Automated Staircase LED RGB Lights for $20?

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Introduction: Automated Staircase LED RGB Lights for $20?

About: I am passionate about technology, cycling and art. This would explain why my bike has more computing power than your average office. I'm an editor for pocketables.com and xda-developers.com . Follow me throu...

Greetings!

An email about LED competition dropped in my email box about the same time as I was adding the finishing touches to my Automated Staircase LED RGB lights project. It's an excellent motivation to share it with the world and perhaps bag a prize as well! With that in mind:

Got $20 to spare?

If the answer to the question is YES, carry on reading! I'd like to sell you an idea of amazing RGB lights that will perhaps save you from leaving this planet prematurely, in a very embarrassing way. By embarrassing, I mean falling down the stairs at night with a full bladder (because we all rushed to the toilet at 3 am in the total darkness at some point, some of us are lucky enough to have a flight of stairs to cover first!).

Interested?

This is a budget build, but by all means, it's not a bad looking one! Just be precise and take things slow. To replicate the project you will need (modify at will but don't complain about price tag later!):

Links above have affiliated tags, this means if you use it, I get a Xmas gift :) I searched for budget prices, but feel free to do your own research.

If you are browsing Instructables I will expect you to own:

  • soldering iron
  • a drill
  • hacksaw
  • hot glue gun
  • spare cables and screws

WARNING:

I used a 3D printer from a local hackspace to print out the PIR sensor enclosures. You could get creative and use a wider trunking instead if an access to a 3D printer is beyond your control.

DISCLAIMER:

Good marketing people at banggood.com sponsored the original project on my website. They sent me the stuff I needed. I've ordered from them before and after the partnership. I don't think this makes me a complete sell out just yet. I still got to keep my soul!

LASTLY:

This is a trimmed down tutorial, as no one likes an essay to read! For a more detailed one, please see the build log here:

$20 Automated RGB LED staircase lights

Or a video log:

YouTube - $20 Automated RGB LED staircase lights

Step 1: The Design

I came up with a rough sketch of what I have in mind just by staring at the staircase. To create nice lighting effect and keep things tidy, I would run the lights on the right side of the stairs. To trigger the lights automatically, I will need motion sensing. With that in mind, it was time to finalise the design and go shopping.

The best layout I could come up with would be enclosed in some sort of trunking, with two LED’s per step. I have 13 steps which means I would need a total of 26 RGB LEDs to create the staircase RGB LED lighting.
As the total length of the stairs is 4m, each LED is spaced every 15cm creating a light spot in the middle of the step and one pointing directly at the edge. This means I will use roughly a half of the 1m RGB LED strip. At each end of the strip, I would have a motion sensor module. The staircase RGB LED Lighting will be driven by the Arduino Nano.

Step 2: The Hardware

Let’s start with the trunking. I know, that steps are 30 cm apart so I need 2 holes for each step – 15 cm apart. Drill it in the shallow end otherwise (8-10mm drill), you will have a hard time getting the LEDs inside.

While you at it, you may as well drill the mounting holes (4mm). I found 5 per 2 m trunking to be sufficient. Make sure you have a mounting hole next to each end. If you know the dimensions of the PIR sensor enclosure, you can cut the trunking to size. I didn’t and I ended up cutting it later. Doing this in advance will save you time. Taper the ends of the trunking so the top edge and bottom edge finished perpendicular to the floor. To join the trunking with a minimal gap, I cut one part shorter, so the cover with LEDs would overlap the joint.

LEDs

Test the LED strip first to make sure all works great, then cut the strip down to individual pieces (pay attention to markings, mind the orientation of the LEDs – it’s IMPORTANT). Mark out the directions inside of the trunking before you proceed. Mark: the direction of the input/output wire ground side-positive side

Before you glue down the LEDs, use a soldering iron to prep the contact points. It’s quicker this way. Make sure each side has a small blob of solder on the contact. If your LEDs strips come with 3M adhesive, remove the adhesive first. Glue down the LEDs, minding the orientation. Be sure to follow this orientation across each trunking. If you tapered the ends, you won’t be able to change the order of the trunking anymore.

Soldering

This is the time-consuming part. Each LED needs 3 wires between each other. To make your job easier later, be consistent with a colour coding. Pre-cut the wire to even pieces and start connecting the LEDs. Leave a tiny slack, but don’t be excessive. I would advise you to glue down the wires in between the LEDs otherwise you will end up snagging it when closing the trunking. Extend the VCC and GND at each end, in addition to this, the joining parts will need the data wire.

PIR sensors

I found a nice enclosure on thingyverse.com which I have printed out and made a small incision to allow wires to go inside. I used jumper wires to connect the pins. I removed the plastic separators from the pins to bend the pins sidewise. This way the sensor is sitting flushed with the back plate. You can power the sensor from the LED’s power rails.

The top sensor has to have a cable, that runs all the way (unless your Arduino is at the top, then flip the scenario) across the trunking. I split all my wires and used the jumper connections, so I could separate the trunking for transport. This way I can assemble the pieces at will, by connecting 4 cables (VCC, GND, DATA, PIR). The bottom sensor is linked directly to the Arduino. I also ended up using the power rails of Arduino Nano to power it.

Schematics

There are few things to remember. First, you have to share the common ground with Arduino so the LED data signal was correct. There are many ways of achieving this setup. I used jumper wires at first for testing and then I made a small PCB which has an Arduino Fixed to it, and all the cables fixed to it. Note: I’m powering the Arduino Nano from the same source (5V)I have harvested a spare mini-USB cable and connected the RED and BLACK strains into the power. This way the voltage is regulated, it’s not advisable to power the Nano through the pins. The big advantage of keeping your cables neat is that you can fit the Nano inside the trunking. To drive 26 LEDs I needed about 300mA at peak time, which means almost any USB charger will be strong enough to drive it. I used the other part (USB-A) of the cable to create an extension that will go from the mains to the Arduino and LEDs.

Mounting the Staircase RGB LED Lighting

Start from the top, this way the gravity won’t get in your way. Affix the wider trunking to the wall using screws. Pay attention to the ends, make sure that mounting screws are reasonably close to each end. Once happy with the result mount the PIR and drag the cables out through the holes. Connect the cables for LEDs and work your way down to close the trunking, making sure that cables are not snagged inside. I used the leftover from the trunking to put the Arduino Nano inside. It’s longer than microcontroller itself, and it has an access hole at the bottom for the power lead. You will see that I have a power connector. I connected it this way, as there is no easy way of reprogramming the board, if you want to get fancy, you can make a socket that would house the Arduino Nano, making it completely removable. Lastly, I cleaned up the cables and clamped the power wire to the skirting board for nearly invisible effect. All it takes now is to tweak the software. But this is something I will cover in the last part.

Step 3: The Software

While my code was totally workable, I will be sharing the code written by Dean Montgomery it’s far superior to mine and has different effects built in. I’m currently running his (modified) version of the code anyway.


Before we start with the code, we have to trim the PIR HC-SR501 to respond as quickly as possible. The module comes with a jumper setting and two pots to trim the timing and sensitivity. Please read the attached post to set it right. Set jumper to repeatable triggerSet sensitivity to your desired valueSet timer to minimumThe sensor outputs a digital (HIGH/LOW) state, and it’s easy to use with Arduino IDE.

/*
* Description: Motion activated stair lights. * Author: Dean Montgomery * Version: 2.2 * * Date: Feb 11, 2016 * * 2 PIR sesors at the top and bottom of the stairs. * WS28012B Addressable RGB lights - 2 LEDs on each stair - This spread out the strip of 30 and left 2-pairs for spare bulbs. * My Arduino is at the top of the stairs and the RGB strip is connected at the top. * This will cycle through several varitions of stair walkers. * * Version 2 is a rewrite to properly handle multi-tasking the PIR sensors in parallel with LED updates. * TODO: Do some code cleanup, variable naming etc. * */

#include "FastLED.h" //#include

#define NUM_LEDS 26 //#define NUM_LEDS 14 #define LEDS_PER_STAIR 2 // Number of Leds per stair. Not yet currenlty changable - just noteable #define BRIGHTNESS 120 // 0...255 ( used in fade7 ) #define PIN_LED 3 // LED Data pin #define PIN_PIR_DOWN 5 // PIR Downstairs Pin #define PIN_PIR_UP 7 // PIR Upstairs Pin #define GO_UP -1 // Direction control - Arduino at top of stairs #define GO_DOWN 1 // Direction control - Arduino at top of stairs uint8_t gHue = 0; // track color shifts. int8_t gStair = 0; // track curent stair. uint8_t gBright = 0; // track brightness uint8_t gUpDown[NUM_LEDS]; // directional array to walk/loop up or down stairs. int8_t gupDownDir = 1; CRGB leds[NUM_LEDS]; // setup leds object to access the string CRGBPalette16 gPalette; // some favorite and random colors for display. CRGBPalette16 fade6 = (CRGB( BRIGHTNESS, 0, 0), CRGB(BRIGHTNESS,BRIGHTNESS,0), CRGB(0,BRIGHTNESS,0), CRGB(0,BRIGHTNESS,BRIGHTNESS), CRGB(0,0,BRIGHTNESS), CRGB(BRIGHTNESS, 0, BRIGHTNESS), CRGB( BRIGHTNESS, 0, 0)); CRGBPalette16 z; int8_t gLastPalette = 15; // track last chosen palette. uint8_t gLastWalk = 1; unsigned long currentMillis = millis(); // define here so it does not redefine in the loop. long previousMillis = 0; long previousOffMillis = 0; // countdown power off timer long offInterval = 30000; // 1000mills * 30sec //long offInterval = 7000; long interval = 40; enum Effects { ewalk, eflicker, efade6 }; Effects effect = ewalk; enum WalkEffects { sparkle, pulsate1, pulsate2, flash }; WalkEffects walk_effect = sparkle; // Stages of the animation. Allows for PIR sensor to re-activation the run stage of the animation. enum Stage { off, stage_init, stage_grow, stage_init_run, stage_run, stage_init_dim, stage_dim }; Stage stage = off; int i = 0; int x = 0; uint8_t var = 0; uint8_t valTop = 200; uint8_t rnd = 0; uint8_t r = 0, g = 0, b = 0, h = 0, s = 0, v = 0; int8_t stair = 0; CRGB c1; CRGB c2; CRGB trans; CRGB trans2;

void setup() { delay (3000); // Power Up 3 second safety delay. //Serial.begin(57600); randomSeed(millis()); FastLED.addLeds(leds, NUM_LEDS); // NOTE set LED string type here. FastLED.setDither( 0 ); // Stops flikering in animations. pinMode(PIN_PIR_DOWN, INPUT); pinMode(PIN_PIR_UP, INPUT); pinMode(13, OUTPUT); digitalWrite(PIN_PIR_DOWN, LOW); digitalWrite(PIN_PIR_UP, LOW); welcomeRainbow(); // rainbow - give time for PIR sensors to colibrate. setUpDown(GO_DOWN); // populate the array index used for stair direction. setPalette(); // setup some favorite & random colors stage = off; }

// Main Loop track PIR sensors. void loop() { currentMillis = millis(); readSensors(); if(currentMillis - previousMillis > interval) { previousMillis = currentMillis; update_effect(); FastLED.show(); } if((currentMillis - previousOffMillis > offInterval) && stage == stage_run){ stage = stage_init_dim; i = 0; r = 0; g = 0; b = 0; } }

void readSensors(){ if ( digitalRead(PIN_PIR_UP) == HIGH ){ // Walk Down. previousOffMillis = currentMillis; //if ( stage == stage_run ){ // return; //keep the animation fast. //} else if ( stage == off ){ chooseEffects(); stage = stage_init; setUpDown(GO_DOWN); } else if ( stage == stage_dim || stage == stage_init_dim ){ stage = stage_init_run; } } else if ( digitalRead(PIN_PIR_DOWN) == HIGH ){ // Walk Up. previousOffMillis = currentMillis; if ( stage == off ){ chooseEffects(); stage = stage_init; setUpDown(GO_UP); } else if ( stage == stage_dim || stage == stage_init_dim){ stage = stage_init_run; } } } void chooseEffects(){ randomSeed(millis()); r = random8(1, 255); //effect = efade6; //return; if ( r >= 0 && r <= 100 ){ effect = ewalk; // My favorite transition with random effect variations } else if ( r > 100 && r <= 175 ){ effect = eflicker; // Candle with embers. } else { effect = efade6; // hueshift rainbow. } } void update_effect(){ if ( effect == ewalk ){ walk(); } else if ( effect == eflicker ){ flicker(); } else if ( effect == efade6 ){ fade(); } } // setup walking gUpDown array in forward: 0,1,2,3... or reverse: ...3,2,1,0 void setUpDown(int8_t upDownDir){ gupDownDir = upDownDir; uint8_t gStairStart = 0; if (upDownDir == GO_UP){ for ( gStair = NUM_LEDS -1; gStair >= 0; gStair-- ){ gUpDown[gStair] = gStairStart++; } } else { for ( gStair = 0; gStair <= NUM_LEDS; gStair++ ){ gUpDown[gStair] = gStairStart++; } } } // Increment to the next color pair in the palette. void choosePalette(){ if ( gLastPalette >= 15 ) { gLastPalette = 0; } else { gLastPalette+=2; } }

// Fill a palette with some colors that my wife picked. void setPalette(){ /* * Jenn's colors RGB 0 0 81 BLUE * 0 100 100 Teal 006464 * 60 100 100 Cool White 3C6464 * 60 10 100 Violet 3C0A64 * 60 0 50 Purple 3C0032 * start white fades to Teal * violet to purple * teal to blue * red to blue */ uint8_t r = random8(1, 255); // call it once first. fill_solid( gPalette, 16, CRGB::Red); gPalette[0] = CRGB( 60, 100, 100 ); // Jenn cool white gPalette[1] = CRGB( 0, 90, 90 ); // Jenn teal gPalette[2] = CRGB( 60, 10, 100 ); // Jenn violet gPalette[3] = CRGB( 60, 0, 50 ); // Jenn purple gPalette[4] = CRGB( 0, 0, 81); // Jenn blue gPalette[5] = CRGB( 100, 0, 0); // Red gPalette[6] = CRGB( 0, 0, 100); // Blue gPalette[7] = CRGB( 120, 0, 120); // Random fill the rest. for (uint8_t i = 8; i<16; i++){ gPalette[i] = CRGB(random8(3,100), random8(3,100), random8(3,100)); } }

// Walk the stairs adding random effects. void walk() { if ( stage == stage_init ){ valTop = 200; // Pick two colors from the palette. choosePalette(); c1 = gPalette[gLastPalette]; c2 = gPalette[gLastPalette+1]; // chance of a random palette if ( random8( 5 ) == 3 ){ c1 = CRGB(random8(3,100),random8(3,100),random8(3,100)); c2 = CRGB(random8(3,100),random8(3,100),random8(3,100)); } // fix random Black palette. if ( (int(c1.r) + int(c1.g) + int(c1.b)) < 8 ){ c1 = gPalette[2]; c2 = gPalette[4]; } trans = CRGB::Black; trans2 = CRGB::Black; z[0] = c2; z[1] = c1; z[2] = CRGB(random8(2,100),random8(2,100),random8(2,100)); z[3] = c1; z[4] = c2; //(r2-r1)/ticks * tick) gStair=0; gBright=0; interval=5; i = 0; x = 0; r = 0; g = 0; b = 0; walk_effect = (WalkEffects)random8( 0, 4 ); stage = stage_grow; } else if ( stage == stage_grow ) { if (gBright < 255){ if ( gStair < NUM_LEDS ){ trans = blend(CRGB::Black,c1,gBright); // fade in next two leds[gUpDown[gStair]] = trans; leds[gUpDown[gStair + 1]] = trans; } if ( gStair >= 2 ) { // shift last two stairs to the 2nd color. trans2 = blend(c1,c2,gBright); leds[gUpDown[gStair - 1]] = trans2; leds[gUpDown[gStair - 2]] = trans2; } gBright = qadd8(gBright, 4); } else { if ( gStair < NUM_LEDS - 2 ) { gStair+=2; //next stair. } else { stage = stage_init_run; gStair = 0; } gBright = 0; } } else if ( stage == stage_init_run ) { fill_solid(leds, NUM_LEDS, c2); x = 0; stage = stage_run; } else if ( stage == stage_run ) { trans2 = c2; randomEffect(); // waits for timer to run out. } else if ( stage == stage_init_dim ) { interval = 3; for(b=0; b<255; b++) { trans = blend(trans2,c2,b); fill_solid(leds, NUM_LEDS, trans); FastLED.show(); FastLED.delay(8); } interval = 8; gBright = 0; gStair = 0; stage = stage_dim; } else if ( stage == stage_dim ) { if ( gBright <= valTop ) { if ( gStair < NUM_LEDS ){ leds[gUpDown[gStair]].fadeToBlackBy( 6 ); leds[gUpDown[gStair + 1]].fadeToBlackBy( 6 ); gBright+=4; } else { stage = off; } } else { leds[gUpDown[gStair]] = CRGB( 0, 0, 0); leds[gUpDown[gStair + 1]] = CRGB( 0, 0, 0); gStair += 2; gBright = 0; } } else { stage = off; } }

// Random effects for the walk() stair function. void randomEffect(){ if ( walk_effect == sparkle ) { interval = 8; fill_solid(leds, NUM_LEDS, c2); addGlitter(80); } else if ( walk_effect == pulsate1 ) { interval = 10; if ( b < 255 ){ if ( i < 4 ) { trans2 = blend(z[i],z[i+1],b); fill_solid(leds, NUM_LEDS, trans2); b=qadd8(b,1); } else { i = 0; } } else { i++; b=0; } } else if ( walk_effect == pulsate2 ) { interval = 5; for(gStair=0; gStair < NUM_LEDS; gStair++) { trans2 = blend(c1,c2,quadwave8(r+=( -20 * gupDownDir ))); leds[gStair] = trans2; } gStair = 0; r = ++g; } else if ( walk_effect == flash ) { if ( x == 0 ) { for(gStair=0; gStair < NUM_LEDS; gStair+=2) { leds[gUpDown[gStair]] = CRGB( 100, 100, 100); leds[gUpDown[gStair + 1]] = CRGB( 100, 100, 100); FastLED.show(); FastLED.delay(1); } for(gStair=0; gStair < NUM_LEDS; gStair+=2) { leds[gUpDown[gStair]] = c2; leds[gUpDown[gStair+1]] = c2; FastLED.show(); FastLED.delay(1); } x = 1; gStair=0; } } }

// Sparkle rainbow welcome give delay to calibrate pir sensors. This also indicates if program crashed. void welcomeRainbow(){ for ( int i = 0; i < 500; i++ ){ rainbowWithGlitter(); FastLED.show(); FastLED.delay(8.3); EVERY_N_MILLISECONDS( 20 ) { gHue++; } } for (int tick=0; tick < 64; tick++){ for ( uint8_t i = 0; i < NUM_LEDS; i++ ){ leds[i].fadeToBlackBy( 64 ); FastLED.show(); FastLED.delay(1); } } }

// built-in FastLED rainbow, plus some random sparkly glitter void rainbowWithGlitter() { rainbow(); addGlitter(80); }

// paint rainbow void rainbow() { // FastLED's built-in rainbow generator fill_rainbow( leds, NUM_LEDS, gHue, 7); }

// Add random glitter void addGlitter( fract8 chanceOfGlitter) { if( random8() < chanceOfGlitter) { leds[ random16(NUM_LEDS) ] += CRGB(100,100,100); } }

// Candle flicker, blown out, + ember glow void flicker(){ if ( stage == stage_init ){ i = 0; rnd = 0; r = 0; g = 0; b = 0; stair = 0; gStair = 0; x = 0; gBright = 0; interval = 27; stage = stage_grow; } else if ( stage == stage_grow ){ if ( i <= 10 ){ // number of flicker between steps if ( gStair < NUM_LEDS ){ // for each step for ( stair = 0; stair <= gStair; stair +=2 ){ // up to currently lit step. rnd = random8(1, 4); if ( rnd == 2 ){ gBright = random8(110,140); leds[gUpDown[stair]] = CHSV( 60, 200, gBright ); leds[gUpDown[stair + 1]] = CHSV( 60, 200, gBright ); } } i++; } else { stage = stage_init_run; } } else { i = 0; gStair += 2; } } else if ( stage == stage_init_run ){ stage = stage_run; } else if ( stage == stage_run ){ for( gStair = 0; gStair < NUM_LEDS; gStair+=2) { rnd = random8(1, 4); if ( rnd == 2 ){ gBright = random8(110,140); leds[gStair] = CHSV( 60, 200, gBright ); leds[gStair+1] = CHSV( 60, 200, gBright ); } } } else if ( stage == stage_init_dim ){ // Blow out candles and leave an ember. for(gStair=0; gStair < NUM_LEDS; gStair+=2) { rnd = random8(4, 6); r = rnd+1; g = rnd-2; leds[gUpDown[gStair]] = CRGB( r,g,0 ); leds[gUpDown[gStair + 1]] = CRGB( r,g,0 ); FastLED.show(); FastLED.delay(50); } i = 0; gStair=0; stage = stage_dim; } else if ( stage == stage_dim ){ if ( i <= 150 ){ rnd = random8(0, NUM_LEDS); leds[gUpDown[rnd]].fadeToBlackBy( 3 ); i++; } else { fill_solid(leds, NUM_LEDS, CRGB( 0, 0, 0 )); FastLED.show(); stage = off; } } else { stage = off; } }

// Fade6 effect with each led using a hue shift void fade(){ if ( stage == stage_init ){ gBright = 0; gStair = 0; interval = 5; h = 128; s = 140; v = BRIGHTNESS; r = 0; g = ( random8() < 120 ); stage = stage_grow; } else if ( stage == stage_grow ){ if ( gBright<255 ){ if ( gStair < NUM_LEDS ){ trans = blend(CHSV(h,s,0),CHSV(h,s,v),gBright); leds[gUpDown[gStair]] = trans; leds[gUpDown[gStair + 1]] = trans; gBright = qadd8(gBright, 1); } else { stage = stage_init_run; gBright=0; gStair=0; } gBright = qadd8(gBright, 2); } else { gBright = 0; gStair += 2; } } else if ( stage == stage_init_run ) { v = BRIGHTNESS; interval = 70; stage = stage_run; } else if ( stage == stage_run ){ r = h; for(gStair=0; gStair < NUM_LEDS; gStair++) { h+=(3*gupDownDir); // left PIR go down leds[gUpDown[gStair]] = CHSV(h, s, v); } h = r + (3*gupDownDir*-1); } else if ( stage == stage_init_dim ){ interval = 7; h = h - gStair; gStair = 0; stage = stage_dim; } else if ( stage == stage_dim ){ if ( v > 0 ) { if ( gStair < NUM_LEDS ){ leds[gUpDown[gStair]] = CHSV(gStair + h, s, v); leds[gUpDown[gStair + 1]]= CHSV(gStair + h, s, v); v = qsub8(v, 1); } else { stage = off; } } else { leds[gUpDown[gStair]] = CRGB( 0, 0, 0); leds[gUpDown[gStair + 1]] = CRGB( 0, 0, 0); gStair += 2; v = BRIGHTNESS; h+=2; } } else { stage = off; } }

There you have it! complete, automated staircase LED lights for less than $20. I have learned from it a lot, especially how to drive the LEDs. In future I will add proper WIFI connectivity to this, so I could also take over the control via web interface. For now I hope you will enjoy the lights you made. I have to say, that guest are very impressed with it, the white trunking blends in nicely, and if not for (yet unpainted) black PIR enclosures, you can’t tell it’s there.

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    25 Discussions

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    ajayt7

    7 months ago

    Wonderful idea

    0
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    LadyPP

    7 months ago

    Is there a means to convert so one can place it outside, as it at times cost a lot of money to get light posts, solar or otherwise?

    The reason is that in places where it can get cold, being able to see where you are going, makes it lot safer and won't needing to be replaced after winter is over.

    3 replies

    The plastic trunking itself should be ok. My suggestion would be to cut 12mm circles from a 2mm clear plexiglass and glue it over the holes to waterproof the strip. The most problematic would be the enclosure for PIR and Arduino. If you have a 3D printer access - you should be fine, othewise you will have to get creative. Temperature doesn't matter really - its the moisture you have to watch out for.

    The reason is that when get gets cold, her in Calgary, it gets cold and it is a dry cold, as well we can get temperature extreme at times, like -10 to +10 c in a couple of hours. so that is why I had asked. Thanks

    LEDs should be fine as it's plastic. Electronic components don't usually fail unless exposed to very low temperatures. You could also coat the LEDs with a nail polish to weatherproof it

    I like your project, but living in a two story home should never be that troublesome to be "falling down the stairs at night with a full bladder". You should have a toilet on every floor. I live in a two-story home and I have two full bathrooms on the second floor. The door of one is less than three feet from my bed. But I do like the LED lights when I need to visit the kitchen at night!

    9 replies

    Very good Instructable, thank you. As for having a toilet /bathroom on every floor? Well, not all of us are lucky enough for that. I don't as I live in a house that is now over 100 years old. It's far cheaper to install these LED lights than it is to even attempt to install new toilets on every floor and I used to be a plumber :O

    I approve building lights, for tutorials on building bathrooms you all have to find another instructable! :D

    He probably should also install a hand rail.

    I have a wall on each side which I can perfectly bounce off while tumbling down :D

    I just bounce off each stair :D

    Hand rail? Yes, very good idea. I have one either side of the stairs now due to me having severe arthritis. I have still fallen down the stairs though and not too long ago either :( I have to be ultra cautious.

    If quintaar's required to have a bathroom on every floor you should be required to have a kitchen on every floor. I don't even have a second floor. ;-)

    Lucky :) I have to walk a 500 miles and then 500 miles more to get there. I simply stopped drinking 2h before bed time :D - there's life hack for you :D

    Not everyone has a house that has room for an extra bathroom, or the money to add one, or building codes that allow it.

    For other people with stairs: I bought a roll of 1.5" wide white vinyl tape used to mark lines on basketball courts. I ran one strip on the top of the runners on either side, and wrapped around the nose of each step. In even the dim light of a nightlight the white strips show up.

    Another idea: Put an LED rope light along the stair runner, and just leave it plugged in. They draw only a few watts.

    Hand rail, hand rail, whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna do when they come for you. (sung to the tune of Bad Boy, Bad Boy).

    For LED newbies reading, it's noteworthy that he's sourcing the current for the LEDs directly off the external power supply and then controlling them digitally via one of the digital pins on the Nano. That works because he's using individually-addressable LEDs, so the current requirements on the data pin are very small.

    If you try to source the current for *powering* this many standard LEDs through a data pin (rather than just controlling them), you're likely to toast your Nano.

    1 reply

    I had this idea years ago but didn't have the knowledge - You make it seem so simple. I can't wait to build one of these!!! I would love to see a video with the effects and how it all looks while actually running rather than just the short little test run of the LED's. Brilliant!