I have been seeing quite a few fire fly jars on the web and I love the looks of them. Leds and mason jars, they just go together. I have taken the assumption that fire fly jars don't have to be the color of fire flies but just leds in a jar with some pattern of change. I like taking the ones I have made outside at night but I thought why not make one that will be stationary instead of mobile and instead of battery powered why not make it AC powered? Then I took the idea a bit further and decided to replace a light bulb in my house with a ''fire fly jar''. It would be the perfect mood light at night. Why don't we make one? Lets get started!
Do this at your own risk. I am not responsible for any damage done to anyone or anything.
Step 1: Things Needed
The picture is a little fuzzy, sorry about that.
You will need a mason jar, a 5 volt usb charger that you won't miss, leds of your choice, resistor and a 'handy outlet'. The handy outlet is a simple connector that screws into a light socket and turns it into an outlet. The resistor I used is a 220 ohm and the leds I used are RGB leds that cycle colors without an IC. The USB charger will be used to power our leds.
Step 2: Taking Apart the USB Charger and Hacking It
First take apart the USB charger, some come apart easier than others, then locate the pins for the USB port and desolder them and remove the port, then identify the positive 5 volts pin and the ground pin. There are four pins that are used for the USB port, the two in the middle are data pins so we don't have to worry about those, the pins on the outside are the 5+ and ground. The positive pin is the far right from top view.The easiest way to find out which one is what is to trace a negative lead of a capacitor to the ground pin. Or you can look up the pinout online. Then you want to solder a wire to the positive and negative connection. Use color coded to help with polarity, red for + and black for -. Now we will need to make a connection for the AC input of the charger. I used an old AC plug from a hot glue gun to make this connection. If your case doesn't provide an AC plug you can reuse you will want to find another AC plug you can use. You don't want to use wire to connect this unless you know the risk involved. If you use too thin of wire it can heat up and lead to problems. Simply cut and strip the cord and solder it onto the AC input on the USB board. Most USB chargers are reverse polarity protected but it is wise to check yours to make sure.
Step 3: The Leds
I used nine leds and decided to use the leads of each led to connect one to the next. I ended up using nine leds. The resistor is then soldered to the positive lead of the led. After the leds are soldered up I hot glued them onto a piece of cardboard. I did this to prevent any unwanted connections when I assemble the jar
Step 4: To the Jar
Most mason jars come with metal circle lids that seperate from the threaded ring. I replaced this with a piece of fitted cardboard. Cardboard has a few advantages over the metal lid. It won't make any unwanted connections and it is easier to cut. All the work for this step is focused on the lid. First cut a hole in the lid and feed the AC cord through it then hot glue the USB circuit board into place. Be sure to stick to the middle of the lid. After that is done you can solder the positive wire to the resistor before the leds then the negative wire to the negative lead of the leds. Then hot glue the leds over the USB circuit board. This is where the cardboard under the leds plays an important role. It insulates the leds and prevents unwanted connections. Now you can plug in AC cord into the handy outlet connector.
Step 5: Done
Now you're fininshed! You can screw this into a light socket and enjoy the calm light.