Test the NeoPixel Strip

Let's start by lighting up 5 meters of NeoPixel strip, just to be sure it's working properly (and it's just an awesome experience). To do this, you will need your alligator clips, the third hand, your NeoPixel strip, FLORA and battery.

This is just a friendly reminder that you need to review the FLORA and NeoPixel guides to perform this test. You don't want to damage anything, right?

Configure the FLORA

Connect the FLORA to your computer using the USB cable. Follow the instructions on the Flora tutorial and don't forget to install the NeoPixel library. Then, load the following modified version of the NeoPixel example "strandtest". Once it is loaded, you can turn off the power and unplug the USB cable.
#include <Adafruit_NeoPixel.h>

#define PIN 6

// Parameter 1 = number of pixels in strip
// Parameter 2 = pin number (most are valid)
// Parameter 3 = pixel type flags, add together as needed:
//   NEO_KHZ800  800 KHz bitstream (most NeoPixel products w/WS2812 LEDs)
//   NEO_KHZ400  400 KHz (classic 'v1' (not v2) FLORA pixels, WS2811 drivers)
//   NEO_GRB     Pixels are wired for GRB bitstream (most NeoPixel products)
//   NEO_RGB     Pixels are wired for RGB bitstream (v1 FLORA pixels, not v2)
Adafruit_NeoPixel strip = Adafruit_NeoPixel(160, PIN, NEO_GRB + NEO_KHZ800);

void setup() {
  strip.begin();
  strip.setBrightness(30); //adjust brightness here
  strip.show(); // Initialize all pixels to 'off'
}

void loop() {
  // Some example procedures showing how to display to the pixels:
  colorWipe(strip.Color(255, 0, 0), 50); // Red
  colorWipe(strip.Color(0, 255, 0), 50); // Green
  colorWipe(strip.Color(0, 0, 255), 50); // Blue
  rainbow(20);
  rainbowCycle(20);
}

// Fill the dots one after the other with a color
void colorWipe(uint32_t c, uint8_t wait) {
  for(uint16_t i=0; i<strip.numPixels(); i++) {
      strip.setPixelColor(i, c);
      strip.show();
      delay(wait);
  }
}

void rainbow(uint8_t wait) {
  uint16_t i, j;

  for(j=0; j<256; j++) {
    for(i=0; i<strip.numPixels(); i++) {
      strip.setPixelColor(i, Wheel((i+j) & 255));
    }
    strip.show();
    delay(wait);
  }
}

// Slightly different, this makes the rainbow equally distributed throughout
void rainbowCycle(uint8_t wait) {
  uint16_t i, j;

  for(j=0; j<256*5; j++) { // 5 cycles of all colors on wheel
    for(i=0; i< strip.numPixels(); i++) {
      strip.setPixelColor(i, Wheel(((i * 256 / strip.numPixels()) + j) & 255));
    }
    strip.show();
    delay(wait);
  }
}

// Input a value 0 to 255 to get a color value.
// The colours are a transition r - g - b - back to r.
uint32_t Wheel(byte WheelPos) {
  if(WheelPos < 85) {
   return strip.Color(WheelPos * 3, 255 - WheelPos * 3, 0);
  } else if(WheelPos < 170) {
   WheelPos -= 85;
   return strip.Color(255 - WheelPos * 3, 0, WheelPos * 3);
  } else {
   WheelPos -= 170;
   return strip.Color(0, WheelPos * 3, 255 - WheelPos * 3);
  }
}

Test the NeoPixel Strip

Unwind your NeoPixel strip on a table or other flat surface. You may want to tape it here and there with masking tape just to keep it from moving. Since you have a 5 meter quantity of strip, you will see test leads on one end. Hook up the LED strip to the FLORA micro-controller with alligator clips in this fashion (the third hand may be helpful here to keep the wires separated).

  • Black alligator clip - ground (GND) pin on strip --> ground (GND) pin on FLORA
  • Red alligator clip - 5V pin on strip --> VBATT pin on FLORA
  • Blue alligator clip - DIN pin on strip --> D6 on FLORA

Make sure you double check the sketch to be sure the quantity of NeoPixels (160) and the pin number for the FLORA are set correctly (usually 6 or 12). Set the brightness low to start out (30). Also, check that the arrows on the NeoPixel strip are pointing away from the FLORA. Finally, take one last look at the alligator clips to be sure they are not touching each other. Now, plug the battery into the FLORA and switch on the power. You should see a fun LED show with different patterns. If not, don't worry, just double check your connections and double check the sketch you loaded into the FLORA. Got it? If so, it's time to move on to the circuit.
Last updated on 2015-05-04 at 04.27.40 PM Published on 2014-04-23 at 02.39.11 AM