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Instructions and parts list to create a USB port rechargeable battery powered LED string?

Hi folks.  I work at a place called "The Running Room" up here in Canada and am looking to help out the local running folks with being more visible in the accursed winter darkness.  While we encourage reflective running gear, LEDs are a nice accent and would help with safety.  I don't mind picking up parts off Ebay and am OK with soldering and such but I am not an electrical engineer so any instructions and parts would have to be pretty basic.  My apologies for the questions to follow and thanks in advance for any assistance you can offer.  I don't mind if you want to "turbo charge" a killer rig, but I would need the final construct to be able to be worn comfortably and run for a few hours before being easily recharged via a USB port.

Thanks,

Joseph

Why not buy one of the many products already available. They will run you about $20 or less US. They don't use rechargeable batteries but will last for many days on a single button sized battery. 

http://www.goneforarun.com/LightGUIDE_LED_Arm_LightBAND_p/tr-08346.htm
floating_weasel (author)  mpilchfamily4 years ago
Makes sense, but I want to be able to customize a bit and fiddle with brightness levels and colours and whatnot. Yes it would probably be cheaper to pick up a pre-fab but this is also a learning experience for me, sort of a two birds with one stone deal. :) Thanks for the reply though.
Then your not looking for something basic. If you want to learn then stick with that cause your learning will cost you much more then buying a couple of those arm bands.

If you want just a light strip then you can get any set of LEDs you want, battery pack that's 6V or more and then use an LED calc to figure out what resistors you'll need and the best wiring for your LEDs. But when you talk about changing colors then your going to need either RGB LEDs that already have a built in color changing chip or RGBs and a driver. Be it a custom driver or a micro controller you program yourself.

LEDs are pretty straight forward. You take an LED with current limiting resistor and give it power. The small the resistor you have the brighter the LED will be. If you use too small a resistor then you will burn out the LED.