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Saturday, 29 November 2014

Xmas tree lights with the Raspberry Pi

Now I've seen many where people have cut the power line to the lights and run them through relays that you can turn on and off. Now that was my original idea for this year but after some researching I came across this brilliant article on the adafruit site by Tony Dicola https://learn.adafruit.com/neopixels-on-raspberry-pi/

My first stumble block was I needed to install setuptools so I could install easy install, but once I had this in place it was only a matter of minutes before I had the lights working.

So what do you need? Well neopixels rgb with a good power supply (5v 5a) is what I'm using. Power lead to power the power converter/supply some wire and a sn74ahct125n chip.


Now I needed something a bit more secure so wires didn't accidentally drop out so with Tony's great instructions I turned the breadboard diagram into a PCB board and got my friends at Ragworm to make me up a board (which are costly for the odd one boards). Ok I could have gone abroad but wanted to ensure I had it in time for Xmas.

After soldering up the bits and plugging into the gpio, I setup the neopixels and ran the strand test.py demo. It needed a tweak to tell it I was running 160 neopixels (which might be less when it's finally on the tree) but found it worked.

I have added some videos of it onto my YouTube page to show it working.


Next on my list is to turn the brightness down and make them glow Christmassy colours.