Solder Connections

Once your have a working prototype, you will need to solder wires to the Gemma and NeoPixel strip for a solid connection. Start by measuring the length of wires you will need for the NeoPixel strip. We used the height of our cone as reference since it needs to reach to the end of the cone with some extra slack. You can use alligator clips to extend the topper and NeoPixel strip away from the Gemma and battery.

Start off by applying small blobs of solder to the pins on the Gemma. This will make it easier to solder three wires to the gemma. We color coded them so we could easily tell them apart. Red wire is the VBat positive connection. The blue wire is the digital input D1. The black wire is the GND ground pin.
Add small blobs of solder to the pins of the strip where the arrows are pointing to the right. These will make it easier to solder wires to these pins. Solder three wires to these pins on the NeoPixel strip. Black wire goes to the GND ground pin. Blue wire goes to the DI digital in pin. Red wire goes to the +5V positive pin.
Cut the red wire from the rechargeable battery in half. Expose some wire with wire strippers. We will need to solder a slide switch to these two ends. One in the middle, and the other to either the left or right. This will allow us to easily turn on and off the circuit.
Place the Gemma first inside the enclosure. Use a piece of double-sided foam tape to secure it to the bottom of the case. Slide the wires of the Gemma through the slit. Lay the battery on top of the Gemma and push the slide switch through the cut of of the cover. Snap on the cover.
Start by positioning the wires of the NeoPixel strip to the bottom hole cut out of the cone. NeoPixel Strips are friendly and can be cut to whatever size you want, just be sure to follow the cut indicator on the strip. Removing the protective gel allows you to bend it to the shape of your tree topper. Carefuly bend the strip to the inner lining of the shape.
Snap the cover on and secure the cone by using some hot glue or your preferred adhesive. Now you can test out your circuit to see if it still works. If it's all good, time go place it on the tree!

The battery will need occasional recharging. To do this, open the round case, disconnect the battery from the Gemma board and plug it into a LiPoly charger such as our Micro Lipo. The switch we added needs to be in the “on” position or the battery won’t charge! A full charge from a depleted state should take about three hours.

This guide was first published on Dec 06, 2013. It was last updated on Dec 06, 2013. This page (Build) was last updated on Jul 15, 2019.