Do you like peaceful nights and dancing lights?
Do you like LEDs?
Do you like funky jams?
This is a great and fairly easy project for you!
This is a well decorated decoration that you may have seen before. It works by taking sound, analyzing it, and displaying how intense the decibels are in the rhythm. Sounds a bit more complicated than it really is but it's a great decoration for any fun or funky room. In basic terms any sound playing near the box is turned into jumping light. So if you are interested, let's start! And if you like this idea then please go to the Make it Glow contest and LEAVE A VOTE! :D
Also I apologize for the picture quality, my phone doesn't have the world's greatest camera.
Step 1: Materials and Tools
- Car Windshield Equalizer (Comes with the large sticker itself, adjustable control box, and ribbon cable)
- Outlet to Car Cigarette Lighter adapter (You'll need one to power the equalizer box)
- Large frame OR in the true spirit of DIY, make one!
- Something to hang your frame with (Mine was light enough to use sticky tack)
- Liquid and tape adhesives
- Hot glue or putty as a filler
- Rotary tool
- Pencil or Marker
- Exacto Knife
Possibilities when you buy
- Use a cheap door mirror from Walmart for the frame
- Keep the mirror as a backing for framing the sticker
- Use small stickers or a marker to help keep track of how the cables connect
The Equalizer: https://www.amazon.com/Sticker-Rhythm-Activated-Eq...
You dont have to use this one specifically for this Instructable but it was the largest size at about 44x12 inches or 114x30 cm
Outlet to Lighter adapter https://www.amazon.com/Universal-DC-Cigarette-Ligh...
I paid about $40 for the equalizer kit, car adapter, and mirror but you might be able to find parts cheaper on Ebay rather than Amazon
Step 2: The Mirror Preparation
Once you have your materials check to make sure the frame is a good size for your equalizer sticker. If you are satisfied with it, it's time for the tear down. I cannot emphasize this enough but in these steps BE CAREFUL. Mirrors are primarily just glass with a super polished metal plate behind them or a cheap coating so they obviously will break.
This is a bit hard to explain until you get the equalizer but since the sticker is made for a windshield, the sticky 3M tape is on the front of the display. You can see a picture of what I mean in the previous Materials step. This means we need a glass plate or at the very least a frame for it to stick to.
I used a basic mirror from Walmart and took the glass out, or optionally you could leave the mirror in.
- First take the mirror and peel off any backing. I used an exacto and screwdriver but be careful not to scratch off the reflective coating if you want to keep the mirror glass for later.
- Carefully use an exacto knife to cut through the glue to remove the mirror from frame.
- Clean the excess glue from the frame (and mirror if you desire) with the knife.
In the last picture of the step you can see I missed with my exacto and scratched off the coating. Luckily I hadn't planned on using the glass for the project anyways.
Step 3: Frame Prep
- If you want to make the frame smaller, gently break the corners apart or use a saw or rotary tool to cut the corners open. Then cut them to size via a saw but make sure to keep the angles at 45 degrees.
- Double check and make sure to the sticker still fits. DO NOT CUT THE STICKER.
- Decide if you want to remove the remaining paper on the back of the frame, I didnt since you wont see it by the end anyways
- Check your frame corners by putting it placing the pieces together. If you are okay with your cuts, then glue them together. I used super glue since the frame was plastic.
- If you have a plastic frame, double check how durable your glue job is after it has dried.
- Optionally you can cut the reflective glass using a glass cutting tool and re-glue it to the back of your frame after you've added the sticker.
I apologize for the lack of pictures of the cutting and sanding process but it's hard to do so without three hands.
Step 4: Frame Connector Slot
The connector on the sticker is flexible, and we dont want it to move much. So here's what you need to do
- Place the sticker on your assembled frame
- Mark where you want the connector slot to be but mark it slightly larger
- Lift or prop up the corner of the sticker with the connector
- Use the rotary tool to cut and sand a slot in the frame
- Check to make sure the connector wont be higher than the back of the frame, otherwise it wont sit flat against the wall
Step 5: Paint Your Frame
- Once your frame has been cut to size, sanded, and the connector slot is cut out, then choose your paint. I just used a basic shiny black spray paint.
- Either remove or cover your equalizer sticker to keep paint from ruining it.
- Give it a day or two to dry, otherwise the sticker take the paint clean off.
Step 6: Polarity
This step seems odd but is all about personal preference.
The equalizer will work no matter how it's connected to the control box, but one way the bars will jump up and the other way will drop the bars down.
- Once you're happy with the way the bars move, mark the connector with something to keep track of which way it should be plugged in. I just used a red marker to make some X's as shown in the picture.
- Glue the sticker's connector to the frame so it will sit flush against the wall.
- Reconnect the connectors and test to make sure you didnt break anything.
- A little tape never hurt to keep the connectors together.
Step 7: Finishing & Mounting
- Once you've tested everything and are satisfied with your work, peel off the 3M tape covering and stick the equalizer into the frame.
- Then simply hang it where you please.
- Optionally you can re-glue the mirrored glass or a new backing to the back of your frame.
In the picture I used heavy weight sticky tack, but you could use mounting tape, 3M tape, screws, or whatever you choose.
Step 8: Optional Ideas and Tips
- Re-glue the mirrored glass or a new backing to the back of your frame
- Sandwich the sticker in between two sheets of glass that fit your frame to completely protect it
- Use clear acrylic rather than glass
- Make a wood backing for the frame
- Make your own frame rather than buying and disassembling
- Figure out how to use an Arduino to customize the music analyzing
- If you put on the equalizer sticker early or if it has lost its stickyness, then use double sided clear tape on the frame or clear packaging tape
- Laminate your equalizer to the frame backing
- Or comment your own ideas to share with the community
- Take your time, the more effort you put in the better your final product will be
- Hide the ribbon cable behind furniture (Such as I did with my headboard)
- Keep the control box near a speaker for a louder/better audio signal
Step 9: Reap Your Efforts!
Congrats! :D You've made your own home decor that is sure to be a hit for your next party. Put on some music and watch your lights bounce to the beat. It's also a good conversation starter for those who don't know what an audio spectrum equalizer/analyzer is. Here are some demonstrations of my own. One more video is still to come, it will show the possibilities of what can be done in addition to the rhythm lamp.
Remember if you enjoyed the project then vote for me in the Make it Glow challenge! Good luck in your endeavors everyone!