This is an instructable on how to assemble the Luminous Loafers solder kit. This kit adds step sensitive, flashy, glowy LEDs to shoes. They come preprogrammed with 7 different colours and patterns, making any pair of boring old shoes look awesome!
The programmed colours are:
Blue, green, red, pink, white, orange and yellow.
When you take a step and trigger the vibration sensor the LEDs pulse on and slowly fade, this is then followed by random flashes.
By holding the button down for 1 second the LEDs will light up with a scrolling fading rainbow pattern. The controller can be switched back to a single colour step sensitive pulse by holding the button for another second.
I have also attached a set to my running shoes, this helps me not be run over on dark damp nights!
The kits can be found on Tindie here.
The kit uses two strips of "neopixel" WS2812b led strips, but they have been covered in a special plastic coating to improve water resistance.
Step 2: Parts List
So the kit naturally comes with enough parts for a pair of shoes, for one shoe this contains:
10 LED (WS2812b) strip
3x AAA battery box with clip
ATtiny85 microcontroller, preprogrammed
8 pin socket
430 ohm resistor
Additional tools are required for assembly: soldering iron, solder, wire snippers
Step 3: 8 Pin Socket
For the first step, solder on the 8 pin socket. This fits into the board with the dimple at the top of the board. Flip the board over and add a small bit of solder to each leg.
Step 4: Tactile Button
Next, add the tactile button.
Make sure the button is orientated as show in the picture. This is with the sides with the legs entering the body at 90 degrees to the bottom edge.
Flip over again and solder to the board.
Step 5: Resistors
Take the green, 430 ohm resistor and bend both legs at 90 degrees to the body of the resistor. Now slide the legs through the holes in the board marked as R1. Turn over the board and solder. Next, repeat this with the 10k resistor in the position marked as R2.
*You might notice the unused "Sensitivity" square on the board with a wire already soldered in. This was for when I used a pressure sensor to trigger the LEDs, however I found these to be rubbish and broke after less than a day. So I switched to the vibration trigger and now no need for a sensitivity dial. However, the boards had already been ordered!
Step 6: Capacitor
This is an electrolyte capacitor and so the polarity is important. If it is connected the wrong way it can explode!
The long leg corresponds to the positive and the short leg is the negative, it can also be seen by looking at the case. A grey strip with negative - symbols marks the negative leg.
Slide the legs through the board matching the polarity markings on the board, as show in the figure. Solder the legs into place.
Step 7: Vibration Sensor
The vibration sensor doesn't have a polarity and so can be connected either way round. To maximise sensitivity it is best to orientate it parallel to the board surface. So carefully bend the legs at 90 degrees. One leg is very thin and springy, this wont bend very well but as long as the thicker leg is bent then that's fine. Slide the legs through the board and solder into place.
Once soldered trim off all the long legs. Then its time to insert the Luminous Loafers brains, the ATtiny85. The legs are slightly flared out. Gently bend the legs inwards a little and carefully insert into the socket.
Step 8: Battery Box
Please ignore the blue pot in the pics*.
Now it's time to connect the battery box. The battery connects just above the capacitor. Looking at the board you will see 4 holes. The bottom 2 smaller holes are labelled - and +. This is where the wires will be soldered. However, to protect from sudden pulls on the wires, they first need to be fed through the 2 larger holes.
Thread the battery leads through the holes as seen in the first figure. Then bend the wires back on themselves. This can be a little tricky and is easier with a pair of small pliers or tweezers. Feed the tinned end of the wire back through the board and solder. Once soldered pull the remaining wire back through the top 2 holes.
*Here is a good time to mention a slight... eccentricity with the board. Originally it was designed to operate with a resistive pressure sensor. This was scrapped due to reliability problems. However, the position for the sensitivity pot remains. The kit comes with this already corrected with a wire, and so you need not worry about it. I only mention it since the original blue pot is visible in some of the following pics.
Step 9: LED Strip
The led strip is connected in the same way as the battery box. However, instead of 4 holes there are now 6. This is for V+, ground (GND) and data (DO). The DO line is how the microcontroller tells the LEDs what to do.
The LED strip comes with 3 black wires connected, these are labelled 5V, GND and DI. Thread each wire through the corresponding large hole on the board. Now, take your shoe, hold the LEDs again the sole where you intend to fix them later. Next, take the battery box with PCB board held on top (as this is where it will be fixed later) and clip onto the shoe laces. This gives you the length you want the wires to be.
It is important to make sure they are not too tight or loose. If they are too tight then they could apply too much force on the solder joints, if it is too loose then it could be caught on something as you walk.
Find and appropriate length (slightly too long is better than too short!) then cut the wires. Feed on a couple of pieces of heat shrink then strip the ends and feed back through the board as with the battery box. Solder all three wires into place.
Once soldered heat the heat shrink to hold the wires together.
Remember, measure twice cut once!!!
Step 10: Fix Everything Into Place
Now all the soldering has been completed, it is time to fix the kit too our shoes.
The kit comes with tabs of double sided foam tape. Take one tab and stick this to the back of the PCB. Push firmly so that it sticks the board itself and not just the wire legs. Peal off the other side and stick the board to the top of the battery box, just below the switch. See fig.
Now clip the battery box to the show laces.
Hold the LED strip against the sole of the shoes where you intend to fix it. Make sure you know exactly where you are going to put it! Next, make sure the sole is very clean. Any mud or grease will result in the sticky tape failing and the strip falling off. Once very clean I also recommend using some sandpaper to rough up the surface. This helps the glue stick, but this is optional.
Once very clean, peel off the plastic backing from the foam tape on the LED strips and stick to the shoes.
If you find they do begin to peel off, because of grease or mud. Then conventional glues can be used, for example a good blob of hot glue from a glue gun works well!
You're now ready to wear you new and improved shoes!
Step 11: Extension Jumper, Further Improvements and Hacks
Extension jumper. You may have noticed that there is a jumper on the bottom left of the controller. This is normally unused, however if this jumper is shorted then it tells the controller to control not 10 but 60 LEDs. This can be used if you want to buy longer LED strips and wrap your whole shoe in LEDs.
Also, as you may have noticed the board isn't protected from water. In most situations this isn't much of a problem, how often does the top of your foot get wet?! However, if you live somewhere particularly wet (like the UK) you might want to take steps to protect the board. I choose to cover the board with a thick layer of hot glue. Just leaving the button open to be pressed.
Alternatively a box could be easily 3D printed to hold the board.