This project creates a RGB LED lit love heart which is controlled by a PIC12F683 microcontroller. I designed the project as a gift for my wife on our 15th wedding anniversary (since she puts up with my addiction to electronics I thought she deserved something in return!).
The love heart is made from a 200x150x6mm sheet of plexi-glass which is cut and sanded to create the optical effect and then mounted on the control board. Even if you are not into microcontrollers the display can be easily adapted to show any shape (or shapes) you like; furthermore any high-intensity LEDs can be used allowing you to create a static light display using little more than some LEDs, resistors and a power source.
In this instructable I will walk you through the various steps and techniques used to make this unique display item.
Note: The high brightness LEDs, PWM colour mixing and the varying intensities confuse my video camera a lot and it seems that the camera is overly sensitive to blue. Despite this I hope the video gives you some idea of how the display functions; the display outputs 35 unique colours fading between each.
Step 1: Items you will need
To build this project you will need some basic tools in order to work with the plexiglass. In addition you will need a PCB (printed circuit board) which you can either make yourself, or use my supplied Eagle CAD files to order a PCB from one of the many board producers available on the Internet.
You will need:
1x 200x150x6mm sheet of plexi-glass
1x Aluminium tape
1x Double-sided sticky tape
1x P600 and/or P1200 fine grain sand-paper
1x sharp hobby knife
1x black fine-line marker pen
1x Printed Circuit Board
1x DIP-8 IC Socket
3x 1K Ohm resistor
10x 56R resistor
5x 120R resistor
5x High-intensity RGB LEDs (common anode)
2x 100nF capacitors
1x 10uF capacitor
1x 7805 5V Regulator
1x 2.1mm DC Jack
3x BC337 NPN Transistors
1x 6 pin right-angle 2.54mm header (optional)
If you don't want to build the more complex RGB LED controller you can use 5 high intensity red LEDs and resistors instead.