LED Belt





Introduction: LED Belt

This is an awesome, simple LED belt that almost anyone can make. The only special knowledge is how to solder, but it is simple soldering, and everyone here probably already knows how. If not, there is probably an Instructable for it.


This is the first instructable that I ever posted.  It's crap.  Super crap.  But, I leave it up as a reminder of how not to do things.  :)  A few years later, I realize how naive I was back then.  But I still love that belt.....

Step 1: Get Your Supplies.

In order to complete this instructable, you will need:
- A belt, preferrably leather, pleather, or cloth. PLAIN.
- Between 10 and 20 LED lights. I used nineteen.
- Stranded Wire. One wire that is as long as your belt.
- A nine volt Battery.
- A nine volt battery clip. Stole mine from an old smoke alarm.
- Electricians Tape.
- Duct Tape. All hail duct tape.
- Soldering Iron.
- Solder.
- Strong scissors or wire cutters.
- Something to put holes in a belt, such as the awl thing on a leatherman, or just a hammer and a nail.

Step 2: Punch Holes in Your Belt.

In order for the LED's to go through, you need to punch holes through the belt. I used the awl on my leatherman, but a hammer and nail will work just as well, if not better. Depending how many LED lights you have, you will need to space the holes accordingly. You could measure, but i did mine by eye. You want to be at least six inches away from where your belt buckle ends. If you are using cloth, skip to step three.

Step 3: Put LED's Into Holes.

Pretty self explanitory, but it has a catch. All of the LED's must be aligned the same, meaning all the positive ends must be on one side, and all the negative ends must be on the other. On new LED's, one side is longer than the others, making it easy. But on reused LED's you have to look through the LED, and see which side is bigger, and which is smaller(see pictures). After putting the LED in the hole, fold the wires on the back outward.
If you are using cloth, the wires should go through if you coax them a little. PROBABLY. I HAVEN'T TRIED IT WITH A CLOTH BELT. If not, try punching holes.

Step 4: Get Your Wire Ready.

After you have put the lights through the holes, you need your wire. Cut one strand of wire that is the length of your LED's. Here's the toughy. You need to strip the wire completely of its plasticky(pvc, maybe?)outer coating. This can be a pain if you are an idiot(such as myself) and do not have a pair of wire strippers, and have to use your teeth. Either way, you will need to take the coating off an inch at a time, since it is almost impossible to take the coating off all at once.

Step 5: Split Your Wires.

Right now you should have a bunch of tiny wires in front of you. You need to split them into two groups. Half of the wires in one group, the other halves in another group. After this is complete, you need to twist each group so that there are two wires in front of you.

Step 6: Solder Wires to LED's.

Now you need to solder the wires you just created to the LED's. ALL OF THE POSITIVE SIDES NEED TO BE ATTACHED TO EACH OTHER. SAME GOES FOR THE NEGATIVE ENDS. This needs to go all the way down the belt. It should look like a ladder. Soldering the LEDs together like this gives it a christmas light-like effect, so that when one goes out, all of the rest stay on. Also, if you try to make a single circuit, where positive is attached to negative, with 19 LEDs, you don't have enough power for them all in a single nine volt.

Step 7: Go Back and Check.

If any of your wires happen to be touching each other, you should separate them. TOUCHING WIRES = SUPER UNHAPPY FUN TIME. the device will not work if wires are overlapping.

Step 8: Solder Battery Snap.

Attach the battery snap to the nine volt, and check to see which wire goes with which side(positive or negative). Your belt should light up. If it doesn't, go back and make sure that no wires are touching. Then punch another hole in your belt, which will allow the wires to go through the front to the back. this should be about six inches away from the buckle. If the battery snap wires are too short, extend them. Stick the wires through the belt so that the snap is on the front, and the wires are on the back. Solder the aproppriate ends to the chain of LED's. Tape the Battery on the front so that it reaches the snap.

Step 9: Tape the Back.

In order to let the belt slide with ease, and not catch the wires on your pants, you need to tape the back with duct tape. trim the sides accordingly, so the tape is not seen. This also prevents damage to the back, and wires from touching.

Step 10: Put It On!

The belt should now be complete.
The snap will act as an on off switch. Sure, you could add an on/off switch if you like.
IMPORTANT: The battery dies within a couple of hours, so i suggest a rechargeable set of batteries. Double A rechargeables are the most common, if you cannot find nine volt rechargeables and three double A's will work, but you would need something like an altoid tin to hold them in. Belt Buckle Maybe? You could also go to cheapbatteries.com, if you didn't know that the site existed.
FYI: if a LED, were to say, snap off, you could easily replace it, but to prevent that from happening, you need to be gentle when putting it through the loops in your pants. It is pretty durable, though, and the LEDs can take a beating before they fall off.




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    Just a question. You said UNHAPPY FUN TIME. Are you a Markiplite???

    There is a better way. Using wire strippers, cut the wire's insulation around the circumference in two places, about 1/16" apart. Then take a sharp knife and slice the top of the 1/16" section so that you can remove it from the wire. You now have an exposed 1/16" portion to solder onto, while keeping the rest of the wire insulated.
    You will obviously need two lengths of insulated wire in order to make a parallel circuit.

    Are they waterproof? Is it safe to use if you got wet?

    As long as you heat-shrink or put electrical tape over all the exposed wires and completely seal the back with some duct tape, it should be somewhat waterproof.

    Why did you remove the casing of the 9V battery?


    I just made one and it's rather sweet, gonna wear it to TRON: Legacy sometime perhaps. A tip is after you punch the holes jam a hobby knife in the backside and twist it some times so that you can press the LED in from the back, this gets rid of a lot of the touching wire grief and also allows the belt to slide through the belt loops MUCH easier. The LEDs appear not as raised. Thanks for the great 'ible! I may post some pics later.

    im making one now and ledcalc.com tells me to use an 18 ohm resistor, is that value low enough that i could go without one?

     no you still need it

    Well If you are as crazy as me, you can use a lighter, go outside the house and light one end, the plasticky bit will start dripping which is great fun as well. :)