Neopixel Strip Assembly

Lining the hood with lights works really well.  The hood looks great when it's up or down, and when it's up, it both lights my face and makes it easier for me to see where I'm going in the dark.  

I wanted to maximize getting power to the LEDs while minimizing long wire runs, keeping in mind that this hoodie should fail gracefully.  To these ends, I decided to mirror the left and right sides of the hood, cutting the 1m LED strip in half.  That way, if any one LED fails, only up to 1/2 the hood will go dark.

My hood's front edge was exactly 1 meter from shoulder to shoulder, so I used the full meter.  Your hood may vary.

Measure and carefully cut your LED strand between the copper pads.  Turn one strand around so the "in" arrows on both strips are in the middle.

 

Solder a short 3" red wire to the "+" pads, a black wire to the "-" pads and a yellow wire to the "in" pads of each strip.

 

Splice all 3 wire pairs together so that the LED strips come together neatly in the middle, adding in a very long wire to each pair.  Make it long enough to reach your micorcontroller (for the data wire) or switch breakout (for power and ground) with lots of extra slack.

Hook up the wires to your LED tester and make sure everything works.  Then, slip the strips back into their silicone sheath and fill the ends with hot glue to seal and secure them.  I like to add a piece of 1/2" clear heat shrink over the whole assembly for added security.

 

Add some hot glue to the other end as well to keep dust and moisture out.

Lay the strip down along the hood, making sure the wires will easily reach your planned microcontroller location without pulling.  

There are lots of ways to attach the light strands to your hood. You can stitch right through the silicone sheath onto the fabric, or create a sleeve for the lights with fabric or fur.  This method is nice because it adds some interesting diffusion.  Play with different fabrics to find out what you like best.

This guide was first published on Nov 25, 2016. It was last updated on Nov 25, 2016. This page (Neopixel Strip Assembly) was last updated on Nov 13, 2019.