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This is a really simple project. It only takes 5 parts, about 10 minutes and costs around $2. BUT it's fun and looks really cool.

I like LEDs (who doesn't?) and have acquired all different kinds to use in projects, we are going to use one you may not have used yet - a flashing RGB LED.

"Regular" RGB LEDs have 4 legs as opposed to single color LEDs that have 2 legs. Being able to control all 3 colors independently is cool but you do need 4 wires, 3 resistors and some type of controller.
There is a much simpler version out there - flashing RGB LEDs. These LEDs only have 2 LEGS ( + and -). So how do you control the colors? You don't. There is a teeny tiny chip wired up to the LEDs inside their plastic housing that turns each LED on in varying degrees creating a color changing flashing pattern. They come in 2 flavors, fast flash and slow flash.

One characteristic of LEDs is they are usually pretty directional. What I mean by that is when you look at them from the side you see one level of brightness and color and if you look at them head on it's completely different. They sell diffused LEDs that have a frosted epoxy case/lense/housing but a ping pong ball works even better for defusing the light!

Some of the most fun I have had with these is when I put them in unusual places at night like in the grass of my front yard or bushes or under my car. People have all kinds of reactions. Of course sometimes I just turn it on at my desk and stare into the abyss.

Step 1: Stuff Needed

Parts

  • Ping Pong Ball - I got mine from the Dollar Store 6 for $1
  • Coin Cell Battery Holder - eBay
  • Coin Cell Battery - you have a number of choices, the most important thing is that it fits your battery holder, CR2032 and CR2025 are the most popular, I used a rechargeable version of the CR2032
  • A Resistor - The value you use will be dependent on the battery and LED you choose, more on that later
  • Flashing RGB LED - Slow or Fast they work the same as far as this project goes

Tools

  • soldering iron
  • glue gun
  • hobby knife
  • compass (optional)

Notes and Links

  • The batteries themselves are very easy to come by, you can get 10 regular CR2032s (3V) from China for less that $2 http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p...
  • If you want the rechargeable coin cells look for LIR2032 (3.6V) I got 20 for around $10 make sure they say LIR and 3.6V http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_odkw=cr2032+10pcs...
  • For the flashing LEDs make sure they are RGB LEDs not regular red or blue flashing LEDs You can get regular or diffused the regular ones will be a little brighter in the ping pong ball. Also decide on fast of slow flashing, personally, I like the effect of the slow flashing (it's more like morphing) LEDs http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_odkw=lir2032&_osa...
  • Picking a resistor value can be a little confusing, the red LED wants one value, the blue wants a different value and of course most of the time more than one LED is being driven at a time so that would lead to yet more values. What to do? We pick an average and we understand what happens if we go to high or low. If the resistor value is too high, the blue LED will be faint or not on at all but the LED will last a loooooooong time. If the value is too low the red LED will be over driven, it will be too bright or orange/white and it will burn out. At 8 cents a LED and less than that for a resistor you can afford to experiment. With a 3V coin cell and flashing RGB LED start with something around 47-80 ohms. Get yourself a little resistor assortment of about 600 pieces and 30 differnt values for less than $3 http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=...
<p>Really like this.</p>
<p>Nice Intractable. I did something similar but with plastic Easter Eggs. The Dollar Store is a great resource. I chopped up an LED candle and got a battery, battery holder, LED and switch all for $1 which you could easily glue onto the bottom of a ping pong ball.</p><p><a href="https://www.instructables.com/id/Easter-Eggs-That-Glow-and-Change-Color/">https://www.instructables.com/id/Easter-Eggs-That-G...</a></p>
<p>These glowballs look amazing! Which I had one! Great project!</p>
<p>Thanks Fathomlis that's quite a complement coming from you, you have a bunch of great instructables</p>
<p>Good idea! That looks like a fun and easy project! </p>
Thanks Caleb

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Bio: Helping teachers and schools teach technology in the classroom
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