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I'm trying to make a hula hoop and was wondering if it would be possible to power the blinkytape using a battery supply connected to the pads at the back of the board instead of using the USB port?
Cool! yes, you can connect power to the pads on the back of the board. The sturdiest option is probably to solder to the same connections that the LED strip is connected to, however there is another set of power pads that can be used as well.