Shred down the slopes this season with your own custom motion-reactive LED snowboard. This tutorial includes CircuitPython sample code with 8 different layered LED animation modes, plus a motion-sensitive carving mode that lights your active edge as you carve down the mountain. 

Learn to protect your electronics from the elements using waterproof enclosures and connectors. Make your board robust enough that you can ride all night long. 

Parts Needed

The Adafruit Feather M4 Express paired with the Prop-Maker Wing is a really powerful combo. The Prop-Maker wing is designed just for projects like this. It has an onboard NeoPixel connector, an Lis3dh accelerometer, level-shifting, and plenty of pins to add whatever functionality you desire. It also has onboard battery charging, so it's easy to charge up your board for maximum glowing enjoyment.

Angled shot of a Adafruit Feather M4 Express.
It's what you've been waiting for, the Feather M4 Express featuring ATSAMD51. This Feather is fast like a swift, smart like an owl, strong like a ox-bird (it's half ox,...
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Angled shot of a Adafruit Prop-Maker FeatherWing.
The Adafruit Feather series gives you lots of options for a small, portable, rechargeable microcontroller board. Perfect for fitting into your next prop build! This FeatherWing will...
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This build uses 60/m Skinny NeoPixels, mounted on their side so they shine outwards and illuminate the snow as you ride. Also get a 3-pin JST connector to plug into the Prop-Maker Wing.

Adafruit NeoPixel Digital RGB LED Strip with all the LEDs lighting in a rainbow pattern.
So thin. So mini. So teeeeeeny-tiny. It's the 'skinny' version of our classic NeoPixel strips!These NeoPixel strips have 60 digitally-addressable pixel Mini LEDs per...
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1 x 3-pin Connector
JST PH 3-pin Plug-Plug Cable - 100mm long

You'll also need an on/off switch, a momentary switch for changing between modes, a battery, and a waterproof connector.

We'll be using a GoPro camera case as our electronics enclosure. It's a fully waterproof / submersible enclosure that already has waterproof buttons we can repurpose to our hearts' content. Grab a PG-7 cable gland to safely pass the NeoPixel wires through the case.

1 x On/Off Power Button
On/Off Power Button / Push Button Toggle Switch
1 x Momentary Switch
Tactile Switch Buttons (12mm square, 6mm tall)
1 x Cable Gland
Cable Gland PG-7 size - 0.118" to 0.169" Cable Diameter - PG-7
1 x Battery
Lithium Ion Battery - 3.7v 2000mAh
2 x Weatherproof Connector
Waterproof Polarized 4-Wire Cable Set

To secure the electronics and buttons inside our case, we'll use moldable Thermoplastic. This stuff is great - just get it warm enough to melt, shape it however you'd like, and let it cool in place. Re-melt as needed until you get it just right.

White hand holding a blob of melted Low Temperature Thermoplastic.
They look a lot like sushi rice, but don't eat 'em - these are Low Temperature Thermoplastic Beads! Also known as "Friendly Plastic",...
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Also stock up on some large-sized heat shrink tubing. This stuff is invaluable for making good waterproof connections.

1 x Heat Shrink
Food-Grade Heat Shrink - 3/8" diameter 12" long

You'll Also Need

This guide was first published on Apr 07, 2021. It was last updated on Feb 21, 2024.

This page (Overview) was last updated on Mar 17, 2021.

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