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Flickering LED's like a firefly effect? Answered

I got this message over an e-mail, I cant help the guy and hope that yall can help him for me:

"Hey guys, wondering if I could get your help with a project for my daughters school play.

The effect I want to do is a led sort of fire fly or even a flicker candle effect with about 100 led's. I would like to possibly have control over the amount of time they are off or at times just keep it on steady as a regular flicker effect.

The led's would all hang individually above the set, so any resistors would be at the top where you do not see them.

I would like this to be powered by a transformer, not battery and plug it in the wall.

So to have about a 100 or more random flickering little led's is the goal and executed in the most logical (and clean) way. I have seen long lengths of copper tape and then solder to that or whatever you think.

I know this is just a play, but woud mean a lot to my daughter. I can put it all together with a plan and a good source to get the various elements.

soooo the idea is have the led's suspended by the cable hanging down maybe 6' from above where I would have a 1 x 4 grid to hang everything from.

The led's would either have random flickers on a slow (hopefully) adjustable sequence. Out of 100 led's you would only want maybe 3, 4, 5 (who knows how many yet) on at one time. So just quick little flashes of pulsed light like the flicker candles do. So you would have little clusters of 2 or 3 leds hanging down and I would use black heat shrink to bind it up and the cable (22 guage?) would be black as well.

The other idea may be to just have a constant candle flicker effect to each "drop" and leave it at that. Would be great to know how to do both.

any sugestions?


The company Firefly Magic http://www.FireflyMagic.com actually supplies 'Firefly' lighting effects to theme parks, including Disney & Universal, zoos, nature centers, stage, movie, and TV productions.


7 years ago

I could not link to your URL ?


7 years ago

If you liked the fireflies in the Blue Heron restaurant at Disney and can apply any microprocessor, then PM me and I will share a circuit and software with block diagram that does the fire fly to perfection using multiple LEDs.


See the instructables under "related" at lower right, and/or enter "firefly" or "fireflies" in the Instructables search box at upper right, and/or see the various LED grids on this site (searching for "charlieplex" will find at least some of them) if you want more control over this and are willing to use a microcontroller or PC to drive it.