Setup & Testing

This is a fairly complex project with lots of steps.  Each step is a fantastic opportunity for stuff to go wrong, so it's really important to stop at every step and test to make sure the piece you're working on is working for you.

There are two major parts to this guide:  the software and computer-ish part and the hardware, soldering & building part.  It's a great idea to get your software up and running 100% before starting on the fairly complex hardware build for this project, and for that you'll need to set up a testing strip.

Dotstar strips come with a connector pre-soldered onto the ends.  For testing purposes I like to just cut the connector head off and use the pre-soldered wires to connect directly to my project. 

Solder your strand of Dotstars:

  • Dotstar Clock --> Feather 11
  • Dotstar Data --> Feather 13
  • Dotstar G --> Feather G
  • Dotstar + --> Feather 3v

Find the Adafruit DotStar Strandtest code.  You'll find this in the Adafruit Dotstar library for Arduino. Use the Library Manager to install this (Sketch→Include Library→Manage Libraries…), or if you’re using an older version of the Arduino IDE, it can be downloaded and installed manually:

If you've used Feather M0 before, upload the Dotstar code and test to be sure the lights come on.

If you haven't used Feather before…intermission time! Read our Feather M0 Basic Proto guide to set this up:

Adafruit Feather M0 Basic Proto — Arduino IDE Setup

Newer versions of the Arduino IDE have been released since that guide…1.6.5 and 1.6.7 both seem to work pretty well with the M0 board.

Even if you have used the Feather M0 before, use the Arduino IDE Boards Manager to check that you’re using the latest Adafruit SAMD Boards support files. (For the Arduino Zero, install the Arduino SAMD Boards package.)

Before continuing, make sure you can compile and upload sketches to the board. Try the basic “Blink” example as a test.

Once you have "Blink" working, upload the Dotstar Strandtest code and be sure your LEDs light up.

This guide was first published on Apr 07, 2016. It was last updated on Apr 07, 2016. This page (Setup & Testing) was last updated on Apr 19, 2019.