Rainbow Jar - RGB Pixel Strip Controlled via Arduino

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Picture of Rainbow Jar - RGB Pixel Strip Controlled via Arduino
Our most popular item on our display at Maker Faires is always the Rainbow Jar. One customer has already replicated it so we thought we'd share how we made it so you can make your own! (tried embedding this vine but it breaks instructables!)

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Step 1: Getting Started - What you need

Picture of Getting Started - What you need
This is all the stuff we used. 

What You'll Need

50cm of Addressable LED Strip
Plastic Sweetie Jar (found them on eBay)
Arduino Uno
Pin Headers (UK)
Stripboard (UK)
Rainbow Wire
5V Power Supply
omething to diffuse the light - we've used RGB LEDs!


Soldering Iron and Solder
Wire Strippers
Craft Knife and Ruler

All of the links are to our site - in the US you can get everything from Adafuit or Sparkfun

Step 2: Preparing the strip

Picture of Preparing the strip
The strip is controlled by an Arduino, using two control wires Data and Clock. We're attaching green to the data and yellow to the clock. Orange to the +5V and Blue to the GND

Remove the red and brown wires from the rainbow cable and keep them for later. Strip the four wires at once using the super cool and handy Hakko Cutters.

If you're using our Rainbow Cable then bend the orange and blue cables out a little. A little bit of solder added to the tips of the wire will help them adhere when you hold them onto the pads and add some heat from your soldering iron.
unigamer made it!2 months ago

Wonderful. It's a lovely project and there is lots of things you can do to customise it. Here is my version:

I haven't uploaded the code yet and I will give a full description on my website too. The short version is that I used plastic beads instead of tri-colour LEDs, Pro Mini instead of an Uno and added a bluetooth>serial adapter so I can control it with my phone. I'll release the Android app and the rest of the code soon.

Thanks again for this instructable, I had a great time working on this project! :)

phenoptix (author)  unigamer2 months ago

Get it written up and enter it into the lamps contest! Would love to see it win a prize!

pparnes11 months ago
How many leds did you use for this setup?
phenoptix (author)  pparnes11 months ago
It was a 50cm strip so 30 LEDs doing the lighting then probably best part of a 500 bag of the RGB LEDs - which is probably a little excessive, but we have a whole heap of LEDs!
_Shanks_ phenoptix10 months ago
can you give me a link where I can purchase the specific RGB LEDs you used please :)
elecfans73111 months ago
It's simple,but it 's creative to use a jar,I am thinking about make one to give my girlfriend as a gift.
gurtek11 months ago
dieginho1211 months ago
Renee!11 months ago
shizumadrive11 months ago
nice really great looking
annieannie11 months ago
This is really cute!! ( I know most guys don't say cute, but I'm not a guy) lol I did something like this but used mini battery operated xmas lights. Banded them up and stuck them in the middle of the glass vase then added glass stones all around them from the dollar tree. It turned out real pretty ( and cute) lol
phenoptix (author)  annieannie11 months ago
do you still have it? Would be good to see a pic!
I do still have it, it's in one of the Christmas boxes stored away until Christmas decorations come out.. if I remember ( hard tellin at my age) I will put a picture up for you :)
jleo111 months ago
couldn't you just hack a led Christmas light set and chuck that in? looks good nice idea
phenoptix (author)  jleo111 months ago
I'm sure that would work of a fashion. These LEDs are addressable so each can be a different colour at any one time. Worth a try though I'd say!
chrwei12 months ago
seems like you're not using Vin, so you could make your shield smaller by using the 5V and GND from the ICSP header. you'd need some female headers for that though.

I like the looks of it. might try a larger glass jar and put the arduino in the middle, maybe with a inductive base for power, how cool would that be!
phenoptix (author)  chrwei12 months ago
Thanks for the suggestion! Will give it a try. Would be awesome to see a larger version, a customer made one with glass beads that looked pretty good too.
Marbles? cheap! Neat effect! Good instructable, thanks.
phenoptix (author)  stringstretcher11 months ago
I think marbles would be good, might try and find some for a larger version.