A Christmas star with Neopixel LEDs
A tech Christmas decoration, created by means of Neopixel LEDs and controlled via an Arduino Micro board, that takes up a minimal amount of space.
With the Xmas holidays approaching, we always try to propose a solution or another, one that is capable of combining tradition and innovation, so to avoid the usual or the trivial – even if always welcome – gadget, that is used as a Christmas decoration: and they cannot be missing from the Christmas tree, the window and the doorstep. For such matters, RGB LEDs and light strips have become a must-have and therefore we could not exempt ourselves from proposing a classic light decoration (the more lights there are for Christmas, the better, as they are a symbol of life and hope…) that has been reconsidered in a modern key, since it has been entrusted to the adaptable and powerful Neopixel LEDs. With a certain amount of the latter, that have been connected in queue and managed in cascade by an Arduino board, we gave life to a 5-star Christmas star, that will show-off at the top of the tree, or wherever you might want to place it (as an example, at the doorstep).
Let’s see therefore what it is all about, by analysing the circuit diagram, that is made of a part that is composed by the LEDs and the control board, that in our case is an Arduino Micro, just for the purpose of minimizing the amount of space occupied by the star.
Let’s take a look, therefore, at the project’s electrical section, that is essentially composed of a set of 56 Neopixel LEDs, that have been arranged so to form two concentric stars; the first 35 RGB LEDs (out of 56) form the bigger, external star, while the other 20 ones form the smaller and internal star. The LED number 56 is placed exactly at the center of the printed circuit board, that has the shape of a five-pointed star.
The Neopixel LEDs are connected in cascade but powered in parallel; such a configuration enables to address each single LED and to individually choose the colour; among the possible hues, the 256 possible combinations for each primary colour (therefore we have 256x256x256 combinations!) determine a total of 16,777,216 colours: that’s what one would call true colours!
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