Introduction: Light Up Ski Poles (easy)
This is a much easier route for doing light-up ski poles. They may not be as bright as my first generation poles but they are much easier and more robust. Fortunately, it is as easy as ordering some self-adhesive, waterproof side-emitting LED strips from Glowhut.com and attaching them. They come in many colors and run off a 9-volt battery.
I've made several pole sets. I've made poles with two strips per pole and a single strip per pole. The more lights, the better but it costs more. Each pole has a single 9-volt battery. The hardest part about this project is making sure you put the strips on in a straight line :)
Each strip of LED lights is about $10. So if you want double-strips per pole, it's about $40.
Have fun and light up those slopes!
Step 1: Measure Your Poles
This sounds silly, but since the LED strips are sold by the inch, you need to measure how long of strip you want. I ran my LED strip straight from top to bottom and stopped above the basket. I left a few inches from the bottom of the handle to the start of the strip because you need to place the 9-volt battery below the handle on the pole.
Step 2: Order Your LED Strips
There are several types of LED strips at Glowhut. You want the side-emitting LEDs, model 335. They are a narrower strip that fits on a ski pole very well. Here is the link. At the time of making this Instructable, the cost was $10 per LED strip for a 36" strip.
You also need to order two "9v connectors with lead wires" and ask them to wire two LED strips to a 9v connector (if you are doing 2 strips per pole).
Be sure to choose from the drop-down the correct item. ($0.75 each)
They come in a variety of colors: red, blue, green, white, yellow
I've purchased red, blue, and gree. All are very bright, but not quite as bright as my first generation light up poles that used the RTGS mini LED lights.
Step 3: Apply the LED Strips
Once you have the LED strips, you'll want to make sure the pole is clean and ready for the application. Just like applying any sticker, you should clean the pole with soap and water, then make sure it is dry. (If the pole is too new, then you may want to sand it lightly to rough it up so it sticks better. If you are really concerned, you could apply a spray adhesive to the strip before applying it to the pole.)
I applied the two LED strips on the left/right side of the pole as you are holding it in your hand. That way it avoids head-on impacts. And it makes for more visibility since they are side-emitting LEDs.
As I mentioned in the intro, the toughest part of this project will be applying the strip in a straight line. Get someone to help you by holding the pole on a table so it doesn't move. Make sure the pole is rotated to the desired position. Remove the adhesive backing and start by applying the LED strip from the bottom to the top.
Once you have the first strip in place, rotate the pole 90 deg and apply the second strip in the same fashion.
When done, your 9 volt connector should be near the handle.
Lastly - take a 4-inch zip-tie and tighten it around the end of the lights at the bottom of the pole. Cut off any excess zip-tie. Also add a zip-tie at the top of the lights near the top of the pole. This will be your backup to keep the lights on the pole in case the adhesive lets go.
Step 4: Add the 9-volt Battery
The best place for the battery is below the handle. Hold or temporarily tape the 9v battery below the handle. Apply a cable-tie (zip-tie) below the 9v so that it acts as a lip or shelf so that the 9v battery does not slide down the pole.
In the photo above, you can see the zip-tie and the battery. It is also wise to use a zip-tie (cable-tie) around the battery to hold it to the pole. But you could use tape. IF you must use tape, I recommend using either Gorilla tape or Frostking weatherseal tape, clear, 2" wide, 100-ft long. $7.47 at Home Depot. It is rated for cold temperature and holds up much better than 3M packing tape.
If you have to much lead wire, wrap the connector around the pole to take up some of the slack before connecting it to the battery. Use another zip-tie to hold the lead wires in place. Cut the excess zip-tie that is sticking out.
(Note - I made a mistake when ordering so I had to cut off some cylindrical connectors and solder the 9v connector to the LED leads. The parts I listed are the correct one so your installation will be even cleaner.)
Cable ties: I used 4-inch black cable-ties from Home Depot. Sorry - I didn't write down the model #. Should be < $5 for a package.
Step 5: Connect Your Lights and Light Up the Night!
Now you are ready to snap on the 9v connector to your 9v battery and light up the slopes!
I've had decent battery life, but the colder it is outside the shorter the battery life. I tried skiing at Keystone when it was 16F (maybe colder), and after a couple of hours the lights were getting noticeably dimmer. The photo of my with the skis and poles was taken at the end of the night.
What about the light-up skis? I'll cover that next. Those are also a Glowhut LED strip, but multi-color with remote!
If you'd like to see more things I do with skis, check out my website: http:\\www.skiartistry.com
There you will find a variety of functional ski art for the home made from recycled skis.
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