We're using four LED dot strands total. They'll both be connected to the same pin via a 3-pin STEMMA connector, and will plug into the PropMaker FeatherWing's NeoPixel port.

Each strand will be daisy-chained to a second strand for more length. We found that two full strands are the perfect length for a 6' bullwhip. If your whip is longer, you may want to add a third strand to each side.

Find the "in" end of your NeoPixel strands. Usually this is the end with the male connector. There's a tiny printed "IN" on the back of the pixels, so it never hurts to double check to make sure the strand you're using is assembled the same way. The lights won't work if you connect to the wrong end.

Cut the in-end connector off both your strips, leaving plenty of wire to work with. I like to save all the connectors for use with other projects.

Strip about 1/4" of shielding from all the wires and twist them together in matching pairs -- the two red wires twist together (these are the power wires, or +, the two middle wires (these are the data wires) and the two third wires (these are G).

 

Cut about 16-18" of wire in red, black, and white. Solder the red wire to the red twisted pair, the white wire to the middle pair and the black wire to the remaining pair.

Grab your 3-pin STEMMA connector and solder it to the other end of the wires, matching colors.

This is a great time to plug your strands in to your PropMaker Wing and make sure they're both fully functional.

To add the second strand, you could just plug it in to the "out" end -- but then you'll end up with bulky connectors and a bit of a dark spot in the middle of your whip. 

To make it slicker, we cut the female connectors off the "out" end of the first strand, and the male connectors off the "in" end of the second strand and soldered them together to create two long strands.

At the very tail end of the second strand, cut the connectors off as well, leaving a good amount of wire so you've got plenty to work with when securing the ends of the strands to the end of the whip.

Plug your STEMMA connector into your PropMaker FeatherWing's NeoPixel port and test to be sure all the lights are working. Shake it around and make some noise to trigger the animations. 

Troubleshooting

If your lights aren't coming on, here are a few things to check:

  1. Did you solder to the IN end of the strands? It's easy to mix this up! Double check your wiring.
  2. Is the code loaded onto the board correctly? Check the software page for code troubleshooting tips
  3. Is your battery charged up? Try plugging in a USB cable to see if that fixes the problem.
  4. Is your switch turned on? The button has a lock mechanism that can be fiddly if you've got bigger fingers.

This guide was first published on Jul 08, 2020. It was last updated on Jul 08, 2020.

This page (LED Strand Assembly) was last updated on Oct 17, 2020.

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