The idea for this project has been knocking around inside my head for the past few years. I finally decided to get off my butt and do it. Be warned: it is a long instructable because it's a multi-part build, and I'm a bit verbose when writing these things.
This whole project developed out of a color organ that inspired additional complexity and more features. The finished product creates a motion-controlled light show synchronized to an audio source. It started off small - just a color organ - but rapidly grew to take on new features and to incorporate more complexity. I just wasn't satisfied with blinky lights. It had to be spinning blinky lights that are super bright. It's similar to those commercial rigs that you've probably seen. I could have just picked up a system like that, but any time I can make something instead of buying it, I'll opt for the maker mentality!

I would place the difficulty of this project in the intermediate category. There isn't a whole lot of programming involved, but you'll need to do some careful soldering work or (if you're equipped) make your own PCBs to finish the project. I did everything on proto-board, but in retrospect, it would probably have been easier to troubleshoot if I had taken the time to make some custom PCBs for everything.

From start to finish, this project took several months (although that included experimentation and waiting for parts to arrive from China). If you aim to just make a copy, and not experiment at all, it should take you significantly less time, although I wouldn't try and do it all in one sitting!

You will need to draw on a variety of skills, including: soldering, programming arduino, building a circuit on perfboard, and trying not to blind yourself by looking directly at the LEDs. I'm still having trouble with that last one...

Inspiration for this project was found in many different places. I will attempt to list all of them here. If I missed any, my apologies, and just add a comment so I can give you credit!

Step 1: General Parts List

This project took several steps to complete, and I worked on it over the course of a few months. I built it up in stages, so I have broken this instructable up into stages. I will give the overall parts list here, broken up by each mini-project, and I will reiterate the parts necessary for each step.

If you approach it as I did, you can space out the purchases of all the parts you need. Another strategy which helped me save quite a bit of money on parts was to scavenge old electronics (which I've been doing for the past few years). My main source for components is eBay - if you plan ahead, you can get quite a bargain! When I'm not in a hurry, I don't mind waiting 4 to 6 weeks to get 100 transistors for a buck...

Color Organ circuit (to convert audio to analog light signals)

Miscellaneous parts:
  • Quad Op Amp (I used an LM324)
  • 14-pin DIP socket
  • 3 200K variable resistors
  • 3 NPN transistors (I used PN2222)
  • 3 LEDs of your favourite colours (I started with red, amber, and blue, then switched to diffused green after I saw spots when checking the response of the circuit).
  • 3 current limiting resistors matched to your power supply and choice of LEDs.
  • 3 general purpose diodes (I used some from my parts bin. I have no idea what they are. The project suggests 1N4002)
  • a headphone extension cord (from the dollar store)
  • perfboard
  • pin headers: 3 pin male header, 2 pin male header, 2 pin female header, 4 pin female header (I cut mine from a larger header)
  • hookup wire in various colors

Resistors: (I used mostly 1/4 watt, and a few 1/8 watt with no problems)
  • 8 x 1 MOhms (brown-black-green)
  • 3 x 100 KOhms (brown-black-yellow)
  • 3 x 33 KOhms (orange-orange-orange)
  • 1 x 4.7 KOhms (yellow-purple-orange)
  • 3 x 1 KOhms (brown-black-red)
  • in case you missed it above, you'll also need to include 3 current-limiting resistors matched to your LEDs and supply voltage)*
Polarized Electrolytic Capacitors:
  • 1 x 47 uF
  • 1 x 4.7 uF
  • 3 x 10 uF
  • 1 x 0.22 uF
  • 1 x 0.1 uF

Ceramic Disc Capacitors:
  • 1 x .1 uF (104)
  • 2 x .01 uF (103)
  • 2 x .0022 uF (222)
  • 2 x .047 uF (473)

High Power LED strobe light
  • 555 Timer
  • 200k trimpot
  • 2N2222 transistor
  • N channel mosfet (I used a spare IRF020)
  • 0.01 uF ceramic capacitor
  • 10 uF electrolytic capacitor
  • Resistors (4K7, 1K, 100K, 1 Ohm 1/2 watt)
  • 3 x 1W high brightness LEDs
  • Heatsink or metal plate to mount the LEDs.
  • Thermal compound

High Power LED drivers
  • 1 x CD4066 4 channel analog switch
  • 9 x IRFZ44 N-Channel MosFet (probably overkill - anything that's rated for a few amps should be sufficient)
  • 9 x 2N2222 NPN transistors
  • 9 x 2N2907 PNP transistors
  • 9 x 2.2 Ohm 1/2 watt resistors (make sure they're half-watt, or you might risk burning the circuit)
  • 9 x 10 K Ohm resistors (these can be 1/4 watt with no problem)
  • 9 x 1M resistors
  • Male and female pin headers
  • Perf board
  • 9 High power RGB LEDS (I used 6 lead LEDS to give me more flexibility in design. You can use common anode if you want).
  • 9 Aluminum heatsinks for the LEDs
  • 9 1/2" Copper pipe end caps (as additional heat sink)
  •  Electrical tape
  • A ready supply of stranded-core wire (this allows the wire to bend with the movement of the lights) 
Servo Trigger Circuit
  • LM358 Op Amp (pretty much any op amp should work)
  • 2 x 10K resistors
  • 10 uF capacitor
  • optional variable resistor to adjust sensitivity without changing any code.
Arduino and Servo Shield
  • Arduino Uno (I used a different brand due to shipping cost, but choose whichever you prefer)
  • Renbotics Servo Shield (or, if you don't mind changing the code, the Adafruit 16 channel PWM servo shield)
 *if you do end up doing this project with the Adafruit shield, please let me know so I can add your code to this 'ible*
  • Random lengths of hook up wire. I tend to get mine in the liquidation section of the electronics store, where they have random off-cuts of multiple conductor wire.

Another bonus to waiting for parts to arrive is that it gave me time to play around, refine the design, and really plan out what I wanted to achieve with this project. However, there was also a drawback - as I waited, I dreamed up ways of making the finished project more complicated. Thus the extremely long instructable.
thanks, now I can make my own rock videos and mess with unwanted guests.
Thanks! I really enjoyed building it, and I will be adding to it when time allows.
Very cool project! <br>Congratulations!

About This Instructable




Bio: Teacher in Canada. Complete techno-junkie. Open-sorcerer. Scriptographer. I am devoted to learning - teaching just sort of follows...
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