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Imitate Fire With Flickering LEDs? Answered

I'm an artist looking to use this in a new series of work. I'd like to imitate fire inside a frosted globe with flickering LEDs, maybe several each in red, orange & yellow. Unfortunately I'm fussy about realism and electronics illiterate. It would be nice to be able to buy or build this part of the project for under $25 each and fit it inside a 2.5 inch (65 mm) circle. A battery operated circuit would be preferable but I could live with a 110v circuit if I had to. 

What do you think? Can any of you electronics guys or gals get me set up here? I'm strapped for cash at the moment but if one of you can help me make this work I'll send you one of the first finished pieces, post an instructable on the project and give you credit for the electronic portion.





6 years ago

what about one of these and then you take apart the housing?

Well, some points to think about:
#1:  LEDs are "points" of light, whereas a flame is very "diffused" so a method of diffusion would be necessary.  I'd say, getting that right would be first priority, as the flickering can be created in a number of ways,
#2: from the simple suggestion of an  Arduino controller (easiest but MAYBE most expensive), and then one could employ several 555 timers, all timed differently and the LEDs scattered profusely about the scene; or use other timers, say like decade timers to control them (once again mixing up "where" each sequentially lit LED is positioned so it looks random).  Each one of these however gets MORE and more complicated as one moves to more components to simulate the Arduino.

#1 is covered. This will be mounted inside a frosted globe.

#2 is my problem area. I know you could get individually flashing incandescent bulbs for christmas lights back in the day but i haven't seen LED's like that. I think the old bulbs worked with an internal bi-metal switch which at a certain temp would break the circuit and then restore again when cooled a few degrees. I doubt LEDs draw enough for that kind of system.

YESSS! Those Flashing LEDs are exactly what I wanted to find but couldn't. A bunch of LEDs, wired in parallel to a 9v battery is just about the pinnacle of my electronic abilities but I can handle that much.

Thank you PROfessor Goodhart, an apt name indeed!

Thanks, I do try to be helpful when I can :-)

Hey Brian, Found some interesting videos of Arduino-controlled LED fire simulations. Check this and that, might be a great way to start taming the Arduino platform too.

Keep us posted !

I keep hearing this suggestion but from what I've seen these things are expensive. Is it possible this could be done inside a 2.5" circle for under $25 per unit?

Hey again ! Like Goodhart above, I was going to suggest using a 555 to make up for the Arduino : these littles guys are cheap, but as said previously the further you walk away from the (relative) programming simplicity of the Arduino, the more you have to make up for it in terms of electronics. That being said, I looked around a bit and found this fire flicker simulator based on a 555 timer on a trains modeling website - just in case :) Good luck !

why dont u try flickering leds? i could make that up for ya np. if ud like to see one in action pm me and ill show u one.

Tried PM and then your FB page as suggested but haven't heard back.