Construction and Wiring

Wiring the Doubler Board

You will need to solder 3 wires from the doubler board that will later attach to the NeoPixel ring. We recommend red, green, yellow wires. Make them about 6 inches long and you can trim them off shorter once you do the final assembly.

We recommend you solder the wires and other components to the doubler before soldering the female headers for the Feather M0 and Music Maker Wing. We soldered the headers first and they got in the way of soldering the other components. We accidentally touched the side of the soldering iron to the header and damaged it. So learn from our mistakes.

The image below shows the doubler board from the bottom side. The green wire connects to the ground bus anywhere along that column of holes. The yellow data wire connects to pin 11. The red power wire should connect to the USB pin to obtain +5 volts.

When prototyping this designed we used the USB pin as shown here. But when wiring up the final version of the project, we mistakenly connected the red power wire to the 3.3v bus. That was a mistake but it worked anyway. You can drive NeoPixels at 3.3v however it will put a strain on the 3.3v regulator of the Feather if you turn up the brightness very high. So even though it worked, we still recommend you use the USB pin as shown here.

If you're using the IR receiver and/or the photocell, these components will also be soldered to the bottom side of the doubler board.

Insert the IR receiver so that it's first pin goes in the hole that connects to pin 12 as shown in the image below. Bend the pins 90° so the component lies flat and the lens of the receiver points away from the board. You also need to solder in a power and ground wire to supply that device. Bridge these wires to the center and outer pins of the device. Note that the power pin MUST connect to 3.3v and NOT USB 5v.

If you are using the photocell option, you will need to solder in a 10K resistor in addition to the photocell. As shown in the above image, connect one end of the resistor to the ground bus. Connect the other end to pin A4. Also connect one end of the photocell to A4 by putting it in the adjacent hole and bridging them together on the opposite side of the board. The other end of the photocell goes to the 3.3v bus.

If you are using the touch control option, solder 4 wires to pins A0 through A3. Although the IR sensor and photocell had to be on the bottom side of the board, these control wires can go on either side of the board. We put them on the top side rather than the bottom where the other components are. This is because we had already soldered in the female headers and it would be difficult to solder the wires in place. They can be any color wires and you should make them about 6 inches long. You can trim them off to appropriate length later.

The image below shows the location of the touch control wires. It also highlights the places where you need to bridge together adjacent pins to properly connect the IR receiver to its power and ground wires as well as the connection between the 10K resistor and the photocell on pin A4.

After all of the components and connecting wires have been soldered in place, then solder in 2 sets of female headers. Then solder a set of male header pins to the Feather M0 board and the Music Maker Feather Wing. The Music Wing comes with a 4 screw terminal block. You have the option of installing it or soldering the speaker wires directly to the wing. We recommend using the screw terminals in case you ever need to take the device apart for some reason.

Temporarily insert the Feather M0 and Music Wing into the doubler board. You may need to remove them later to mount the doubler board onto the back of the 3D printed faceplate.

Assembling the Neo-Pixel Ring

The 60 pixel ring comes in 4 segments of 15 pixels each. We used superglue to connect the 4 segments together. You then need to solder together the power, ground, and data pads of 3 out of the 4 joints. The joint that is not soldered will be at the top of the clock. 

As you are looking at the backside of the ring, the red, green, and yellow wires from the clock module will connect to the ring to the left of the joint as shown below. We temporarily soldered the 3 wires from the clock module to the ring before mounting everything into the 3D printed case. That way we were able to test all of the components before final assembly.

If you're using the speakers that we have recommended, you'll need to cut off the jack from the speaker wires. Strip the ends of the wires, twists the strands and we recommend that you tin the wire tips with solder. That will make it easier to put them into the screw terminals of the Music Maker Wing. The red wires go in the positive terminals which are the two outside terminals. The black wires go on the two inner terminals. We left the wires quite long while testing before assembling it in the 3D printed case. You can always cut them off shorter and re-tin them after final assembly. 

You should also strip and tin the loose ends of the 4 touch control wires. We will eventually wrap each one around a screw and/or solder each wire to a screw.

Once you have connected everything, go to the next section which describes how to install the software and the audio files.

This guide was first published on Jul 30, 2018. It was last updated on Jul 30, 2018. This page (Construction and Wiring) was last updated on Oct 30, 2019.