I wanted to make my carved Halloween pumpkin special.  I was looking at AdaFruit's NeoPixel rings.  They look really cool for a set of steampunk goggles or an arc reactor.  Then it occurred to me that they would make great glowing eyes for a pumpkin.  The NeoPixel rings are really easy to work with, so here goes.

Step 1: materials and connections

You will need:
some sort of Arduino
soldering iron
2 NeoPixel rings
gaffer or duct tape
coffee stir sticks
pumpkin with eyes carved out

This is really very simple.  Solder a wire to the +5vdc and ground spots on the NeoPixel rings.  Your Arduino runs on 5 volts, so you can steal the power from there.  I am using a bare chip Arduino I made.  It's just the chip and a crystal, and that's it.  You can find out how to make one in Make Magazine ##25 on page 62.  I program the chip when it's in a full scale Arduino board.  Once it's working, I can move it to the minimal board and free up my other full-scale Arduino board for other projects.

Anyway, I ran the control to pin #4.  The NeoPixels only need one control line.  Because I was running out of time, I just used the "strandtest" program that comes with the NeoPixel library.  You can download the NeoPixel library right from the AdaFruit page.  The page also has several tutorials that show how to use the NeoPixel rings for other fun projects.

<p>I have never worked with the NeoPixel rings before and I'll be darned if I can find instructions on the basic wiring of my Arduino and the rings. can you offer any help in pointing me where I should look to find detailed wiring instructions? I have looked all over adafruit and the internet in general. Everything takes me to way more complex instructions. Thanks</p>
I used this tutorial:<br>https://learn.adafruit.com/kaleidoscope-eyes-neopixel-led-goggles-trinket-gemma<br>to get started. It is really not that complex. The code just has several lighting sequences. It's pretty easy to hook them up. Try erasing sections of the code to see what it is doing. Really, there are just loops changing the colors. I hope that helps.

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Bio: I am a theatre designer and technical director. I work at Merely Players, a small non-profit theatre group in Southwest Colorado. Check us out on ... More »
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