RGB LED Ceiling Mood Light with Hacked IR Remote Control

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This instructable documents the design and construction of a giant RGB LED ceiling light, controlled by a hacked GE remote control.

After building a couple smaller RGB lamps, I decided I wanted to see how far I could take the concept.  The control circuitry is basically the same, it's just a matter of using a beefier LED driver!

My finished lamp measures 30"x30" square and is 3.5" tall.  It hangs 5.5" off the ceiling, and uses 9x 3W RGB LEDs controlled by a PIC 16F1829 microcontroller.

Originally the lamp had an attached control panel for color and speed adjustment.  Then one day I found a perfect IR remote control with Power, R/G/B, and Up/Down buttons and even a built-in switchable backlight!  I decided this would be a fun and functional addition so I wasted no time hacking the IR output signal and interfacing it to the controller.

The lamp starts out in white-light mode (like a normal ceiling light).  At the press of a button, it switches to RGB Color Fading.  From here, you can adjust the speed with the Up/Down buttons or even pause the color at any point in the RGB fading cycle.

Hopefully this instructable will give you some construction ideas or inspiration for your own large-scale RGB LED project!
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tofublock4 months ago
Excellent instructable! I'm thinking about building something similar. Quick questions before I jump into getting the parts together: are you able to properly illuminate your room with this setup or is it more of an ambient light? How big is your room? How's the colour temperature on full brightness? Is it very "sterile" or can you produce comfortable lighting for, say, a living room?
Thanks, Tobias
ajax_electronics (author)  tofublock4 months ago

Hi, Thanks for looking! To answer your question - the light from my lamp is pretty "sterile", although I didn't spend a lot of time trying to optimize for color temperature. I use this daily in a 14x16 ft. bedroom for getting dressed, etc and it works well. When it comes to reading, though, I prefer a desk lamp. I think it could work for a living room with more time/care spent on tweaking the color temperature more LEDs or better positioning. You can also use two sets of LEDs - buy some nice "Warm" ones for white-light mode, and use cheap RGB oness for different colors.

Thanks for your quick reply. Actually I don't really need RGB LEDs so white only is a good idea.
Again, thank you.
vawi20031 year ago
Nice instructable, gonna try this one out. I get how the power supply works for the led's but how to you power the ic circuit?
ajax_electronics (author)  vawi20031 year ago
Hey, thanks for the comment! You're right, I distinctly left out details of how to power the logic... I went back and updated the schematic and instructable just now. I used the +30V power supply to power the LEDs, and for the logic +5V I used an LM7805 linear voltage regulator with a 12V zener diode (reverse biased) in series with the input. The zener knocks the 30V down to 18V for the input to the LM7805, which makes the regulator happier. Good luck, and have fun!
BtheBike2 years ago
this is so cool ! must have video please !!
ajax_electronics (author)  BtheBike2 years ago
Hello, thanks for the comment! I have a video up on youtube, you can check it out here:
thanks ajax =)
ffcabral2 years ago
Definitely this serves as great inspiration :) Nice job!
Foxtrot702 years ago
This looks like a great add-on to a tv. Is there an interface for tv signal to change the mood lighting?
ajax_electronics (author)  Foxtrot702 years ago
After rearranging the code, you could make it respond to any type of IR signal... It would be cool to have a "secret" button on your TV remote that puts it in mood lighting mode.
samalert2 years ago
If am not wrong one can cut own the budget.
One uses LED strips (multicolor) : Rs.100 /meter
IR Remote + its receiver : Rs. 250
LED Strip Driver : Rs.250

Total Rs. 600 (padding amount to Rs.400) total Rs.1000

We can Get these Lighting Except the frame for $20 MAX isnt it ?
very good
Absolutely beautiful light. Sure is complicated, but you explained it very well.
Awesome skill!
TXTCLA552 years ago
Couldn't we just buy RGB LED strips for the underside of cars, hook up a power adapter? Also are you sure cardboard is a wise choice? I suppose if the LED's don't produce a lot of heat (some do) it would be alright.
ajax_electronics (author)  TXTCLA552 years ago
Hi TXTCLA55, I wanted to make sure I had enough light output to make this a functional ceiling light, so that's why I went for the super high brightness LEDs. I have never used the automotive LED strips, so I can't really say how well they'd work...

Corrugated cardboard actually did work well because it is fairly rigid and also very lightweight. To reduce heat concerns, the LEDs were each mounted on to heatsinks and elevated above the cardboard on plastic spacers to allow for airflow (see pics in Step 6).
steveturri2 years ago
How much did this cost for all the parts?
ajax_electronics (author)  steveturri2 years ago
The most expensive parts are the LEDs ($6/ea on Ebay) and the power supply ($32). Everything else is pretty inexpensive or free depending on how hard you look.

I'm guessing in total you'd be looking at around $100-$125, not including the remote. (There is one of these GE remotes on Ebay right now, but it is priced at $84. That seems a little steep...)
heromorph2 years ago
Great job!! what kind of power supply did you use? how much current can it supply?
ajax_electronics (author)  heromorph2 years ago
Hey, thanks.

I ended buying a power supply from Mouser ( It is:
30V, 2A, 60W
Part# 418-CFM60S300
Price: $34.25
(Instructable edited with this info)

Most of the supplies out there are 28V or 32V, but this one was right in the middle. Plus, it was very lightweight.

mikeasaurus2 years ago
The results look great!
ajax_electronics (author)  mikeasaurus2 years ago
nerd17012 years ago
This is a pretty sweet project! Can you get the led's to change to any color in the spectrum, or can the micro controller only handle primary's?
I think says right here in Step 1, Either it's white, or fading through the colours, and can be paused at anytime.

I would love to do this, great one! But, Im not sure if I know enough about micro controllers and circuits to attempt such a project yet

i just wasn't sure if just faded through the primary's or if it had all the colors along the way. The reason i ask is i know it takes considerably more work to make it fade smoothly through all the colors.
ajax_electronics (author)  nerd17012 years ago
Thanks for the comments, guys!

The lamp is capable of individual 10-bit brightness control for each color, so it can potentially produce millions of colors. Currently, though, the lamp color fade routine uses only 2 out of the three primary colors at any given time (see "PWM Control" section of step 5). 

nerd1701 - you got me to thinking... I could potentially add another 10-bit counter to the code that will cycle the third color through the full 10-bit brightness scale. This would unleash the full potential of individual 10-bit RGB brightness control.  I might just do that... I'll be sure to update the instructable if I do!
BTW - Since a picture is worth a thousand words, how many words is a video worth?

This should do a good job explaining the current color fade routine: