Introduction: Automatic Rainbow Staircase Lighting

About: Passionate of DIY of any kind, I am not of the trade (I am developer in computing) but I am self-taught and I like to learn new things. I decided to share my creations with you through photos and videos. I do…

I show you here how to create automatic and progressive lighting of stairs in the rainbow style!

No more getting up at night using the light on your cell phone to avoid switching on!

For this I used cable ducts where NeoPixel LEDs are installed. Detection is provided at the top and bottom by PIR presence detectors, installed in the 3D printed supports.

The "intelligent" part is entrusted to an Arduino Nano. A light sensor enables the system to be activated only if it is dark enough, and 2 potentiometers allow adjustments, one for light sensitivity, and the other for the duration of ignition (0 to 5 minutes)




Step 1: Solid Wiring Ducts

To support the LEDs and hide the wires at the same time I used plastic solid wiring ducts (Not sure about the English translation).

I drilled them with a 4mm drill bit according to the center distance of the stairs (It depends on your staircase).

Step 2: NeoPixel LEDs

For the leds, I chose WS2812B. These are addressable RGB LEDs that I bought in a set of 100.

I glued them with a hot glue gun, and to be well centered in relation to the hole, I installed the support above a mirror.

Be careful with the direction, these LEDs have an input and an output, so I turned them in the logical direction so as not to have to cross the wires.

Step 3: Wiring

The wiring is not difficult, there is a + and a - in common for all the LEDs (orange and blue).

Then there is an IN and an OUT pin. The OUT pin of one LED must be connected to the IN pin of the next.

Thin wire is sufficient, here I used wire from an old unused telephone cable.

Step 4: Programming

The heart of the system is an Arduino Nano.

I started by experimenting with Tinkercad Circuits and then I used a test board.

For the LEDs, I used the library Adafruit_NeoPixel.h

I added 2 potentiometers which allow the following settings:

  1. Light sensitivity (compared to the photocell)
  2. The ignition time (0 to 5 minutes)

Presence are detected by PIR detectors HC-SR501.

The electronic diagram and the Arduino code are available for download.

Step 5: Electric Circuit

Considering the low number of components, I used a pre-drilled test plate but you can make a real PCB.

Step 6: 3D Printing Support

I created the supports for the PIR sensors with Fusion 360 and I 3D printed them with imitation wood PLA.

The STL file is also to download.

Step 7: Installation 1

The base of the wiring ducts is screwed inside the stringers of the stairs.

The top of the wiring ducts which contains the leds and the wires is clipped on the base.

The sensor supports are screwed onto the second and last step.The wires of the bottom detector also pass through the wiring ducts.

Step 8: Installation 2

The power supply and the circuit are installed at the top of the stairs.

The light sensor (photocell) is installed under the last step, and a cover hides the electronics.

Step 9: It's Glow Up!

Operation: if you arrive from the bottom, the LEDs light up one by one up to the top, then go out in the same direction (go out from bottom to top).

If you come from the top, it's the other way around of course.

If you liked it, please vote for me on the MAKE IT GLOW contest 😉

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