Intro: Glowing Longboard
After a few times of being told I wasn't visible riding at night, and since I didn't like the look of a reflector on my longboard. I decided to make a RGB led system for my longboard. It has a small RGB controller and three LED strips(1 on either side and 1 in the front) that has an IR remote. So now I'll get to how to make it.
Step 1: Parts
The total cost of parts for these was about $16-18 not including the battery. The battery I used is way overkill. But since I already had it on hand and isn't permanent I decided to just use it. So to the parts.
1. 5050 RGB led strip with IR controller, Here. If you wanna go a little cheaper you can just buy a white led strip like this, and just put a switch on the board to turn it on and off or a cheap rf controller like this.
2. Adjustable voltage regulator, Here. Don't forget to adjust it to 12v before attaching it to the controller or led strip.
3. The battery. I used this one. This one is about $40 plus shipping, which is about 7 bucks. You can also just use a 9v battery but it won't last nearly as long as a lipo(Lithium Polymer). Also be sure to buy a charger specifically for a lipo if you buy one, they are dangerous if charged with anything other than their rated specific charger.
The only tools you will need are:
1. Router with a bit slightly larger than your led strip.
2. Soldering Iron
3. And maybe a screwdriver if you want to take the controller out of its case.
Alright now on to the build.
Step 2: Build Setup and Ordering
First decide what board you wanna put it on, then decide where you wanna put the lights. I put mine along the sides and the front, this was for good visibility as well as somewhat of a headlight. Then measure the length of the section you are planing to install the LEDs on. If you are planning on building a board and wanna put these on it then remember to measure the board before you buy the led strips.
So once you know the length of where you want your leds to be go ahead and order the led strip with extra and a controller (or switch if your going with just the white LED strip). As well the other parts. If you use a 9v remember you don't have to get a voltage regulator.
Now your parts came! Ok so to the actual build steps.
Step 3: Measure and Routing
So to start take your led strip and lay it out on your board. Then cut it at the length you want. Remember you can only cut it every three LEDs, so you might have to compromise or lengthen your desired length on the board slightly. Then take your router and measure from the center of your bit to the edge of the router. Take that measurement and add half the width of the bit plus the distance you want the LEDs from the edge of the board. I suggest you have them at least a 1/4"-1/2" away from the edge. Then mark it on both ends of where your leds are going to be.
Next set the depth of your router to a little deeper then you led strip (this is to protect them if you hit something while riding).
Now to routing. Line up a straight piece of wood with the marks you made in the last step and clamp it down. Go ahead and route it using the wood as a guide. Remember to keep a steady pressure against the wood and watch it to make sure it doesn't move. Repeat for all of the places where the leds are going to go.
For the controller you can mount it with screws, or route out a shallow space for it. Which is what I did after taking it out of the box it was in. You can also route out a space for the battery, Which is basically measuring the size of the battery and then routing out a somewhat shallow space for it in the board. Don't make it too deep otherwise it could weaken the board.
Step 4: Soldering
Now take the segments of the led strip you cut. If yours are waterproof (which I recommend) cut just enough of the silicon coating off to get to the contacts on the strip. Solder wires to all four of the contacts.Make sure your wires are long enough to reach your controller. Then solder those to the controller observing the direction the wires should be connected.
Next unsolder the power plug from the controller and solder some wires from there to the voltage regulator. Observing the polarity. And then solder wires from the voltage regulator to the battery connectors (or battery clip if you are using a 9v battery).
Step 5: Step 3 of the Build: Attach and Finish
The final step! Take the sticker covering off the back of the led strips and place them in their places. And screw on the controller if you chose to go that route. And your done!