Have you ever wished your bongos lit up when you hit them? I know I have. The sensational feeling of light massaging your eyes can be yours with the single press and release of the leathery bongo chest. Indeed, the artistic design, carefully orchestrated, helps to illuminate your surroundings with a bold, yet subtle touch. Without these bongos, the world abolishes its essential coordination between the visual, auditory, and extrasensory world. Nevertheless, there is solace in knowing that percussion is vastly superior to other instrumentation due to a combination of simplicity and elegance. Imagine that you are at a party, with a ginger ale in your hands and the buzz of conversation slowly snaking through your consciousness. Suddenly, you feel the need to accentuate the vibrant euphoria with the mixture of quivering vibrations and the dazzling glare of colored LEDs. The flashing of the starlight matches the beautiful rhythm of the dance floor. Now you can be the life of the party too with these Flashy Bongos.
Step 1: Gathering Materials
Wooden bongos, preferably larger than smaller, although it is possible that small bongos may still be able to hold a certain number of LEDs. Of vital importance is the ability to drill through the sides of the bongos, so be sure to get professional quality, with the sides roughly half an inch thick and acoustics not heavily dependent on the bongos' contour. While it is possible to get high quality bongos for twenty dollars, make sure that you do not accidentally get bongos designed for children, as this may contain plastic siding instead of wood siding. The plastic siding will definitely be more difficult to drill through, and the possibility of already included electronics will introduce some complexity in the circuitry.
36 to 54 LEDs, varying in several different colors. Suggested colors include auburn red, yellow, forest green, and sky blue, although darker hues of blue may also be acceptable. It may also be acceptable to use violet or orange, although it is of utmost importance to differentiate between warm and cool colors. The reason for this is the necessity for the warm set to have a different circuit and resistor than the cool set, since there are differing heat resistances for each one. Nevertheless, the color choice is ultimately less important than the necessity of making sure the LEDs in each branch are from the same supplier.
Drill, which should be handled carefully and used after marking the holes to be drilled. The holes will have to be large enough for the LEDs to fit through, so make sure that the included drill bits are on the larger side. Keep in mind that this drill will be working with wood, so avoid using bits more suited for metal or plastic.
70 inches of wire, preferably in two different colors, red and black. The red wire will be used to wire positive terminals to other positive terminals while the black wire will be used to wire negative terminals to other negative terminals. It is always better to have more wire than less, so it may be best to use more than 35 inches of wire per strand. That is, when tying the LEDs to one strand of wire, that strand may be longer without any detriment to the placement of the circuit into the bongos themselves.
Soldering iron, which come in several assortments. While the cheapest iron will do just as well as a more expensive brand, care must be taken to ensure said iron has a reputable origin of manufacture. Safety is dependent on several factors, such as care in handling instruments, keeping handy a cold, spongey surface, and the quality of your products.
2-4 Resistors, which ensure that the LEDs do not receive too much current and blow out. Resistance may vary between voltage sources, but if you happen to be using 19.5 voltage source, such as with an AC adapter, it would be best to use a _ ohm resistance.
2 Sound-Activated Switches, with one functioning for each bongo. The ones used for this project have a 9 volt requirement, so if you are using a different voltage source, it will be necessary to also use a different switch than ours. The switch is one of the most important components for this project, as they determine at what times the LEDs light up. Be sure to note down the frequency that it activates at.
19.5 volt ac adapter, such as a laptop battery modified to take DIY circuitry. The end connecting to the laptop should be cut off and stripped so the wires can be soldered to other wires leading up to the LEDs. While the voltage itself is not dangerous, keep in mind that the LEDs can only take a fraction of the current the battery outputs, so it is necessary to use appropriate resistances. Alternatively, using another voltage source is a feasible option, but see the other material descriptions for potential pitfalls should you choose to do so.