Picture of Bedazzler: DIY non-lethal weaponry

Our first open source Homeland Security non-lethal weapon project - The "THE BEDAZZLER: A Do-it-yourself Handheld LED-Incapacitator".

After attending a conference where the $1 million "sea-sick flashlight" (named "THE DAZZLER") was demonstrated by the US Dept. of Homeland Security, we decided to create our own version. For under $250, you can build your own dazzler and we've released the source code, schematics and PCB files to make it easy. A great Arduino project for people who really like blinking LEDs. We also added in a mode selection so you can put it into some pretty color-swirl modes, great for raves and parties!

Yes this project does indeed cause: Nausea, dizziness, headache, flashblindness, eye pain and (occasional?) vomiting! So don't use it on your friends or pets.

Please note: This is not a kit, nor for sale...so don't ask us. All documentation is on the design and download pages.

Mad props to Scott Johnston for LED assistance. Sk0t r0x!

Step 1: Introduction

This project isn't a kit (and won't ever be) so the instructions are more laissez-faire, with many opportunities for the maker to change elements or modify the design. Take it more as a guideline (and use common sense) than a rigorous step-by-step!

Parts list

To make this project you'll need:

  • 36 or 37 1+ Watt LEDs. there are 2 Watt LEDs that are now easily available. For color versatility you can use 12 each of red green and blue. Or you can go with 18 each of green/blue for more effective dazzling. These range around $3 each. Look on eBay or other closeouts to get slightly-older LEDs for less. We used some older Cree XLamp XR-E 7090
  • You'll also need lenses/optics for each LED. Go with narrow-beam lenses, about 20mm diameter. 6 or 5 degree will be most effective. (Like this, but make sure you get ones that match your LED)
  • Balancing resistors, one for each LED. I used 1.0 ohm 1210's
  • For red LEDs (and maybe green/blue depending on your power supply) you may need a choke resistor 0.5 ohm at 5W may be OK. The internal resistance of the battery and Rds of the FET will make a difference, so do math and measurements!
  • 6" diameter LED plate, see the downloads page for layout. This holes the LEDs and lenses. In theory a aluminum core LED is helpful but we found that for quick blasting, FR4 with copper fill worked just fine.
  • 16 or 18 gauge wire for connecting things up
  • 6 N Channel logic level power MOSFETs. We used FDP6030BLs. Nearly anything that can sink 2A is just fine.
  • Arduino or other microcontroller. The AVR atmegax8 series such as found in the arduino is handy because it has 6 hardware PWMs. We used a DC boarduino and attached an FTDI cable to upload the firmware
  • Battery capable of sourcing 4A at 4V+. 3 D cells or a lead acid is a good choice. We used a 4A 6V SLA that came with the lantern
  • Heatsink. A spare AMD processor heatsink and fan worked nicely and was free!
  • 9V battery + holder with switch for the arduino, seperate supplies prevent noise issues when driving such large loads
  • Enclosure. We repurposed a cheap yet enormous flashlight from Sears. It was pricey at $40 but had the benefit of including a lead acid battery (which would have run almost $20 with shipping) and a basic lead acid charger.
  • Power supply for testing, a ATX power supply is a good way to generate 5A+ at 5V
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Binary01015 years ago
I have a free solution to make this product inaffective, I close my eyes.
 Yes... but if you close your eyes, then that means you are still incapacitated.
then look away, turn your back to the device and run, it's still a dumb idea and waste of money at any level. Other than a person downrange from a firing squad I don't know of anyone who would just stand there and take the abuse.
And thus, the device has done its job, no?  If a person forces me to defend my home and I choose to use this, the results arelikely  very good: my home is defended AND I don't have to clean up the invader's blood or vomit.

If the person is an id10t and doesn't do as you suggest, then I have vomit to clean up, a person to arrest, a court case to attend, etc., but my home is still defended.

That this can be done for a few hundred dollars as opposed to the million for the military version is great, and comparable to the cost of a good sidearm.  And using said sidearm has other very negitive potential side effects.

If you're concerned about how effective this would be, mix it with high-powered ultrasonics and/or microwaves.  THEN you'd have a complete pain-field home defense unit.

So if you standing in a small room or hallway don't you think the relfection/pattern of lights off a white wall would induce the same behavior to yourself as your intended target?  I like my shotgun $99.00 dollars at Wal-Mart and I KNOW it works. 

Also, I carry pepper spray and tested in the house to see if it would affect me in a burgular confrontation scenario to my suprise it did not. I attribute our swamp cooler ventalation system which recycles air quite rapidly. A spray to the face at least at my house would be a more effective means for non-lethal measures to a potential attacker or a flash gernade.

Now if I can just remember where I put that number to the Black Market. LOL

And my personal choice is a sword, but to each their own.  IF you are well trained in how to use the $99 shotgun, and you're comfortable with the potential negative consequences, then by all means, use that.  In close-quarter combat (such as home defense), the distance can be closed to blade or hand range extremely quickly and there are fewer risks to other household members, so swords work well for me.  Besides, explaining the headless body to the cops just sounds much more interesting then yet another bullet catcher. :D

The object here for the bedazzler Instructable is to give another very viable option.  If you're not comfortable with it, that's fine.
Well I just finished my enlistment as of 28 Sept 09 in the U.S. Army  and after eight years and I think I'm very comfortable with using weapons. LOL!

Like I said before I think it's a waste of money, as federal funded project and as an instructable. I'd rather use $10 worth or quaters in a sock as a weapon than spend the $250 to make this. The sword works as well unless your that poor kid from Maryland. http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/09/15/samurai.sword.killing/index.html
I was in the army as well, and know first hand that I'd much rather use a non-lethal device to cause an attacker to flee than anything that requires ammunition, preparation and has the potential of causing serious harm.

Yeah, if I were confronted with a psychotic, armed murderer I'd be happy to blow them away with a shotgun. Of course, you don't know who it is you've just killed until you turn on the lights.

Besides, this is perfect for those jerks who insist on walking out in front of my motorcycle.
de0509 Eli_Z3 years ago
Lol. duct tape it to the shotgun and go LEROY JENKINS....!!!!!
You would have to be a pretty darn good shot with your shotgun to make the hit "non-lethal"!
Your comment is completely useless. Why are you even on this site?
Well if the point is to get you to 'turn around and run' it's pretty effective then, isn't it? It's non-lethal meaning the point wasn't to shoot you to the ground in the first place. Would make nice for angry-mob control for example. Better then needing to point guns at them isn't it?
There are a lot of things that are wastes of money. This is in no way a dumb idea--okay, use as a weapon is, but it's a really cool device and a great idea.
Why is this a waste of money?  "Look away, turn your back, and run" is what I want when I use it to confront an intruder in my house.
roadieflip3 years ago
Ok. So I have a problem with the code.

I copy and paste the code into Arduino and when I go to compile, it comes up with

expected ';' before 'analogWrite'

This is on line 130

Anybody have any ideas? I'm pulling my hair out and I haven't got enough as it is...

Oh, I'm running Arduino 1 with an Arduino Nano v3.

GASSYPOOTS3 years ago
use a sheet of thick metal see below
joeismydad4 years ago
that cant shine through welding goggles.
yeah, it probably can. if you have to wear welding goggles to protect your eyes from this, then you are still pretty much incapacitated.
Omni DIY5 years ago
 I like the concept and the spirit behind the 'weapon' but a tazer can be made from a disposable camera (granted not to strong). That's way cheaper and cost effective. Maybe a tazer with a bedazzler attachment... that would make someone trip bawlz and not in a good way. Or a device that can scan the area's/rooms dimensions to calculate that room's acoustic features and throw sounds like a ventriloquist... some really loud trippy sounds... and a bedazzler to top it off. meh.......  
Well to be honest, the disposable camera things aren't really tazers. They deliver a bit of a shock, but nothing incapacitating. Especially when made from a disposable camera, the emphasis is on 'not too strong'.
"It doesn't work that well but it works great for raves"

i hope the million dollar government one works well lol
pennsteve5 years ago
Now if they can get the bad guys to stare at it for 10 or 15 minutes, they might have something worthwhile!  lol
kidmosey5 years ago
This seems like it could be an effective home defense system for when you are away from home.

Combine the dazzler, Laser-Tripwire, and  RFID-Door-Lock.  Way more effective than those loud obnoxious alarms that everyone ignores.  You could even make a portable version for your car.

geonav15 years ago
Does this work on animals?  I like the idea of adding high freq sound as well...

Nice job!
ANDY!5 years ago
does the flashes need to be random, or does it matter.
Topcat20215 years ago
This is a nice and informative instructable, good work A+ for your efforts.
 As a side note for the effectiveness and uses of a device like this, I watched a similar device used on future weapons it was used in conjunction with a rifle during a "rush" on people holding hostages to confuse the hostage takers giving valuable time to the soldiers in gaining control of the situation.
Again Good Work!
Chromatica5 years ago
boris_19815 years ago
like we say in puerto rico: BRUTAL!!

nice job ladyada!
Craftibles5 years ago
I felt strange just from the video! May just be that I didn't eat breakfast yet.
static5 years ago
 Ooops I brought a bedazzler to a gun fight. An interesting,but expensive project  Would the DOD, DOH and the USPTO  actually make available online information necessary to be able to come close to home shop duplicating a non-lethal weapon that could be used against military personell, law enforcement, and law abiding citizens? No doubt the info available online contain incomplete, and misleading data. People are noticeably affected by the flicker rate of the old fluorescent lights, others prose to seizures when exposed to certain flickering images. I have no doubt an effective weapon may have been developed, but I would think more effort would have to be expended to duplicated it. Perhaps of obtaining video of as many demos as possible to analyze, again I would assume there is a demo mode to prevent giving away details
rohang5 years ago
Take one of those to a concert or to Disneyland... lol
Wood glue will work as long as there's not much flexing and shock.  It has the advantage of being removable in case some of the LEDs burn out.  Like any adhesive, everything has to be clean or it won't stick.  Epoxy will work also, but be very difficult to remove.  I've been using Gorilla Glue™ recently, but you have to be careful to only use a little bit because it will expand.  The other surface has to be moistened.  Huffing on it is usually sufficient, but you have to be quick, though, since it evaporates quickly, as you know.  You could also try melting the plastic onto the circuit board with a soldering iron, but that will likely have an even weaker bond than the wood glue.  Then there's double stick tape, of course, which the manufacturers like to use.  Another adhesive is the 3M™ carpet or corner bead adhesive in the spray can; but it's really expensive and you have to be really careful not to get it on the LEDs or lenses.
Hey, I'm an amateur at most things electronic and I had aquestion.  Why would melting the plastic onto the circuit boardhave a weak bond?

Just so I have future reference...
For  some  reason  Instructables  is being  crappy  and  deleting  spaces  in my  comments.

The 3 main reasons are:
Most people don't clean circuit boards after soldering. Melt plasticonto that and it will pick up the impurities and get weak and brittle.
The melted plastic and the object it's melted onto have to be the sametemperature for a good bond.
Few types of plastic can tolerate heating to liquid or semisolid withoutbreaking down.

Hot glue might also work well, but only if you're very meticulous inapplying it.  Unless the board and plastic are very clean and getheated to the same temperature as the hot glue, the bond is fairly weak.
It also has to be a 'hot melt' type gun to get the best bond.
The glue shouldn't be applied until the gun is up to temperature.
The glue melts before the gun is fully heated up since it's designed towork with 'cool melt' guns.
Hot glue won't adhere at all to some plastics. It might look like it's"stuck", but come apart later - probably when you need it most.
Hot glue will absorb cigarette smoke and this will get between the gluean 'workpiece', weakening the bond.
One trick I use on perforated board is to force the hot glue throughsome of the holes and out the other side.  This greatly improvesthe bond.
I don't usually recommend hot glue because of all thesecomplications, but it  can work if done right. It's quick and easy,so it's used a lot in the industry. There are specialty glue sticksaround that can overcome some of these limitations if you look around.Also, keep in mind that hot glue will melt when a soldering iron getsanywhere near it and will really screw up a joint you're trying to solder.
Kyle_S5 years ago
For everyone complaining about it's use as a weapon, you're onlythinking of individual weapons.  This appears to be a non-lethalcrowd control weapon, like the big acoustic devices* that police use tobreak up riots and crowds. 


The idea is to make it so uncomfortable to be in that area, that peopleleave, but to do it in a way that doesn't invoke images of whitefirefighters knocking down pacifists with blasts from fire-hoses.

*Mini-close-range versions of those can be built with a 555 timer andsome patience.  In highschool one of my friends made one, but wecould never adjust it to bother more than one person at a time, and itdidn't have enough juice to do more than cause a headache.

Pumpkin$5 years ago
What hath god wrought! XD

It looks like the world's deadliest flashlight.
This is a fun, geek-party toy but it isn't a weapon.  Anyone who attempts to stand their ground against a determined attacker with just this device in their hand deserves whatever happens to them for being so foolish.  

A weapon needs to operate quickly and reliably- hence the popularity of guns as weapons.  This device, if it does what is claimed at all, fails on both counts.  Some targets may feel nauseous, but it doesn't happen within the few seconds it takes an attacker to cross a room, take the thing out of your hand, and use it to bash your skull in.

By the way, nausea means feeling like vomiting, not actually vomiting.  Actual vomiting is emesis.  Neither nausea nor emesis are going to stop a determined attacker.
eyesee5 years ago
Does the ability use use
dark sponge5 years ago
For some reason this instructable would always crash my browser when I tried to open it. I'm pretty sure that the video is what caused it, because in Google Chrome it would come up as a quicktime symbol with a question mark on it and then freeze, so I had to go to the control panel to end it. But it worked when I opened it with Internet Explorer.

Anyway, very good instructable! I might make one if I have just the right combination of money and free time. 5 stars!
axlotleft5 years ago
Really nice and I like the photos.

StumbleUpon led me to this:

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