Prepare the Umbrella

You will notice that the umbrella comes coated with a powder type substance. This was done intentionally to keep the vinyl from sticking to itself when it opens. So, do yourself a favor and leave it there. :) If you have already washed it off, you may want to add a little baby powder.

Cut the threads holding the vinyl to the umbrella, if there is any, using small scissors.

Insert the Circuit


Place your umbrella on the floor and gently move the circuit into its dome, making sure the front of the NeoPixel strips face the floor.

Now, take one LED strip and move it into place under one of the arms of the umbrella. Repeat with the rest of the strips. Note that this is a particularly fiddly task because the strips will want to shift. You may want to use masking tape or binder clips to secure as you work your way around. If you used solid-core wire, you may find you have to bend the wires slightly at the hub to ensure that they fit correctly.

Secure the NeoPixel Strips


Next, we will make the strips secure by adding cable ties. Align the strip end to the end of the umbrella's rib and use just a few cable ties to preliminarily secure the strip. Be sure the ties don't cover any of the LEDs on the NeoPixel strip. Repeat this process on each rib. Leave each end of NeoPixel strip free from the umbrella, since we'll glue them later, once we know the circuit works.

Keep these strip ends away from the metal ribs, letting them hand freely for now, so they don't short out.

One of your strips is bound to have a connector end-- this is a great place to connect up FLORA or Circuit Playground Express.


FLORA: Solder the red wire to VBATT, the black wire to GND, and the white signal wire to D6.


For Circuit Playground Express: the red wire to VOUT, the black wire to GND, the white or yellow signal wire to A1.

On a spare piece of vinyl you've binder-clipped into the edge of the umbrella, use velcro tape to secure the battery and double sided tape to secure the FLORA or Circuit Playground Express.

Test that your NeoPixels are all working! You should still have the custom strandtest sketch on your FLORA or the Circuit Playground Express MakeCode running from previous steps, but double check your number of pixels and pixel data pin in case some/all of your pixels aren't lighting up. Remember that a standard USB port can't power this many pixels, so you should be testing with USB disconnected and battery power on.

Everything's on? Great! Now onto tidy everything up.

This guide was first published on Apr 23, 2014. It was last updated on Mar 12, 2014.

This page (Insert the Circuit ) was last updated on Mar 12, 2014.

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