The Best Led Project Ever!





Introduction: The Best Led Project Ever!

I find this project hard to categorize.
It's a combination of my ideas with ideas I got from Instructables and the internet.

Step 1: Tools.

A dremel or similar rotary tool with a good selection of accessories is money well spent. It isn't great at anything but is good enough for almost anything.
An electric drill of any kind with a good
selection of drill bits is also a great buy.
A "third hand" isn't necessary but will prove to be invaluable when soldering small components.
Buy a good soldering iron. A decent pencil tip "Weller" is under $30. and will do a good job.
Get a good quality set of wire strippers.
Get a pair of needle nose pliers and a couple pairs of mini wire cutters/nippers.
Get a solder sucker.
Get a good variety of screwdrivers
You also need a hot glue gun.
An inexpensive multi- meter is a good investment.
Get a few "olfa" style knives and a hobby knife set.

Step 2: Major Supplies

1) experimenters board.
2) fine solder
3) enameled wire. (I recycled mine from an old t.v.)
4) jumper wire. ( I bought a breadboarding wire kit ) you can make custom lengths from solid core bell wire.
5) a project box. large enough to accommodate a 9v battery/clip and 2-3 switches.
random stranded wire.

Step 3: Specific B.O.M.

Parts and components.
1) 9v battery clip
2) 2x spst mini toggle switches
3) 1x Large dome clear 40watt incandescent bulb.
4) 1x 5mm dome U.V. led
5) 10x smd ultrabright leds
6) 1x 555 timer chip
7) 1x 4017 decade counter chip
8) 3 x1K 1/4 watt resistors
9) 2x 104 ceramic disc capacitors
10) 1x 10 microfarad electrolytic capacitor.o
11) 1x100k linear taper potentiometer
12) 1x 9 volt alkaline battery.
13) 1x 4.7K 1/4 watt resistor
14) Tonnes of patience and the ability to read a schematic .

Step 4: Cut the Bottom Off of the Lightbulb

Use an abrasive cut off disc to remove the metal bottom of the lightbulb.
Then very gently use the cut off wheel to cut through the part where the bulb sticks out.

Step 5: Gutting the Bulb

Once you get the part that sticks out cut open, very carefully break the rest of the glass with a screwdriver and needle nose pliers. Once it is flat enough, I used a small diamond cut off disc and very gently pressed it onto the glass opening. Note you are not supposed to use a cut off discs flat side so be very careful. Once you are most of the way through you can pull the filament and glass out of the bulb.
I smoothed the hole witj a round diamond rotary file.

Step 6: Get the Wires Ready

Fold lengths of the enamel wire in half and twist together. Cut the ends and remove some of the insulation. I used the diamond rotary file. The looped end makes a cradle for the tiny surface mount leds. You can use any led you want though.

Step 7: Make a Tree

Twist the enamel wire that you have soldered the leds to into the rough shape of a tree. insert them into the bulb and use tweezers to pull the branches into place. Just like Christmas time? Use a hot glue gun to fix the tree into the bottom of the bulb.I also added one U.V. led.
I used a battery to identify which wires were positive and negative. If you use 3 volts and very quickly tap the wires, I found that the leds survive a reverse bias. Solder the wires into the board and label their polarity.

Step 8: The Circuit.

I browser searched "Random led flasher" and found this one. I'm sorry I don't remember where I found it.
It will randomly flash up to 10 leds and the clock and reset pins are controlled by a 555 chip. Because of the way I wanted this circuit to look (messy and organic) I can't show you a step by step construction of the board as I just made it up as I went along.

Step 9: Power Supply

I used a small project box and wired two switches. One turns on the UV led and one turns on the flashing circuit.
The circuit is poweed by a 9 volt battery. The potentiometer controls the charge and discharge rate of the capacitors connected to the 555 timer circut. This allows you to control the speed at which the leds flash. The Leds light individually in steps.When you have the speed turned up high it has a strobe light effect. You have to see it in the dark to appreciate it. There is two Video links in the beginning of this instructable of this operating. enjoy!



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    i have made this its great and thank you......... for the project. now i want to use 230v 5w color bulbs instead of the LED used here can you help me?

    I realize this instructable is almost a year old at the time I'm writing this, but I think it would be great if you build some sort of case for this, maybe a wooden box that the light bulb tree was coming out of or that it looked like it was screwed into.

    2 replies

    Not a bad idea, If I were to build another one, I would still want the Circuit board showing on top of the box. The enamel wire was meant to look like tree roots growing into an electronic circuit-board.

    I did notice that after I made my comment, which I agree is an important part of the aesthetic. To change my original thought a bit, what if the bulb tree and roots penetrated a wooden layer with holes drilled into it for each of the root parts. I guess maybe I would be interested in seeing the look if some of the electronics were mysteriously hidden. Although I can certainly see the appeal of this electrical organic beast. Very cool project though!

    On the schematic I see three resistors total. 1 4.7k and 2 1k's one 1k located after pot and the other 1k located on the ground for the leds. where is the third 1k?

    1 reply

    Ahhhh, sorry. I made this instructable with my phone and had quite a bit of difficulty getting it to work. There are only 3 resistors and my B.O.M. contains a typo. In fact the instructable contains a few typos but I got frustrated when the upload failed 6 times. Sorry for the confusion.

    Two questions. Are quarter watt resistors good as far as power dissipation? The BOM says to buy 3 1k resistors. Where is the third?

    1 reply

    I used a 9v source and 1/4 watt resistors are fine for the minimal current draw. I used a circuit schematic I found online and it called for three. One goes inline with the pot. The other two were for the 555 timer charge and discharge rate of the timing capacitor. If this doesn't help, let me know....:)

    It does. I was curious whether material made a difference and whether voltage was a factor. After more reading I figured it out. Thank you

    1 reply

    No problem! Feel free to ask questions. If I don't know the answer (very likely) I'll do some helps me learn too.

    Is there anyway that you would have a part number or more specific description of the caps. it would be much appreciated.

    1 reply

    Hi, there are 3 capacitors in the circuit. One is an electrolytic capacitor 10 microfarad. 43 volts.the symbol is uf. The other 2 are ceramic disc style. Used mylar just because it's what I had. They are marked 104
    10+ 4 zeros. 100000 pico farads.
    Electrolytic capacitors have positive and negative leads. Ceramic disc can be connected either way.... I hope this helps.

    Here's a similar thingy I built a few years ago. Mine was a "solar chime". I have parts to make another one, but haven't done it yet.

    1 reply

    That is truly beautiful! And the "solar chime" concept is new to me.
    If you have a video of the sounds it makes I'd love to see/hear it.
    We seem to have had the same vision on the "look" of our projects.
    Nice work!

    Hi, here is my take on this project:
    I didn't have a globe to use, so I used the dome from a cracked glass garden light. It would have been nice if it wasn't cracked, but it turned out okay.
    I wrapped the white insulated wire with the silver un-insulated wire instead of using enameled wire.
    I also used an Arduino pro mini to drive the LEDs.


    LED tree.jpg.JPGLED tree.jpg.JPG
    1 reply

    Very cool. I'm sure the cracked glass adds a nice effect in the dark.
    I have zero experience with arduino or any microcontrollers/programming. I am interested, but I wouldn't know where to start.
    Any advice?

    Here is mine led light bulb following the rhythm of music or speech picked-up by a small microphone,the projects is very cool.Check it:)
    Look my youtube video: