Materials List: Create a Cloud-Connected LED Cloud Light Fixture

Note: The expendable cost for this activity is somewhat low because the main items—LED RGB strip, Arduino Pro Mini, FTDI basic breakout, Thing dev board, and other electronics (~$190 per project/group)—are expensive, yet considered fully reusable by taking apart the finished products. In addition, SparkFun provides a shopping cart list of the necessary SparkFun materials.

Each group needs:

  • 1 DC barrel power jack/connector, such as for $1.25 at SparkFun
  • 1 electrolytic decoupling capacitor - 1000uF/25V, such as for 35¢ at SparkFun
  • 1-ft hook-up wire - yellow (22 AWG), such as a 25-ft spool for $2.50 at SparkFun
  • 1-ft hook-up wire - black (22 AWG), such as a 25-ft spool for $2.50 at SparkFun
  • 1 resistor 330 ohm 1/6th watt PTH, such as for 75¢ at SparkFun
  • 1 momentary pushbutton switch - 12mm square, such as for 50¢ at SparkFun
  • 2 female headers – rows of 10 holes, such as for $1.50 each at SparkFun
  • 1 6-ft SparkFun Cerberus USB cable, for $7 at SparkFun
  • 1 LED RGB strip - addressable, sealed (5 m), such as 5 meters for $120 at SparkFun (see helpful explanatory video at same URL); 5 meters nicely lights a cloud made from ~5 lanterns
  • 3 male-female header wires, such as from a 100-pack of 6-inch M/F wires for $25 at SparkFun
  • 1 Arduino Pro Mini 328 - 5V/16MHz, such as for $10 at SparkFun
  • 1 SparkFun FTDI basic breakout - 5V, such as for $15 at SparkFun
  • 1 break-away male headers - right angle – row of 6 holes, such as for $2 at SparkFun
  • 2 break-away headers – straight – rows of 10 holes, such as for $1.50 each at SparkFun
  • SparkFun solder-able breadboard, for $5 at SparkFun; note that this activity procedure consists of soldering components to a solderable breadboard, but feel free to build the circuit on a breadboard first to either test everything out or avoid soldering
  • 1 SparkFun ESP8266 Thing dev board, for $16 at SparkFun (perfect for Internet of things projects)
  • 1 5-ft hook-up wire for cloud power; stereo wire works well
  • 4-5 white paper lanterns, such as a 6-pack of 12/10/8-inch lanterns for $7 at Amazon; joining together lanterns of different sizes creates more realistic-looking clouds
  • 1 wooden dowel (or stick), of any diameter or length, on which to hang the cloud of lanterns (see Figure 5)
  • 1 power source, able to put out at least 5V and 4A, such this one for $15 from AdaFruit; for best results, use a pricier 6V 8A power source
  • smart device with Blynk App; download app for free at
  • computer with access to Arduino programming platform
  • GitHub libraries for Blynk; download for free at
  • Neo-Pixel library; download for free at
  • GitHub cloud repository; download for free at
  • Cloud Wiring Handout

To share with the entire class:

  • polyfil pillow filling
  • fishing wire
  • hot glue gun and hot glue sticks
  • soldering iron and solder
  • flashlights, 2-3 for a class of 30