Arduino FastLED Totem with NeoPixels and a Button

I created a “festival totem” prototype project and posted the code to github: https://github.com/firxworx/arduino-fastled-totem. The project is implemented with an Arduino Nano, WS2812B “Neopixels”, and the FastLED library.

The project consists of 6x LED strips that are each 11-pixels in length. They are wired together and hot-glued vertically around the diameter of the end of a bamboo shaft in an up-down-up-down-up-down pattern.

The primary effect is a “fire torch” that features a modified version of the Fire2012 animation by Mark Kriegsman.

The project implements handful of other effects that can be switched to using a button that’s implemented with an interrupt on Pin D2 of the Arduino. Most of them are sourced from the FastLED demo reel and modified as necessary for the totem.

The function compute_bottom_to_top_offset() in the code is used to compute the index of a given pixel on a given strip (of the 6) such that the pattern moves from bottom-to-top. This is used to replicate an effect on one strip across all of the strips.

The project is powered by a stock 5V battery charger and the NeoPixels are powered via the Arduino Nano’s 5V pin. Since this pin is limited to 500mA of output, the FastLED function set_max_power_in_volts_and_milliamps() limits power consumption.

The project ran successfully without issues at Harvest Festival 2019 in Ontario. It would be a great candidate to ruggedize and bring to Burning Man.

Check out the project on Github for the code and a description of the hardware/schematic.

https://github.com/firxworx/arduino-fastled-totem

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@firxworx

Kevin Firko (@firxworx) is an entrepreneur, developer, and digital project manager based in Toronto, Canada. He works on ventures and client projects through Bitcurve, the independent digital design and development studio he founded in 2008.