LED VU Equalizer Jacket With Speakers: Prototype 1




Introduction: LED VU Equalizer Jacket With Speakers: Prototype 1

Want a cool, smooth jacket that will get lots of attention?

How about one that lights up to music?

This video shows the jacket in action more clearly.
This is probably the most creative idea I have had up to date.

I thought to myself one day, man leather jackets are cool. How can I make it cooler?

And then it hit me.

I had always loved graphic equalizers, so why not put the equalizer in the jacket. And add LED's. AND A SOUND SYSTEM.

"Get kicked out of a party? No problem! the party is in YOUR JACKET!"

Lets get started.

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Step 1: Bill of Materials

Here is the list or materials needed.

  • 1 X Leather Jacket
  • 2 X Speakers (sub-woofers recommended)
  • 1 X Amplifier (optional) link
  • 16-30 X Ultra High Brightness Blue LED's link
  • 1-3 X Blue LED Strips link
  • 1-3 X Blue EL Wire link
  • 2 X Ultra High Brightness Red LED's (something I failed at :P) link
  • 1-3 X 9V battery clips link
  • 1-3 X 9V 2AA battery holder/converter link
  • 1 X old headphones
  • 1 X 3.5mm port
  • 1 X 80mm or bigger Fan
  • 1 X Ultra High Brightness Green LED (I accidentally got the 100mcd; aka no brightness LED) link
  • 1 X Solder 60/40 + Soldering Iron
  • 1 X General Use PCB board link
  • 1 X Hot Glue+ Glue Gun
  • 1 X DPDT switch link
  • 1 X 9Volt battery
  • 2X AA battery
  • Some Speaker Wire

For those who have previous knowledge of electronics, I would recommend building a VU METER from scratch :




Step 2: Obtain a Leather Jacket

Find an old leather jacket you may have lying around; in my case I pulled out the old "Levi's two horse" brand jacket.

Step 3: Obtain Speakers

Now that you have a jacket it's time to get some speakers. I chose long speakers which used to mount on an old monitor for financial reasons. If I had money I would have chosen speakers with built in amplifiers  (these speakers gave me trouble due to the low output volume)

Step 4: Modify the Speakers (optional)

I intended on placing LED's to where it would light up the inner portion of the speakers. To do so I grinded out a notch in the middle of each speaker where I could later hot glue a LED.

Step 5: Adding an Amplifier (optional)

I realized that the speakers I was using had low output volume due to the fact that there is no built in amplifier for it. So I bought a BN9 RAMSEY SUPER SNOOP AMPLIFIER KIT from Amazon.com. The kit cost 15$, and you must solder together the amplifier.

I did solder together the amplifier, and since the kit was made to have an input microphone and an output for a speaker, I had to do some modifying.

I wanted to have an input 3.5mm socket and an output 3.5mm jack. To do so, I cut the microphone output from a spare headphone, and a jack from a 2 way 3.5mm splitter.

I stripped the wire off the microphone output, and found a wire on the inside covered by copper wires (around the inner wire). the outside copper goes to the negative (-) output and the inner wire goes to the positive (+).

For the 3.5mm Jack, I stripped the outer housing and found a red wire, a white wire, and copper wires around the other two wires.
The red and white wires are your left and right speaker inputs, you should solder them together and place them in the positive (+) input. The copper shrouding should go to negative or ground (-).

After hooking up the amplifier I noticed the sound quality was garbled, and the music would build up and suddenly stop, then repeat again. I have no clue why it did this, so I went ahead and left out the amplifier stage.

Step 6: Adding Amplifier (part II)

These pictures show detailed images of how I made the amplifier.

Step 7: Adding a VU LED METER

This is where money directly conflicts with idea. Originally I was going to build my own VU meter using an LM3915 and this schematic: http://www.elektropage.com/default.asp?tid=513. The project was to be based on LED strips of different colors, and a 12 volt source to power it all. Counting up the total, I quickly realized this fantasy was coming to a quick end. If I wanted to do this project with LED strips, I was looking to shell out around 100$+, which was not an option. 

I then looked for cheaper methods, and I found something called EL wire. BUT, EL wire doesn't have the flare I want it to, and wiring up was not exactly a walk in the park.

Finally I stumbled on a very good deal. On amazon.com they have LED VU equalizer T shirts which already have the led's and the circuit board all wired up for 13$. All you have to do is put in batteries. Sticking to my KISS theory (Keep It Stupid Simple), I decided to take this route, and nether the less I was very happy!

Once the T shirts arrived I quickly hacked out the VU meter from the t shirt using my prestigious Rambo knife.

Step 8: Keeping the Speakers in Place

If you haven't noticed right now, sewing is not my thing. So to keep the speakers in place I zip tied the top and bottom, and then hot glued black fabric (which i tore from the equalizer t shirt) across the middle to firmly keep it in place.

Step 9: Making Blue Led Circuits

You can customize this part to however you wish.

To light up the inner portion of the jacket, I decided to use mini pcb boards wired up to 8000mcd blue LED's.

I bought from radio shack general PCB boards which I then cut into 4 mini boards using a dremel tool.

Step 10: Wire Up the Boards

To wire the boards, attach resistors to the negative terminals, and add wire to the positive terminals. Leave both ends open so that you can place them to a power source.

Step 11: Led Boards Finished

The boards plus leds is a cheap alternative to led strips which costs quite a sum of money.

Step 12: Hot Glue the Led Boards and the VU Meter to the Jacket

Now for the gluing. Hot glue the two VU meters next to the speakers, and hot glue the led's to the top of the jacket. The led boards should be right under the collar of the jacket, and should point downwards/outwards. 


Step 13: Adding LED's to the Speakers+Resistors

Adding the red Ultra bright LED's (they weren't bright at all) is only a matter of hot gluing the LED's in the notch that was made earlier.

I did some simple electronics to figure out the resistance needed for the Red LED's ( 12v-2.4v= 9.6v/20ma=480Ω).

At the time I didn't have a 480Ω resistor, so I quickly hacked out 3 180Ω resistors from an old toy which equaled= 540Ω, close enough. 

Later on though, I went ahead and bought a 470Ω resistor and a 22Ω resistor, soldered them in series, and applied to the LEDs.

Step 14: ALIEN WARE VOICE (optional)

Seeing the spare headphone I had lying on the ground, I decided to do something cool to it.

When I was younger I used to put my mouth next to a fan and talk. Fascinated by the weird voice which would come out on the other side of the fan, I would entertain myself for hours on end. Since my hobby is to salvage parts from different computers and recreate new ones, I have an abundance of fans to use.

The plan was to hot glue a fan to the end of the microphone port on the headphone, and use it to create noise effects. Also, a green LED would emphasize the ALIEN part.

Step 15: Assembling Alien Ware Voice

Assembling this was a breeze. All you have to do is cut off the microphone piece on the headset, hot glue the fan on. After hot gluing the fan on, hot glue the led on top. Then solder the positive and negative wires to their respected positions.

Step 16: Alien Ware Failure, But It Still Has Uses...

On testing the alien ware headset, I came up with a problem. 
The fan did not make the alien sound I was hoping it would; It was too small to produce the effects a big fan would 
All it did was clip my tongue 100 times per minute while i was trying to talk!

But, I did find some other uses for this thing.

1st off, It acts as a great mouth cooler (god knows what you would need that for)

2nd off, I figured out if you fill your mouth with water, you can spray a heavy mist of H2O at unsuspecting sibling.

3rd off, I would DEFINITELY NOT RECOMMEND THIS, If you feel like being a professional flame thrower, fill your mouth with gas..... 

Step 17: Yu-Gi-Oh Case Enclosure for Amplifier

I was looking for something to enclose the amplifier I built (before I realized the amplifier was garbage) and I found a Yu-Gi-Oh magical dissapering box. Needless to say, I had some real mishaps while trying to demonstrate the magical effect...

These Toy boxes make great enclosures, I will probably use the Yu-Gi-Oh box for another project.

Step 18: Battery Source

At this point, I was stumped on how to get 12 volts of battery without shelling out 30$ or more. I have never seen anyone use a 9 volt battery + 2 AA batteries to make 12 volts. So I decided to go ahead and try it.

I found a 9 volt battery holder for 2 AA batteries and I couldn't believe my luck!

Step 19: Battery Schematic.

Make sure when wiring the batteries together, put the positive on one to the negative on the other.

I made the mistake and soldered both positive terminals together and both negative terminals together, and I later wondered why they didn't work.

Step 20: Soldering a Switch.

 I didn't want the led's running continuously and I needed a way to turn the led's on and off. So I decided to put a switch. 

 I used a DPDT (double switch double throw) switch and soldered it in. To solder a switch properly, first solder the

(+) battery terminal to the middle part, then solder the LED's (+) terminal to whatever side you want.

Step 21: Inside Wiring Diagram

Now that your jacket is done, the insides should look similar to this picture.

This diagram may also help people visualize the placement of wires which are hidden in the jacket.

Step 22: YOU'RE DONE!

Alright, now that the amazing jacket is complete, time to do some testing.

Here's the first video I made with the jacket, It was probably the funniest/worst performance. Enjoy!

I hope you really have enjoyed this Instructable as much as I did,

and I wish that you all would all rate this 5 stars!

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    9 Discussions


    6 years ago on Introduction

    You know that feeling when you look back at a previous video you made and wonder what exactly was going through your head at the time....yep experiencing that right now lol.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Nicely done. Although I think it would work better to have the equalizer LED displays on the outside of the jacket. It's cool, but not that cool if you have to walk around a club with chicken wings to show how cool it is.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I edited my Jacket so now that the panels are on the outside, and also switched out the huge bulky pc speakers for some low profile amplified round speakers.

    I'll upload pictures soon


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    lol my sister told me the same thing. alright fine! ill put them on the outside :P

    The Old Fart
    The Old Fart

    8 years ago on Introduction

    this instructable has given me some idea for others and I thank you very much


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    may I ask what that idea is :P

    If you make more than 1 million dollars off of your idea you owe me 500$ :)


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Please Leave a Comment and Rate 5 stars, thanks


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Very Nice, I still didn't rate it, but I will soon!