Build the Neon Sign

Before we build the full sign, it's a good idea to test out the board by plugging in three strips and running the board through its paces.

Using the 2-pin wire joints, connect the wires as shown below:

You can see we're sharing power by connecting the three red wires from the neon LED strips to a single connector. Each strip's ground is connected to a different control wire coming from the 4-wire cable.

Plug the male end of the 4-wire cable into the female receptacle end that's connected to the ScrewShield and Metro M0.

Plug in your 12V power supply to the DC jack on the Metro M0, and turn on the small on switch on the Metro M0. Press the red button to turn on the neon!

Now, press the yellow button to start the blinking!

Build Signs

Now we can get creative! Time to start laying out your neon LED strips onto foam core board.

To secure the strips, use a small screwdriver to poke pairs of holes through the foam core board, and then secure the strip at that point with a small, clear zip tie.

Splicing Neon LED Strips

Sometimes you may want to use short lengths of the neon LED strip -- that's great, simply cut the strips right along the black lines you can see inside of the tubing on the back side of the tape.

To then use the cut off end -- or even to join multiple strips together to create multi-color lengths -- you will need to solder leads onto the exposed pads.

Use heat shrink tubing or electrical tape to finish off the job neatly.

  • Cut the strip at any one of the black marks
  • Peel back a bit of the silicone covering to reveal the solder pads
  • If you look at the other side, the markings around the LED shows you which side is ground -- the black rectangle has a diagonal mark in one corner, that's the ground side
  • Tin the pads
  • Solder a black wire to GND and red wire to +
  • Finish it off with some electrical tape

Now, you can add this short, darker blue length to the design!

You can create holes to push the wiring through to the back side of the board as shown.

You can see here how the 2-pin wire joint connectors are used to daisy chain the neon LED strips.

You can add more elements to your sign -- here I stacked two boards to make assembly easier, and to create options for displaying Adabot with or without a cool lightning bolt/pink curve in shield logo!

Action!

OK, now you can plug in the four wire connector to the Metro M0 and ScrewShield, plug in the 12V 5A DC power, and fire up your own custom neon LED strip sign!

This guide was first published on Aug 10, 2018. It was last updated on Aug 10, 2018. This page (Build the Neon Sign) was last updated on Sep 15, 2019.