Shiftbrite Power Issue

I have 4 shiftbrites chained together and I am trying to just get some basic functionality working with an Arduino. I am a software developer, but know almost nothing about electronics and have a few beginner questions.

The software is loaded correctly and if wire power directly from the Arduino to the first shiftbrite I get the desired behavior. However, I've read that the 5v from the Arduino is not sufficient to run the shiftbrites and since I plan on running many more in my chain eventually I will definitely need an external power source. I have a 6v power supply that I have tried wiring directly to the first shiftbrite which ends up lighting them all up whitish blue, but they just flicker a little and don't seem to be responding to the Arduino. I've tried a 5v external power source and the same thing happens.

So, what am I doing wrong? Should the power supply not be wired directly to the shiftbrite? Is there something that is supposed to be in between? Also, since wiring directly to the board works what's wrong with using that? What happens if I do that and chain to many together, will the Arduino or the shiftbrites be damaged?

Do you have the ground of the 6V supply connected to the ground of the Arduino?

Did I mention I know nothing about electronics?

Thanks dude!

Am just going to add to this to avoid making a new thread.

I have 2 shiftbrites set up with shield from Macetech, and the power supply from the same.

the onlyway I can get the whole thing to power up is by gently pushing each passthrough header inwards slightly at the same time. by doing so, I get power to the arduino and after a few seconds the shiftbrites flash red and blue, as per the code.

Problem is, is I let go the power dies.

Just wondering if I am missing something?

Did you by any chance not solder the passthrough headers to the shield?

there is no red face shame smiley here. but I am using it right now.

sorry. typical really, far too excited to use my new toys and forget something along the way.

also, the shield and the shiftbrites really are things of beauty. So nice to finally have my selection of things to play with.

Only reason I guessed that so quickly is because a lot of people don't realize it right away. So don't feel too ashamed. We need to make it clearer in the store how it works.