My Guggenhat Build

A scrolling LED marquee on a hat, controlled via Bluetooth

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This is almost exactly the build from Adafruit. Future project goals:
-add support for more than 20 characters
-pull messages from a Twitter feed to display

I first considered using the Adafruit Feather Bluefruit, but it was out of stock and I already had an Arduino Micro handy. Over on the Adafruit forums, [richarduk] managed to get his hat working with the Feather, AND with more than the 20 character limit.

Why a hat? I volunteer for Destination Imagination, and during competitions Appraisers are encouraged to wear a creative hat. As usual, I first came up with a project I wanted to try, and later figured out how to strap it to a hat. I left as much electronics exposed as possible because DI is a creative problem solving competition and the kids typically want to learn the how and why of my hat.


Arduino sketch to run the Guggenhat

ino - 7.04 kB - 05/01/2016 at 01:18


  • 1 × 5m individually addressable LED strip NeoPixel or similar
  • 1 × top hat
  • 1 × Arduino Micro
  • 1 × 3x AAA battery holder
  • 1 × Adafruit Bluefruit LE nRF8001 breakout

View all 8 components

  • Assembling the Electronics

    AndyMac05/01/2016 at 02:14 0 comments

    Before complete assembly of the hat I loosely coiled the LED strip around the had just to keep it neat but fully visible, and assembled the rest of the circuitry on a protoboard. It is easy to burn out these LEDs so as good practice I always put a 1000 uF capacitor across the power line and roughly 300 Ohm resistor in line with the digital control line.

    The complete circuit diagram comes courtesy of Adafruit.

    Here is the prototype circuit

    Everything worked as expected. Before assembling the hat I ran a strandtest to make sure the LED strip I bought off Amazon actually worked.

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Enjoy this project?



Yann Guidon / YGDES wrote 05/01/2016 at 03:01 point

Great for keeping your head warm during cold winters parties :-D

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