Overview

Build a control box with a NeoTrellis and Feather M0 Radio and use it to wirelessly control multiple strands of NeoPixels. Use the FastLED library to add beautiful NeoPixel color effects. With no line-of-sight requirement (like with infrared remotes) and no pairing requirement (like with Bluetooth or WiFi), the LoRa radio control works over long distances and in crowded environments. It's hard to pair to a Bluetooth device when there are 200 phones in the vicinity cluttering up the bandwidth! This controller box will solve that problem.

This project was created for onstage or performance environments, where a portable and easy-to-setup pixel controller can come in very handy. It can also be used to control your holiday lights display, to coordinate costumes at a festival, or for a zillion other applications where you want ultimate wireless NeoPixel control with no interference.

Parts and Materials

The essential parts for your controller are:

  • Packet radio Feather microcontroller and antenna as the brains of the transmitter. Your choice of 900MHz for US, 433MHz for ITU Europe, in either M0 or 32u4 processor variant. The RFM69HCW radios are the easiest to set up and a bit less expensive, while the LoRa boards are slightly more involved to set up, but longer range
  • NeoTrellis Button Pad & Elastomer buttons
  • OLED display FeatherWing
  • Rotary encoder for menu selection

For the receivers you'll need:

  • Another Feather M0 microcontroller that exactly matches the one inside the transmitter
  • Neopixels -- any format will work
  • A battery to power the NeoPixels
4 x Feather M0 Packet Radio
Adafruit Feather M0 RFM69HCW Packet Radio - 868 or 915 MHz
1 x NeoTrellis
NeoTrellis RGB Driver PCB for 4x4 Keypad
1 x Silicone Keypad
Silicone Elastomer 4x4 Button Keypad - for 3mm LEDs
1 x Antenna
900Mhz Antenna Kit - For LoPy, LoRa, etc
1 x Antenna Connector
uFL SMT Antenna Connector
5 x Battery
One for the Control box and one for each NeoPixel receiver
1 x FeatherWing OLED
Adafruit FeatherWing OLED - 128x32 OLED Add-on For Feather
1 x Short Female Headers
Short Headers Kit for Feather - 12-pin + 16-pin Female Headers
1 x Short Male Headers
Short Feather Male Headers - 12-pin and 16-pin Male Header Set
1 x Rotary Encoder
Rotary Encoder + Extras
1 x Slide Switch
Breadboard-friendly SPDT Slide Switch
1 x Nylon Screws
Black Nylon Screw and Stand-off Set – M2.5 Thread
1 x Neopixel Strand
Adafruit NeoPixel LED Dots Strand - 20 LEDs at 2" Pitch
1 x NeoPixels 60/m
Adafruit NeoPixel Digital RGB LED Strip - White 60 LED - WHITE

In addition to the parts listed above, you'll also need six screws to fasten the enclosure:

And, if you're 3D printing the enclosure, you'll want some PLA filament for that, such as:

I found that black PLA works the best for the face of the controller.  White PLA lets a lot of light bleed through and the NeoTrellis looks better against a dark background.

This guide was first published on Jan 30, 2019. It was last updated on Jan 30, 2019. This page (Overview) was last updated on Jun 25, 2019.