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Using the Raspberry Pi Pico and Neopixels for animated stair lights.

The beginning.. again
Back when life was simple and the only people wearing masks into shops were bandits or folk in fancy dress, I made an LED stair light project using a Raspberry Pi Zero. But in the three years since that time many things in the world have changed, most notably of all being the fact that the stair lights stopped working. First the SD card mysteriously became corrupted, then after acquiring a new one and installing the software and copying over the stair light code, I was able to get it working again.. for about a week. It was clear this wasn’t going to be a simple fix. I had two options, take the construction I had apart completely and try to figure out where it was going wrong or do something else. I decided to do something else.

The Pico
When the Raspberry Pi Pico was announced I really wanted to get one and do something with it, just because. No ideas were forthcoming though, but then the stair lights stopped working. I wasn’t entirely sure what could be done with a Pico really, so I searched for some examples and found this list. Not only examples with Neopixels but also flashing LED, PIR sensor and a LDR sensor, all the things required for the stair project. A golden opportunity now presented itself to not only use a Pico but to redo the stairs with Neopixels too!

The previous stair light project had 11 LEDs in it, but the Neopixel strip came in sections of 30 per meter. My stairs are 3.5 meters long so I’d need three and a half strips making 105 LEDs! I figured that was way too much, so I decided I’d cut the LEDs out and solder them back together with 10cm pieces of wire.”

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