Bundle

Download the Adafruit CircuitPython Library Bundle. You can find the latest release here:

Download the adafruit-circuitpython-bundle-version-mpy-*.zip bundle zip file, and unzip a folder of the same name. Inside you'll find a lib folder. The entire collection of libraries is too large to fit on the CIRCUITPY drive. Therefore, you'll need to copy the necessary libraries to your board individually.

At a minimum, the following libraries are required. Copy the following folders or .mpy files to the lib folder on your CIRCUITPY drive. If the library is a folder, copy the entire folder to the lib folder on your board.

Library folders (copy the whole folder over to lib):

  • adafruit_magtag - This is a helper library designed for using all of the features of the MagTag, including networking, buttons, NeoPixels, etc.
  • adafruit_portalbase - This library is the base library that adafruit_magtag is built on top of.
  • adafruit_bitmap_font - There is fancy font support, and it's easy to make new fonts. This library reads and parses font files.
  • adafruit_display_text - This library displays text on the screen.
  • adafruit_io - This library helps connect the MagTag to our free data logging and viewing service

Library files:

  • adafruit_requests.mpy - This library allows us to perform HTTP requests and get responses back from servers. GET/POST/PUT/PATCH - they're all in here!
  • adafruit_fakerequests.mpy  - This library allows you to create fake HTTP requests by using local files.
  • adafruit_miniqr.mpy  - QR creation library lets us add easy-to-scan 2D barcodes to the E-Ink display
  • neopixel.mpy - This library is used to control the onboard NeoPixels.
  • simpleio.mpy - This library is used for tone generation.

Secrets

Even if you aren't planning to go online with your MagTag, you'll need to have a secrets.py file in the root directory (top level) of your CIRCUITPY drive. If you do not intend to connect to wireless, it does not need to have valid data in it. Here's more info on the secrets.py file.

This project is coded using CircuitPython which makes it super simple to edit. There are a couple of customisations you can update to make this project fit your needs. If you also want to change the style and type of LED animations, there is a guide on using the CircuitPython LED Animation library that covers all the features. This guide does not go into customising the animations.

This page will show you how to customise a couple of things in the code. However, before the code will run, you need to load the LED Animation library onto your CIRCUITPY drive.

If you're having difficulty running this example, it could be because your MagTag CircuitPython firmware or library needs to be upgraded! Please be sure to follow https://learn.adafruit.com/adafruit-magtag/circuitpython to install the latest CircuitPython firmware and then also replace/update ALL the MagTag-specific libraries mentioned here https://learn.adafruit.com/adafruit-magtag/circuitpython-libraries-2

CircuitPython LED Animation Library

You'll need to install one library beyond the list included in the MagTag-Specific CircuitPython Libraries page - the Adafruit CircuitPython LED Animation library. Follow the same steps on that page to download the latest Adafruit CircuitPython Library Bundle.

Copy the following folder to the lib folder on your CIRCUITPY drive:

  • adafruit_led_animation

Ensure that the entire adafruit_led_animation folder has been copied to the lib folder on your CIRCUITPY drive.

Code

Save the following as code.py on your CIRCUITPY drive:

# SPDX-FileCopyrightText: 2020 Kattni Rembor, written for Adafruit Industries
#
# SPDX-License-Identifier: Unlicense
import time
import board
import neopixel
from adafruit_magtag.magtag import MagTag

from adafruit_led_animation.animation.comet import Comet
from adafruit_led_animation.animation.sparkle import Sparkle
from adafruit_led_animation.animation.chase import Chase
from adafruit_led_animation.animation.blink import Blink
from adafruit_led_animation.animation.pulse import Pulse
from adafruit_led_animation.sequence import AnimationSequence
from adafruit_led_animation.group import AnimationGroup
from adafruit_led_animation.color import RED, GREEN, BLUE, CYAN, WHITE,\
    OLD_LACE, PURPLE, MAGENTA, YELLOW, ORANGE, PINK

# =============== CUSTOMISATIONS ================
# The strip LED brightness, where 0.0 is 0% (off) and 1.0 is 100% brightness, e.g. 0.3 is 30%
strip_pixel_brightness = 1
# The MagTag LED brightness, where 0.0 is 0% (off) and 1.0 is 100% brightness, e.g. 0.3 is 30%.
magtag_pixel_brightness = 0.5

# The rate interval in seconds at which the Cheerlights data is fetched.
# Defaults to one minute (60 seconds).
refresh_rate = 60
# ===============================================

# Set up where we'll be fetching data from
DATA_SOURCE = "http://api.thingspeak.com/channels/1417/field/1/last.json"
COLOR_LOCATION = ['field1']
DATE_LOCATION = ['created_at']

magtag = MagTag(
    url=DATA_SOURCE,
    json_path=(COLOR_LOCATION, DATE_LOCATION),
)
magtag.network.connect()

strip_pixels = neopixel.NeoPixel(board.D10, 30, brightness=strip_pixel_brightness)
magtag_pixels = magtag.peripherals.neopixels
magtag_pixels.brightness = magtag_pixel_brightness

# Cheerlights color
magtag.add_text(
    text_scale=2,
    text_position=(10, 15),
    text_transform=lambda x: "New Color: {}".format(x),  # pylint: disable=unnecessary-lambda
)
# datestamp
magtag.add_text(
    text_scale=2,
    text_position=(10, 65),
    text_transform=lambda x: "Updated on:\n{}".format(x),  # pylint: disable=unnecessary-lambda
)

timestamp = None
while True:
    if not timestamp or ((time.monotonic() - timestamp) > refresh_rate):  # Refresh rate in seconds
        try:
            # Turn on the MagTag NeoPixels.
            magtag.peripherals.neopixel_disable = False

            # Fetch the color and datetime, and print it to the serial console.
            cheerlights_update_info = magtag.fetch()
            print("Response is", cheerlights_update_info)

            # Get the color from the fetched info for use below.
            cheerlights_color = cheerlights_update_info[0]

            # If red, blue or pink, do a comet animation in the specified color.
            if cheerlights_color in ('red', 'blue', 'pink'):
                if cheerlights_color == 'red':
                    comet_color = RED
                elif cheerlights_color == 'blue':
                    comet_color = BLUE
                elif cheerlights_color == 'pink':
                    comet_color = PINK
                animations = AnimationSequence(
                    AnimationGroup(
                        Comet(magtag_pixels, 0.3, color=comet_color, tail_length=3),
                        Comet(strip_pixels, 0.05, color=comet_color, tail_length=15),
                    )
                )

            # If green or orange, do a pulse animation in the specified color.
            if cheerlights_color in ('green', 'orange'):
                if cheerlights_color == 'green':
                    pulse_color = GREEN
                elif cheerlights_color == 'orange':
                    pulse_color = ORANGE
                animations = AnimationSequence(
                    AnimationGroup(
                        Pulse(magtag_pixels, speed=0.1, color=pulse_color, period=3),
                        Pulse(strip_pixels, speed=0.1, color=pulse_color, period=3),
                    )
                )

            # If oldlace, warmmwhite or magenta, do a sparkle animation in the specified color.
            if cheerlights_color in ('oldlace', 'warmwhite', 'magenta'):
                if cheerlights_color in ('oldlace', 'warmwhite'):
                    sparkle_color = OLD_LACE
                elif cheerlights_color == 'magenta':
                    sparkle_color = MAGENTA
                animations = AnimationSequence(
                    AnimationGroup(
                        Sparkle(magtag_pixels, speed=0.1, color=sparkle_color, num_sparkles=1),
                        Sparkle(strip_pixels, speed=0.01, color=sparkle_color, num_sparkles=15),
                    )
                )

            # If cyan or purple, do a blink animation in the specified color.
            if cheerlights_color in ('cyan', 'purple'):
                if cheerlights_color == 'cyan':
                    blink_color = CYAN
                elif cheerlights_color == 'purple':
                    blink_color = PURPLE
                animations = AnimationSequence(
                    AnimationGroup(
                        Blink(magtag_pixels, speed=0.5, color=blink_color),
                        Blink(strip_pixels, speed=0.5, color=blink_color),
                    )
                )

            # If white or yellow, do a chase animation in the specified color.
            if cheerlights_color in ('white', 'yellow'):
                if cheerlights_color == 'white':
                    chase_color = WHITE
                elif cheerlights_color == 'yellow':
                    chase_color = YELLOW
                animations = AnimationSequence(
                    AnimationGroup(
                        Chase(magtag_pixels, speed=0.1, size=2, spacing=1, color=chase_color),
                        Chase(strip_pixels, speed=0.1, size=3, spacing=2, color=chase_color),
                    )
                )

            timestamp = time.monotonic()
        except (ValueError, RuntimeError) as e:
            # Catch any random errors so the code will continue running.
            print("Some error occured, retrying! -", e)
    try:
        # This runs the animations.
        animations.animate()
    except NameError:
        # If Cheerlights adds a color not included above, the code would fail. This allows it to
        # continue to retry until a valid color comes up.
        print("There may be a Cheerlights color not included above.")

Each time the MagTag fetches the current Cheerlights color, the current animation will pause. Once the information is fetched, the new animation will begin and the display will refresh. This is expected behavior. The following shows a transition from orange to white.

Customisations

There are a couple of things you can easily change in this code.

LED Brightness

You can set the brightness of both the MagTag LEDs and the strip separately. Depending on how you mounted the strip, you may want to decrease the brightness.

strip_pixel_brightness = 1
magtag_pixel_brightness = 0.5

NeoPixels can get really bright. The code defaults to 0.5, or 50% brightness, for the MagTag LEDs, and 1, or 100% brightness, for the strip. The strip cannot get any brighter than 100%, however you can increase the MagTag LED brightness number to make them brighter. You can decrease either of the numbers to make them dimmer, however, be aware that some of the colors look different when the LEDs are very dim.

Refresh Rate

You can also set the rate in seconds at which the MagTag fetches the Cheerlights data. Bear in mind that the animations pause during the data retrieval, so if you set the rate too low, your animations won't run for long between fetches. As well, it is not good for the display to refresh too frequently.

refresh_rate = 60

The refresh_rate defaults to 60 seconds, or one minute. You can increase or decrease this to fit your needs.

Walkthrough

Let's take a look at the code.

First, we set up where we'll be fetching the data from.

Cheerlights has three feeds available - one that provides the hex value of the latest color and the update time, one that provides the name of the latest color and the update time, and one that contains the entire feed of hex and color names and update times. This project uses the feed that provides the name of the latest color and update time because it does not require you to know hex colors, and makes the code easier to read.

DATA_SOURCE = "http://api.thingspeak.com/channels/1417/field/1/last.json"
COLOR_LOCATION = ['field1']
DATE_LOCATION = ['created_at']

Then we initialise the MagTag library, including the information needed to fetch the Cheerlights data, and we tell the board to connect to the network.

magtag = MagTag(
    url=DATA_SOURCE,
    json_path=(COLOR_LOCATION, DATE_LOCATION),
)
magtag.network.connect()

Next, we set up the external NeoPixel strip, and set the brightness specified at the beginning of the code on both the strip NeoPixels and the MagTag NeoPixels.

strip_pixels = neopixel.NeoPixel(board.D10, 30, brightness=strip_pixel_brightness)
magtag_pixels = magtag.peripherals.neopixels
magtag_pixels.brightness = magtag_pixel_brightness

Then we set up the text that will be display on the screen. By using the text_transform option, we can set up the display text in the beginning, and update it each time we fetch new data in the loop.

magtag.add_text(
    text_scale=2,
    text_position=(10, 15),
    text_transform=lambda x: "New Color: {}".format(x),
)
magtag.add_text(
    text_scale=2,
    text_position=(10, 65),
    text_transform=lambda x: "Updated on:\n{}".format(x),
)

The first thing inside the loop is checking whether it's the first time the loop has started or if the refresh_rate seconds (set in the beginning of the code - defaults to 60 seconds) has passed.

if not timestamp or ((time.monotonic() - timestamp) > refresh_rate):

The next block of code is wrapped in a try/except to avoid the code stopping if it experiences any errors with regards to fetching the data.

[...]
        try:
            [...]  # Main block of code is here.
        except (ValueError, RuntimeError) as e:
            print("Some error occured, retrying! -", e)

Inside, we first enable the NeoPixels by turning off magtag.neopixel_disable.

magtag.peripherals.neopixel_disable = False

Then we fetch the Cheerlights data, which returns a two-member list that includes the latest color, and the current date and time. For example, it appears as something like the following:

['white', '2020-12-02T22:52:45Z'].

We assign it to the cheerlights_update_info variable, and print that information to the serial console.

cheerlights_update_info = magtag.fetch()
print("Response is", cheerlights_update_info)

For the animations, we need only the color from the data we fetch. So, to make it easy to use the color, we assign the first member of the list (using [0]) to a variable called cheerlights_color.

cheerlights_color = cheerlights_update_info[0]

Then we begin using the colors to display animations. There are eleven colors available for Cheerlights, and five basic animations, so each animation applies to multiple colors. Each animation checks the cheerlights_color variable to see what the latest color is, and displays the matching animation. The same general format is used for every animation - therefore this will only cover the first animation.

This section of the code could be more succinct if the hex value feed was used. However, not everyone is familiar with hex colors, so this section is slightly longer-form to enhance simplicity and ease of understanding.

First, the code checks if the latest color is one that applies to that particular animation, in this case, is it red, blue or pink.

Then, it verifies the specific Cheerlights color, and sets the animation color to the appropriate color. In this case, for example, if the Cheerlights color is red, it sets comet_color = RED.

Last, it creates the animation, in this case the comet animation, along with any necessary animation settings. For more details on the animations or their settings, take a look at the CircuitPython LED Animation guide.

if cheerlights_color in ('red', 'blue', 'pink'):
    if cheerlights_color == 'red':
        comet_color = RED
    elif cheerlights_color == 'blue':
        comet_color = BLUE
    elif cheerlights_color == 'pink':
        comet_color = PINK
    animations = AnimationSequence(
        AnimationGroup(
            Comet(magtag_pixels, 0.3, color=comet_color, tail_length=3),
            Comet(strip_pixels, 0.05, color=comet_color, tail_length=15),
          )
        )

Finally, the code runs the animations. This code is also wrapped in a try/except. In the event that Cheerlights adds a new color, the code would fail - this ensures your code will continue and display the next time one of the current colors is fetched.

try:
    animations.animate()
except NameError:
    print("There may be a Cheerlights color not included above.")

That's all there is to displaying LED animations based on Cheerlights data!

This project uses five different animations across the eleven available Cheerlights colors - each animation applies to multiple colors.

To activate an animation and color, tweet the color name in a message including the word "cheerlights" or send a color name and tag the @Cheerlights account.

The following is a look at one color of each animation, along with a list of the colors to which each animation applies.

Comet

The comet animation applies to red, blue and pink.

Pulse

The pulse animation applies to green and orange.

Sparkle

The sparkle animation applies to oldlace/warmwhite and magenta.

Blink

The blink animation applies to cyan and purple.

Chase

The chase animation applies to white and yellow.

This guide was first published on Dec 07, 2020. It was last updated on Dec 07, 2020.