I dont have a car...
That means most of the time, if I want to get somewhere I have to ride my bike. Unfortunately most of the times I ride my bike at night. After a couple near misses with cars using standard dollar store blinkers, I decided to upgrade. Using a strip of programmable LED's, I can play custom animations, cool party effects, and much more using the lights on my bike.
The total cost of this project was about : $48 US
But I spent more than I needed to, the bare minimum would just be: around $30 US
Lets get started!
Step 1: Watch Video
I highly encourage you to watch the video
It goes over the entire build in a simple easy to follow way
If the embedded video does not work for some reason, Here is the link
Step 2: Parts
Thanks to he awesome people at Banggood.com I was able to build this project quickly and cheaply.
They really are the best site for electronic projects.
For this project you will need:
1. LED Strip Light: http://goo.gl/xxVPLl
2. 12V 4800mah Li-ion Battery:http://goo.gl/SNMZAz
3. Nano V3 Controller Board: http://goo.gl/yfzTtf (Arduino Clone)
4. USB output converter module:http://goo.gl/9OJREG
5. DIY Aluminum case:http://goo.gl/2C5aaY (Optional for waterproof)
6.Toggle Switch: http://goo.gl/M6qwo5 (Optional, Battery already has safety switch)
Also what I did, was buy them in a pack of 5. This way I could make multiple copies for other bikes or even a bike rave?
Step 3: Voltage Issues.
Now heres the tricky part about this project.
The battery is 12v.
LED strip can handle 5v.
What do we do? Simple a voltage step down should do the trick, the only one I could find while quickly searching was a rather large usb 5v step down module. Im sure you can find a smaller one, but it may be more expensive.
Then I got an old usb phone charger and cut it off, stripping two wires inside the + and - for 5v
Now we can power the LED strip!
Step 4: Solder and Code
Now we solder wires to the arduino.
My soldering wasn't the best, but it will do. Be sure to insulate the joint, I used hot glue and shrink wrap.
12v Battery to USB input (+ and -)
5v usb + to Arduino 5v +
5v usb - to Arduino ground
LED strip data to Pin 6 of Arduino
LED strip + to USB 5v +
LED strip - to USB 5v -
And for the code, I simply used Adafruits Neopixal library
However I modified it a bit to only play the last animation (the rainbow like effect) Check below this step for the code
The Code I used needs only one modification, just count the number of led's in your strip and enter it where I wrote
NUMBER OF LED's HERE. In the first lines of the code.
Step 5: Zip Ties
Now for the fun part. As this was a prototype still, I didnt want to permanently fasten the lights to my bike.
The LED strip is waterproof, and I included a link to a waterproof housing for the electronics in the project parts step,
However I just wanted to test out this concept. So, I just used zip ties
There cheap and they work great!
Zip tie everything to the bike and make sure it wont fall off when you ride!
Its quite easy due to the fact that the LED strip is flexible!
Step 6: Power on and Done!
Just flip the switch and admire your work!
No car can claim they "never saw me" now!
Note that these photos dont do the lights any justice, I learned its quite difficult to take a good picture of bright LED's!
Last Project: Building a Cheap 3d Printer