Add animated programmable lights to your costume or project. This first-timer guide will walk you through the basics and get you up and running in minutes.

You don't need any fancy soldering equipment or programming knowledge -- Adafruit's Circuit Playground Express makes it really simple, so you can spend your time on making your project amazing and unique.

We'll be using NeoPixels in this guide. NeoPixel is a fancy name for lights you can program.

What You Need

  • A Circuit Playground Express
  • A battery (unless your project can plug in via USB)
  • Some NeoPixel lights
  • A bolt-on kit for attaching the lights
  • Wire strippers
  • A USB cable for programming (some cables are charge-only, you'll need a good one that can pass data)

Adafruit's Circuit Playground Base Kit already comes with a battery holder and batteries, plus a USB cable for programming, so it's perfect for first-timers. 

Circuit Playground Express - Base Kit

PRODUCT ID: 3517
It's the Circuit Playground Express Base Kit! It provides the few things you'll need to get started with the new
$29.95
IN STOCK

As for the lights: there are so many different kinds to choose from, so it's really up to you! I'll go into more detail later on, but here's a great one to start with.

Adafruit NeoPixel LED Strip w/ Alligator Clips - 30 LEDs/meter

PRODUCT ID: 3812
Adding glowy color to your projects has never been easier: no more soldering or stripping wires, clip 'em on and glow! This Adafruit NeoPixel LED Strip with Alligator...
$14.95
IN STOCK

If you get parts separate from the Base Kit, be sure to get a good quality data+power USB cable. 75% of issues with a microcontroller are a poor or incorrect USB connection.

USB cable - USB A to Micro-B

PRODUCT ID: 592
This here is your standard A to micro-B USB cable, for USB 1.1 or 2.0. Perfect for connecting a PC to your Metro, Feather, Raspberry Pi or other dev-board or...
$2.95
IN STOCK

Adafruit's bolt-on kit is an easy way to securely attach the lights to the Circuit Playground. If you have a soldering iron, you can always solder them instead -- but the bolt-on kit works just as well, and at a bargain price.

Bolt-On Kit for Circuit Playground, micro:bit, Flora or Gemma

PRODUCT ID: 4103
You have a Circuit Playground Express, and want to connect some wires to it for adding LEDs or sensors or speakers? You can use our...
$1.50
IN STOCK

You'll also need some wire strippers. These will both cut and strip wires of varying sizes. You can't do electronics without wire strippers, and it's amazing how often they come in handy.

Hakko Professional Quality 20-30 AWG Wire Strippers

PRODUCT ID: 527
These are the finest wire strippers we have used, and if you have to do a lot of wiring, you will agree! They have soft rounded grips - very comfortable to use, and precision ground...
$14.95
IN STOCK
This guide was first published on Apr 08, 2020. It was last updated on Apr 08, 2020. This page (Overview) was last updated on May 21, 2020.