Simple and cheap DIY interactive background lighting.

Picture of Simple and cheap DIY interactive background lighting.

This instructable will show you how to make a simple and cheap atmosphere background lighting system for your PC!
This simple system can be used with the AtmoWin software, or using the AtmoLight plugin in VLC (media player) , it connects to your PC using the standard USB connection on your arduino.
It has only one channel, but it still provides a nice effect.

A video of it in action:

View on youtube

This could be expanded to two channels, for more info see the last step.

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Step 1: Parts

Picture of Parts

You will need:
- An arduino
- 3x 2k2 resistors
- 3x an NPN transistor, capable of switching 12Volts (I will be using a 2SD1062)
- A 12Volt adapter (wall wart)
- A barrel jack
- A 12Volt RGB (common anode) LED Strip (I will be using this one)
- Header pins
- Some prototyping board (I will be using some perfboard)

Step 2: Schematic

Picture of Schematic

As you can see, the schematic is quite simple, it's just the same circuit three times, one time per color.

Step 3: The hardware

Picture of The hardware

Cut a piece of perfboard so it covers all the pin headers on the arduino, make sure the holes in the perfboard line up with the holes in the headers.
It should be about 45 by 52 mm, leaving you with a grid of 17 by 20 holes.

Start assembling the circuit, I have added a picture showing how I built the circuit on my piece of perfboard.
All the components are on top of the board (the side without the solder rings) , the blue lines are the connections on the underside of the board.
If you are using a different transistor, make sure it has the same pinout as mine (Base - Collector - Emitter) , otherwise you will need to build the circuit differently.

If you are using the same LED strip that I am using, you can cut the strip into 6 smaller segments (on the indicated lines) , you can then add some wire between each segment, which makes it easier to position them.

Gabse1 year ago
COOL!!!!!!! But is it also possible to connect it to the internal of the monitor (T-CON Board, ect.)?
bluem61 year ago
Will any Arduino work like the nano?
Roby912 years ago
Please, what's the name of that the schematic 3d generator software?
g0tmk Roby912 years ago
It looks to me like it could be
Killadobby3 years ago
Where exactly do you use the Arduino ? Is it between the PC and the perf boards(I am a tech newbie) ?
What does AtmoWin actually do? I am wondering if this works when watching TV with the TV'sl built in tuner. Does this only work with the PC?

It looks like AtmoWin is a Windows program, based on the name. Anyone try it in Linux under Wine.

Sorry for the barrage of noob questions.
fantasy23 years ago
Congrats, that looks really nice! I just started a crowd funding alternative for the people that do now know how to make one:
dtokez3 years ago
Cant seem to find those transistors either, any others that can be used?
ooh dtokez3 years ago
I did a search for 2SD1062 and found them on eBay from a store called "littlediode". Had them in a few days.
drabina3 years ago
For those still looking for replacement transistors, check out part # 526-NTE152 at Mouser.
drabina3 years ago
Any info on the substitutes for the 2SD1062 transistors?
hide983 years ago
Great instructable. I'd love to try it, but having a little trouble finding where to buy the appropriate transistors, even with the product number you provided. Did anyone have any success finding some online?
bummy13 years ago
Question? Which Arduino board to use? Will the mini work? I see a Mega, Mini, and UNO at DitenTec. And then do you just mount the led strips on the back of the monitor? I have limited experience but believe I can do it.
Thanks, Dave
yonsje (author)  bummy13 years ago
The mini will work but you'll need something like the Mini USB adapter to be able to connect it to your computer. I used a Duemilanove, this is basically an older version of the UNO.
joshua17ss23 years ago

finished making the system and tested it on my laptop, thanks for all the info. works perfect and looks awesome in person
yonsje (author)  joshua17ss23 years ago
Looks great!
You are even using the same futurama episode as me :)
yup had it sitting on the laptop.

I have run in to a small glitch i cant seem to figure out. I installed the finished board on my big tv and media computer ( which has an onboard vga, and an addon card (vga and DVI)) I am using the dvi out to connect to my tv. i switched the setting on the atmo program to that screen, and it work perfect, on the desktop matches the color of the folders and desktops, but when i launch vlc, (full screen or partial, the strip just sets to a white color, and dosent change,
Ive tried all the settings and still cant get it to work quite right for videos. it still works perfect on my laptop.

Any thoughs on why it would do this?
yonsje (author)  joshua17ss23 years ago
Weird, the only thing I can think of is to change the video output to DirectX and select you tv under "Display device"
rezonx3 years ago
Some pictures are missing ;(
wiisos3 years ago
Nice project! I have searched for days for something detailled like this! but I'm looking for DIY Ambilight with at least three channels. It's possible? and use this RGB Strip and arduino nano v3?

Anyway you have my vote and 5 stars.
yonsje (author)  wiisos3 years ago
You would need at least 9 output pins that support PWM, the arduino nano only has 6. It may be possible using the Teensy++ since it can be used with the arduino IDE and has exactly 9 output pins that support PWM, I'll look into it later since it would be a great upgrade for this project!
wiisos yonsje3 years ago
waiting... :D
yonsje (author)  wiisos3 years ago
I did some testing and it seems like it works, the only problem is that it doesn't seem to turn off the lights when you exit VLC/AtmoWin, I'm guessing it has something to do with the way the Teensy and the Arduino handle the serial connection, I'll have to do some more testing.
wiisos yonsje3 years ago
Nice! Keep it up!
ohh. i love futarama. it is so totally awesome.
Mr Earl3 years ago
you could easily add more channels if you used one of these addressable rgb led strips:
It's one meter long and has 32 LEDs - so you could make 32 channels with one strip and all you need is two pins on the Arduino for clock and data. You also can daisychain them if you needed to (larger TV; just mor channels;...)

However, the whole strip can draw up to 1.8 amps (all LEDs whtie), so choose a power supply which can handle this amount of current.
I have tried to fade between different colors (max 2 subleds are on) and it was possible to run it from the 5V of the arduino which was powered by usb with no issues.

awesome project btw.
Hi, I've seen on the DS site someone complaining about the green led being less bright than the red and blue ones. On the video you posted I also noticed that the scene where the doctor comes in should be yellow but instead it is reddish/orange, Is this a small bug or is the green led really an issue? Thanks.
yonsje (author)  marcosgildavid3 years ago
I haven't really noticed too much about this, but you can just change the whitebalance in the software so the colors look better.
Thanks for the reply. This is a really nice project. Congratulations. ;-)