I use a set of helping hands in order to do my soldering.

The DotStar library allows the control of brightness, but only strip by strip. For this reason, two different strips are created to allow the brightness to be controlled separately from one another.

To differentiate the data and clock lines of the warm white and cool white, I'm changing the clock line color between the temperatures.

Warm White - Clock/Green, Data/Blue

Cool White - Clock/Yellow, Data/Blue

The First Strip - Warm White

First, tin the wires. In order to prevent accidentally switching the orientation on the PCBs, I solder all of the 5V wires (red) at the same time. Next, I solder all of the ground wires (white).

Make sure to leave a tail about 3-4 inches long on these, since they'll be mounted to a proto-board at the end.

Fit the first LED into the hole, ground side up. Leave it hanging out a bit to affix the next four wires.

Tin a blue wire and green wire, and then feed them from the back into the top holes onto the PCB. Solder both into place. For these first wires, leave a tail approximately 5-6 inches long to fit into the proto-board.

Tin and solder two more green and blue wires into the bottom holes on the PCB. This time, only leave 2-2.5 inches of slack. I prefer to twist the wires to keep everything neat.

Set the next PCB into place, skipping the next slot so that it's placed in the 3rd position on the top row.

Tin the other ends of the 2-2.5 inch wire coming from the output pins of the first PCB, and solder them into the input pins of the next PCB in the line.

Repeat until you've daisy chained every warm white PCB together.

The Second Strip - Cool White

Beginning in the 2nd position in the top row, repeat the steps for the first strip. This time, use yellow for the clock line so you can quickly distinguish between the two strips on the back panel.

Pro Trinket Backpack

If you're only going to use 500 mA or larger LiPoly batteries, ever, then use a bit of solder to jump the pads on the back. Do not use a smaller battery than 500 mA if you do this.

Using the pins provided with the backpack, solder it into position on top the Pro Trinket.

On the top side, use the Stanley knife to cut the trace in half, so the thru-holes are no longer connected.

The Proto-Board!

  • Solder the 5V pin from the Pro Trinket into column 1 of the top rail of the proto-board (+).
  • For the (-) rail, wait until after assembling the backpack to the Pro Trinket (below) before attaching it to the Pro Trinket.
  • In column 2, solder a 1000 uf 6.3V (or higher) capacitor across the + and - rails.

This is to act as a debounce capacitor to protect the LEDs. Yes, you are soldering one side of it into the +, and one side into the -. It's crazy, I know.

In column 3, solder a red wire between the top + rail, and the + rail at the bottom of the proto-board. Repeat for a ground wire between the - rail on top, and the - rail on the bottom.

Now that you've established top and bottom 5V and ground rails, twist the pairs of 5V and ground wires from the PCBs and solder them into place. I soldered the top half of the PCBs into the top rails, and the bottom half into the bottom rails, but it doesn't matter the order. What matters is that it doesn't create a mess, and therefore harder to handle.

Panel Mounts

Mount in the potentiometers and power button, if you haven't already.

Warm White Potentiometer

  • Solder the 5V lug to a free space on a + rail.
  • Solder the Ground lug to a free space on the - rail.
  • Solder the wiper (middle) lug to A0 on the Pro Trinket.

Cool White Potentiometer

  • Solder the 5V lug to a free space on a + rail.
  • Solder the Ground lug to a free space on the - rail.
  • Solder the wiper (middle) lug to A1 on the Pro Trinket.

Once you finish soldering the potentiometers, put on the knob of your choice.

Clock and Data Lines

Similar to the LED resistor for the power button, solder 300-500 Ohm resistors in columns 3, 4, 5, and 6 on the proto-board. Leave space above and below each resistor.

Warm White Clock Line (Green)

  • Solder a wire between pin 3 on the Pro Trinket, and the thru-hole above the resistor in Column 3.
  • Solder the long green wire between the first PCB for warm white, and the thru-hole below the resistor in Column 3.

Warm White Data Line (Blue)

  • Solder a wire between pin 4 on the Pro Trinket, and the thru-hole above the resistor in Column 4.
  • Solder the long blue wire between the first PCB for warm white, and the thru-hole below the resistor in Column 4.

Cool White Clock Line (Yellow)

  • Solder a wire between pin 5 on the Pro Trinket, and the thru-hole above the resistor in Column 5.
  • Solder the long green wire between the first PCB for warm white, and the thru-hole below the resistor in Column 5.

Cool White Data Line (Blue)

  • Solder a wire between pin 6 on the Pro Trinket, and the thru-hole above the resistor in Column 6.
  • Solder the long blue wire between the first PCB for warm white, and the thru-hole below the resistor in Column 6.

Power Button

  • Solder the switch lugs (not marked by polarity symbols) to the thru-holes marked Pwr Switch on the Pro Trinket LiPoly Backpack.
  • Solder a 150 Ohm resistor (or higher) into an open column on the proto-board (not the rails), leaving a free hole above and below.
  • Solder a wire between Pin 13 of the Pro Trinket, and the thru-hole above the resistor.
  • Solder a wire between the thru-hole below, and the + lug on the power button.
  • Solder a wire from the (-) lug on the power button, and a free ground in the rail.

The Ground Rail (-)

Make a small hook in the end of the wire, and wrap it around the top of the middle pin (ground) on the Pro Trinket. Apply some solder, and you're good to go.

Mounting The Pro Trinket

It's time to mount the Pro Trinket! The easiest way is with M2 screws and stand offs, or those stand offs with the built in male portion and a nut, but I went the less-supplied route.

Using an M2 screw and two nuts per screw, tighten them up against the Pro Trinket with the screws facing downward into the wood. Remember that only two screws will fit with the backpack attached, but this is more than enough for stability.

Don't tighten the nuts fully, allow a tiny bit of looseness so the screws can turn. Then just use a screwdriver to turn them into the 1/16" holes previously drilled. 

The Battery and Backpanel

Attaching the LiPoly battery is easy. I prefer to put a little electrical (or in my case, kapton) tape around the battery before putting on velcro. Removing velcro can require a lot of torque, and I use the tape as a safety measure so I don't tear the outer shell.

Apply your velcro to the back panel, plug in the JST connection, and then close the entire enclosure.

You're done!

This guide was first published on Apr 09, 2015. It was last updated on Apr 09, 2015.

This page (Soldering and Final Assembly) was last updated on Oct 25, 2020.