LED Smart Cloud Light

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Introduction: LED Smart Cloud Light

About: Computer Engineering graduate from Tennessee Technological University

This is an LED smart cloud that can be put together with minimal tools. With the controller you can do all sorts of patterns and color options. Since the LEDs are individually addressable (each LED can be a different color and/or brightness) the cloud does not have to be solid colors. With the IOS/Android application used by the LED controller there are 300 different animations you can choose. You can select a color from your camera and even have the cloud dance to music from your phone's microphone. This could also be done with an Arduino and that was my first choice, but for 16 dollars and being able to connect to smart services like Google Home or Alexa the controller was just the better choice.

Supplies

The following is the supplies you will need:

Paper lanterns (We used different sizes and white and blue):

(1) White assorted size

(optional) Blue 8"

LED 5V smart controller:

(1) ALTOVE WS2812B Controller

5V Individually addressable LED strip:

(1) ALITOVE WS2812B Addressable LED Strip Light 16.4ft 300

5V power supply (suggest at least 4Amps):

(1) ALITOVE DC 12V 5A Power Supply

Poly-fil/fiber-fill (we used two different types to have varying texture and darker spots):

(1) Poly-fil

3 prong groudned extension cord (I used one with three connections I had lying around):

Extension cord

Hot glue gun:

(1) Hot glue gun

Hot glue

Electrical tape

Masking tape

Wire cutters

Optional:

If not using whole LED strip and need to solder connections (I don't suggest this if you do not have experience soldering components):

Soldering Iron

Solder

Step 1: Put Lanterns Together

Step 2: Tape Lanterns Together in Desired Shape

Tape the lanterns together with masking tape to create the base shape of your cloud. We mixed up the large and small lanterns and white and blue lanterns.This gave our cloud a less uniform shape. Taping together allows you to create the shape before glueing and make adjustments.

Step 3: Mark Your Connection Points and Cut Them Out

We marked the connecting portions of the lanterns with a sharpie, because this will not be visible at the end. This allowed us to make sure our holes will line up. We then used an Exacto blade and wire cutters to create the holes.

Step 4: Glue Lanterns Together

Arrange the lanterns back together and check that the connection points line up. This will allow you to make sure that the LEDs would be able to string through easily. After you have checked all the lanterns start applying hot glue around the hole and hold them together. Continue doing this until they are all connected back into the orientation you chose.

Step 5: String LEDs Through Lanterns

Choose a starting lantern and string the LED strip through all the lanterns using the pre-cut holes.We made two passes through to use as many LEDs as we could.

Below are some helpful tips:

  • Keep slack in each preceding lantern to pull into the next. This makes it a lot easier to pull the stands all the way through.
  • Using tongs or pliers could help you pull LED strands through the lanterns if your hands are not small enough.
  • Keep the start of your strand outside of the lantern you are going to put your electronics in to make it easier when connecting electronics.
  • Would suggest having the lantern you are putting your electronics in toward the center for balance.

Step 6: Connecting Electronics

If you are using the entire strip all you have to do is plug the power supply into the LED controller and connect the LED strip to the controller. The controller's connector should only be able to connect to the correct side of the strip.

Optional steps if not using starting end of strip/ entire strip:

  • Pay attention to the arrow on your LED strip. You want to connect to the end where the arrow is pointing away from your connection point.
  • I chose to add in a power switch from the controller to the strip, but this is not necessary. I was afraid the strip would serge every once in awhile when not powered on as I have seen with other LED controllers, but this was not the case.
  • All you need to do is solder the positive (usually red) cable from the controller to the positive on the strip and the signal /data wire (was green on the controller I used ) to the signal / data on the strip (marked as DI for data input) and the ground wire (was white on the controller I used) to the ground on the strip.

Step 7: Place Electronics Inside the Lantern

Connect all your electronics up and test them.This is important to make sure before you start adding poly-fil. Place/wrap electrical tape around exposed connections and extra ports on extension cord. Want to keep everything safe from fire hazards. We put electronics inside the middle lantern, because we plan to hang the cloud using the power cord that we wrapped around the middle lantern's metal frame. We secured it with hot glue and electrical tape.

We plan to support the cloud/electronic's weight by putting a bracket under it and mounting that bracket to the wall and then hang the cloud like a pendant lamp. .

Step 8: Test LED Strip

if you used the controller we used:

  • Download the Magic Home Pro app on the IOS/Google play store.
  • Plug everything up if it was not already and plug in power cable
  • Create a free account.
  • Go to your phone's setting app -> wifi -> connect to the wireless device called LEDnetXX
  • Go back to Magic Home Pro and click the add button in the top right.
  • Click add device
  • Click on the device that shows up
  • Click on your home wireless network and enter your password
  • The device will sync and now be on your network
  • Click and hold on the device -> rename (we called it Cloud) -> confirm
  • Click and hold on the device -> Change LED Strip Type -> Put the Led chip quantity to the number of LEDs in your strip (should be 300 if using whole strip)
  • Then set the strip type to the strip type of what you bought (in our case WS2812B)
  • Leave the sorting type GRB (green red blue) -> confirm
  • Now if you click on it you should be able to use the color wheel to change the color and functions to begin testing the strip.

Step 9: Add Fluff

Apply hot glue on the lantern and then place the fiber-fill/ poly-fil on in small chunks.

helpful tips:

  • Wear gloves (you want to be able to provide pressure to the fluff when putting it on and hot glue will burn your hands).
  • Add in small bunches. It is tempting to try to do large pieces, but they will likely fall apart.
  • In situations where you are patching holes it may be easier to add the glue to the fluff and then place it on.
  • We alternated the two types of fluff and varying sized chunks to add texture.

Step 10: Enjoy Your Cloud!!

Play around with the app and enjoy the light show. The app has all kinds of fun functions to test, it can have a color selected from your camera and respond to sound from your phone's microphone to dance to music.

Feel free to give any suggestions on how you would improve this intractable or your ideas to improve this project.

Step 11: Add to Google Home

Steps to add to Google Home:

Open the Home app:

  • Click the add button top right
  • Click Set up device
  • Select works with google
  • Search for "Magic Home WiFi"
  • Sign into account and select your new device and add it
  • Name it the same thing you named it in the Magic Home Pro app ("cloud")
  • Now you should be able to trigger it from the google home app or from your google assistant if on Android

Try telling google to "turn cloud on" and "set cloud to blue"

This device should also work with Alexa, but i have not tested it.

LED Strip Speed Challenge

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LED Strip Speed Challenge

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    2 Comments

    0
    Penolopy Bulnick
    Penolopy Bulnick

    1 year ago

    I like the way the LED lights move around inside the cloud :)

    0
    Coleman13
    Coleman13

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thank you, I wanted to use the individually addressable LEDs so it could look like lightning flowing through.