The 1200 sequenced LED party pants: A step by step

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The 1200 sequenced LED party pants: A step by step

Postby junglesmacks » Fri Feb 25, 2011 8:55 am

So, last year after rocking my silver moon pants all burn long, I had a vision.

What if I took a few LEDs, sequenced them, and turned my spaceman pants into mind blowing walking light show pants? Gimme.

Well.. a few LEDs turned into more LEDs, which turned into more LEDs, which led into micro-controllers, which.. well.. you get the idea. Bigger, better faster, more!

Here is my step-by-step thread. Hopefully it inspires others to play with LEDs and see that it's really not all that hard, and interestingly enough.. this is my 1000th post. :lol: Great way to hit the mark..

Image

Above is mainly what I'm working with. My new pair of firemans crash pants that have been re-sewn into size 34s with a drawstring, raw 5mm round top LEDs, resistors, and the kit. The plan is to have 8 different banks of 75 LEDs per leg sewn down the sides in an "equalizer" type manner. The battery pack and sequencing board will be held in a fanny pack around my waist, and will be attached to the pants with a quick disconnect plug.

I bought a second pair of the pants from a surplus store, and used them to cut up and make 7.5" x 2.5" rectangles to attach the LEDs to. I felt this was better that attaching them directly to the pants, since I could assemble and service them better. It would also allow the pants to flex better without putting stress on the assemblies, and the wiring would be more protected.

Before you do anything, you need to figure out your wiring diagram and what type of resistor you will need to order. I decided on using 5 rows of 15 LEDs per rectangle, for a total of 75 per channel.

For power, I'm using simple little 4 x AA battery packs from Radio Shack with an on and off switch on them. Each battery pack is 6v, so 3 of them connected in series gives 18v. You could use 6v, 12v, 18v.. whatever.. I just chose 3 packs so that the batteries would last longer since every time a channel fires off, it's lighting 150 LEDs at one time.

Image

So, back to the wiring planning. Being as that I know that I'm using an 18v source with 75 LEDs, I can now plan my diagram.

When you purchase the LEDs, there should be specs that come with them. Most standard 5mm LEDs have the same specs through regardless of manufacturer, but be safe and check them out. I purchased mine from a Hong Kong seller on Ebay for pretty cheap:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vi ... K:MEWNX:IT

If you scroll down, you see the specs. The most important number is the the forward voltage (3.2v). Most LEDs like to run on 20mA, but you can change this number according to how bright you want them. These super bright LEDs are blinding at 20mA, so to save some power and tone them down a touch I'm going to run them all at 15mA. You control this with the size resistor that you use.

Ok, now we have the number of LEDs that will be connected all at once (75), the source voltage (18v), the forward voltage of the LED (3.2v) and the current that I want running through them (15mA). I take these numbers, and use the LED calculator to figure out my resistor size: http://led.linear1.org/led.wiz

Put all those numbers in, and you see that I should be using 150 ohm, 1/4 watt resistors and connecting one resistor per chain of 5 LEDs. It even gives you a little diagram and all to follow. Super simple!

So, now to actually make the banks of LEDs:

Image

I evenly spaced the LEDs at 1/4" off the sides of the fabric, then 1/2" spacing between rows. Drew lines with a fine Sharpie, and then pushed the LEDs through one by one. Each LED has two contacts.. a positive and negative. The longer wire is always the positive wire. Remember that. So, when I pushed them through, I put all of them in the same orientation with the positive wires always facing "north" if you will. I bent the wires after I pushed them through to keep them from backing out.

Next, since I'm going to need banks of 5 LEDs at a time connected in series.. how convenient that I have 15 rows of 5 LEDs, each with the negative contacts facing south and the positive facing north. I twist the positive and negative contacts together for each one, and leave the leading + and the trailing - hanging off ready to attach to the resistors and power source.

Image

Yes, this is the most time consuming part. I'll be making these banks of LEDs for the next forseeable month, I'm sure. With that, I'll let you digest the project so far, and check in as I make progress.. wish me luck!

:twisted:
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Postby robotland » Fri Feb 25, 2011 9:38 am

So the party will actually BE the pants! Good luck! More wiring than I plan to do for the rest of my life!
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Postby junglesmacks » Fri Feb 25, 2011 9:43 am

It's worth it :D

Go big!
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Postby ¡Niers! » Fri Feb 25, 2011 10:10 am

This is awesome Jungle!!
I've been thinking of doing something similar. We'll just see if I have the time.
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Postby phil » Fri Feb 25, 2011 11:01 am

Have you posted this to instructables? Would you?

http://www.instructables.com/
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Postby lucky420 » Fri Feb 25, 2011 11:10 am

mmm party in your pants..woohooo :wink:
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Re: The 1200 sequenced LED party pants: A step by step

Postby teardropper » Fri Feb 25, 2011 11:25 am

junglesmacks wrote: this is my 1000th post.


Man, don't you have anything else to do...?
\^/
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Postby teardropper » Fri Feb 25, 2011 11:26 am

Yeah, besides making way nice pants...
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Re: The 1200 sequenced LED party pants: A step by step

Postby Eric » Fri Feb 25, 2011 12:08 pm

junglesmacks wrote:The battery pack and sequencing board will be held in a fanny pack around my waist, and will be attached to the pants with a quick disconnect plug.


May I make a quick aesthetic suggestion? The pants are going to be amazing, but a fanny pack is just going to detract from them unless you have it all tricked out as well. What about modifying an old transistor radio into something like this:

Image

This is actually used for a similar idea, but it's for a keyboard built into a shirt. This little amp hooks onto the waist & carries the batteries etc. You could paint yours silver to match the pants (the Krylon Premium Metallics have really good shine)
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Postby junglesmacks » Fri Feb 25, 2011 12:28 pm

Hey all..

Hmm, interesting thought Eric. I wasn't thinking that it would mess up the aesthetics too much, being as that when I'm out at night I'm always with my DaKine Heli-Pack backpack on and the fanny pack would be worn above my ass instead of the front. I was even thinking about just putting the battery and circuit board inside the small part of the backpack and running the quick connect wire out of the bottom. We'll have to see what it looks like the closer I get.


Also, I neglected to mention what circuit board I'm using:

http://picprojects.org/projects/480/pro483/


It's a DIY kit from a guy in the UK that creates them himself. 32 different selectable patterns.. check out the embedded video. Imagine that controlling 1200 LEDs all over my pants. Yeah.

Check out his other LED projects as well.. super fun and really affordable.
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Postby junglesmacks » Fri Feb 25, 2011 12:32 pm

phil wrote:Have you posted this to instructables? Would you?

http://www.instructables.com/


I would be more than happy to once I'm totally done with everything within the next couple months. The goal is to have these ready for the regional Sacramento Fur Ball party hosted by my camp..
Savannah wrote:It sounds freaky & wrong, so you need to do it.
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Postby BBadger » Fri Feb 25, 2011 9:23 pm

Those are going to be awesome pants! I just pity you and all the wiring you'll need to go through to make it happen.

You could also see if you can wire the LEDs in a matrix topology for even more control. Then you could do per-LED lighting, for animations and stuff depending on how quickly you switch the rows and columns. I don't think you'd even need more than the threshold voltage for one LED to get it powered. Best to run some timing tests of course.
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Postby LeChatNoir » Fri Feb 25, 2011 10:52 pm

Fun project! I look forward to keeping up with it.
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Postby lazerfox » Mon Feb 28, 2011 7:35 am

hey I don't think my PMs are working correctly...did you get either one of my replies to your last message?
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Postby scott916 » Thu Apr 14, 2011 6:08 pm

Oh you're gonna be wearing these to furrball? I'll be there, a couple of my friends are DJing that night. I'll be super stoked to see how they turned out, I've been highly considering doing something exactly like this for the last couple years. I hope to see you out there. I'll likely be in a long red coat and purple hat.

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Postby geospyder » Thu Apr 14, 2011 7:53 pm

1200!!! Wow, I have thirty on my hat and thirty on my vest and I feel like a blooming Christmas tree.
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Postby Recoil » Fri Apr 15, 2011 12:18 pm

yesh my outfit is only 210 LED's and i light up like a fregin lightbulb lol

thats gonna be insane!
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Postby C187 » Sun Apr 17, 2011 3:47 pm

junglesmacks, I can't wait to see the finished product and tutorial online.
But, how will we ever find you on the playa..? That many lights and your in full on stealth mode! Blending right in.. like.. a.. playa ninja!!!
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Re: The 1200 sequenced LED party pants: A step by step

Postby mdmf007 » Sun Apr 17, 2011 7:41 pm

teardropper wrote:
junglesmacks wrote: this is my 1000th post.


Man, don't you have anything else to do...?


Your about 35 minutes away from that mark too!
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Postby tamarakay » Sun Apr 17, 2011 8:00 pm

did i miss the pictures?
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Postby Jeshii » Mon Apr 18, 2011 2:29 pm

Bump. How goes the project???

I've always needlessly limited myself to 5 volts cause I do USB based power. It's a pain cause I have to then wire each and every LED in parallel. I think you've got the right idea here with 18 volts. Fantastic!
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Postby junglesmacks » Thu Jun 23, 2011 6:46 pm

...and BOOM goes the dynamite!

After a long.. no.. seriously long ass hiatus from this place, I'm back busting this out like there's no tomorrow. Wow, what a winter. Did that just happen? is it seriously summer again? Are we really only 9 weeks from the dust? HOLY SHIT. Here we go.. :twisted:

Image

So, I've now completed my 16 patches, and this is what they ended up looking like. As you can see, the negative side pins all get bent to one side, and soldered together to form a solid chain. On the positive side, I first twisted in the 150ohm resistor, and then soldered and clipped the excess. Then, I bent them over to form a chain where each pre-resistor side of the pin touches the next pre-resistor side of the pin.. so on and so forth.. and soldered all of those. This way, each individual chain of 5 LEDs sees in effect it's own raw 18v of power. I also soldered all of my twists of LEDs together, and clipped off the excess. This.. was.. a.. time.. consuming part. Wow. Tedious, poking my fingers.. but hey.. I kept dreaming of the end result and it pushed me through.

Next step, I'm going to wrap each patch in the same material as a backing, and to have excess on the sides to be able to sew on to the pants.

Yes.. in retrospect, I made things more difficult than they should be. Doing it over, I would have used one long strip of fabric and attached them all to it on either side. But, whatever. Onwards and upwards!

This is now a priority project as we get closer, so I'll be updating and posting a video or two..

See you all soon!
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Postby lucky.bastard » Thu Jun 23, 2011 8:07 pm

hell yea,, i can't wait to see this
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Postby junglesmacks » Fri Jun 24, 2011 7:23 am

..and yeah.. I test fired some of the patches and HOLY SHIT they were bright.. like.. blinding.. seriously. I was looking straight into them when i flipped the switch, and I had an image burned in my eyes as if I looked into the sun. I'm working now to make little resistor packs that I can plug inline with them so that I can sequentially lower the brightness. Say like.. one for one level down, then add one more for the next level down. I could be at the trash fence and you guys would see me easy from center camp.. put it that way.
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Postby lucky420 » Fri Jun 24, 2011 7:46 am

Hola junglesmacks, nice to see ya again...
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Postby Foxfur » Fri Jun 24, 2011 9:50 am

I am throbbing.
I love long technical posts. Fun to show and share and maybe inspire someone thinking 'I can't' into 'Maybe I can'.
Great thread!
BTW, I've been seeing your avatar for a while now. I had thought it was a fingertip over the lens.
I just realized what it really is :shock: !
Your name couldn't be more apt :)
I'd love to hear the story on the origins of that pic...

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Postby junglesmacks » Fri Jun 24, 2011 4:11 pm

Foxfur wrote:I'd love to hear the story on the origins of that pic...

Ff


Lol.. that literally was taken the first night that I was back from the burn last time. I hadn't seen the (then) old lady in a while. We were like holy crap.. let's get a picture of that in the light..

..and so it happened.

:twisted:
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Postby junglesmacks » Fri Jun 24, 2011 5:02 pm

Image

That last picture was just ugly.. yuck. I learned to solder the resistors much tighter to make the overall footprint smaller, and now I've soldered on the lead wires. Note that you can pretty much solder them in anywhere along the string, since it's all shared + and -..
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Re: The 1200 sequenced LED party pants: A step by step

Postby junglesmacks » Fri Jul 15, 2011 4:00 pm

Bump for anyone needing help with LEDs. You CAN DO IT! They are SO easy to work with, really.
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Re: The 1200 sequenced LED party pants: A step by step

Postby MyDearFriend » Fri Jul 15, 2011 4:18 pm

Any recent pix??? :D :D :D
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