Picture of Light Up Drum Kit
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As a drummer, I love drums. I love how they look; I love how they sound. As a electronics dork, I love building and designing circuits. It was only a mater of time before these two loves would come together. With this kit you will be able to install RGB lighting inside each of your drums that reacts to the vibrations when you hit your drum. Not only will you be able to adjust the sensitivity, but the duration that the lights are on as well.
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Step 1: Parts Needed

Picture of Parts Needed
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Parts needed:
  • Drum Set
  • 12VDC Transformer (Plug Size M)
  • Size M Panel-mount Coaxial DC Power Jack (Radio Shack SKU: 274-1563)
  • Printed Circuit Board (Radio Shack SKU: 276-149)
  • Project Enclosure (Radio Shack SKU: 270-1801)
  • PC Board Terminals (Radio Shack SKU: 276-1388)
  • LED Light Strip (I got mine here)
  • 1uF Electrolytic Capacitor (x2)
  • 555 Timer
  • 2N2222 NPN Transistor
  • TIP31 NPN Transistor
  • 1N4007 Diode
  • 100K Ohm Trimmer (x2)
  • Piezo Element as the drum trigger (I got mine here because it had a self adhesive foam to attach to the drum head). If you would like it to look more professional you can actually use a real drum trigger as found here.
  • 150 Ohm Resistor
  • 470 Ohm Resistor
  • 1K Ohm Resistor
  • 10K Ohm Resistor
  • Braket
  • Wire
  • Heat Shrink Tubing
  • Solder
  • Gorilla Glue
Tools Needed:
  • Drill
  • Drill Bits
  • Dremel Tool
  • Heat Gun
  • Screwdrivers

Step 2: Project Enclosure & Circuit Board

Picture of Project Enclosure & Circuit Board
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We need to cut down the circuit board with our Dremel tool so that it will fit inside our project enclosure. Cut the corners off and size to the enclosure.

Step 3: Create The Circuit

I started out designing my circuit on a breadboard. If you feel confidant, you can go straight to soldering your parts together. You can find a video of the circuit on the breadboard here.

How might I make a simplified version of this without the pots or switch. Just want white. I'm not too electronics-savvy.

tomatoskins (author)  bretton.melanson1 month ago

Well it depends on what you want it to do. The two pots are necessary for the functionality above. One changes the sensitivity and the other changes the duration that the LED's are on. If you just want lights for your kit that stay on constantly all you need to do is hook up your RGB LED light strip up to a 12 volt dc power supply and you are golden.

I want it to strobe/flash with every hit, but all the parameters can be set and forget. Though now that I think about it, those might be good to have just for the original setup.

Still, white LED only, which I see someone else has tried and failed at here, so is there another part that needs to replace the switch?
tomatoskins (author)  bretton.melanson1 month ago

Once the pots are set to where you want them to be you can forget about them. As for only making it just white, the least expensive route would be to just get white LEDs

And I don't know what you mean by switch? Are you talking about the Piezo Element or the small switches going out to the LEDs? If you are talking about the Piezo Element that is necessary for the circuit to work. If you are talking about the other switches, since you are only looking to use one color you could do something like the following:

Schematic - Copy.png

well with just white, I won't need whatever it was that lets you switch between colours on the RGB one, the wkennedy comment below mentions he "bypassed the switches" for the same reason. I'm also going to have to look up "how to understand electronic schematics" haha, damn, wish I had taken that class in school now.

wkennedy11 months ago
Ayeeee I don't know what i did wrong, but I've tried breadboarding this twice and I just put the circuit to strip board, and nothing seems to work. The only difference between what I am doing and the schematic is that I am just using a white led strip, not a rgb one, but I just bypassed the switches and I figured that should do the trick..riiiighttt? I hooked up the negative from the strip to the collector of tip31 and the positive from the led strivto the positive rail....if any body could help I would be sosososo happy! ^-^

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jman 31 wkennedy6 months ago

Don't know if you ever got this sorted out, but looking at your breadboard, I can tell to right off that you probably toasted your LED. You need a current limiting resistor in series between the TIP31 and the LED. A 470 ohm resistor should do the trick if you are using 12 volts.

ioka_tauanuu6 months ago

I was reading the blueprint and looking over you actually component and noticed that 555 timer 4 does not go to the power but actually connects to 10k ohms Transistor. Is that true?

follow the schematic and you can't go wrong. It has been verified many times over and works very well.

Erchan8 months ago

would you mean to share any video link while playing this drum?

LukaR10 months ago
I've found a neat RGB LED strip IR remote controller online (looks kinda like this):

What modifications to the circuit (if any) would I have to make to use this with the drums?
LukaR LukaR10 months ago
Also, what should I change if I was to use a one-coloured LED strip?
jman 311 year ago
When you use someone else's work you should at least give credit and not portray it as your own design. Nice instructable though.
Congratulations Jman31! from my point of view, this instructables popularity is clearly your merit! I've also designed this project using arduino on May, but your design i clearly a superior class!
tomatoskins (author)  jman 311 year ago
I know that I found the schematic online quite some time ago and I had saved it on my computer. When I was making the instructable I tried to find it to link back to but I could not find it. If you know where it is please link it here in the comments.
It's no problem, just wanted to mention it. It's an open source project that I shared so you are free to use it. Here is a link to it anyways:
TheGreatO1 year ago
Hi, thanks for the fantastic instructable, I've been looking for something like this for ages. Do the LED's gradually after the drum is hit or are they triggered straight on and off like a standard monostable? I'm guessing you could add a capacitor to make a more gradual dim if so? Thanks :)
tomatoskins (author)  TheGreatO1 year ago
Remember that there are the two potentiometers in there, one changes the sensitivity and the other changes the duration. If you wanted it to be even longer than what this circuit is limited to then you would just need to mess with the resistance value of your pot and the capacitance value going from pin 7 to ground. Hope this helps.
jeanj1 year ago
Any chance you could post a picture showing how everything sits on the outside of the drum?
sebsch1 year ago
Is there a way to use just one circuit for all drum heads?
tomatoskins (author)  sebsch1 year ago
You can just multiply the circuit for the amount of pieces you have in your kit. The only thing to keep in mind would be the amperage rating of your power supply. I have not measured to see how many amps is needed at a time. The power supply I am using is rated at 3.33 Amps which is more than enough for one drum.
Ed0nG1 year ago
Does this make the drums sound different?
tomatoskins (author)  Ed0nG1 year ago
I have not noticed much change in the sound at all. All that it would do is dampen the sound slightly. Which if you look at my set you can see that I use Evans E-Rings to do that anyways.
weres the video?
tomatoskins (author)  kyle brinkerhoff1 year ago
If you click on the highlighted links it will take you to YouTube where the videos are located.
KGuy1 year ago
I have a drum set, and I love to use it. It's nice to know there's a way to make it even better. I might try this sometime! Great Project!
brosky1 year ago
I can now fulfil my life long dream of joining the blue man group =D
I had seen something like this in a science fiction novel. Very cool from a drummer.
gtr_stitch1 year ago
Very cool! I did something very similar. I used an op amp to turn a strum on my guitar into light. It never left the prototyping stage, but it was a very fun project. You may have inspired me to revisit the project :)
Awesome Instructable!! The video of the circuit is showing up as "private", any way to get that opened up to view? Thanks!!
tomatoskins (author)  cptbingo20001 year ago
This should be resolved now. Let me know if you have any issues.