The Feather platform has really gotten my attention recently, especially since its move to using the ATSAMD21 MCU. This is a powerhouse chip based on the ARM Cortex-M0+ core. The other great thing about Feathers is the large (and constantly growing) ecosystem of add-on boards, called FeatherWings.

Another thing I’ve enjoyed playing with are NeoPixels. I’ve used them in various formats for a variety of projects. One of the joys is that you don’t need 3 PWM outputs per LED; you just need a single digital output to drive a fairly large string of NeoPixels. Recently, a new RGB LED has been showing up in Adafruit products: the DotStar. It requires 2 outputs, but is less timing sensitive, and can be updated faster. And it is a lot smaller. The latter point is huge: it means you can pack them denser, getting more pixels in the same space.  Adafruit has done just that with their DotStar Featherwing. It packs a 6x12 DotStars in the same space that fits just 4x8 NeoPixels.

In case you weren’t paying attention, a FeatherWing is only 50mm by 23mm. That’s small. Lady Ada has packed the space with DotStars so densely they almost touch. That’s enough pixels to make simple images, and display text using a simple font.

If you want to work in C/Arduino there's a guide for that.  In this guide I'll be walking you through a library I wrote for using it from CircuitPython.

Angled shot of a Adafruit Feather M0 Express - ATSAMD21 Cortex M0.
At the Feather M0's heart is an ATSAMD21G18 ARM Cortex M0+ processor, clocked at 48 MHz and at 3.3V logic, the same one used in the new 
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Video of a Adafruit DotStar FeatherWing connected to a featherwing. Display reads "ADAFRUIT!" in rainbow color pixel.
A Feather board without ambition is a Feather board without FeatherWings! This is the DotStar FeatherWing, a 6x12 RGB LED Add-on For All Feather Boards! Using...
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This guide was first published on Dec 21, 2017. It was last updated on Dec 21, 2017.

This page (Overview) was last updated on Dec 13, 2017.

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