Introduction: The Endless Possibilities of RGB LED Strips !!

About: I am, as said by many, a jack of all trades. My experience is in Electronics, Computers, Servers, Robotics, Construction, Automotive, and just experimenting with stuff. My true dream is Animatronics, but I enj…

This is my first Inscrutable, and it's on how to add some RGB (Red Green Blue) light strips and a controller to your car, or anything. I put mine under my dash, however you can put them anywhere you like, that's the beauty of it !

*Beware ! there are 2 type's of LED strips, Common Anode and Common Cathode, Anode mean's that all the LED's have a common positive, and Cathode mean's they all have a common negative. This only matter's when selecting/building a RGB controller. 

What you need
- 12v LED RGB light strip's (they can be waterproof or not)
- RGB Controller (optional)
- Switch (optional)
- Soldering Iron, solder, and heat-shrink
- Wire (the draw is very little but I would recommend about 18 AWG stranded nothing thicker)
- Epoxy/Hot Glue
- Multimeter
- Basic tool's, wire cutter's, strippers, screw driver's (some car's take special security bits), zip ties, tape, dremel.
* This stuff is great, you can put it in anything from your Christmas tree, RV (replace you light's !), Computer, Motorcycle,  even you for a costume !

Step 1: Experiment !

     This is most fun ! Unwrap all the goodies that you just ordered online (probably Ebay or Amazon), and your wife/girlfriend/parents just complained about you wasting money on. Grab a battery or 12v power supply, tools, soldering iron, wire, RGB controller and Lights ! This is where you see what contacts are which, depending on what type of lights you bought it may be common anode (positive) or common cathode (negative), mean's if you have 1 positive and 3 negative or vise-versa. Test your soldering skills, and play with everything to make sure it all works, before you go ripping something apart. 

Step 2: Real Step 1 !

Figure out what you want to do !!

     I chose to put mine under my dash of my car, and install a manual RGB controller under there to. So with out further adieu !
Step 1.

     For me step 1 was to find a place for my controller to rest, and since I wanted to keep the car nice and clean I decided under the dash was the perfect place. So I removed the lower dash panel on the driver side in my 1995 Buick LeSabre. Now this was quite a pain, I had to remove the Fuse-box and a bunch of stuff connected to it, but after about 30 min's it was free ! Now there was the PERFECT indent for the controller, with free space behind it , (you may not be so lucky). I did have to cut out the old Incandescent light hole, for wiring access.  I drilled three hole's for the knob's and glued the controller in place. Now I wired in this circuit to my door-light circuit, however you can use any 12v source you want and install a switch ! It's really simple, just use a multimeter and make sure that the wire's are positive/negative, since car wiring can involve a bunch of different wire color's. 

Step 3: Step 2: Wiring !

     Now that you have selected a spot, and and figured out what you want to do, you need to make it work ! Your mission is to find a 12v source, either switched on un-switched. If you chose a un-switched source you will need to add a switch of some kind. I did not need this because I tapped into the dome-light circuit (the light that come's on when you open the door). Now as a note of warning BE VERY CAREFUL WHEN WORKING WITH AUTOMOTIVE WIRING, or any wiring for that matter. But esp. Car wiring, do not just run a un-fused wire from the battery. If it shorts out it will catch on fire ! Either add a fuse close to the battery, or just use a already fused source with a wire gauge thick enough t handle the current rating on the fuse. Do not just wrap and tape the wires, car's move and vibrate things come lose. You should solder and heat shrink everything, if you do not know how now its a great time to learn ! or you could just ask a friend. I have seen car fire's and they are very scary, can cause accident's, house fire's, and serious injury. Ok, rant is over ! You may want to add some glue or epoxy to the back of the lights, they can tent to fall off in the heat of a car, or from the vibrations, also the sticky back it comes with takes a while to set up so some electrical tape can help it along for a while. 

Step 4: Step 3: Test Is Out !!

     Power that baby up and sit back and admire your craftsmanship ! This can make a fun and colorful addition to just about anything !
It's also really simple and a great way to get into electronics, wiring and soldering. The best part is these throw no heat, draw almost no power (if you leave them on overnight they will not kill your battery), and can be ANY color you want. If you want to go further you can build your own controller or buy a nice one with a remote. You can even get one's that tie into a computer or network ! Have fun, stay safe, and make everything light up !!!!

Battery Powered Contest

Participated in the
Battery Powered Contest

Cars & Motorcycles Contest

Participated in the
Cars & Motorcycles Contest