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Flashing Multicolor Christmas Tree Star

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So, my new wife and I moved into our new home, Christmas is here and we put up a tree, but wait ...neither of us had a decent star to put on top of the tree.

This instructable will show you how to make a really cool, flashing, color changing Christmas tree star using some flashing RGB (red, blue, green) LEDs, paper, tape and a few other things lying around the house.

The total cost of this project was about $20; the LED's were the most expensive part, at $2 each.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dSvMnRAnM68

Here's a video of the star in action.

Note: This instructable involves electronics and electricity. Electricity is Dangerous; Be Careful!!! If you don't have at least a basic knowledge of soldering, you will probably have trouble with this instructable.
 
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Step 1: Gather The Materials

For this project you will need the following Items.

1. 11 sheets of printer paper or other blank white paper
2. About 8 or more RGB LEDs. These LEDs are special in that they have three colors to them, red blue and green. They also have their own control chip that has a preprogramed flashing sequence that cyles through the entire spectrum, giving a good visual effect. You can find them at www.allelectronics.com for about $2.00 ea. or at other suppliers (the part # is YT-FS5N30N). You can also find them by searching for "RGB flashing LED's". They are special in that they do not require a limiting resistor and can be hooked directly to a power supply or to a couple of batteries.
3. Some hookup wire. Stranded or solid makes no difference just whatever you have lying around the house.
4. An on/off switch (optional)
5. Scotch tape
6. Electrical tape
7. Heat shrink tubing if you have some (optional)
8. A 5 volt DC power supply. I used an old cell phone charger that I wasn't using. You could also power it with 3 AAA batteries, but who wants to be changing batteries?
9. Basic hand tools, cutters, soldering iron, pliers, scissors etc.
10. Some solder and solder flux.
11. Some way to attach it to the tree, I used a gutter clip for Christmas lights.
12. A multimeter, if you don't know how to use one you probably shouldn't try this instructable.

ninja_maker3 years ago
Do you have to have a multimeter for this, and what do you need it for
elmarco38 (author)  ninja_maker3 years ago
you don't necessiarily need one unless it doesn't light up the first time you try it and you need to trouble shoot your project.
elmarco38 (author) 4 years ago
I plan on updating this project next year by incorperating a 555 timer on this to keep the star lit for like a coupple of minutes then off momentarily to re sync the LED's and make them all one color again.
scoochmaroo4 years ago
Could I recommend using the second image of just the lit star as the main image?  Though the tree looks GREAT, the picture of the star topper gives me a better idea of what the instructable is about.
Well documented!  Great first project :D
elmarco38 (author)  scoochmaroo4 years ago
Great idea, thank you.
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