Introduction: LED Tricolor Lighting Effect
I always feel proud when I see one country showing respect, support to other country by illuminating the monuments, prominent structure in their country with lighting effects that resembles to flag of other. Sometimes it was done to show solidarity with that country or sometime it is to celebrate the national day, festival of the country.
So this idea came to my mind. Why I shouldn’t decorate the small replica of the Taj Mahal, an Indian monument, with LED lighting that will light up as tricolor of different countries. This was kept as showpiece for years in one corner of the room with not much attention
Isn’t it great to celebrate the national occasion of foreign country in your home? And after I was mesmerized with this idea in my mind, work started to turn it into beautiful attraction of my home. Many visitors have praised this transformation from dull replica to beautiful monument.
You can use any showpiece or replica of the world’s famous monuments. I used Taj Mahal as this piece was made of 3 different parts, top dome, middle House, and bottom base …perfect for my tricolor setup. I could use three individual RGB (Red, Green, and Blue) LED strips to control the tricolor light effects independently in each part. This replica is made of white marble and gives beautiful effect and reflects colors very well. It is available worldwide for different size and cost. This one I bought for 50 USD when I visited the real one. To add the LED decoration, I spent little over 20 USD which is reasonable, keeping in mind the wonderful light effect you can witness once it is ready and it gives new existence to the corner of your room, which was once in dark.
So let’s get started……….
Step 1: Major Tools
1) Taj Mahal Showpiece-
2) LED Strip – I used LED strips as per the list below.Length of the strips required depends on the size of the structure.
- RGB (Multicolor) LED strip - 3 Nos. – These are used for Tricolor effect on Monument
- Blue Led strip – 1 no. – This I used to give the blue sky effect. With only blue light ON, it gives full moon light effect at night. Normally I use this light ON at night.
- Cold white LED strip – 1 no. – This I use to illuminate the monument when all other lights are off. This light I turn on in the daylight.
I used SMD 5050 DC 12V 60pcs/m LED chips. These SMD 5050 LEDs are powerful and bright.
3) Star LED lights - 30 LEDs Copper Wire string lights. This I am using to create the “stars in the sky at night effect”
4) LED driver (Power Supply) – 230V AC to DC 12V 10A/120W LED Power Supply Charger. It has two 12V DC output and it can withstand the power requirement of the all the LED light strips that I use in this project.
5) LED controllers- This is to control the colors of the LED strips. We need 3 LED controllers to control the color of individual RGB LED strips. I have used one Bluetooth and two wireless controllers for demonstration purpose. You can go for all Bluetooth or all wireless controllers to control the colors for different shades of the flag.
Advantage of Bluetooth remote control over wireless remote control is that in Bluetooth remote control we get selection for millions of colors while in Wireless remote control the colors are limited to pre-set 24 key colors. Bluetooth remote control works on Android/iOS application
Step 2: Miscellaneous Tools
6) 3M Double sided Tape and Scissor
7) Multi-meter to check the output voltage and current. Also acts a tester for continuity while soldering
8) Soldering iron and soldering wire
9) Glue gun
10) Wire strips
11) Connectors for adapters ( optional)
12) 0.1MM Copper Soldering Solder Enameled Reel Wire Roll - It is used to connect Fly line(Jump wire) for LED strips
13) Blue paint and brush
14) Bluetooth Controller Android App
16) Measuring tape
17) Cello Tape, duct tape, Wire stripper and screwdriver set.
18) Remote Controls
Now that we have gathered all the tools and help that we need to build the LED lights, stage is set to start our work.
Step 3: The Main Replica of Taj Mahal
The replica comes in 3 separate parts.
Three different parts include Top Dome, Middle House and bottom base. It is very easy to assemble. You can assemble to make this monument as shown in the picture. It has tiny pins at the bottom of each piece and fits into the holes of corresponding base.
Step 4: Part One - Built Sky: First Step Is to Build the Sky and Stars Effect.
1) To build the sky over the Taj Mahal, I used 8x8x8” glass box. This will cover the monument and prevent it from the dust along with my purpose to support the sky. This one I bought from local glass store. This is customized glass box made by on order after giving him the correct dimensions that I wanted. I asked him to put the mirror in the back instead of plane glass which adds reflection and glow of LED lights to Taj Mahal.
2) Cut the cardboard of the same size (8x8”) so that it can fit into the glass container. Check this by fitting into the glass box before you start decorating it.
3) Once confirmed, you can pull out the cardboard and paint it with white color. If you have white cardboard it is great. Since mine is brown one I am painting it with white so that blue color is easily visible.
4) Once white paint is dried up, you can apply blue color. I applied for two coats.
5) Once it is dried, you can punch few holes into the cardboard. The holes are used to slide through the Star LED lights.
6) Ensure you insert these lights from the back side of the cardboard which is not painted. So that only LED tips are visible into the front. You can press the copper wires of the LED lights to make them flat with the cardboard. Since these string lights come with the wires and power connector, we are not doing any soldering. This is powered by 3 V battery or 3V power supply. Once the setup is ready it will look like this from front.
7) Once star LEDs are in place, next thing is to add Blue LED strips at the corner of the cardboard. Blue LEDs will be used to give blue sky effect to the decoration. Blue LED strip I used is powered by 12 V DC. This strip comes in 60 LEDs/meter. We need 4 LED strips each measuring 8”, the same size of the cardboard. These strips can be cut at the designated points as per our requirement.
8) There are two points that we need to solder, one for +12 V and one for -12V. I started with first connecting the power connector and then connecting the reaming three strips with joint wires. Ensure you connect +ve and –ve joints correctly, the marking on the LED strips is very clear to understand.
9) These LED strips comes with self-sticking glue, you can peel off the protective cover exposing the glue and stick the strips on the cardboard corners.
10) Now you can put this cardboard into the glass container. I have not used any glue or double sided tape since this cardboard fits into the glass container perfectly due to its exact size.
11) To add clouds- Take the cotton, loose it with hands and put double sided tape on to it. You can place these clouds anywhere you want, even on top of Star LEDs. Light coming out of the clouds gives special effect.
We are done with our Sky over the Dome.
Step 5: Part Two - White LED Light Base:
Before we move on to prepare the main building decoration, I will add white LED strips on the base. This white LED I am using to light the monument from the bottom and it adds shadow effect. This white light can be used when no other light is turn on and when you want to keep the monument visible all the time, during the daylight.
1) First measure the length of the base part.
2) Cut the white LED strip to that measurement. We need 4 of these strips of equal length.
3) Solder the power connector. Then remaining 3 strips together with +ve and –ve terminals
4) Stick the strip at the base as shown.
Now let’s move to prepare the main decoration of Tricolor effect on Taj. There are three pieces of the Taj Mahal. Top Dome, Middle house and bottom base
Step 6: Part Three - Top Dome LED Lighting
1) First measure the height and diameter of the dome.
2) Take the thin foam and cut it into equal length and diameter of the dome.
3) Roll this foam into cylinder shape and paste it with glue.
4) Check if this easily fits into the Dome
5) Cut the RGB LED strip of about 1 Meter and solder the wires and connectors
6) Rolled it over the cylindrical foam
7) Now slide this entire assembly into the Dome.
Step 7: Part Four - Middle House Assembly
1) Measure the height and diameter of the house structure.
2) Take the thin foam and cut it into equal length and diameter of the house.
3) Roll this foam into cylinder and paste it with glue.
4) Check if this easily fits into the house
5) Cut the RGB LED strip of about 1.5 Meter and solder the wires and connectors.
6) Rolled it over the cylindrical foam
7) Now slide this entire assembly into the house.
Step 8: Part Five - Bottom Base Assembly –
1) For this you don’t need to use the foam and you can directly slide through the RGB LED strips as it has lot of space and support. I used 2 Meter in length since this is bigger than Dome and middle house.
2) Only ensure you connect the wires and connector before you put the wires in.
We are done with LED lighting. It is time to put the entire assembly together.
Step 9: Assembly-
1) Put the Base of the Taj Mahal on the place where you want to keep it for decoration
2) Assemble the top Dome, Middle house and bottom base together .
3) Ensure all you power connectors are coming out of the hole at the bottom or back of the Taj Mahal so that they are not visible from front
4) Put the glass container on top of the Taj Mahal.
5) Once all parts are put tighter, final setup will look like this.
6) I used mirror on top to hide the cardboard
Step 10: Putting Together All Power Connections
1) I am using 230 V AC to DC 12V 10A 120W LED Power Supply Charger. As I mentioned earlier it has two 12 V outputs.
2) Remember we need five 12 V power supply connections as below
- 3 Power supply connections for 3 RGB led strips ( Top, Middle and Bottom part)
- 1 for Blue LED lights
- 1 for White LED light
3) So for 5 power connection need I use below connections.
- One 12 V output – 3 RGB LED lights ( Connect +ve and –ve terminals together)
- Another 12 v Output - Blue LED light and White LED light ( Connect +ve and –ve terminals together)
For Star LED lights we are using separate 3 V power adapter. This will not be connected to this power supply. You can use separate adapter or run on battery.
Step 11: Final Result:
This is it. We are done with our entire setup. Now it is time to Power ON the setup, sit back and enjoy the lighting effects. You can control the lights by Wireless or Bluetooth controller and create different combinations of color effects. Now I can celebrate the Tricolors of different countries at home.
I hope you like the demonstration of this. If you need any assistance please let me know and I am available to help you out. Thank You.