Though nothing is assembled yet, let’s get the code onto the microcontroller first. Then the project’s ready to test once all the connections are made.

Get out your Pro Trinket and plug it into your computer via the USB port.

Software Setup

If this is your first time using Pro Trinket, take a look at Introducting Pro Trinket to get a guided tour. This walks you through installing the software necessary to use this board. Get the starter “blink” sketch working to confirm that the Arduino IDE is properly set up and speaking to the board.

Once you've got your Pro Trinket up and running with Arduino, you'll need to install the FastLED library…

FastLED is a fast, efficient, easy-to-use Arduino library for programming addressable LED strips and pixels. It has a lot of features to get your animations up and running fast -- and it has a lot of code samples available if you're just learning to code.

Use the Library Manager in the Arduino IDE to install this (Sketch→Include Library→Manage Libraries…). Scroll down or use the search field to locate FastLED.

All about Arduino Libraries will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about libraries, including more detailed installation instructions.

Once your curiosity is satiated and the FastLED library is installed, copy and paste the code below into your Arduino window.

Go to the Tools menu and select "Pro Trinket 5V USB" from the list of boards. Plug your Pro Trinket into your computer via the onboard USB port. Press the "reset" button on your Pro Trinket and wait for the blinky red light, then click the upload button in Arduino.

This wonderful Fire code was written by Mark Kriegsman, and is one of my favorite LED effects of all time.

#include <FastLED.h>

#define LED_PIN     10
#define CLOCK_PIN   9
#define COLOR_ORDER BGR  //if your colors look incorrect, change the color order here
#define NUM_LEDS    20

#define BRIGHTNESS  255


// Fire2012 with programmable Color Palette
// This code is the same fire simulation as the original "Fire2012",
// but each heat cell's temperature is translated to color through a FastLED
// programmable color palette, instead of through the "HeatColor(...)" function.
// Four different static color palettes are provided here, plus one dynamic one.
// The three static ones are: 
//   1. the FastLED built-in HeatColors_p -- this is the default, and it looks
//      pretty much exactly like the original Fire2012.
//  To use any of the other palettes below, just "uncomment" the corresponding code.
//   2. a gradient from black to red to yellow to white, which is
//      visually similar to the HeatColors_p, and helps to illustrate
//      what the 'heat colors' palette is actually doing,
//   3. a similar gradient, but in blue colors rather than red ones,
//      i.e. from black to blue to aqua to white, which results in
//      an "icy blue" fire effect,
//   4. a simplified three-step gradient, from black to red to white, just to show
//      that these gradients need not have four components; two or
//      three are possible, too, even if they don't look quite as nice for fire.
// The dynamic palette shows how you can change the basic 'hue' of the
// color palette every time through the loop, producing "rainbow fire".

CRGBPalette16 gPal;

void setup() {
  delay(3000); // sanity delay
  FastLED.addLeds<DOTSTAR, LED_PIN, CLOCK_PIN, COLOR_ORDER>(leds, NUM_LEDS).setCorrection( TypicalLEDStrip );
  FastLED.setBrightness( BRIGHTNESS );

  // This first palette is the basic 'black body radiation' colors,
  // which run from black to red to bright yellow to white.
  //gPal = HeatColors_p;
  // These are other ways to set up the color palette for the 'fire'.
  // First, a gradient from black to red to yellow to white -- similar to HeatColors_p
  gPal = CRGBPalette16( CRGB::Black, CRGB::Red, CRGB::Yellow, CRGB::White);
  // Second, this palette is like the heat colors, but blue/aqua instead of red/yellow
  //  gPal = CRGBPalette16( CRGB::Black, CRGB::Blue, CRGB::Aqua,  CRGB::White);
  // Third, here's a simpler, three-step gradient, from black to red to white
  //   gPal = CRGBPalette16( CRGB::Black, CRGB::Red, CRGB::White);

void loop() {
  // Add entropy to random number generator; we use a lot of it.
  random16_add_entropy( random());

  // Fourth, the most sophisticated: this one sets up a new palette every
  // time through the loop, based on a hue that changes every time.
  // The palette is a gradient from black, to a dark color based on the hue,
  // to a light color based on the hue, to white.
  //   static uint8_t hue = 0;
  //   hue++;
  //   CRGB darkcolor  = CHSV(hue,255,192); // pure hue, three-quarters brightness
  //   CRGB lightcolor = CHSV(hue,128,255); // half 'whitened', full brightness
  //   gPal = CRGBPalette16( CRGB::Black, darkcolor, lightcolor, CRGB::White);

  Fire2012WithPalette(); // run simulation frame, using palette colors; // display this frame
  FastLED.delay(1000 / FRAMES_PER_SECOND);

// Fire2012 by Mark Kriegsman, July 2012
// as part of "Five Elements" shown here:
// This basic one-dimensional 'fire' simulation works roughly as follows:
// There's a underlying array of 'heat' cells, that model the temperature
// at each point along the line.  Every cycle through the simulation, 
// four steps are performed:
//  1) All cells cool down a little bit, losing heat to the air
//  2) The heat from each cell drifts 'up' and diffuses a little
//  3) Sometimes randomly new 'sparks' of heat are added at the bottom
//  4) The heat from each cell is rendered as a color into the leds array
//     The heat-to-color mapping uses a black-body radiation approximation.
// Temperature is in arbitrary units from 0 (cold black) to 255 (white hot).
// This simulation scales it self a bit depending on NUM_LEDS; it should look
// "OK" on anywhere from 20 to 100 LEDs without too much tweaking. 
// I recommend running this simulation at anywhere from 30-100 frames per second,
// meaning an interframe delay of about 10-35 milliseconds.
// Looks best on a high-density LED setup (60+ pixels/meter).
// There are two main parameters you can play with to control the look and
// feel of your fire: COOLING (used in step 1 above), and SPARKING (used
// in step 3 above).
// COOLING: How much does the air cool as it rises?
// Less cooling = taller flames.  More cooling = shorter flames.
// Default 55, suggested range 20-100 
#define COOLING  55

// SPARKING: What chance (out of 255) is there that a new spark will be lit?
// Higher chance = more roaring fire.  Lower chance = more flickery fire.
// Default 120, suggested range 50-200.
#define SPARKING 120

void Fire2012WithPalette() {
  // Array of temperature readings at each simulation cell
  static byte heat[NUM_LEDS];

  // Step 1.  Cool down every cell a little
  for( int i = 0; i < NUM_LEDS; i++) {
    heat[i] = qsub8( heat[i],  random8(0, ((COOLING * 10) / NUM_LEDS) + 2));
  // Step 2.  Heat from each cell drifts 'up' and diffuses a little
  for( int k= NUM_LEDS - 3; k > 0; k--) {
    heat[k] = (heat[k - 1] + heat[k - 2] + heat[k - 2] ) / 3;
  // Step 3.  Randomly ignite new 'sparks' of heat near the bottom
  if( random8() < SPARKING ) {
    int y = random8(7);
    heat[y] = qadd8( heat[y], random8(160,255) );

  // Step 4.  Map from heat cells to LED colors
  for( int j = 0; j < NUM_LEDS; j++) {
    // Scale the heat value from 0-255 down to 0-240
    // for best results with color palettes.
    byte colorindex = scale8( heat[j], 240);
    leds[j] = ColorFromPalette( gPal, colorindex);

As soon as you get the "Upload Successful" notification in your Arduino window, unplug the Pro Trinket and get ready for some soldering.


If you're getting errors or having trouble uploading the code, here are a couple things to try:

  1. Be sure you have “Pro Trinket 5v” selected from the Tools menu.
  2. Make sure the FastLED library is installed.
  3. Press the "reset" button on the Pro Trinket just after you hit the "upload" button in Arduino. When you press reset, the Pro Trinket will go into bootloader mode for only around 8 seconds, so you need to time things just right and upload the code during that window.
  4. Try restarting your Arduino IDE.
  5. If you're still having trouble, try uploading the "Blink" sketch (FileExamplesBasicsBlink). This should blink the Pro Trinket's onboard LED. If this is working, you know your Arduino IDE and upload sequence are working, and that the problem lies elsewhere (e.g. missing library, or syntax error in the code).

This guide was first published on Jun 29, 2016. It was last updated on Jun 29, 2016.

This page (The Code) was last updated on Jun 09, 2016.

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