Introduction: LED My HEART
With Valentine's day right around the corner, our first project is a great Valentine's gift! This is a twist on the classic lightbulb and requires very basic components.
Note: a lot of images in this tutorial are GIFs, for some reason when viewing All Steps, they don't loop forever =( So if some step doesn't make sense, click on the image or post a comment.
Step 1: Materials
- Breadboard for verifying your circuit (optional)
- 9 LEDs, color of your choice (I used red LEDs)
- 18 AWG wire (I used black)
- Stiffer steel wire such as that used in jewelry or magnet wire (22 AWG)
- 9 resistors (200 ohm)
- USB cable
- Soldering iron
- Wire strippers
- A large clear lightbulb
If making the stand-up base:
11. Plywood or birch wood (if laser cutting) or cardboard tube. This depends on your choice, see Step 13.
Start by stripping the USB cable. USB cables are capable of supplying 5V, so we will use it to power the lamp.
This is the general schematic for the circuit in this lamp. We can first verify the USB and LEDs are all working properly by hooking it up on a breadboard. It is better to verify it now than after having built the lamp since it may take a lot of effort to re-do it once you are done.
As expected, you should be able to see 5V across the USB terminals.
We need to make 9 of these wires each with an LED.
It is very important to label the wires i.e. keep track of which wires are connected to the LED cathode and which ones are connected to the LED anode. Remember LEDs are polar. I labeled my wires using tape.
TIP: Make the wires extra long. Remember these will be wrapped around the heart frame and then go down all the way to the lamp base. The first time I made it, some were too short and I had to extend the leads.
Now let's start soldering! I soldered one side first, then added heat shrink at each joint.
Remember it is very important to label the wires i.e. keep track of which wires are connected to the LED cathode and which ones are connected to the LED anode. Remember LEDs are polar. I labeled my wires using tape.
The LED wires coming from the heart will be soldered to this board later. We will also solder the USB cable to the board too to power the LEDs (like in our schematic).
One by one start wrapping the LED wires around the stiffer heart-shaped wireframe. For this wireframe, I used magnet wire. Once I was done wrapping the LED wires, I wrapped more magnet wire all around to give it a more polished finish.
This step may be a bit difficult in the beginning. Don't be afraid to apply some force.
For safety purposes, I recommend using gloves for this step and putting the lightbulb inside a bag.
If your lightbulb has any markings written on it, you may be able to remove them using alcohol or acetone.
This base was laser cut but you can use many alternatives if you don't have access to a laser cutter. Here is one example on how I made this base. For example, you could use a poster tube or end of a bottle. Ask if you need help! You can download the pdf files and open for laser cutting.
The GND cable is the black one, this should be soldered to the resistors side. The Power cable is the red one, and this should be soldered anode side of the LEDs.
And that's it, your special someone would sure be impressed by your skills! Post if you have any questions!