Introduction: LED Sunglasses

About: Hi, my name is Arpan Kumar and I am a 15 year-old highschooler who really likes robotics and electronics. (I'm the guy taking a selfie with my own robot)

I know, I know... it isn't Summer yet!! However, don't let that stop you from making this project! As this is my first instructable, I would really appreciate any tips or comments that you guys could give me.

Recently, I had heard of LED Sunglasses and was enthralled... till I saw the price! This is what drove me to build my own low-cost pair of sunglasses. All in all, the point of these LED Sunglasses is to display cool patterns that can be pre-programmed or vary with the beat of the music.

NOTE: This project will use almost every pin on the arduino, so... yea :)

You still here? All right good! Lets get Started!!

One more thing, this project is very tedious, for it is simple in concept, but hard to implement. If you consider making this, I would suggest you give yourself a day or two.

Step 1: Components:

  • 1x Arduino Nano
  • 1x Mini-Breadboard
  • 18x LEDs
  • 18x 220 Ohm Resistors (I would consider having extras, for something WILL go wrong, and you will end up blowing up an LED)
  • 1x Microphone Breakout
  • 1x Roll of Insulated Wire
  • 1x Slide-Switch
  • 1x Li-po Battery
  • 1x Strip of non-insulated wire

Step 2: Tools

  • Soldering Iron
  • Soldering Wire
  • Glue Gun
  • Glue Sticks
  • Wire Cutter
  • Wire Stripper
  • Tape
  • Twist Ties
  • Alligator Clips (Optional)

Step 3: Testing the LEDs

The first thing to do is TEST ALL THE LEDS. Seriously, I cannot state the the importance of testing all the leds beforehand. I made this mistake, and had to start all over! To test the leds, make a simple arduino circuit with a an led and a 220 ohm resistor. P.S, ignore the jumpers and stuff in the background of the photo.

Step 4: Glueing the LEDs

To glue the leds, carefully hold them from the see-through side and glue the wire part of the led onto the top edge of the sunglasses. When glueing, be careful that the glue does not touch your fingers; it WILL burn! After the glue has dried, bend the shorter wire on the led, so that it is at a 60 degree angle relative to the horizontal. Do this for all eighteen LEDs. Once you are done, test all of them.

The glue will harden over a matter of hours, until it is very tricky to take off, so if you have made a mistake, I would advise to to fix it, sooner, rather than later. NOTE: A soldering iron can heat glue back to its liquid form, however, I am pretty sure that it can damage the iron. You Have Been Warned!

Step 5: Soldering Part 1:

The first order of business it to take a strip of un-insulated wire, and cut it to the length of the sunglasses. Then, solder it to each of the ground pins on the leds. Since there is no insulation on the wire, it will get VERY, VERY, VERY hot. Be careful and use alligator clips to hold the wire in place. Connect the end of the un-insulated wire to GND.

At this point, your glasses should look similar to the picture above.

Step 6: The Arduino

Grab an arduino nano, and a mini breadboard. place the arduino on the breadboard. Then, use a rubber band to attach it to the sunglasses. From there, insert a 3.7v li-po battery right behind the breadboard. Insert a slide-switch on the breadboard and wire it so that it can turn the arduino on and off. If your switch is wired properly, you can directly plug it into the breadboard. The reason I am not providing more information, is because most switches are unique, and most of you readers will not have the same switch as me.

Step 7: Soldering Part 2:

Our next order of business is to solder the resistors! Unless you have leds that will not blow if driven with a 5V supply (if so, then skip this step), you will need to connect resistors to the leds.

Time for some Math! assuming the max current that can flow through an led is around 20mA, and we are supplying 5v to the leds, we can use ohm's law, V = IR, to solve for the value of the resistors 250 ohms. Personally, I like to use 220 ohms, because it gives you a nice brightness, but it doesn't matter that much.

Solder one of the sides of the resistors to the long end of an led, and repeat this 18 times. From there, insulate all the wiring with scotch tape. This is necessary, so that if they come in contact, the naked wires will not come into contact with each other and cause a short.

From there, grab your roll of insulated wire. We will use this to make custom-length connections to connect our arduino to the leds. Cut and strip the wires until they can easily reach the leds, but, at the same time, they are not very loose. Once you have finished, you should get something that looks like the picture above.

Step 8: Wiring

Follow the schematic shown above to wire all the leds. Then, I would suggest you run a couple of simple programs all of the leds to make sure they are all working properly. Afterwards, use a twist tie to keep the wires in place.

Step 9: Debugging

Chances are that one of the leds aren't working properly; don't worry, I got you covered! Firstly, check that the led has been soldered properly. What I like to do is apply a little fresh solder and then retest it. Then, check the wiring and make sure that is connected to the right pin, and it has been turned on. Lastly, test the led itself, and check whether it is still functional. In it isn't, I wish you luck on your endeavor on replacing it.

Step 10: The Microphone

Now for the Microphone! I have a microphone breakout that connects to an analog pin 7, 5V, and GND. It is very simple to wire, you can simply take some standard jumpers and connect them to the arduino and the microphone. I glued the mic to the side opposite of the arduino, to even the weight out. I would suggest that you do the same.

Step 11: Programming

The code is very simple, and I have put many comments to help you out. When you upload the code, make sure that your board is set to nano, and you are using the right COM port. The code contains several patterns, as well as the code for the music equalizer.

Step 12: THE END

Thank you for building and/or reading this project. If you could give me some tips in the comments section, that would be greatly appreciated. If you need any help, don't be afraid to ask in the comments, for I will respond as fast as I can.

Future Plans: After a good rest, I plan to program some cool patterns of the sunglasses.

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