Instructables

LED Rainbow - RGB LED PWM Controller Construction - Easy To Build

Step-by-step, easy to follow instructions on the building of a LED Rainbow RGB LED PWM Controller. Only a minimal amount of parts are needed, along with a PIC processor, and you can construct one of the most amazing LED controllers available.

The system is capable of driving either RGB LEDs, or individual Red, Green and Blue LEDs to produce stunning effects.

The bare PCB, kits of components, code necessary to program into the PIC controller are all available from the http://www.pcboard.ca/kits/led_rainbow/ support site at www.pcboard.ca.

Full details on the LED Rainbow, along with user guides, display sequence summaries, programming information for the PIC processor along with full customization details are all freely available on the support web site.

If you have a well stocked bench with components, you can easily build up this project in an afternoon.
 
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Step 1: Background Information

Picture of Background Information
The LED Rainbow is a dedicated Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) controller which generates color changing effects with RGB LED lighting products. The circuit controls three outputs, each which has the ability to run an LED segment, and with three segments, is a natural for the control of RGB LED arrays.

Sequences are fully customizable and are contained in the microcontroller, which has the ability to strobe, cycle and fade the lighting, creating a massive palette of over 16 million colors using Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) technology. Each output has a resolution of 8-bits, which gives each color a range of 256 intensities and when the three colors are mixed together, a full rainbow of color combinations is possible.

With a minimal parts count, the LED Rainbow is very economical for the hobbyist to build, using industry standard components and running off of a standard 12v-15v power supply. The 2" (51mm) square board is a double sided construction with a detailed silk-screen which aids in the placement of the components.

MarkS1329 days ago

How about a copy of this in PDF format on the product website for those of us that have purchased the product from the website.

I would like to put this on my tablet to read and printing the entire to PDF (view all steps) comes out messed up. I am not sure if it is just Chrome and/or I that is having the printing problem, or it it is Instructables way of pushing people to give them money for a premium account. tia.

siddhanth11 months ago
Say i want to use two 3w leds to be controlled by the same board. or maybe say 3. what should i do? wire the red-green-blue sides in series in all the leds and make sure the transistors can handle the power+increase the size of the supply?
how can i connect 14 star type rgb LED in single driver, whether its possible or not..?
Hugu2 years ago
anyone already do the layout for de pcb?...

someone can share it? thank u!
john.kerr (author)  Hugu1 year ago
Full schematics are available from the support page at http://www.pcboard.ca/kits/led_rainbow/usersguide.html and the PCB can be ordered online for $4 from http://pcboard.ca/store/index.php?route=product/category&path=76_85
elarkangel4 years ago
hi! i love this one but i dont see where can i find the board circuit :S can anyone help me whit this? i really wont to do this! thanks in advance! PS: i love this!
john.kerr (author)  elarkangel1 year ago
The blank PCB and more information on the project has a new web home at http://pcboard.ca/store/index.php?route=product/category&path=76_85
john.kerr (author)  elarkangel4 years ago
You can acquire the PCB for this from http://www.pcboard.ca/shop/product.php?productid=132

Thanks...
oxy-totton5 years ago
the site you gave has inactive hyperlinks for the ordering information so i was wondering if you know of any other LED controllers that would do the exact same thing
john.kerr (author)  oxy-totton1 year ago
The LED Rainbow accessories page has been updated and moved. It is now located at http://pcboard.ca/store/index.php?route=product/category&path=76_85
bkeaton3 years ago
The pinouts on the schematic appear to be mislabeled. Pin 3 should be Vin and pin 1 should be Vout, Since the pins are reversed, I'm thinking that Vcc and Vdd should be reversed as well. Also, what voltage should appear at the output terminals?
bkeaton3 years ago
Can someone identify what type of cap C3 is? In the parts photo it looks to be a blue tantalum. In several other photos it looks like a brown mylar. Thank you.
john.kerr (author)  bkeaton3 years ago
You can use whatever type of .1uf non-electrolytic capacitor you might have around in your component supply chest.

john
Great, thanks for the reply John.
Ant1013 years ago
This is a great project, and the different effects are awesome :-)
It worked first time to my amazement!
I hope to install it somewhere permanent soon., like a kitchen glass splash back or behind the tv for mood lighting. Designing the pcb was a little tricky !
Thanks for sharing,
Antikythera3 years ago
What's the current output ?
john.kerr (author)  Antikythera3 years ago
Each output is capable of running 5A without a heat sink.

John
thats intense! no pun intended!
hanelyp3 years ago
Can we get a circuit schematic diagram?
john.kerr (author)  hanelyp3 years ago
Full documentation and schematics are available here: http://www.pcboard.ca/kits/led_rainbow/led_rainbow_v3.pdf

Whats the maximum input power: voltage and amps? and whats the maximum output voltage and amps per color? thanks
emmanhello4 years ago
Awready bought mine. It workz great. It make meh happy.
john_ingham5 years ago
With the program that goes into the microcontroller, is this available separately or must I pay for it and what type of microcontroller is being used?
john.kerr (author)  john_ingham5 years ago
The code for the controller is a free download from: http://www.pcboard.ca/kits/led_rainbow/programming.html

Using the code, you can program up the chip yourself. If you may not have access to a programmer, the chips are available separately fully programmed.
dazzamatazz5 years ago
I have designed and built a control board like the one here it will operate between 6-32 volts dc and the chip is fully programmable with anything you want it to do with 3 strings of light at about 5 amps each string. i will be posting my instructable in a couple of weeks time after i build a new board.
Tweac-it5 years ago
Is it possible to ramp up the board to output only 2 LED strings (each @ 12- 24V)? (I know NOTHING about electronics but am trying to learn) Can microcontroller be programmed to have string "A" slowly get brighter over 30 minutes (to max output) then have string "B" do the same and finally reverse the procedure 10 hours later?