Introduction: Screen Lights

About: The creation process is almost more rewarding than the finished product.

My home office has pretty bad lighting for video conferences. Usually I don't broadcast my video feed, not because I am unpresentable, but because I am a silhouette of a man. Luckily there were enough parts laying around to make something cool so I decided to go for it.

Step 1: Choose Your Path

Before we get too far down the path of PWM and the Feather ESP8266, you need to make a choice. This ible is for people who love to take the hard way and thrive on accomplishment. Conversely, if you have $13 and an Amazon account you may just want to buy a TV Backlight kit. Instead of installing the LEDs on the back of your display, simply install them on the front.

The easy way:

The hard way:

Step 2: Plan It Out

Like any project, the more you plan the smoother it will go. The circuit for this one has two main sections. The first section is getting power and a data like to the LED strips. The second section is getting power and data lines to the rotary encoder.

The schematic is above and I hope it will help you lay things out. I went with two strips of LEDs coming from the center'ish of the screen. You are more than welcome to use a single strip if you like. I left the lights off the bottom to ensure I did't get any scary ghost story shadows on my face.

You can use this code to help get things going. Once you are seeing things working, it is time to make it real.

Step 3: Tada!

Using your mad soldering skills, slowly translate your traces and components from the breadboard to your proto board. If you are unsure on this step, there is a good write up here. Once the new circuit board is together and working, it is time to add the lights. My display has a camera in the top center, so I left a gap there. You may need to cut your trips and solder in joints to fit your specific monitor's contours.

Step 4: That's It

Hopefully you made it to this point without too many issues. I was not sure I would use any of the color modes, but I left them in the code just in case I was feeling inspired. Turns out that the rainbow gives a nice warm glow and is easier to look at than the white. I will update the code with a "glow" setting as soon as I figure out the perfect color.

As you can see in the two images, the LED strips added just enough light to make me look respectable. Thanks for checking out this project and I hope it makes you look like a real professional on your next video call.

Make it Glow Contest 2018

Participated in the
Make it Glow Contest 2018