We"ve had actually one the those fibre optic Christmas tree for some years. The base contains a 12V halogen reflector bulb, and a coloured disk thrust by a motor is placed between the bulb and the basic of the tree. The bulb and the motor room powered by a 12V AC "wall cube" form mains adapter. Yet the colours are rather washed out and also repeat every 10 secs or so, and some people with comparable trees discover the engine a little noisy. The struck me we might do much much better in this day and age!

Having replaced the bulb by a 7-pixel Neopixel ring pushed by one Arduino pro Mini, it currently no much longer needs the coloured disk or the motor driving it, and also gives much much more intense colours using much less electricity. The video doesn"t really execute justice to the colours - the high comparison of LEDs versus any background renders them very daunting to photograph effectively

The Arduino lay out I"ve composed embodies 2 program which alternate every 5 - 10 minutes. In one, every the Neopixels monitor the same random sequence of colours, but each is slightly delay from the previous, offering an impact of color sweeping throughout the tree. In the other, every 21 coloured LEDs (one red, one green and also one blue in each Neopixel) space faded in and out in ~ random, offering a an extremely pleasing present of intense and continually changing colours.

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Since your tree is i can not qualify to be the very same as mine and also you may not wish to strength it in the same means I can"t give in-depth instructions because that a finish beginner, yet hopefully friend will learn something in adapting castle to her tree.

You will need:

Adafruit Jewel Neopixel ring, or much Eastern equivalent. Arduino pro Mini or Nano (it requirements to it is in a 5V part)If you usage the agree Mini, an FTDI USB come serial adapter Stripboard, pen strip, soldering iron, solder, connecting wire etc.

You deserve to use one of the ATTiny85 boards (Trinket, Lily Tiny, Gemma) instead of the pro Mini or Nano but it might not have room because that the full sketch v both program - see action 5.

If girlfriend reuse an exiting 12V AC adapter, you will need:

1N4004 rectifier diodes - 4 turn off 1000uF 35V electrolytic capacitor 5V step-down switching regulator module (one based on the LM2596 chip need to do), or cannibalise one old auto satnav or USB charger transporting 5V as I did.


Reuse a old 5V USB charger, such as an apple or Blackberry charger, or gain a brand-new one.

As you will view from the pictures, mine tree has a circular basic containing the works, with a hole in the peak which bring away the tree itself.

It shouldn"t be hard to disassemble the base. Mine simply has 3 screws in the bottom. Eliminate these and the covering comes right off. Check it works the exact same as mine, through a halogen reflector bulb, a motor and a coloured disk.

Remove the pear (2 screws host a retaining ring) and the coloured decaying (secured v a solitary nut in the optimal of the spindle).

Follow through the wiring come see exactly how it works. The conversion is most basic if you can assemble the brand-new electronics as a module to straight replace the bulb, installation into and taking strength from the socket. You will more than likely want to disconnect the motor and also maybe eliminate it altogether.


The picture shows the end result, prior to replacing the cover.

The electronics consist of up to 3 parts:

The Arduino and Neopixel ring

and if you are using an currently 12V AC mains adapter:

1N4004 rectifier diodes and also smoothing capacitor DC-DC step-down regulator.

I will define each in turn, but first, consider how you room going to mount them in order to fit in location of the bulb.

I soldered a 3-pin-wide piece of pin strip through the center pin removed to the bottom the a item of stripboard. This fits into the pear socket.

I ensured that the stripboard to be the same elevation as the bulb, and that the top of the stripboard was the exact same width as the pear diameter. That method the stripboard might directly change the bulb, retained at the optimal with the ring that offered to maintain the bulb.


If her Arduino come without the pin strips prepared soldered you deserve to mount it straight onto the stripboard, through running quick lengths of ceiling wire v the pins on the Arduino and through the stripboard, soldered on both sides. The Arduino pro Mini needs a 6-way pin strip soldered come the serial port pads for programming.

You just need connect the +5V, GND and D8 pins ~ above the Arduino, however cut the monitor on the stripboard between the two row that pins anyway, for safety. That will enable you to solder one or two much more pins to secure it there is no creating any kind of short circuits.

I provided 3 pieces of thick copper wire to both support the Neopixel ring and to attach it to the stripboard.

The Neopixel ring has actually 4 connections: Vcc, Gnd, D-In and also D-Out. We just use the very first 3 that these.

Having mounted the Neopixel ring together shown, use short lengths that connecting wire to affix Vcc come the Arduino +5V pin, Gnd come the Arduino Gnd pin, and also D-In to the Arduino pin D8, or D1 if you are using among the ATTiny85 boards.

Check to ensure the stripboard conductors girlfriend soldered the Neopixel ring come don"t do unwanted connections with the Arduino, and also cut lock if essential to break any kind of such connections.


If you"re using a 5V power supply all you need do is affix the positive connection to Vcc/+5V and also the negative to Gnd on the Arduino and also the Neopixel ring, and also you have the right to skip front to Programming.

The 12V AC supply very first has to be rectified through 4 diodes (turning into DC), climate smoothed v an electrolytic capacitor.

I mounted the diodes and also capacitor top top the same item of stripboard together the Arduino. In the photos, the copper strips run vertically.

Mount the 4 diodes as shown, alternating ways round. The positive end of each diode is marked with a white band. Reduced each that the 4 copper strips in between the two ends of every diode.

The 12V AC come in with the white wires from the pins i beg your pardon plug into the pear socket. At the AC end, the diodes are linked in adjacent pairs as presented by the white lines, every AC input cable going come one positive end and also one an unfavorable end that a diode.

At the other end the diodes are connected with optimistic ends with each other (red lines) and an unfavorable ends together (blue lines).

Solder the capacitor to the strips significant red and also blue. Ns soldered it additional up the plank then bending the leads to enable the capacitor to sit neatly over the diodes.

Very important: one side of the capacitor is significant negative (with minus signs). Girlfriend must connect that to the strip marked blue!

Now friend can affix the red and also blue come the positive and negative inputs dong of the DC-DC step-down converter.

If you"re utilizing a step-down converter with flexible output, be sure to measure the output voltage with a multimeter and readjust it come 5V before going any type of further or you may damages your Arduino and also Neopixel ring.

Finally, affix the confident and an adverse outputs of the converter to the Vcc or 5V and the Gnd ~ above the Arduino and Neopixel ring.

You may have the ability to mount a tiny DC-DC converter on the stripboard v the other components, however mine was also big, for this reason I had to connect it with flying leads and tie it to a couple of practically posts.

If friend don"t currently have it, you should download and also install the Arduino IDE. It"s free. Make certain you have actually the latest version (1.6.13 or later on - some previously versions contain bugs i m sorry wasted a the majority of my time).

In her Arduino folder (by default under home windows this is in mine Documents) create a folder called Neopix_colours3. Copy the paper Neopix_colurs3.ino right into this folder.

Now launch the Arduino IDE and also locate the map out Neopix_colours3 in your sketchbook.

If you are using one ATTiny85 board there might not it is in room for the full sketch. Comment the end the meaning of FUNCTION_1 or FUNCTION_2 close to the start of the sketch. Additionally you may be able to squeeze the entirety sketch in if friend sacrifice the bootloader and program it using another Arduino.

Under Tools, select the plank you room using (Pro Mini or Nano, or whatever). If you are using the pro Mini, connect the FTDI adapter to the Arduino (make certain it"s the right way round) and plug it right into a USB port on her computer. In the instance of the Nano girlfriend simply affix it to your computer system with a USB cable.

On her computer, walk into maker Manager - harbor (COM & LPT) and also check i beg your pardon COM port has been assigned come the Arduino. Collection this under tools - Port.

You have the right to now upload the sketch and check that it works. The Neopixels are very bright for this reason it"s a an excellent idea to place a paper of document over castle to defend your eyes, or to temporarily adjust the an interpretation of BRILL in the sketch from 255 come 50.

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The map out as I"ve uploaded that starts with regimen 1 and then switches in between the two programs randomly every 5 - 10 minutes. If you like one or the other, find the line

function = 1;at the end of the setup() function. Replace the 1 by -1 or -2 to lock it into program 1 or program 2. You can adjust the minimum and also maximum times (in milliseconds) each regimen runs because that by finding and altering the meanings of MINCHGTIME and also MAXCHGTIME.