Intro: LED Constellations Using Chibitronics
Stargazing is fun and awesome, but can't be done on cloudy or rainy nights. Using chibitronics you can make your own night sky including your favorite constellations.
Chibitronics LED Starter Kit
Black Poster Board or paper
Ruler or strait edge
Step 1: Constellation Research and Planning
Choose a constellation and print a photograph of the stars in the system. In this tutorial, we used both Orien and The Big Dipper. The best way to find a good image is to use google image search to search "your constellation + drawing."
Once you have found a good drawing of the constellation, print the drawing and place it over a sheet of black poster board or paper. Use a ballpoint pen firmly press through the top layer to make dots on the black poster paper beneath, which you'll use later to indicate where the LED's (stars) should be placed.
Step 2: Chibitronics Circuit Planning
The next step is to plan the Chibitronics circuit. Using a pen draw the positive and negative sides of the circuit so that all of the stars can connect to the battery.
Next, determine the battery placement by folding the corner of your poster board over the 3V coin cell battery. Once you have your battery placement, mark the battery so that you know where to terminate your circuit. Be sure to remember the polarity of the battery.
If you're using an effects sticker, be sure to create a place for if first, as it will likely impact how the circuit is designed. Placing the effect sticker close to the battery is recommended. Be sure to mark each corner of the effects sticker properly, as it makes drawing the remaining circuit more challenging.
Once you have your battery and LED (and effects sticker if applicable) placements you can design the rest of your circuit. Remember that the Chibitronics conductive tape is about 1/8 of an inch (3mm) thick and that you'll want to leave 1/8 (3mm) between the positive and negative part of your circuit.
Step 3: Laying the Conductive Tape
Starting at the battery, apply the conductive tape that will carry electricity to the LED stickers (and effects sticker if applicable). The positive and neutral "sides" of the circuit should not touch. Remember, the paper will "fold" over the battery to close the circuit. Note the polarity of the battery when creating the circuit. You will need to know which side of the circuit is the negative and positive when applying the LED stickers in step 4.2. Note: You should not attempt to "join" the conductive tape. If your tape breaks, remove it and start over. Attempting to join the tape will lead to unreliable conductivity and may mean an inoperable circuit.
Step 4: Adding LED Stickers and Effects Sticker (if Applicable)
Attach each LED sticker to the conductive tape. Firmly press the stickers to the paper ensuring good contact between the conductive tape and the copper conductors on the LED stickers.
Note: If you do not plan to use an effects sticker, skip to the next step - Testing the Circuit.
Attach the effect sticker to the conductive tape. Firmly press the sticker to the paper ensuring good contact between the conductive and the copper conductors on the effect sticker.
Step 5: Testing the Circuit
Once your LED Stickers and effect sticker (if applicable) are in place, check that the circuit is working by inserting your battery and firmly pressing down. The LED's should turn on. Congratulations, you're done with the wiring and can skip to step 7 to complete your constellation. If the LED's do not turn on, follow the steps below to debug common problems.
If none of the LED's turn on:
Check the Battery polarity - make sure that the positive side of the battery is touching the positive side of your circuit. LED's will not work if the battery is inserted backwards.
If using an effect sticker, be sure that the effect sticker is firmly pressed onto the conductive tape and that the polarity is correct.
If one or more LED(s) works but others don't:
Check the non-working LED(s) - be sure that the LED stickers are firmly pressed onto the conductive tape.
Check the polarity of the non-working LED(s) - remember that LED's don't work if the polarity is reversed.
Step 6: Hanging the Constellation
Using double sided tape attach the constellation to a flat surface such as the ceiling, underneath a bunk bed, or bedroom door.
Remember that you'll need to access the battery clip to turn the constellation on and off.