Introduction: LED Music Sync Headphones

Picture of LED Music Sync Headphones
In this instructable Im going to explain how to make a blinking LED headphone. Of course the LEDs will be syncronizated with the music.

This project is especially focused to night runners. However anyone looks cool with them.

In the top video the battery was nearly off. For this reason I bought a new 3V battery and the result is in the video bellow. Sorry!

Let's start to shine!

Step 1: What Do You Need?

Picture of What Do You Need?

This project is very cheap and most of the components can be recycled. This is what you need and where you can find them:


- 3mm 3V LED (x2) from old toys
- Kinder Surprise (not for the chocolate, but also for the plastic plastic shell) from my meal
- A pair of headphones from my pocket
- 4 in 1 cable from a broken headphone with mic
- 3V battery from a old motherboard
- 3V battery holder from a old motherboard
- Switch from a torch
- TIP31 (x2)
- Solder


- Power drill
- Scissors
- Cutter
- Soldering iron


- Tape
- Cotton

I chose kinder surprise plastic shell owing to is easy and cheap to buy it. You can always use your own recipient.

Soon I'll try to do the same into a big headphone. This process may avoid use the plastic shell, so wait for upgrades!

Step 2: Disassemble the Headphone

Extract the speakers and cut the wire.

Step 3: Drill It!

Picture of Drill It!

Drill the plastic shell so as to introduce the wire in it. Later, do the same to the headphone case for the LEDs.

Step 4: Solder It!

Picture of Solder It!

Start to solder following the scheme bellow.

I prefer to solder all the ground way and then continue with the rest. This simplify the wire mess.

Step 5: Some Tips

Picture of Some Tips

  You can fill the plastic shell with cotton so as to prevent any crash between components. For this reason you should tape the cables and the transistors too.

  Other good idea is made a holder for the plastic shell. With this you can hang the plastic shell in your t-shirt when you're running.

Step 6: Lets Get Blind!

Picture of Lets Get Blind!

Although it isn't so much bright in indoors, it's get very shine outdoor and at night.

 I swear you enjoy this project. Don´t be afraid and post your own versions.


Ash J (author)2014-03-31

great tutorial!

XD S.M.U.S. ;P

plugable (author)Ash J2014-04-01

Thanks! Also, what does SMUS stands for?

Ash J (author)plugable2014-04-01

it means struggle makes U stronger ;p

ThaXified (author)2013-06-08

Video of my Working Prototypes! i maked 4 DIFFERENT WAYS!

vakmaz13 (author)2012-09-24

hey thanks Plugable now I can finish the D3 usb headphone to analog! I'll give you credit once i finish my project and hopefully post it on this site =]

belalthecoolboy (author)2012-08-30

cant we just put the led with the speaker as it can also gona get current from the wire
i m a noob plz help ..

plugable (author)belalthecoolboy2012-08-30

Headphones works in a very low range of current, so you can't even turn on a small led with just that.

Wally_Z (author)2011-05-09

Can this be made without the transistor? I don't have one and would like to know if it is possible.

no_light (author)Wally_Z2012-05-06

if you would do that then the LEDs would not be synchronized with the music

samedifference (author)2011-05-23

I really need the PDF but i seriously dont want to pay.... is there any way i could get it?? Please

plugable (author)samedifference2011-06-05

Try this plug-in for firefox: Trails (I really recomend it for other issues). If you want the average ibles' pdf, reply this post.

bbyshadow (author)plugable2012-02-27

i dnt really getit wont there be no sound if you cut the earphone cables?? ..but can i get the average pdf ??
~**plz && thnx **~

plugable (author)bbyshadow2012-02-29

Sorry, but I don't understand what you're asking for...

Well, now I realize it's not fair to give you the .pdf like that, because there are people paying for that option.

samedifference (author)plugable2011-06-07

you helped me out alot but i ended up doing another project instead and i still got an 100! anyways again thank you

claton (author)2011-09-16

hey, project looks cool im definitly going to try it out, but i was only able to get my hands on TIP120 instead of TIP31. will it still work?

plugable (author)claton2011-09-19

You'll need 5v of voltage in Emitter-Base, so I don't recommend you it.

MichielB (author)2011-07-16

Hi, I have to turn the volume much to high before the leds start to react. How can I solve that? Is it the transistor, because I used a BD243B instead of a TIP31c?


plugable (author)MichielB2011-07-18

Well, the TIP31 version have that problem too. That happens because the audio output voltage is very low. The only thing you could do is attach a pre-amp circuit to this model. However, that would take some space so its more a headset solution than a ear-in headphones one.

claton (author)plugable2011-09-16

would you be able to make an instructables on making this?

blarios thethird (author)2011-08-08

What kind of head phones are: 4 in 1 cable from a broken headphone with mic

Im taking about an average headset cable. A cable which has 4 different wires (ground, left, right and mic) in one cable. You can get it from other devices as well.

deadmau5rocks!!! (author)2011-03-31

this looks pretty awsome im gonnatry it and use it around school :D

Armagedoom (author)2011-03-18

First of all thanks a lot for your post, I love it!!
Second, I would like to ask you something. Im willing to provide the energy to it via USB.
I have read in wikipedia that USB has 5v and I paste the phrase from the wikipedia which I dont understand:

"A maximum of 5 unit loads (500 mA) can be drawn from a port in USB 2.0, which was raised to 6 (900 mA) in USB 3.0."

So they say anything plugged in to an USB 3.0 can get from 150 to 900 mA, how can I define how mutch mA will my device get? Is it too complex, should I stick to battery?
Thanks again!!

plugable (author)Armagedoom2011-03-31

Don't worry. It depends on how much current your device need. In this case, I dont think the current you need would be higher than 0.5 A so you wont have problems. By the way, you' re dividing the current but thats not nessesary if youre using a hub.

Sorry for posting so late but I didnt connect for a while beacuse of th exams. Good luck.

Armagedoom (author)plugable2011-03-31

I finally did it, the guy on the component store guided me, and I got same you got there but using USB to power it, which for me is more confortable, since Im using the leds to light up a led sleeping mask which will flash me during the night so I can get lucid dreams hehehe.... crazy experiment but based on your guide.
Thanks again!

diabloboy (author)2010-11-27

i want to know what a transistor does to leds?

plugable (author)diabloboy2010-11-28

In this case the transistor gets saturade by the voltage of the electric source (3v) with the voltage of the jack (base and collider respectly). This creates an amplifier effect that involves an increase of voltage but no change in current. For more details look for "how transistor works" in google.

AllMightySmiter (author)2010-08-01

If i don't have a switch in my circuit and the headphones aren't plugged in will the LEDs still light up because of the battery?

plugable (author)AllMightySmiter2010-08-02

The LEDs will not light up but the battery will get empty in so less time. Or thats i think.

AllMightySmiter (author)plugable2010-08-02

Okay thanks, I'll try it out and comment on the results.

dombeef (author)AllMightySmiter2010-11-06


MrLeitexxx (author)2010-10-08

if i connect 4 LEds in parallel to each side will i still be able to stick with the 3v battery, will the circuit still work well, or should i up the voltage ? and if i do increase the voltage should i add resistors at some point? thanks in advanced for the answers.

plugable (author)MrLeitexxx2010-10-12

Well, if you add more leds, the only thing decrease its the current. I think that with 4 leds its ok.
And if you add more voltage, the most efficient mode to make it work its to solder a resistor in each led. If you solder only one for all of them, then the battery energy will be waste and the components will be damaged faster.

i hope this is helpful for you!

tokymaru (author)2010-09-07

i just want to get the wiring right before i mess anything up.
the ground on the headphone plug goes to speakers-, battery-, and tip31-?
battery+ goes to led+. led- goes to tip31, and the ground for the tip31 goes to ground on battery clip. right?

plugable (author)tokymaru2010-09-15

That's it, but you don't need "headphone plug goes to battery-". If you refer to the headphone ground, they will come in at the tip31 input. And dont forget to put the left and right headphone channels to the left leg of each tip31.

sIDsleeper (author)2010-07-20

Is there alternative for the TIP 31? (Not because its hard to obtain, but because I have none ATM!)

plugable (author)sIDsleeper2010-07-29

I supose. The best option is ask in a hardware shop for a transistor that make the same work with low voltage. Im a newbie so i cant help you.

sIDsleeper (author)plugable2010-07-29

Nvm, I salvaged one from one of my prev project! THX

Hackrtanman (author)2010-07-15

I followed your diagram, but its not working...Everything works, and ive tested them, and got them today, but i cant find out what i am doing wrong....i dont not have the speakers hooked up,because there was no use. It went a solid red once, but it was synced with the music, or!!!!! Oh, yea, the music IS unpaused, too

Hackrtanman (author)Hackrtanman2010-07-15

I also tested the transistor, and it does work

plugable (author)Hackrtanman2010-07-29

The first time I do it my fails were the most stupid. Have you tested the battery power? Maybe is not full enough for the leds. Maybe the problem are the leds, Do you know the voltage they need? Or might you have changed the polarity of the circuit. Check if the battery is in the right way and remember that all the transistor's circuit is in the ground way.

Karel Jansens (author)2010-06-28

Nice instructable. Ironically, I spent quite a lot of time and effort in trying to make the blinking LEDs on my bluetooth headphones go away. If only the idjits who design those things came up with the genius idea of including a switch. Just goes to show you that those industrial "designers" are really the pits...

Soksume (author)2010-06-25

hey very great idea i was trying this one myself apparently you beat me to the punch :( great job though now all that's left is to try and improve off your design, perhaps someway to amplify the leds so you can listen to it at a bearable level while there in your ears and still have a light show for everyone around to see. great work though look very tidy and professional end product

plugable (author)Soksume2010-06-26

Thanks Soksume! I think someday, when I learn more about electronicss, may I can create a small circuit with that purpose. Or maybe someone beat me to the punch ;-).

About This Instructable




Bio: I'm a physics student. I like to build stuff and learn about electronics.
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