DIY Bike LED Lights




Introduction: DIY Bike LED Lights

About: Maker from USA. Follow me to stay up to date on my projects and possible kickstarters! Business email:

I dont have a car...

That means most of the time, if I want to get somewhere I have to ride my bike. Unfortunately most of the times I ride my bike at night. After a couple near misses with cars using standard dollar store blinkers, I decided to upgrade. Using a strip of programmable LED's, I can play custom animations, cool party effects, and much more using the lights on my bike.

The total cost of this project was about : $48 US

But I spent more than I needed to, the bare minimum would just be: around $30 US

Lets get started!

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Step 1: Watch Video

I highly encourage you to watch the video

It goes over the entire build in a simple easy to follow way

If the embedded video does not work for some reason, Here is the link

Step 2: Parts

Thanks to he awesome people at I was able to build this project quickly and cheaply.

They really are the best site for electronic projects.

For this project you will need:

1. LED Strip Light:

2. 12V 4800mah Li-ion Battery:

3. Nano V3 Controller Board: (Arduino Clone)

4. USB output converter module:

5. DIY Aluminum case: (Optional for waterproof)

6.Toggle Switch: (Optional, Battery already has safety switch)

Also what I did, was buy them in a pack of 5. This way I could make multiple copies for other bikes or even a bike rave?

Step 3: Voltage Issues.

Now heres the tricky part about this project.

The battery is 12v.

LED strip can handle 5v.

What do we do? Simple a voltage step down should do the trick, the only one I could find while quickly searching was a rather large usb 5v step down module. Im sure you can find a smaller one, but it may be more expensive.

Then I got an old usb phone charger and cut it off, stripping two wires inside the + and - for 5v

Now we can power the LED strip!

Step 4: Solder and Code

Now we solder wires to the arduino.

My soldering wasn't the best, but it will do. Be sure to insulate the joint, I used hot glue and shrink wrap.

Just solder:

12v Battery to USB input (+ and -)

5v usb + to Arduino 5v +

5v usb - to Arduino ground

LED strip data to Pin 6 of Arduino

LED strip + to USB 5v +

LED strip - to USB 5v -

And for the code, I simply used Adafruits Neopixal library

However I modified it a bit to only play the last animation (the rainbow like effect) Check below this step for the code

The Code I used needs only one modification, just count the number of led's in your strip and enter it where I wrote

NUMBER OF LED's HERE. In the first lines of the code.

Step 5: Zip Ties

Now for the fun part. As this was a prototype still, I didnt want to permanently fasten the lights to my bike.

The LED strip is waterproof, and I included a link to a waterproof housing for the electronics in the project parts step,

However I just wanted to test out this concept. So, I just used zip ties

There cheap and they work great!

Zip tie everything to the bike and make sure it wont fall off when you ride!

Its quite easy due to the fact that the LED strip is flexible!

Step 6: Power on and Done!

Just flip the switch and admire your work!

No car can claim they "never saw me" now!

Note that these photos dont do the lights any justice, I learned its quite difficult to take a good picture of bright LED's!

If you learned anything, enjoyed reading or just enjoy my project, Consider subscribing to both my Youtube Channel and My Instructable Page to stay updated on my projects

Last Project: Building a Cheap 3d Printer


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    3 Discussions


    2 years ago

    I would like to make something similar like this.

    I have a few questions:

    - how long do you do with 1 change of the battery?

    - How exactly is the link between the led strip and the power? for me it's not clear how the led strip gets it power.

    - How long is the led strip on your bike?


    3 years ago

    hello, thanks for the instructable, i was wondering if this can be done with a regular rbg strip that doesnt have 3 but 4 cables. im new to this and id love to try it


    Reply 3 years ago

    When I first started this project, I was just as confused as you are about this! Because how confusing I know it can be, Ill try to give you as much info as possible. For a "regular" led strip, you can only achieve single colors such as rgbw. Using this strips will only result in a solid red strip, a solid green strip and so on, though you could flash between colors. To be able to perform animations, you will need to buy individually addressable led strips. These will have a Positive tab, a Negative Tab and a Data tab. The data tab can be connected to an arduino or other board to address each individual LED, meaning you can change the color of each led to perform animations, in this case a cycle through the rainbow. The best place to find these would be adafruits Neopixel, but since they can get quite expensive, I bough a WS2821b LED strip. In summary there is a difference between LED strips, if you want to perform animations, you will have to buy a strip where each LED can be separately controlled (normally called individually addressable LED strip)