To use the Gemma M0 to control the LED strand, you have to connect the wires from the lights to the board.

Each wire will be hooked up to one of the Gemma's pins (those numbered connection points around the edge of the board):

  • The negative lead -- the wire you did not mark -- will be attached to the pin labeled GND, which stands for ground. This is the ground for your circuit.
  • The positive lead -- the wire that has the Sharpie mark on it -- will be connected to the pin labeled A1/D2. 

In between those two pins is the USB port. This is where you'll plug in the cable that connects the board to a computer for downloading code. Be sure to leave space for the cable between your wires!

You will also use the two pins on the sides of the board as touch pads to turn different light effects on and off, so leave those clear as well.

Depending on what you want to do with your lights, you have a few options for connecting the LED strand wires to the Gemma M0 that don't require soldering. They are:

The LED light strand can get wet but the Gemma board cannot! If you want to be able to wash a project with the lights attached, make sure to pick an option that lets you detach the Gemma and batteries.

Bolt-On Option

The Adafruit-approved solution is to use the tiny screws that come in the Bolt-On Kit to hold the wires on. Just put a screw through the hole from the front of the board and screw on the hex nut loosely.

Next, wrap the wire around the shank of the screw. Then tighten down the hex nut to hold the wire against the pad. 

Alligator Clip Option

To make it easier to detach the Gemma M0 from the lights, you can attach a mini alligator clip test lead to the end of each wire. Be sure to make them different colors so you don't mix up the positive and the negative!

Just cut one end off the test lead, leaving one alligator clip and enough wire to connect to the LED strand wire. Strip the insulation off the test lead and twist the two wires together.

Cover the bare wires completely with electrical tape or a heat shrink tube.

Quick and Dirty Option

Not recommended, but in a pinch just wrap the LED wires around the large holes on the board.

The problem is the thin wires will not hold up to much use without support.

You can try insulating them with electrical tape or a little Sugru, being careful not to cover any other parts of the board you need access to.

This guide was first published on Oct 13, 2020. It was last updated on Oct 13, 2020.

This page (Attach the Gemma M0) was last updated on Oct 13, 2020.