Instructables
Picture of LED Hula Hoop
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Some friends wanted a lighted hula hoop for burningman, and when they turned out to be about $200 each, I decided to make one. All the parts cost about $15 . . . total time to make the hoop was about 3 hours, but that included time for figuring things out. You could probably make one in less than 2 hours with this instructable and soldering skills . . .

Supplies:
12' - polyethylene tubing
1x tubing connector
6x LED's (or more if you like)
6x 69ohm resistors (calculate for your LED's)
6x LED holders
14'x2 copper wire
1x mini switch
1x AAA battery holder (2xbatteries, 3Volts)
assorted heat shrink
random paperclips
 
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Step 1: Make Your Own Hoop

I can't claim credit for figuring out how to make the hoop itself. For that, see the JasonUnbound website http://www.jasonunbound.com/hoops.html. There, you'll find excellent instructions on making a great hoop! As for materials, I got my tubing and connector from US Plastics. I ended up getting a 100 foot roll of the 1" PE Flexible Pipe Not-NSF Listed 80 psi. Ended up making about 8 hoops with this, so on a per hoop basis, it's pretty cheap!

When making your hoop, there is one modification that needs to be done to the JasonUnbound version: File/cut off the ridges on one side of the tube connector. Cutting off most of the ridges as shown in the pic will allow you to take the tube apart when you need to replace the batteries, but still keep the tube together while hooping.

Step 2: Drill LED Holes

The hoop shown in the intro pictures had 3 LED's facing outwards, and 3 more LED's facing upwards to sorta "highlight" the hooper. Plan out your configuration and mark the hoop before drilling! I used a 1/4" drill bit, and drilled completely through the tube (you'll see why later).

Once you've drilled your holes, run a pair of copper wires through the length of your tube, leaving about 2 feet of extra length. I used a twisted pair scavenged from some old ethernet cables for this.
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ccandiloro10 months ago

For the person that had the question regarding the PSI tubing... It does matter in a way~ the different PSI's all have a different strength, stiffness, and weight to them... The higher the PSI the heavier they are and better for the beginner Hooper (160 PSI) or the Hooper looking for a workout hoop... A 100 PSI or 80 PSI would be a good dance hoop and have a faster reaction time and be springier and better suited for children, as well (if you wanted to make one for a child). There is also a considerable difference in cost at the local home improvement stores when you go from a 125 PSI or 100 down to 80~ saving usually $30-$40 on a 100' coil.

joejchin2 years ago
Great tutorial - I'm going to give it a shot.

A few questions:
1) Where do you get the LED holders (site/store, model)? I tried googling but couldn't find.

2) If I wanted to use 24 LED's instead of 6, would I need more batteries? What would suffer, brightness or battery life?

3) I noticed that JasonUnbound recommends 100psi tubing and you used 80psi. Any difference - better or worse?

Thanks
They got the led clips from Radio Shack, part #276-079.
If you used more leds the battery life would be shorter (you could use more batteries and higher value resistors for better battery life).
The psi number should not matter, psi stands for pressure per square inch so higher psi means thicker or stronger pipe.
Ledgar8 Ledgar82 years ago
In psi the pressure is measured in pounds.
geraghty4 years ago
I want to make one. but i think my niece would peel the tape of around the switch can you think of a more secure way of fitting it onto the hoop? maybe super glue?
Possible to superglue it, but superglue can eat certain plastics. It might work to use the little tiny bolts and nuts that come with the switch, but the switch would have to be close to the end and still out of the way of the insert.

Use duct tape and superglue it to itself, that might work.
Maybe hot glue would work. I recently bought a 10w mini glue gun for only £4.
www.maplin.co.uk/10w-mini-glue-gun-625379
It has high and low temperature settings.
dankhoops5 years ago
Here is some battery advice from a new LED hoop maker on the block (me):

Product: Li-ion 18650 Cylindrical Rechargeable Cell: 3.7V 2200mAh (8.14Wh) -- Made in China

Product Link: http://www.batteryspace.com/li-ion18650cylindricalrechargeablecell37v2200mah814wh--madeinchina.aspx

I searched high and low across the internet for the best batteries for my DIY project. My goal was to make a Hula Hoop with lights in it. Common hoops on the market have 3 batteries in parallel spaced throughout the hoop. I wanted to reduce assembly time and only use one battery. The obvious choice was to use Lithium-Ion technology over Alkaline batteries. Using only one battery will not oly reduce the assembly costs, but time, and number of wires needed to run throughout the hoop.

It wasn't until I found BatterySpace.com that I was able to find this battery. The Li-ion 18650 Cylindrical Rechargeable Cell: 3.7V 2200mAh (8.14Wh) -- Made in China turned out to be the perfect battery for me. It wasn't purpleish-blue as in the picture, but the green that it came to me in wasn't a factor. The 18650 dimensions, 2200 mAh capacity, lithium-ion, rechargability, weight and price were all factors in deciding to use this battery. I was a bit sceptical as this battery is cheaper than the others offered on BatterySpace.com that are assembled in Japan or Korea, but there was only one way to find out how reliable and durable these units are. I ordered them with the optional tabs and these were also of high quality. My first order consisted of 7 batteries, and my second 25. I haven't had a problem with any of the first 7. So, the true test of quality and workmanship with be known with the batch of 25. I am extremely confident that I will have no problems. I spoke over the phone with a customer service representative and learned about their QA process. Each battery is individually tested before it is shipped. When I heard this, I knew I had found a good company and was happy to purchase from them. Furthermore, BatterySpace is located in the San Francisco Bay Area and I was able to pick up my order on the same day. Supporting the local economy and having the convenience of same day service puts BatterySpace at the top of my list.

I was also able to find a charger for this battery that is compact and fool-proof. After assembling my project and taking it out to field test it, I couldn't have been happier with my decision. My project isn't the softest on batteries and impacts are not uncommon. A hula hoop can get pretty beat up! But, I have yet to experience one problem with these batteries, and I couldn't be more enthused. This is going to help me complete prototyping of my project faster and more successfully. Thanks again, BatterySpace. I've already placed a second order, and it's only a matter of time before I place my third and forth and so on!

Pros:
Capacity - 2200 mAh
Tabs (optional)
Dimensions
Weight
Reliability
Durability

Cons:
Made in China - no problems for me, but could become a potential issue with larger order
You can get most of the small electronic parts online through DigiKey. They are much cheaper than Radio Shack and the parts higher quality. You can find a detailed list of parts along with links at http://www.ledhoops.net/build-your-own/7-color-hoop-tutorial/
I'm a little concerned with these batteries,. i ordered a couple and afterwards realized they we're raw li-ion cells without a built in PCB,.  did you build your own protection circuit or are you going without? How are they holding up 6 months later? Regardless,  people should know these batteries sold as listed in your link can be dangerous (blowing-up in flames kinda stuff) and proper caution should be exercised. 
bjones103 years ago
Where do you get your LEDs and battery things??
You can get most of the small electronic parts online through DigiKey. They are much cheaper than Radio Shack and the parts higher quality. You can find a detailed list of parts along with links at http://www.ledhoops.net/build-your-own/7-color-hoop-tutorial/
I seem to have stumbbled onto a significant flaw in this design. I am in the process of making this hoop, and I have completed everything up to the light array. So, I hooked up my first light, which would be my last light in the chain, so I am working towards the battery. And now, when I soldered the next light in the chain, and tested the power on them neither of them worked. But, when I tested each one individually they worked. From what I have read on basic LED circuits it only requires one resistor to right the whole voltage for the whole chain of lights. So, it would seem instead of several resistors on each LED, it should be one at the start of the chain. Can anyone who knows more about electronics than I do verify this? I am stuck, and would really like to get this done :)
You'll want a resistor for each LED to be safe. Resistors have a maximum current and by using only one you'll run the risk of overheating.
jatb283 years ago
was it balanced with the batteries only in one place?
That's amazing!! But how do you stop the batteries from sliding around in the hoop and gumming up all your wiring?
try bubble wrap. see the instructibles on an EL wire hula hoop:
http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-make-an-EL-Wire-Hula-hoop/#previewlink
lilgamoma4 years ago
This looks so cool but I am totally lost on the calculating resistors part. :(
geraghty4 years ago
me again, id first like to say this is amazing, can i ask if i decided to up the led,s to 10 do i still need the same resisters but ten? and do i need more batterys if i had 10 leds or does it just meen the batteries wont last as long, or buy more powerful batterys? sorry about the 100 and 1 questions just am rearly interesterd in this. Hope you can help.
jeffkobi (author)  geraghty4 years ago
Yep, you'd still need the same resistors if you used 10 or even 12 LEDs. Batteries wouldn't last as long but they'd still last a pretty long time (~10hrs?). Also, superglue would be an excellent backup to the tape. The tape will also cover up the holes on the back of each LED. Lemme know if you have more questions!
geraghty4 years ago
Hi, so for evry led i have do i need a hole on the oposit side of the tube? do these get filled in by somthink? hope you can help i rearly want to make one of these.
dyermaker84 years ago
For people out there looking for a safe rechargeable battery with charger , just order the kit from Prodmod, and get the dc jack thrown in. The price is very much fair,. I don't think you'll do better without buying in bulk,. but if you want to order them from the supplier separately, heres the battery and heres the charger.  
My local RadioShack didn't have the resistors I needed for this. I ended up buying most of the electronics from jameco.com. They have an awesome website, but shipping is kinda expensive.
dog8126 years ago
This post and prodmod's also inspired me to make a rechargeable version that uses AA NIMH batts and a simple plug in style charger.
I have my instructions up aswell for anyone interested. I am making a dual color choice hoop next week. So ill be adding some more pics. http://ledhulahoop.com
kylemacmac6 years ago
A good technique is to use strings of battery powered Christmas lights. They're already good to go, just some jimmying needed with the switch and such. They should be available at any hardware store this time of year, and ebay has a ton of them as well. The ones rated for 3 AA or 3 AAA batteries work best. $5 - $10 a string. Nice and easy. Training wheels for led hula hoop building, if you'd like. I put some led hula hoopsled hula hoops together for kinda like the most reasonable price ever, if you want to just order one all finished, like. Have fun,

Kyle
jflo10086 years ago
i went to radio shack and they only had 68ohm resistors...will this do?
for us A.D.D. slackers.... would it be possible to use strands of xmas lights?...and modify them to take rechargeable batteries? some xmas lights have built in sequencers, That could probably be torn down to just the necessary components. ...Just a thought. ...BTW, great post, thanx!
You could just cut the wires and test how high the voltage needs to be. I have hooked up Christmas lights to 9 volts when I was 5.
jeffkobi (author)  funhunter6716 years ago
i'm sure it'd be possible . . . however there's a billion types of xmas lights out there that would range from easy to near-impossible to convert. If you happen upon a LED string of lights that could be fairly easy to convert as you'd "bypass" the AC-DC conversion and just feed the low voltage circuitry with battery juice. the actual AC versions could be tougher as your talking higher voltages and the need to add additional circuitry instead of subtracting it. NOTE: The above is pure speculation based on a few xmas light strings I've taken apart . . . I've never actually run them off battery power before.
prodmod6 years ago
Jeff, your Instructable inspired me to look into the LED Hoops that are available for $100-$300. As I researched the materials Craft magazine published a DIY in February. I then came up with an even easier way to make a nice one out of the white tubing and 21 LEDs. You can even build it without soldering. I wrote a DIY and sold parts kits and am now onto a rechargeable version and will soon add sensors. This is a really fun project to work on and to keep upgrading the design. You can see the kit here.
http://prodmod.com/make/ledhulahoop/
Thanks for starting me off on this path!
Oh Yoshimi6 years ago
I recently made this exact hoop. However, my addiction to LED's shortly took over and I wanted a hoop with way more LED's. I'm trying to figure out how many batteries it would take to power 20 or so LED's at least through a weekend. SO, I'm doing a little experiment with my current hoop which has 6 LED's. So far it's been shining bright for 48 hours straight! WOO HOO!
Killa-X6 years ago
Yeah, I saw some LED hula hoops at walmart befor for around 10-15 dollars. i think they only have 4 leds and power though, but thats enough to make a full circle at night.
This looks awesome, I can't wait to try making one. Do you know what the weight of the finished hoop was? If I wanted to make one with 10 or 12 leds, how would you recommend going about it? Will I need 2 battery supplies? (I'm guessing that running that many leds from 3v would result in not very bright leds?)
Redrustycar6 years ago
This is a very nice tutorial... My good friend makes his hoops out of recycled phone chargers so they last up to 8 hrs. I've had mine for over a year and haven't had it loose it's light yet. somehow he worked out the balance issue as well. It is a quality product everyone should check em out if you aren't into putting the effort to make your own. There is even an option for a Solar pannel to power it so you don't have to feel the least bit bad about having fun with it all night long. just a thought. oh and I haven't found any that are as nice as his for less.
The link didn't work it's www.LEDHeadyHoops.com
elvis226 years ago
I made some non-LED hoops that are 3/4in. and really like them. I'm assuming the batteries for this wouldn't fit. Is there an easy way to modify these directions to work in a 3/4in. hoop, or do I really need to go up to a 1in. to make this work?
jeffkobi (author)  elvis226 years ago
The AAA battery holder I use probably wouldn't fit in a 3/4" hoop, but that's just because the batteries are side-by-side (and wired in series to get 3V).

I found this product #270-401 at radio shack. It's a single AA holder, so you have to wire 2 of them in series to get the 3V you'll need.

Basically connect the red wire from one batter holder to the black wire of the second batter holder. Now wire the unconnected red/black wires just like i did with the AAA holder in the instructable.

The single AA holders may still be a little loose in a 3/4" hoop, so you might want to wrap them with some foam (or paper towels, etc) before you shove them in the hoop.

Let me know if you need any help!
Awesome. Thanks
just tell me where you got the switch please i ve been looking everywhere
jeffkobi (author)  babayaga20006 years ago
grabbed the cheapest SPST switch from Radio Shack. Search for this part number on their website: 275-406
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