Assembly

Assembly requires just 4 connections to the pixel strip. These are easily done with breadboard jumper wires, although you could use short pieces of solid core wire as well:

Connect the Pixels:

Connect the Arduino to the pixel strip as shown: Plug one end of the jumper into the Arduino header and the other end into the female connector on the input end of the strip. Tape or rubber-band the connector to the board so the wires don't pull out.

  • +5v - Red wire
  • GND - Blue (black) wire
  • Pin 2 (Data) - Yellow wire
  • Pin 3 (Clock) - Green Wire
If your pixels do not look like the ones in the photos, check this page for details on wiring other styles of pixels. http://learn.adafruit.com/12mm-led-pixels/wiring

Load and Test:

At this point, you should load the code (see the next page) and test to make sure everything is connected properly. If all is well, you should see random pairs of leds 'blinking'.

Attach the Battery Pack:

Place the Arduino on top of the battery pack and tape or rubber-band in place.

Is it safe to run a pixel strand from the Arduino 5v pin?

Normally, no. But the code for this project only lights up a few pixels (no more than 6) at a time, and never more than 1/3 intensity. If you modify this code to use more pixels or higher power levels, you should consider a separate 5v supply for the strand. http://learn.adafruit.com/battery-power-for-led-pixels-and-strips

Can I add another strand for more 'eyes'?

Yes. You can chain the strands together. You will also need to increase "numPixels" in the code. However, if you decide to increase "maxEyes", you risk overloading the Arduino voltage regulator and should use a separate 5v power supply for the pixels. See this tutorial for details: http://learn.adafruit.com/battery-power-for-led-pixels-and-strips

Window Mounting:

For window mounting, simply tape the LED strand to the window sill and/or muntins. Be sure to keep the room lights off for best effect!

Outside Mounting:

Bag it:

For outside use, wrap the whole assembly in a plastic bag and secure with rubber bands. Suspend the assembly with the open end of the bag facing down so the bag does not fill with water if it rains.
Find some dense shrubbery and attach the led pixels to the branches with clothspins, spring clips or twist ties. Try to keep them arranged in roughly horizontal pairs.

Start counting pairs from the input end of the strand. Since there are 25 pixels per strand, you will have one odd pixel left over at the end. Just tuck that one back behind some leaves.
This guide was first published on Oct 14, 2013. It was last updated on Oct 14, 2013. This page (Assembly) was last updated on Jul 15, 2019.