Introduction: HapHazard - a Playful Random Light System

Picture of HapHazard - a Playful Random Light System

it started with the thought of how to create a simple unpredictable electronic device.
its so simple its embarrassing
once you start playing around with it, you just cant stop
trust me

i know it looks like it's in fast motion but its not ! (thats why i left part of the soundtrack)

Step 1: What Do You Need ?

Picture of What Do You Need ?

you will need
1.A bunch of LED's - there is no right amount - it works with 1, starts to look cool around 15 and just gets cooler as you add more. here i used 150 of the cheapest LED's i could find.

2. A 3v battery - one is enough but once i had all these LED's i felt like adding an extra 2nd battery.

3. A transparent sphere - i used those u can get in ant hobby store that are made of two parts, the come in many sizes and are quite cheap and handy.

Step 2: Prepping the LED's

Picture of Prepping the LED's

well, its not a must but it does have better results (and its the only way to make it seem just a bit more sophisticated)

take all the LED's and bend open their 'legs' just a bit.

Step 3: Putting It All Together

Picture of Putting It All Together

just like a good stirred cake you put everything together

Put the LED's in the sphere
Add the 3v battery (or two)

and there you have it !

Step 4: Ready - Set - Go !

Picture of Ready - Set - Go !

now all you need to do is play around with the sphere, every now and then the LED's will entangle with each other and the battery in a way which will light up random LED's from the bunch.

its magical !

the next logical thing to do was to kick the ball around...

Step 5: Enjoy

Picture of Enjoy

just glue it or something before you really get crazy with the kicking...


radicalmart (author)2012-08-08

A brilliant instructable. It just shows that even simple ideas can have fantastic results!!!!

duckythescientist (author)2010-09-21

That is a marvelous idea! You could, instead of just a battery, have a boost converter that regulates for current (20mA) but maxes out at 12V or so. With that, you could light multiple LEDs in series. You could also add more external contacts. Shorts would be a problem, but shorts are already a problem. Or, you could output AC that way you have even more of a chance to light the LEDs.

Just some ideas

I may be wrong, correct me if i am, but i dont think led's will light off of alternating current. just saying:)

---> 73's, A-BOMM <---

LEDs only light with a 50% duty cycle when on AC. That is how the LED Christmas lights work. Depending on the power supply, the LEDs won't light with AC but that is just because the power supply can't deal with only half of the AC being used. For example, if you have a capacitor in series with the AC and the LED, the LED won't light after the first half period because reverse leakage current of the LED isn't enough to discharge and recharge negatively the capacitor on the second half of each period. A bipolar LED (two LEDs in antiparallel) will, however, work with this strict AC power supply.

gotcha. i think. so they will only be 1/2 as bright?

thalin (author)2010-12-06

one could just attach a led to one pole of the battery and isolate that pole with glue or paint
this way short-circuits are impossible as there is always at least one led

if there were more than one battery you just have to make sure the led is always at the same pole

the downside is if the led on the battery breaks, the battery is useless too

mario59 (author)2010-09-24

mmmh...! I'm a bit perplexed...
Due to the random nature of the connections, wouldn't it be possible to have a SHORT CIRCUIT of the battery or batteries itself???
If so, I think a soon GREAT LEAK spill from the battery or could even let explode the little battery... SURE nothing that could harm enybody, but not a comfortable thing lying over there.
Or, as a minor fault, the formed random-circuit could simply DISCHARGE THE BATTERY in little or no time: so we could have a short-circuit WHILE the gadget is on the shelf....
anybody agree?

Dr.Bill (author)mario592010-10-29

Solution to shelf discharging; Take the batterys out.........

gedda (author)mario592010-09-25

One could epoxy a length of mono-filament to the side of the battery, drill an ever so tiny hole in the sphere, pass the loose end of the mono-filament out through the hole and tie a knot in the end. When done playing with the sphere simply pull on the knotted end to raise the battery out of the tangle of LEDs.

mario59 (author)gedda2010-09-26

Nice idea!
For what I think, this could be *the solution* of the little discharge-battery-dilemma!
Even if the project is so easy and straightfoerward to build up, I think, It would be a bit annoying to have it with discharged battery whyle showing it to somebody!
I'll suggest the author to add a step and complete the whole thing with this wire mod.
This way, from my pov, the project could be considered COMPLETED.
anyway a +GOOD IDEA+ ! ! !
Congrat's gedda!

tom2oo9 (author)mario592010-09-24

No, not really :/

I mean to be honest even though someones said there is a possibility that its going to happen, no one really cares. This is supposed to be treated as a fun project and not a "think of ways of making somthing dangerous" project.

Im not saying you are wrong in any way just let the people have there fun without bringing all this danger into the equation.

saronpaz (author)tom2oo92010-09-25

i couldnt agree more !

HellfireJack (author)2010-09-20

That would be awesome to use with one of those rotating ball fountains. It would be a cool night time lighting effect to your backyard garden.

Goshen.Guy (author)HellfireJack2010-09-23


I think you would need something else fixed to the inside of
the ball to trip up the LEDs. Otherwise, wouldn't they all just
sit at the bottom of the sphere while it rotated beneath them?

I also think that the sporatic nature of the resultant circuits
would cause the intermittent lighting of the LEDs to resemble
that of fireflies.


JermsG (author)Goshen.Guy2010-09-23

That could be as easy as having some protrusion(s) attached to the inside of the sphere.
Very cool. If I can find a ball like that, I'm going to make one!

Dr.Bill (author)JermsG2010-10-29

I seen balls like that in pet shops for use with mice or gerbels.

Goshen.Guy (author)JermsG2010-09-23

Somehow, I thought that's what I said.

I hope you are able to find such a ball
for your Spinning Water Sphere project.

If not, there's always glue to affix your
very own, home-crafted protrusions.

Think outside the box or, in this case,
inside the sphere.

Good Luck, JermsG.

HellfireJack (author)Goshen.Guy2010-09-24

I figured basic friction would go a long way but It might be the case it needs some help. With any "try it and see" project like that there's always going to be a bit of kit bashing to get it right.

craftyv (author)Goshen.Guy2010-10-15

Use a hot glue gun to make small blobs of silicone on the inside of the ball to "bounce" the battery off. A craft store told me that small plastic balls are available close to Christmas because they are used to put small gifts in and/or decorate for the tree. I also haven't sourced any larger sized ones yet, nor LED 's. Great idea , love it to bits.

rcisneros (author)HellfireJack2010-09-20

Okay. That is so freaken simple and cool. I love it.

craftyv (author)2010-10-01

Love it. It is the very type of Instructable that this site is all about. Simple, clever and easy to repeat by "amateurs" like me. Some times the techies miss the point and although the safety aspect is important, in this case it is minor. If the ball is not glued together just take out the battery till your showing it off again. Where do you get LED's nobody replied to this question. Keep up the good work.

saronpaz (author)craftyv2010-10-01

thanks for all of your kind words.
as for the LED's. i bought them in a professional electronic shop. I'm guessing the details are irrelevant since i live in amsterdam.

bagmud (author)2010-09-26

Where did you buy your LED's?

Emiliano Valencia (author)2010-09-25

Check out my new instructable:

Emiliano Valencia (author)2010-09-25

Check out my new instructable:

Treknology (author)2010-09-25

A link to a vendor who supplies this sort of globe would be greatly appreciated. In the backwaters of Australia we have to pay extra to get them custom made...

gallimaufry (author)2010-09-24

Love this - got to get my kids onto it. Do the LEDs break easily (apologies if this is a dim question, never bought any)?

saronpaz (author)gallimaufry2010-09-24

no they absolutely dont

QueenQuill (author)2010-09-23

Awesome! And so simple! Thanks so much for sharing! Question though...where did you get the LEDs from, and how much did they cost? Thanks!

0_Nvd_0 (author)2010-09-23

I think, the coin cells will get shorted too often.

AF-Geek (author)0_Nvd_02010-09-23

I think you're right, but for short "play" times, this could be pretty fun. All you have to do is take the battery out if it's not going to be moving for any length of time.

MichaelAtOz (author)2010-09-23

b (left hand thumbs up)

Wasagi (author)2010-09-23

Fantastic! And Easy!

Great job!

Skyfinity (author)2010-09-19

I'm surprised this works so well... very interesting! I'm sure it would provide much amusement, but it doesn't really have a off-switch, huh. I guess you could just bounce it all in a way that doesn't make a circuit.

adcurtin (author)Skyfinity2010-09-20

well it could be making a short circuit, which would be worse than lighting an LED. best way would be to just take the battery out.

This project is shorting the battery which has the risk of exploding and releasing some chemicals that might be unsafe.

dear nightmare,
i am absolutely sure its completely harmless. though you are right about the fact that i shortens a bit the working lifetime of the LED's because of the inaccurate voltage.

be safe

daemonral (author)saronpaz2010-09-23

I've had an ag3 (watch battery) pop on me. I had it sitting in a bunch of junk and then there was a pop.

Nah there's really no risk from a CR2032 or other small 3v battery, it can't provide enough current to heat it enough that it'd explode.

mikegalloway (author)2010-09-23

Very cool idea. Nice job =).

optimuspyro (author)2010-09-23

this idea reeks of cat toys.

keler (author)2010-09-21

This is *smart thinking*
Keep up the good work!

Lubrijerm (author)2010-09-20

This really is just hilarious and brilliant and with a million possibilities. Attach them to the ceiling with Slinkies and give em a good tug? Coolest maracas ever? Japanese breast implant of the future?

Dr.Bill (author)2010-09-20

Whoda thought you could just drop in a buncha LED's and a battery.
Random circuits...........

Lance Mt. (author)2010-09-19


About This Instructable




Bio: i am a free thinking Experience Designer. Also a part of a Maker trio ForReal Team -
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