Introduction: Fairy Light Wind Chime

Picture of Fairy Light Wind Chime

There is nothing quite like enjoying a warm summer night on the porch listening to the crickets and wind chimes while watching the fire flies light up the yard.

Both of these "summer moods" are captured in the Fairy Light Wind Chimes. Each time one of the chimes makes a sound it also lights up a string of fairy lights which becomes visible as the sun sets and night falls.

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

Materials:

  • Fairly Lights
  • LiPo Battery
  • 1/2" copper pipe
  • Glass beads
  • Copper wire of various thicknesses
  • Some a few nails and hooks
  • Piece of driftwood

Tools:

  • Pipe cutter
  • Soldering equipment

Step 2: Wiring Diagram

Picture of Wiring Diagram

For this chime the fairy lights are permanently grounded (black lines) and only light up when the corresponding chime touches the power bar (wire spanning all the chimes) that is connected to the power source (red lines). Each fairy light string has its own chime and thus lights up individually as the chime moves and randomly connects to the power bar.

The battery is currently in a little plastic box hung up right under the porch roof. Eventually I want to add a solar cell so the battery charges throughout, but I will have to complete a few tutorials before I can do that :).

Step 3: Driftwood and Ground Wire

Picture of Driftwood and Ground Wire

The piece of driftwood serves as the base from which everything gets suspended. Across its entire length is a thick copper wire with beads that will become the ground wire for all the lights. It simply gets tacked onto the driftwood with a few nails. It is important to string the beads loosely to allow for space to add the lights.

Step 4: The Chimes

Picture of The Chimes

The chimes are made of different length copper pipe.Cut the pipe to the desired lengths, drill holes through one end and add thin copper wires and beads. Add small nails at equal intervals into the back side of the driftwood and attache each chime to a nail by wrapping it around the nails several times.

Step 5: Fairly Light Preparation

Picture of Fairly Light Preparation

The long string of fairy lights can be cut into the desired length and be prepared for the wind chime.Using a button battery, determine hot and ground wires and mark them accordingly (the hot wire is marked with a piece of masking tape here). The ground wire gets soldered to a small copper ring that will later attache to the long ground wire already installed on the driftwood.

At the end of each fairy light string additional beads on wire are attached to add visual interest, provide more "sound effect" for the chimes, and weigh down the lights.

Solder a piece of thin gauge (around 24) copper wire to the hot end of the fairly lights.

Step 6: Installing the Fairy Lights

Picture of Installing the Fairy Lights

The little hook from the ground wire of the lights is attached to the ground wire on the driftwood while the power wire of the lights gets soldered to the connection where a chime is attached. Each time the chime touches the power bar the circuit closes and the lights flicker.

Step 7: Wire the Fairy Lights

Picture of Wire the Fairy Lights

While the fairy lights are permanently grounded at the top through the beaded wire on the driftwood, they are also connected individually to a single chime on the top. In order for the lights to switch on, the chime must be connected to the power source which is delivered through a thick wire (power bar) that spans across all the chimes. As the wind moves the chimes, it will randomly connect them to the power wire and thus light up individual strands of fairy lights.

The beaded wire with the little bell on the left does not have a chime. It is the power wire (there is a corresponding one on the other side) that suspends the "power bar" across the chimes.

Step 8: Power Source

Picture of Power Source

I used a rechargeable lipo battery and connected that to the right side of the chime. The ground wire from the battery is soldered to the ground wire with the beads and the power wire to the beaded wire that connects the power bar reaching across the chimes.

Step 9: Installation

Picture of Installation

Finally the chime is hung on the porch and is ready to set the mood for those magic summer nights.

Comments

daveolson (author)2016-06-11

Cutting the fairy lights? Is there any trick to doing this? Do the end need to be left alone or connected? This may be a real stupid question, but my electrical knowledge is pretty nil. Do you have to add a resistor or something when you cut the string of lights? Thanks!

sciencediva (author)daveolson2016-06-11

Not a stupid question at all. Yes, I actually cut the lights with scissors just like I would cut string! I cut them so that the top end would have a couple of inches of wire while the bottom was cut right after the light (and no, I did absolutely nothing to the ends...). By the way, there is no real direction to the lights - I am only referring to top and bottom in reference to how they ended up on the chime.

I avoided having to deal with resistors by limiting the power source to 5V, so everything could just get wired directly. To identify ground and power wires I just stripped the end of the wires a little bit and used a 3V button battery. This was really easy so no worries.

sciencediva (author)2016-06-09

Thanks :)

Something about wind chimes... almost anything can be transformed and add that touch of whimsy. Have fun with your version!

Kozmicblues69 (author)2016-06-09

This is so cool. I really love the result. Nice job :)

Somebody gave me some material to make a Wind Chime... If I mix it with your idea.....

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