Instructables
Picture of LED Stair Light/LED Step Light
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Relatively cheap and pretty darn easy-to-assemble step lights made out of LEDs.

I used:
Glue gun and glue sticks
Soldering gun and solder
Felt or Thick fabric that matched the carpet on my existing steps
5mm UltraBright LEDs, color: Pure White with clear lens (3 per step light)
9v Battery (1 per step light)
9v Battery 'snap on' terminal leads (1 per step light)
Sub-mini Slide Switch (1 per step light)

 
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Step 1: Soldering the LEDs

Picture of Soldering the LEDs
I chose to use 3, 5mm LEDs and 1, 9v battery so that I wouldn't have to worry about any math involving resistors. Please note that you may have to get into the math end of LEDs and their resistors if you choose to use a different combo. This was my first LED project, I wanted to keep it relatively simple.

If you're like me, you might find yourself wanting to 'play around' with the little LEDs. Try to avoid 'testing' the LEDs until they are soldered together, and then only touch the leads from the battery to the end of at least two LEDs soldered together. 'Testing' one LED can cause it to burn out from being overloaded. While you are able to light 2 LEDs as opposed to 3 with the 9v, I found the amount of light they gave off to be a little too bright for what I was going for.

To start off the step light:

I wired the LEDs in a series. This meant soldering the positive end of one LED to the negative end of the next led, then soldering the positive end of the second LED to the negative end of the third LED.

If you're not sure which little leg is the positive or the negative, don't worry. If you look closely at the two little, metal tips inside of the LED you'll see that one is larger. You want the leg coming out of the larger metal tip to be soldered to the leg of the next LED which leads up to the smaller metal tip. Once you have three LEDs soldered in a row, set it aside.
Moondawg001 year ago
I had a problem like this few years back. Dark steps on our camper. Almost killed the wife. I bought 3 triple LED lights (2@45 degrees and 1 straight) mounted one on each step pointing at the one below it. I wired them all to one 12v line and ran it to a switch connected to the house battery. Anytime we were out after dark we just turned on the lights!
Keep up the good work!
abbtech3 years ago
Good idea, but changing those batteries might be a bit of a pain after a few times. Like GrumpyOldGoat mentioned there should be a current limiting resistor to protect the max current of the LEDs. The other option you have is to convert it to a 12 volt system and simply plug it in. The lights could then either run all the time or just turn them off at the end of the day. You can get some easy to mount lights that are designed for stairs also so that the people using the stairs don't get blinded by them. http://reactivelighting.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=35&products_id=93

Keep up the great projects!
quanchante (author)  abbtech3 years ago
It's been a couple of years and they're still going - most likely due to limited use. They've been turned on for technical rehearsals and during times the audience is in the space for shows - a few hours at a time, several times a week.

The audiences themselves have proved to be a bit of a 'chaos factor' slamming into the LEDs whenever/however possible. The previous lighting system, which was in varying states of disrepair when I came into the space, involved wiring which had snapped, become exposed, and had to be completely removed after almost causing a fire when it was being tested out. It seemed as though if an audience member got 'curious' and saw wiring, they'd play with it - people will be people.

With the seating arrangement being mobile and reconfigured numerous times throughout the year, this was what I came up with on a limited budget. It was designed to come apart step-by-step - basically a logistical nightmare to wire as a single unit and still have it operational no matter the configuration.

It would have been ideal to have it wired in a single system, though. And much more cost effective. As for the LEDs blinding people, I added a flap of fabric that helped to bounce the light down, not straight out, and this worked out OK.

Thanks for the comments! I was between a rock and a hard place and had to come up with this safety lighting to keep the theater up to code.
Find a 9 volt wall wart, wire it in with the required resistors.  And yes, the resistors are a required item.

Use this link.   led.linear1.org/led.wiz

White LEDs usually run in the 3.2 - 3.8 Volt range.  using 3 in series with a 9V power will be a little dimmer than at normal voltages, but last a LOT longer.

Colored LEDs will need differing voltages.

Red / Yellow / Orange 1.8-2.2v  - 30 Ma
Green / blue / white 3.2 - 3.8V  - 30 Ma

Those are guidelines only.

Your LEDs should come with the required volts and current.

Each series group will need its own resistor.  (Or so I have been told)
squawker5 years ago
Holy Crap. HOW MANY BATTERIES DID YOU USE!!!
Great idea, but you used a hell of a lot of 9v battery's, there's at least 25 in the picture, I'm sure not all of those were used though
LuckyLindy5 years ago
You can take a PC power supply and modify it for use with your LED's. Put a 100ohm 1/4 watt resistor in line on the negative side of the LED "groups" (it doesn't matter which way it faces) and then run a wire to each positive lead of your LED groups from the +12v line of the pc power supply. Then you can run the negative to the -12v line (I do believe). Then just hide all the wiring (under the carpet, through the stairs, or just route them off the side of the stairs) and wire in a switch (I would suggest one that is wall mountable). It's going to save you a TON of money on batteries :P and you won't have to go around turning all of them on and off every time.
quanchante (author)  LuckyLindy5 years ago
Very True. The lights were meant to be this way to avoid running wires. The original step lights were wired-LEDs and this caused problems due to the fact that the seating units are in many sections and get moved around several times a year. It's been about four months and they've been doing just fine - especially considering how much foot traffic the seating has gotten. The batteries cost money, yes, but the whole unit is still a bargain considering that the money spent on this project would cover about five step lights from a regular manufacturer (not including getting them wired).
quanchante (author) 5 years ago
The extension cords in the picture were for the hot glue gun, not the step lights. No power is needed running to or from each unit.