DIY Portable LED Strobe

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About: I am a student in electronics. It's not only my hobby but a style of life. As my other big love is art, I do my best to combine them together and create something new and unseen.

Intro: DIY Portable LED Strobe

I and my friends like to have fun in summer. We like to fool around with music when we are camping. To make those parties more likely to professional ones I have made portable 9V LED strobe. For my surprise it really gives a big effect. I hope you will like it!

Lights! Camera! Action!

Step 1: Tools

Here is the list of tools you will (mostly) need:
1)marker;
2)ruller;
3)pliers;
4)screwdriver;
5)knife (or wood carving knife)
6)1, 3, 6 and 7mm drill bits;
7)drill stand or dremel tool;
8)sanding paper;
9)solder or soldering station;
10)lead solder;
11)flux.

Step 2: Schematic and PCB

This project is very simple but there isn't as much schematics on the internet as I thought it will be. But I'm happy because I found this one. It is really simple and cheap. All the parts (including the case) can be found at local radioshack just for a few dollars. And what is really cool that it can be done in one day!
The heart of this schematic is timer LM555. It generates square impulses which width is regulated by variable resistor or potentiometer (it really doesn't mater which will be used).
Light board can be made from as many LEDs as you want. Starting from 3 LEDs and increasing by 3 (for example it can be 3, 6, 9, 12. 15 and etc.). I have chosen 60 LEDs for brighter light
I have uploaded my schematic and PCB in Eagle and .pdf formats. My main board is really small. You can make it smaller if you use SMD parts but it's necessary. LED board is 87x57mm size (perfectly fits into my case).

Step 3: Parts

Bill of materials (BOM) for electronics can be found in .txt file that I have attached. All those parts will cost just few dollars. Maybe LEDs will cost more.

Of course you will need some parts for case assembly such as:
1)8xM3 screws;
2)two small screws for switch mounting;
3)4x10mm metal holder;
4)4x22mm metal holder;
5)case (I have used plastic 90x60x25mm).

Also there is 9V battery holder, some wire, DC jack, switch and variable resistor knob (I have shortened it because original was to long).

Step 4: Assembly

I forgot to take pictures of soldering part. But I think it is easy to understand from schematic and board layouts because there are just a few parts.
How you can see, I have connected switch just to battery holder. When switch is off but DC adapter is connected it still works.
Now when it is done with electronics it's time for casing!

Step 5: Casing

How you can see there were no holes and fittings in my case so I had to make them.
To hold case, LED's board and organic glass in place together I have made 3mm holes for screws and those metal holders. 10mm holders were used between organic glass and LED's PCB. And those 22mm length were used inside case for holding all the parts together.

Step 6: Finishing

While finishing the strobe I thought about LED's board. I should have painted it black or even chrome. But well I have made mistake which you can avoid. It still looks nice and shiny. That organic glass really does the job. It protects LEDs from scratching.
By the way. Power supply can be from 6 to 12 volts. I use 12V indoors. It flashes brighter. And for outdoors I use 9V battery which really easily fits in case. I am happy about this my project, it really works well.

P.S. If you decide to use bigger casing you can use Joulie thief to make LEDs flash brighter from battery.
P.S.S. If you want to make color light strobe you can use RGB LEDs or cut out various colors films and clip them to the organic glass.

I hope You enjoyed my first instructable!

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    62 Discussions

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    AmrE60

    1 year ago

    thanks for the file

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    HardlyHumanFX

    2 years ago

    Is it possible to flash the LED 80 times per second with this circuit? Thanks!

    1 reply
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    jd72cv11

    3 years ago on Introduction

    This is a nice little project! Thanks for posting it.

    Some thoughts on the circuit...

    A pull down resistor on the FET gate is always recommended. Floating gates/grids are not a good thing :-)

    Also, and this is just being nit-picky, one resistor to limit the current for all of those diode strings is not 'best practice.' In your application it's not much of an issue because you are using a 9V battery. But if someone was to use a DC power supply and a diode string were to fail, other strings could start cascading and lead to a fiery mess. I'd have to recommend a resistor per diode string.

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    ryork5

    4 years ago on Introduction

    Awesome job mate! :)
    How about, if we want to string 2 LED strobe (right - left) with a different variable blink .. thks ..

    10 replies
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    DOT.ryork5

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks!
    If I understand correctly, you want to make double strobe light, like those Police lights, yes? If so, then write me here or privately, I will make another instructable ;)

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    ryork5DOT.

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    yes, you are right .. can you make me right scheme? pleassee .... :)

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    ryork5Ronny_the_king

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    thank you, but I want a blink of strobo like this video : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6N-3_M2HjMk

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    ryork5DOT.

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    heii DOT,, can you help me, make a stobe like i mean ??

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    DOT.ryork5

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    I will make it, but you will have to wait a little bit. It takes some time :)

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    DOT.ryork5

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    I will share the instructable when it will be finished

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    gh0st85

    4 years ago on Step 2

    I have 2 ledstrips of both 12-24V, they actually already light up at 9V and didn't test them with higher voltages than 12V. Is it possible to connect these in parallel and what can I do to allow higher voltages to pass through?

    1 reply
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    DOT.gh0st85

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    You can connect those two LED strips in parallel. I have checked 555 timer datasheet and max power supply voltage for it is 16V. So 12 volts is the best.

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    dozer789

    5 years ago on Introduction

    This is pretty cool!! Congrats on winning the contest!! I like to make things with electronics so I am going to have to try making this!!

    2 replies
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    DOT.dozer789

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks! It's really nice that you like my instructable! Write me if you make one too. I would like to see how it will look :)

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    dozer789DOT.

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    It would be a little before I would make one of these because I am very busy right now, but if I do ever make one, I will write you!