Introduction: Party LED Row

Have you ever wanted cool lights on a home party, a stroboscope or red knight rider lights? This is the place for you to learn how to construct an Arduino controlled Party LED row.

You only need a few things to construct this light rod, and there are a whole bunch of uses for it. It can glow in a fireplace style, as a candle ar all the wild party lights. You might even have a few parts, that you can use for this project. You can write your own light patterns or use the ones that I created.


Things you will need:

- Arduino board (I used a nano clone, you can use almost any)
- WS2812B addressable RGB LED strip (desired length, mine has 29 LEDs)
- 5V wall adapter (9V is okay either)
- Aluminum LED profile (desired length)
- Pushbutton (normally open)
- Junction box (a small one)
- Wires
- Heatshrink tubing (optional)

Things you will use:

- Soldering iron and solder
- Scalpel or utility knife
- Heatgun or lighter
- Side cutter
- Metal saw or handsaw

Step 1: Build

First you have to decide the length of your light row. It can be a meter, a yard, mine is about 50cm. You can cut the LED strip between any LEDs. I had a 52cm long aluminum profile, so only 29 LEDs fit in. If you decided the length of the strip, cut it. After that you have to cut the aluminum profile. It is advised to cut the profile a little bit longer (about 2cms longer), so there will be some room for the wires and the end pieces. Use the double sided tape on the back of the LED strip to secure it into the profile.

You will need 3 wires for the LED strip.
- 5V
- Data In
Solder these 3 wires to the strip. Make sure to solder the input side of the strip (A little triangle shows the direction of data flow).

Cut or drill a hole into the top of the junction box, so your button fits in perfectly (or almost perfectly (or not so badly)). Solder two wires to the button connectors. You can use heatshrink tubes or electrical tape here.

Cut or drill 2 small holes to the sides of the box, so we can bring in power and the wires from the LEDs. Solder connectors to the wire ends. (Use female headers is you also use a Nano).

Connect the wall adapter wires to GND and VIN. If you use a regulated 5V power supply, you can connect it to 5V instead of VIN. Connect the pushbutton pins to GND and D4 (you can use other GPIO pins, if you modify the code). Connect the LED strip to GND, 5V and D3 (you can use other GPIO pins, if you modify the code). You might have to use the GND pin on the ISP header if you run out of GND pins.

You can secure the controller with h...
with hhh....
hot glue.

Or you can leave it as it is (just like I did this).

Step 2: Coding

This step should be fairly easy. There are lots of tutorials on Arduino programming. You might need a driver for an Arduino nano clone to work, but you can read on this subject anywhere around here.

Long story short:
- Download library and code
- Move library and code to right folder
- Connect
- Upload
- ???
- Profit

You can change the parameters in my code to fit your needs, or you can write your own pattern. Or you can download some fresh patterns from other tutorials. Or you can use the library example. Or... You get the idea.

Step 3: Done

Aaaaaand you are done. Of course unconnect your chinese clone or your fancy Arduino from your computer, plug in the wall adapter and try it out. With the pushbutton you can choose your program. It can be a stroboscope, knight rider lights, rainbow lights, fireplace, candles, or anything silly. If you used my code, it will have a slow and a faster light organ, a fireplace light, a candle, red and green lights racing (it was our christmas themed light) and a dying fireplace, which will not die, but will not have much light in the end.

It is not a long instructable, but it might be a fun one for a beginner.

Party Challenge

Participated in the
Party Challenge