Music LED Light Box

Picture of Music LED Light Box

My original LED light cube got allot of reactions. Some of them where about making the LED's react to music. This did sound very interesting and I found some instructables on here.
Unfortunately I found it very hard to understand those instructables. In my opinion they weren't explained well enough and even some circuits weren't correct.

That's why I though I build one and make an instructable of it. I tried to make this instructable so easy, that everyone with or without any experience can make one!

If you make one, don't forget to share your end result photos and movies with us.

Below you'll see the end result of my Music LED Light Box.

The movie is shot with my Canon Digital Camera, in the dark. My camera can't handle the fast switching between light and dark very well. In reality the effect is even nicer then on the video.

Before people go asking who's music or what songs these are in this video, these beats are made by my brother.  :)
You can visit his website or  YouTube channel for more information and songs.

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Step 1: Materials & Tools

Picture of Materials & Tools
To make this Music LED Light Box you can use many different things and build it different ways.
In this instructable I'll explain how I made it, a very simple way.

- 12v Adapter (a battery can be used as well)
- 3.5 jack headphone cable.
- tip31 transistor (this is the key to the whole project) - $0.50
- 5mm LED's (the color or amount is totally up to you, 1 LED per 3v. I used 12v, so 4 LEDs) - $0.28
- A4 acrylic sheet - 3mm thick (also known as 'plexiglass') - $2.00
- Fine sandpaper (I used 400) - $1.00
- Electrical Wire

If you see a price above, that means I bought it. The rest I just ripped of some old junk. The 12v Adapter was from an old wireless headphone and the 3.5 jack plug is from another old headphone.

- Jigsaw (also a Jeweler Saw can be used. But that's really hard to get straight lines)
- Glue Gun (hot glue, other glue to glue acrylic is possible)
- Drilling tool
- Solder tool (optional)
- Pen

Ones you've got this stuff you're ready to begin!

jhirsch23 months ago
Check out my version of this. My box has over 7 different colors and multiple functions. NO NEED FOR AN AUDIO INPUT. It works off the sound waves in the environment. All you have to do is plug into the wall. Fully controlled via remote.  Check the link below to see my project and a video!
cbrown834 months ago
Hi, I've just built this circuit and it works perfectly, however I have 3 leds which are really bright and 7 that aren't as bright. I'm using 10 leds in parallel each with its own resistor. Which is hooked up to a 12v 300mA power supply. I've done some calculations and have ordered a 6.2 ohm resistor to go before the leds to reduce the current. R= (Vs-Vf) / I. My supply voltage is 13.41, forward voltage is 12V and the current is 0.25A. Am I doing anything wrong? If so please help
kodagames4 months ago
Are you plugging the 3.5 jack headphone cable into a radio? and would it be possible to do this without directly plugging it into a computer/radio?
I'm working on something really similar that uses bluetooth, and has built in speakers. You won't have to do anything but open an app on your phone and jam.
standard8517 months ago
I am trying to use 2 LED strips to get a stereo effect. I am using a potentiometer for each strip so that I can adjust the power or signal going to each LED strip, so that when I have the volume high I can adjust the sensitivity on the music box so that the LED produce a light that goes with the music better. I will reply when its good to go.
How is this going? I made mine in stereo pretty easily using two transistors, but I didn't think to use potentiometers.
sparksnflames6 months ago
I've found heavy duty scotch-brite pads(the green ones with the yellow sponge on one side) to work really well at frosting strips of LEDs (or LEDs mounted to circuit boards) they are soft enough that they don't break the LED leads, but abrasive enough that they scratch the surface of the led as well if not better than an emery cloth...
This tip helped me a lot! I used sandpaper at first but definitely scuffed them too much. The pads did the trick. Great tip!
Newtonium4 months ago
You could put a speaker in series with the LED's and headphone cable, hide it round the back or something, and listen to the music if your computer won't let you output speaker/headphone at the same time.
Build the speaker into the box. I'm working on another version that does this. It's pretty easy, you could even take apart some cheap computer speakers and use those since they have the built in power. You'd have to figure out how much juice to send to them but that shouldn't be hard since most of them have the voltage and current input on the power cord.
jsalas105 months ago
I just built this and everything was working great, for about 10 minutes. Then my leds burnt out. I had 3 leds and a 9v battery. What do I need to change to make it last?
xenkenny jsalas105 months ago
What color LEDs did you use? Different colors tend to have different voltage capabilities.

Example: Red LEDs usually use ~2V. If you used red LEDs, you will have an excess 3 volts on your circuit, so you needed to use a resistor to dissipate the last 3V.

What's nice about having an adapter is that is tells you the output current. Knowing the current allows you to find out what size resistor to use. If your battery ouput 200mA like OP's adapter, then the resistor you'd need to add to the end of your circuit would be 15 ohms. (Ohm's Law)
jrin5785 months ago
two questions-could you get it so LEDs light up independently/could you just use differently colored LEDs to make it multi color? I ask this bcuz i saw a speaker at a store and there was a speaker that lit up different colors and they lit up independently and it looked really cool but it was like $90.
slamsam916 months ago
is there a way or setting where the lights have the option of simply turning on/off without strobing/reacting to music when you want? and then switching it back to being musically sensitive?
happy,happy6 months ago
hey friends i have problem the led are lighting but they are not blinking with the music . is there any possibility of mistake that i have done . i have used 3 led and 9v battery. pls do me a pleasure
bemory6 months ago
is it possible to add this to an individual speaker instead of using a headphone jack it seems like it, I am just unsure
Im pretty sure you can connect it to the speaker, it seems that it would be the same as the headphone jack. I also seen some videos on youtube that people had them connected to their car stereos, like subwoofer and more. Except you would still need a power supply.
thanks man
cardboarddude6 months ago
Has anyone connected this circuit to a strobe light instead of leds?
standard8517 months ago
I got it to work, the only problem I am having is that every device I am using it on, only supports or outputs music through 1 port. Once I plug it in and start the music, it will blink according to the beat, even though I cannot hear the music. Sounds weird but I know when the song kicks up a notch according to the timing and the LED flash brighter. I also connected it with a 9v battery and it works on my phone and computer, but like I said before it kicks my devices in headphone mode and cuts the music off to the source it was playing out of after the music box is plugged in. Can anyone help me with this?
never mind, I didn't read enough. I see that someone asked the same thing, the splitter makes sense. thanks
mstyler7 months ago
Jameswxm ok cool thank you!
mstyler7 months ago
Hey there I was hoping you could help me out with a couple things. Where did you buy all of your items for this project? Are all LED's sound active or did you specifically buy sound active LED's?


jameswxm mstyler7 months ago
mstyler maplin will have everything you need and not to expensive, as for the leds they are just standard leds as its the tip and 3.5mm jack that causes them to pulse mate like a fast acting switch i think lol
jameswxm7 months ago
mstyler maplin will have everything you need and not to expensive, as for the leds they are just standard leds as its the tip and 3.5mm jack that causes them to pulse mate like a fast acting switch i think lol
TTomoTT7 months ago
Connecting Left or Right audio wire to Tip 31

I found that my lights were not working but couldn't find anything wrong with the circuit so I switched the Red (Right Headphone) wire with the Left (White Headphone) wire on the left leg of the Tip 31. Low and behold it works!

Funny as you would of thought they would both have the same output. Hope this helps someone at their wits ends.

Thanks for the brilliant tutorial Motadacruz
jameswxm7 months ago
hi i tried this with 4 led strips but each strip has 24 leds on each so im guessing this circuit isnt powerful enough but i noticed the leds dont have resistors built in nor have i put 1 in so could this be the problem?

i also thought about buying a mini amp off ebay and powering them off that or not a good idea?
jdt89879 months ago
I made this and it worked pretty well. The only thing that's bothering me is that it is so volume dependent. If the volume is too low the leds dont come on and if the volume is too high the leds are not very sensitive to the music. Is there any way this problem can be solved? Any info would be helpful! Thanks!
slee73 jdt89878 months ago
Hello! I wanna know..if the audio jack is plugged to my phone or computer..where is the sound coming out from? or an audio ack spliter maybe? thank you!
gm93d slee737 months ago
You will need audio split adapter. ( )
And you connect the audio jack to audio split adapter.
The sound is coming out from speakers that are connected to audio split adapter too.
jensenaw8 months ago
Hi, Can i use tip31a instead please?
gm93d jensenaw7 months ago
Yes, you can.
dylanpahina7 months ago
when you plug it in, can you hear the music play?
Dont you need a 3.5 aux with two males on one side??
benstringer8 months ago
How would I go about frosting RGB LED strips? Or, should I just frost the plexi glass and set the strips inside? I'm using some audio software to sync my music from my laptop to the LED's to change color based on the output frequencies which is why I am tending to use a strip rather than individual lights. Thanks! :)
foxy1988 months ago
Where did you buy these materals from?
SugarCluster8 months ago
I cannot buy TIP31 transistors here,is there any equivalent?
Or at least the circuit that acts like that?
Google didn't help me...
karlpinturr8 months ago
Very nice - and a better 'ible than this apparent copy:

I don't know how to report this, as none of the 'flags' above seem to be appropriate - maybe you can?
slee738 months ago
Hello! I wanna know..if the audio jack is plugged to my phone or computer..where is the sound coming out from? or an audio ack spliter maybe? thank you!

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