DIY Beginners LEDs Controller (<20$)




About: I'm a French student that builds stuff, electronics, mechanics... I'll post about the stuff I build or programm. I also repair phones and have a YouTube channel where I explain how to repair pretty uch ever...

Ever wanted a color-changing LED array above your bed or in your living room ? Want to make your own Christmas lights ? You want to control exactly how your LEDs are going to behave ? Have an automatic turn ON/OFF, different colors on every different day etc...

Also, this project is pretty easy, fast en cheap to do. You need about 10$ for the electronics (if you don't already have any) then as many LEDs you want !

What do you need ?

- A RGB LED Strip, you can find them for about 2$/meter or even cheaper on some websites. Look at my pics to see how it looks like.

- An Arduino, any kind is good, you can also use Nano or Mega, not only Uno (1$ to 10$)

- 3 Transistors, I used P2N2222AG here because I didn't have anything else

- a breadboard if you don't like soldering

- a few wires

- 3 resistors (I used 1k for mine, check your datasheet)

- a 12V power supply (mine is 2A, costs about 2-5$)

Let's get started

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Step 1: Building the Circuit

First, check how many Amps your LEDs need. If you know their specifics, you can calculate it:

- I they are 12V and 24W leds, you'll need 24/12 = 2A !

- If you don't know these specs, use an Ampmeter, mine use 600mA each, choose your transistors accordingly

A transistor is a 3 pin little guy, the middle pin is usually where you are going to "give the order" with Arduino (put the resistor on there). The collector is where you are going to put your GND coming from your power supply, you'll plug your LEDs on the emitter.

Now do this for all three of the colors (RGB).

The code is fairly easy, here is the link:

Modify it accordingly to your preferences.

Plug everything in, the +12V directly on the LEDs, here you go !

Watch the video if you can't manage to plug everything in right.

Any questions ?

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    7 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Good idea I will try it soon thank you.

    Thank you !

    Yeah they can be pretty much used in every projects, at very low-cost. Another advantage is that you can solder them together to make very long ones ! Endless prossibilities !


    Reply 3 years ago

    Yes, you can solder them together but keep in mind that the voltage drop is cumulative and dimming will begin to be noticed after 5m for 12v strips. 10m for 24v. You can split the control signal in the middle of the run and double the run without amplification - make sure you size your power supply appropriately.


    Reply 3 years ago

    Thanks for the advice, I haven't noticed this problem yet because I only used <5m for now


    Reply 3 years ago

    Thank you !
    Try it ! It's very easy to do and pretty fast, took me about 30min from calculating the right resistors to turning the leds on !