Everyone has that one shirt they love to wear, but who can say they have a shirt that lights up? Better yet who can say they have a shirt that lights up AND is controlled from their android device! I will give you step by step instructions on how to easily make your own light up shirt.
Parts you will need:
1X reel of RGB LEDs (available on amazon for $15)
3X 2n2222a NPN transistor
3X 1K Ohm resistor
1X portable power supply with 5v and 12v output (some sort of battery pack, AA or AAA will work, the LEDs pull 60mA per set of 3 @12v)
1X EC1 Splat PLC available on the Splat Controls website
1X the Bluetooth Serial Port Module for Arduino
1X perf board
Needle and thread
Solder and soldering iron
A computer running SPLat/PC, the free SPLat programming environment (IDE)
Time required: About 2-3 Hours
Step 1: Cut Your LEDs to Size
First thing we need to do is determine what we want to display with the lights. I will be making the numbers 20 and 14 (on two separate shirts)
*Because I already have the number 14 made i will show the first half of the steps with the number 20 and the last half with 14 but the process is the exact same with both.*
Now once you know how many strips you need you can cut along the designated spots (every three leds). Make sure to leave copper pads on each strip.
Step 2: Prepare for Soldering Together
Now we face a problem, we need to remove the plastic from over top of the copper pads on either end of the led strip.
To do this i used a box cutter and carefully without cutting the bottom copper strip or your fingers, put a slit in the plastic just past the copper pads.
You should now be able to peal off the plastic from the ends.
Step 3: Begin Soldering Your Led Patern
Once all of the led strips are ready for soldering place them in the desired pattern making sure to place them in a way that when the corners touch they are the same polarity. So if one corner is positive then the other corner that touches it needs to be positive as well.
Now place a solder bead on each pad and solder the corners together, the other 3 connections will be made using wire bent into a right angle.
R to R
G to G
B to B
12v to 12v
Do this for All of your strips until you have your final shape.
Step 4: Connect Your Shapes
If you have multiple separate shapes like i do ( the 2 and the 0) you will need to position them next to each other how you want them to be, then using your clear tape place a piece across the top of each shape, then the middle, then the bottom, flip your leds over and overlap the tape again sticky side to sticky side, this will help hold the leds in place later on and help sew them to the shirt, for extra support you can place a piece of tape length wise along each strip, again overlapping it on the other side to completely encase the leds. Make sure that there is some extra tape on either side of the leds.
Step 5: Solder Your Wires
Now we need to add some wired to the leds to go to our controller that we will make next,
You will need 4 wires preferably different colors, I use black for blue, red for red, green for green, and white for common positive.
solder a jumper between each color for the two shapes (if you are doing more than one) then solder the same color wire to one end of each so that the two shapes are connected and you have four main wires to power it with.
*At this point I am going to switch to the number 14 because I have already gotten it this far*
Step 6: Start the Controller
Now that we have the lights done, we will begin on the controller. first we need to gather the perf board, resistors, transistors, some wire, and some single female pin connectors. Also if you are using a 5v regulator for the power to the EC1 you will want to include that on this board.
We will begin by placing the 3 2n2222 transistors in a line with 2 rows between each to make it easy for soldering, then solder and trim the leads.
*Above is the final schematic for the controller if you want to jump ahead*
Step 7: Add Some More Parts
Next add the three resistors, solder one end to the center pin on the 2n2222 and the other to somewhere on the board then solder the female pin connector to the unused end of the resistor.
Step 8: Add the Regulator
If you are using a 5v regulator add that to the board and add your power wires to the EC1 and your battery, then add a wire connecting the inputs to all three transistors to the negative of the battery.
Step 9: Connect the Leds
Now connect the wires from the leds to their respective transistors (you decide this) and the positive 12v.
At this point all wiring is finished other than connecting the EC1 Splat board.
Step 10: Program the EC1 and Connect the BT Module
You now need to load the program onto the EC1.
You can connect the BT board and plug the EC1 into your computer, you can find how to properly connect and pair your device to the BT board in the SPLat Easysteps "Connecting EC1 to a JY-MCU Bluetooth module". Now running SPLat/PC get the program from the Splat Easysteps "control an RGB led from your smartphone" and paste it into splat. once you have connected to your splat board you can now load the program onto the EC1 and unplug it.
Step 11: Testing and Sewing
Plug the RGB plugs into pins 0, 1 and 2 in that order on the EC1 ( 0-R, 1-G, 2-B) now turn on the power and make sure everything works, if it doesn't light up when you press somewhere on your android device (on the SimpleHMI program) then most likely you got the transistors backwards.
After you confirm that everything works you can now grab that white T-shirt, turn it inside out and lay it down flat with the front side on top.
Place your lights face down on the shirt and begin sewing the leds to the shirt by threading the needle through the tape and the shirt,
(make sure the lights are positioned where you want them)
Step 12: You're Done!
Now you can tun your shirt right side out and put it on, i recommend placing the controller and battery in some kind of enclosure and placing it in your pocket. Thanks for following along with this instructable and enjoy your shirt!!! make sure to visit the Splat website for more programs and controllers you could use with this shirt or any other PLC projects (think outside the box) if you have any questions or comments or have a PLC project you would like me to do Please comment :)