On a budget and need a little something to spice up the party room? Too classy for a disco ball and miss your raver days? Fear not. If you can solder and have just a couple of hours, you can have your own mountable flashing light display that will follow the beat of your music.
Select your three identical picture frames so that the bread board fits nicely within the inside edges of the frames. Make sure that they stack nicely. I found that my board fit perfectly inside 5” by 7” photo frames from IKEA. This will be the housing for your light circuit.
Cut the plug off of your power adapter and strip the wire.
Protip: Leave enough wire on the plug so it could be used for another project in the future. Here's the charger I used:
Twist the ends of the wire and coat them with solder. Solder leads onto the wire so that you can plug it into your breadboard. Remember to take note of which is wire is positive.
Solder leads onto your audio jack and create the simple circuit below on your bread board.
Arrange the LEDs around the edges of the board. It may be helpful to build the circuit and test it before arranging the LEDs to the edges.
Carefully flatten down all the components against or over the edge of the board.
Take one of the picture frames and frame a square of tinfoil. The tinfoil will help reflect more light. Mine required a little carving to get the breadboard to fit within the frame:
Take another picture frame and remove the back and glass. This will be sandwiched between the other two to allow more room for the board and components.
Frame a sheet of semi transparent plastic in the last picture frame without the cardboard packing so it makes a window. This is for diffusing the light. I found a sheet of this material at my local plastic store:
Packaging material, light gels, or even a thin coat of paint on the picture frame's glass will all work. Another good source for plastic like this is the back to school aisle at any department store.
Drill two holes in the bottom of the frames for the cords. If you don't have a drill use a knife to carve out some space for them.
Place the board on top of the framed tinfoil. Put the empty frame on top of this carefully glue or screw this frame to the one below. If you choose to screw, remember to pre-drill a hole, this will help prevent the frames from cracking.
Double check everything, make sure your cords are secure and circuit working before you glue or screw the final frame on top.
Plug the splitter into your ipod or computer, plug the line from your light box into one port and other into your speakers. To get the brightest effect, turn up the volume all the way on the player, and control the volume on your stereo.
Make it bigger!
If your volume is up, and the lights are still dim, try removing one LED from each side.
It is a good idea to get an extra couple LEDs and transistors, incase you blow one up in the construction process.
If you want, you can drill larger holes and install plugs for power and audio input.
Original article and photos by Mikerbot.