This project is adapted from Adafruit's NeoPixel and Bluefruit library. You can find similar tutorials on their site.
Step 1: Order Parts
For this project I used:
- NeoPixel 5050 RGB LED with Integrated Driver Chip (It's recommended that you also use a capacitor between each NeoPixel, which I did not do in this project.)
- Copper Wire
- Lithium Ion Polymer Battery - 3.7v 1200mAh (Though this is significantly over-powered, a 500-600 mAh battery would probably suit this project just fine.)
- Fusible Pellon Interfacing (from your local fabric store, whatever thickness and stiffness is appropriate to your project)
- Low opacity (something you can see light through) fabric of your choice
- Safety Pins (Please be careful having these near your battery packs)
- Soldering Iron and solder
- Aligator Clips
- Needle and Thread
- Double sided tape
- JST Connector Cable
Step 2: Test Components
I was worried about soldering directly to these surface mount LEDs and had never connected to Bluetooth before. Before diving too deep into the project, I tested out both components. The soldering worked, and the Bluetooth connected.
To use the same libraries that I did you'll need to:
You can follow their tutorials from there! I used their pre-coded Controller example to connect to the Neopixels.
Step 3: Plan Your Design
For this project, the task was to create an LED design that would fit into a Delta Patch for a light up jersey!
Step 4: Create Your Circuit Layout
To design this circuit, I created a template in illustrator.
First I used the datasheet provided by the retailer. I knew I needed to solder the LEDs from the back, where the pads were exposed. So next, I created a drawing of the LED schematic from the back. I made a drawing to-scale for how I wanted the LEDs to be laid out. I used double stick tape to place the LEDs on the design template. It was smooth soldering from there.
Step 5: Solder
This project takes a bit of soldering patience and some thin copper wire. Make sure the wire paths don't even cross or touch. Your circuit might not work if they do!
Step 6: Test Again
Testing your circuit at every stage is a good idea to make sure that everything is still working!
Step 7: Iron on Fusible Backing
Ironing on a fusible backing is a good idea to prevent the wires between your LEDs from snagging. Just be careful and apply the most heat and pressure around the edges of the circuit.
Be sure to stitch your circuit in critical spots so that it won't move around or short circuit before adding fusible.
Also be sure to punch holes in the fusible and label which wire is which to prevent later confusion.
Step 8: Add Design
For this project, I was making a Delta patch for a light up jersey.
Hook up the battery and add any other design details you might like to include.
Step 9: Attach Your Board and Battery
You can trim your wires and solder directly to the board. Then stitch the board in place.
Step 10: Repurpose!
This project was originally made for a patch. Later on, I repurposed it for a party by safety pinning the patch between the layers of crepe in my tank top.
Someone at the party wanted to change the blinking pattern on my shirt. He downloaded the Bluefruit app to his phone and connected to the board via Bluetooth, changing the pattern from a white blinking to a rainbow fade.