Instructables
Picture of RGB LED Mood lighting
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Here we have a RGB mood lighting system, this is made to hang on your wall and give you something to zone out on and give the room a nice little glow of changing colors. I had no idea how this was going to turn out, BUT I am happy with the outcome!






 
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Step 1: Parts Needed

Picture of Parts Needed
Alright so below are the parts and the tools I used... I encourage adapting this project into your own style, so you can follow it step by step or use it as a reference to make your own creation!

Parts:

Poster Board (found at Micheal's arts and crafts)

5mm RGB LED's (I bought at www.besthongkong.com, also at Fry's Electronics)

Resistors for my project I used 330 ohm 1/4 watt resistors, but whichever kind you need for your LEDs, how I have found out is by going to http://led.linear1.org/led.wiz which is a LED calculator, you plug in your information and it tells you the array and what resistors to use. (I bought at www.besthongkong.com, also at Fry's Electronics)

Copper Tape (found at Micheal's arts and crafts)

Wire (found at Fry's Electronics, but I am sure Radio shack has them too)

9 volt battery harness (found at Fry's Electronics, but I am sure Radio shack has them too)

9 volt batteries (found at Fry's Electronics, but I am sure Radio shack has them too)

Choice of wood 1x4x8 (Home depot, Lowe's)

L shape metal Brackets (Home depot, Lowe's)

Screws fir Bracket (Home depot, Lowe's)

Fogged Plexiglas (or clear Plexiglas sanded with medium grit sand paper) (Home depot, Lowe's)

Tools:

Wire Cutters
Soldering Iron
Hot Glue Gun
Skill Saw, or Chop Saw
Screw Driver
Drill
Carpenters square or Ruler
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laupnod3 days ago

I dunno if this is the right place to ask but I have all but made this instructable and it looks great. problem is the batteries last less than 15 min the only difference on my project is the use of a switch with two on positions and an excessive use of aluminium tape to hold everything down

Much thanks

thotho90 made it!1 month ago

I did mine , built-in coffee table from Ikea

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UgniusR2 years ago
Nice instructable. How did you secure your plexiglass on the front? Glue? Also, where did you get a 20 x 20, or whatever size you used, sheet of plexiglass? Did you go to Ace or something? I looked on the Home Depot website, but there were only precut pieces and they were pretty exensive. How much did your's cost?
seligtobiason (author)  UgniusR2 years ago
Thank you for your compliments! I attached the fogged piece of Plexi glass with some double sided tape, you can also use hot glue instead. I used double sided tape just in case I wanted to show someone the insides of the project, the tape makes it a little less permanent then gluing it. I used this thinner fogged Plexi glass that is intended to diffuse fluorescent shop/kitchen lights (I actually not sure if the fogged plastic is technically Plexi Glass, but may just be thin fogged plastic). I bought it from Home Depot, but can't find a link for it from their website (sorry), but if you look in the fluorescent light section you should be able to find sheets of it. The plastic is pretty thin so I was able to score it with a pocket knife and then just bend it really carefully and it will snap along the score line. You can also cut it with scissors, but doing that you get these little cracks along the edges, so I would suggest scoring and snapping the plastic. Hope that helps, let me know if you need anything else!

Hello Seligtobiason

I see your panel mood ligthing its very cool , I'm from Mexico and I'm looking this kind of panel.

But Until now I couldn't be able to find where it sell by someone

I would like to know if you know where I can find it this panel

Where are you from?

Do you sell it? I hope you can help me look friend I design and install sensory room its a room special where the therapist work with special needs people

I hope you can write me, its my email: sensoryroomsmexico@prodigy.net.mx

Best Regards

Fernando

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techwolf08 months ago

So i started to test my LED's starting with the setup from the top of battery one and i can't seem to figure out why when i only use two lights that one of the lights won't work. Can you give me any suggestions?

I'm using rainbow LED's

arturo_mc3 years ago
I've finished building the frame and putting it together! This is a very nice instructable, i will surely post pics once its finished since, well it is all thanks to you! :), but one quick question, did you sand the plexiglass? the LEDS are already dimmed with the hot glue, so did you sand the plexiglass as well? or is it crystal clear plexiglass?
seligtobiason (author)  arturo_mc2 years ago
The pexiglass is actually already fogged when I got it so no need to sand, but if you have clear, then you should probably sand it. The plastic that i used is actually a diffuser from a fluorescent kitchen light that I got from Home depot.
Since each LED cycles through the same pattern... this is entirely red when turning on... then green, the blue, etc. Correct?

How long after powering on does it degenerate into a random pattern? Any chance of uploading a video from the moment of powering-on so we can see?

I'm working on something similar, but plan on turning them on at different intervals. This way there is a clearly defined pattern at power, but then degenerates into the randomness as your box does.
seligtobiason (author)  philgainer753 years ago
You are right, they do all start out red, and fade from each color. But I don't think that there is a need to have them power on at different times, it only takes 10 seconds or so for the randomness kicks in so it would be more or less a waste of time.

The LEDs' themselves are not regulated that well when being made so when they fade from one color to another the timing is off a little bit, which quickly makes them off pattern, then leads to the randomness. I hope that helps!
Thanks for the reply!

10 seconds? Wow... that's much faster than I am seeing with mine so far. I've got a lot of 500 here, and in my testing, they seem fairly consistent.... 20 slapped on a breadboard sees about 10-15 of them hold a decent sync for upwards of a minute. Although time-consuming, and if need be, I could test, sort, and group out the ones that appear to have similar timing. Im using 121 (11x11) of my 500 for this project, so I've got more than a handful to pick from.

Like stated above, having the pattern at power-on is one of the main points of my project (through tinkering with adjustable delay circuitry) ... seeing it degrade is part of the goal, but doing so in under 10 seconds will be disheartening. I guess I'll find out more as I progress.

Again, thanks for the reply!
acarballo3 years ago
So how do you turn it on? i mean...do i have to get my hands inside of it and clip the batteries or does it have a button or something?
seligtobiason (author)  acarballo3 years ago
In the Instructable it is just setup to pop the batteries in and out, but that did get annoying so I just put in a switch to the side to turn it on and off.
Im kind of new to electronics, if i wanted to add a switch for both of the circuits (top RGB and bottom RGB) where should i put the switch?
seligtobiason (author)  acarballo3 years ago
Hey there, sorry about the delay in response. So since there are technically two power sources you can't use a standard switch, BUT they do make a switch that has two inputs and two outputs so it really is two separate switches connected together! That would be your best bet, so for a switch just attach the positive wire from the battery to the input on the switch and then a wire from the output of the switch to the positive of the LED! Easy as that!
Hello, its me "acarballo" from before, i changed my email account with facebook and my instructables accounts got screwed, but anyway, thanks for the fast responde, and i repeat, im fairly new to electronics, so maybe you could help me out a bit on this please.

Since my local electronics store only had 16 chameleon Leds (RGB's), i bought 16 and im gonna make it 4x4, but the question is, im gonna have 2 arrays, of 8 chameleon Leds each, Should i use 150 ohms resistors and power each array with a 9V battery? or what resistors should i use? Thanks in advance for your support!
seligtobiason (author)  arturo_mc3 years ago
Hello again, if you are ever in doubt of what kind of resistors to use, you should check out any LED Calculator, my favorite is this one:
http://led.linear1.org/led.wiz
It is nice, simple, and easy to use.  On that note, if your LED needs 3.4 volt 20mA and is being pulled from a 9volt battery you should use 330ohm 1/4 watt resistor for each LED.  I see I wrote 150Ohm resistors in the instructable, but that would be if you wired two LEDs to each resistor, but in the case of working with "flashing" LED's you do want a resistor to each LED.  Sorry for the confusion, and I fixed the mistake in the instructable (oops!).  Hope that answered you question, and let me know how else I can help!
Hmph, using the calculator you provided, and using, 9v as source voltage, 3.4 diode forward voltage, 20 diode forward current mA, and 8 Leds, it tells me i should use 120 ohm at 1/4 Watt for every 2 leds... im kinda lost then since you said i should use 330 Ohms for each Led D:
seligtobiason (author)  arturo_mc3 years ago
Since these LED's are not one solid color they are considered "Flashing" even though they are just fading from one color to the next. So with "Flashing LED's" I have read that if is best to have one resistor per LED, which in this case of 9 volts would be the 330 Ohm 1/4 watt resistor. The confusion of the 150Ohm vs 120Ohm is that 120 Ohm is what is suggested, but I had 150 Ohm on hand so that's what I used, and you can go with higher resistance for a substitute but you should never use less resistance!

I hope that clears up everything, and again, trust the LED calculator, when in doubt with anyone's projects use the LED calc. You never know what the circumstance is with whoever is making the project, my 150 Ohm resistors is a prime example!
Oh sorry, i just read the part where you said that using 150 ohms is for 1 resistor every 2 led, so with that current information i should use 330 at 1/4watt for every led then right?
nmartindale3 years ago
if you're buying all the stuff, except the soldering equipment and stuff, about how much would it cost?

totally loving the project though!!! It looks epic, and I'm totally going to try to do this! Been looking for a long time for a good LED project, and this looks like fun! ^^ Thanks for making this tutorial!
seligtobiason (author)  nmartindale3 years ago
Thank you for your compliments! This is a really fun and entertaining thing to have hanging on your wall! I think the whole thing cost me around $20 bucks, but I think you can get it cheaper, the thing that cost the most is the RGB LED's, so if you can get them cheap you can make the whole thing cheaper! Also when you buy things at Micheal's make sure to look online for the %50 off coupons, helps keep the price down. Hope that helps!
rbartels3 years ago
so does this automatically change colors too?
seligtobiason (author)  rbartels3 years ago
Yes! Each LED is what they call a "Flashing RGB LED" which really isn't flashing as you can see but fading from one color to another. There is a super small chip inside of each LED so it fades at its own pace automatically when it has power.
daop193 years ago
what´s the voltage of the leds that you use????
seligtobiason (author)  daop193 years ago
The RGB LED's that I bought have a forward voltage spec of 3.0V-3.4V Typ, 3.8VMax. which seems to be a standard for the RGB, but when you buy your LED's just make sure to take a look at the specs, because every LED is a little bit different.
hamidogreen3 years ago
Hey do you have a drawing or something to show how you wired the whole thing to a 9V power supply?
Thanks!
seligtobiason (author)  hamidogreen3 years ago
I don't have a drawing, but it is a really simple circuit. There is just a common positive and a common negative going to each LED. Each LED has its own Resistor.

So essentially for each LED you have a Positive wire coming from the positive side of the battery to the positive side of the LED. And then a negative wire coming from the negative side of the battery going to the resistor which is attached to the negative side of the LED.

If that is not clear enough I can sketch something out, hope that helps!
placatecj4 years ago
 Wow man that looks great.  Question how long will one battery power that many LED's?

c
seligtobiason (author)  placatecj4 years ago
I haven't timed it out, but for me it lasted a while, but not as long as I wanted, so I ended up changing it to be plugged in.  To do that just find a 9v power source and connect all the wires in back so that it is one big circuit, then wala!  Never have to worry about using up batteries!
If I wanted to hook up, say, 20 of these boxes together (400 leds in my specific design) . Would a 9v power supply work for the whole thing? I assume not, but I am trying to research the way around it. Would I just need a 9v supply with a high(er) mA?

I guess I am just wondering what an experienced person would do. I am just getting into the LED projects myself. I did make this box already, with great results! Now I want to take this concept and expand. I appreciate the time you put into this! Definitely falling in love with this new hobby.
seligtobiason (author)  tchristensen02093 years ago
I am really glad that you like this, and even more that you are loving LED's! They are so much fun to make things with!

As far as what you are wanting to do, you can use any voltage that will power the LED's. And then like you said just make sure that you have enough amps to cover all the LED's and that you are using the appropriate resistors for the voltage you chose.

When hooking up that many LED's I am sure there is a more efficient way to go about it, I just am not advanced enough in the electronics to know how. But this will work for large amounts of LED's! When you get it all done please post a video, I would love to see it. If you have anymore questions please let me know!
kctess53 years ago
I did something very similar except I used slow change leds and have the squares spaced out and cut them out of a piece of sheet metal with a dremel. Looks super cool with the metal between the leds and also as a frame
CThoma0314 years ago
Hey-
I would like to install this into my car and not have to run off 9 volt batteries, is there a way to hook it up to the car battery?

Ive never worked with individual LEDs before, any change to the resistors or anything else needed for hooking it up to my 12v car battery?

Thanks for your time!
In more detail I would like to do an array of leds that are 9x7 so 63 total. From what i can tell from different calculators and such online its not possible to do that many. Is this true?
seligtobiason (author)  CThoma0314 years ago
Hey there, so I like your idea I am a big fan of lights in and on cars! It is totally possible to run 63 LED's off of your car battery. Your battery is a 12 volt source so you just need to find out how many LED's you can put in sequence/array, and also find out the appropriate resistors for that.

Hooking up the LED's to your car is the same thing as what I made, just using a higher voltage, let me know if I can help you further!
Thanks for the fast reply, going off what you said I think Im just getting the same slow flash ones from http://www.besthongkong.com.

Is there somewhere like a tutorial that you know of that would help me to figure out how many I could run in sequence and the resistors?

I tried looking at other articles on here and everything was like how to hook up 1 or 2 LEDs not quite the big scale Im going.

I also tried using the LED calculator you referenced but the array it shows is only 3 and 4 wide I need 9x7.

Thanks again sorry for the long reply.
seligtobiason (author)  CThoma0314 years ago
Well you can put as many LED's as your battery can handle (don't want to run the battery dead though). But 63 LEDs really should not be a problem. And I would use the LED calculator that I referenced, this is what I came up with when I looked up what you want to do:

Solution: 3 x 21 array uses 63 LEDs exactly

So you can put 3 LEDs in a row with 1 - 100Ohm 1/4 watt resistor, and just duplicate that 21 times and you got your 63 LEDs! Hope that helps!
if you are going to run it from your car i would use 12v RGB LED Modules then you wouldn't have to use any resistors or diffusers but you would have to put brain/controller in it to make it change colors but you would also be able to change the patterns
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