Introduction: LED Running Safety Belt

Picture of LED Running Safety Belt

I would like to apologize in advance for the quality of the pictures and video. My point and shoot camera could not compensate for the light and dark differential and the cellphone blew everything out with the flash off the reflectors. to get the whole idea of how this works please view the inline video.

Thank you in advance


Mrs TinkerGNome likes to run, however as we live in the middle of nowhere, there are no street lights to speak of. (or street for that matter, lots of gravel and dirt.) So since the days have gotten shorter her running has fallen off with the daylight.

With the problem identified as a case of the dark. It was time to brainstorm a solution to enable Mrs GNome to run as she is apt to do.

A little background I used to be a firefighter and visibility on the fire scene was achieved with used to wear strips of bright colors and reflective tape. I figured that if reflectors are good, then LED's would be freaking awesome. I have a some red 5050 LED strip left over from a quadcopter, some Bright White 5050 LED's, and a small 12V LiPo battery.
IT IS INVENTIN TIME!!! The light bulb went off and what i came up with was the glowy LED running belt pictured in the video below. It sports 9 white lights forward to watch out for potholes, rocks, logs, and rednecks passed out in ditches. And multiple red LED's to mark her sides and rear. If she is not visible now then the driver must not be driving with their eyes open.

Step 1: How It's Made

Picture of How It's Made

While shopping for elastic webbing and reflective tape I came across these PT belts; for a cheaper price then the components alone when you factor the buckle and adjuster

So I picked one up for about $12 or so and assembled the rest of my components.

  • PT belt
  • Clear thread
  • Female JST pigtail
  • 12v 3 cell 1Ah Li-Po Battery with male JST connector or small 12v battery of choice
  • Red 5050 LED strip
  • Bright White 5050 LED strip
  • Heat-shrink tubing
  • Scrap of carbon fiber plate (can swap with wood or plastic)
  • 4 small zip ties
  • LED strip connector pigtail
  • Velcro strips and adhesive square

Tools used

  • Soldering Iron
  • Right angle die cutters
  • Scissors
  • Sewing needle
  • Lighter
  • Solder
  1. Size belt to the runner.
  2. Measure LED's for the front and rear sections 9 white in the front and enough red to finish out the ring.
  3. Sew LED strips to the PT belt with white or clear thread.
  4. Solder pigtails into a Y connector using heat shrink to insulate the junctions.
  5. Thread ends of the Y power harness through the sides of the adjuster buckle and attach to 5050 strips
  6. Zip Tie the scrap carbon fiber plate to the slide adjuster buckle
  7. Slide the Velcro strips on either sides of the slide adjustment buckle
  8. Affix Velcro adhesive to the battery and press to the plate, finish securing by wrapping with Velcro straps
  9. Plug it all in and Let it glow, let it glooooowwww.....

OK all puns aside it is a easy build that should take about an hour or so to assemble including sewing the LED strips to the belt. No encoders or controllers required. I originally bought a 12v bicycle flasher (pictured above) however it flashed 5 times fast then slow then went to solid. So it got pulled out of line and I remade the power harness.

I am awaiting a smaller 12V lipo say 500mAh. This is just to cut down a couple hundred grams as the run time is freakishly long due to the energy sipping nature of LED's. For charging I just toss the pack on my LiPo Balance Charger after a run. If you are concerned with using hobby pack LiPo's it would be possible to use 2 9v batteries and a step down converter.

The double Velcro system works two fold. The patch on the back of the battery that sticks to the patch on the mounting plate will provide lateral stability. With the double wrap of strapping to prevent it from getting knocked off accidently. This method works well on R/C aircraft so I figured it will hold up with the forces involved with a terrestrial based bipedal mobility system, AKA a runner running.

LiPo Batteries are extremely energy dense so please don't short or puncture the pack Standard disclaimers don't burn down your house etc etc etc at yer own risk blah blah blah everything that can hurt you delays the inevitable etc.

Merry Christmas and Cool Runnings Mon....


martelrkm (author)2015-11-10

I made some modifications. Not good at sewing so I ended up using a sticky back LED strip and some hot glue. Hope it holds. Still working on an elegant solution to holding the battery.

MoTinkerGNome (author)martelrkm2015-11-10

I think that should work even better and if you use enough hot glue seal the LED strips.

icecoldies (author)2015-01-05

Great...just what I need....first project for 2015!

About This Instructable




Bio: Howdy, I am a bit of a tinker gnome. I like playing with hardware/technology along with making stuff I want out of old stuff ... More »
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