Parts

You'll need the following parts to build this project:

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Gemma - You can use either the Arduino GemmaAdafruit Gemma v2, Gemma M0 or Circuit Playground Express board for this project.

 

UPDATE October 2017: The Circuit Playground Express can be used as an all-in-one board to build this project with no other soldering or assembly.  Grab the Circuit Playground Express board and load the necessary code from the next section--that's it!

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NeoPixel Strip - You'll need a strip of about 6-10 NeoPixel LEDs.  If you have a 1-meter length of the 30 LED NeoPixel strip you can cut off a small section of the strip.

 

A 16oz mason jar works best with a 6 pixel strip, and a 32oz mason jar works with a 10 pixel strip.

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Tiki torch - Look for plain bamboo tiki torches like shown to the left as they likely fit mason jars without any modification.  Check the outdoor or seasonal section of department or hardware stores for tiki torches.  Use a mason jar to check how well it fits in the torch if you can before purchasing.

 

Tiki brand 'The Original' tiki torches worked best in my testing and didn't require any modifications to hold a 16 or 32oz regular mouth mason jar.

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IR Receiver - To use IR remote control with the tiki torch you'll need an IR receiver that's tuned to receive 38khz signals.

 

IR control is optional--if you choose not to use it then skip adding the IR receiver to your project.  Without the IR receiver you will only be able to program one animation to constantly run on the tiki torch.

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Remote control - To use IR control in your tiki torch make sure to use this micro remote control.  This remote sends NEC IR remote control codes which the project software can recognize.  Because of code size constraints only NEC IR codes are supported by the software for this project.

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Battery - A lithium ion battery is recommended as it's small but still able to light power hungry NeoPixels.  A 2200 mAH or 2500 mAH battery will run bright animations for about 5 hours, and stay in off/sleep mode up to about a week.  Don't use a battery smaller than about 1000 mAH or else you'll only get an hour or less of bright animations.

 

Make sure you have a battery charger too, like the Micro Lipo charger.

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Soldering tools - You'll need to solder wires to the IR receiver, NeoPixel strip, and Gemma.  You'll also want heatshrink wrap to protect the soldered connections on the IR receiver.

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Mason Jar - Look for a regular mouth mason jar in either 16oz or 32oz size.  You can typically find mason jars at any grocery, department, or craft store however they are available online too. Clear glass jars work great, but you can experiment with colored or even patterned jars. Don't use a wide mouth jar as it's too large to fit inside a typical tiki torch without modification!  

 

Vase filler material - Look for a small, clear vase filler material like tiny clear beads or plastic rods.  The smaller the material the better as it will fill in the space of the jar and better diffuse the light of the pixels.  Be careful not to use a metal or conductive filler material that might short electric connections. This crystal fill product worked well in my testing.

This guide was first published on Jul 27, 2015. It was last updated on Jul 27, 2015. This page (Parts) was last updated on Sep 21, 2019.