Please help me with a project!

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by furbious, Sep 27, 2012.

  1. furbious

    Thread Starter New Member

    Sep 27, 2012
    Hi there,

    I am a complete newbie when it comes to electronics. But, I am a craftyish person have a project that won't stop bugging me until I've made it.

    My boyfriend loves Portal, insanely so. I want to make him a companion cube storage box with glowing hearts for our anniversary. (Please look up companion cubes if you're unfamiliar with them!) What I want to do is have a smallish storage box covered with fabric/vinyl, and have the hearts with a clear or red transparent cover over a cluster of LEDs that glow/throb. I'd like all six sides to throb in unison, and to all run from one battery/power pack that's hidden in the bottom of the box. I'd also like it to be able to be turned on and off with a switch or button or something. The approx size I'm looking at is a box 6" cubed, so the furthest cluster would be around 15-18" away from the circuit.

    I've looked up some websites and tutorials etc and you guys lost me somewhere between breadboards and 555 somethings. I think I understand how to get one LED to throb, but it's attached to the circuit/breadboard and I don't understand how to get six strings of LEDs to run from one circuit. Is that even possible?

    tl;dr I would like to know how to have six clusters of 3 LEDs to throb in unison and run off one power supply, ie a battery pack, and have the clusters able to be at some length away from the circuit.

    If anyone has some information, or if you've got a tutorial that I haven't managed to find, I would greatly appreciate it!


  2. pityocamptes


    Jul 25, 2012
  3. Markd77

    Senior Member

    Sep 7, 2009
    Try here:
    If you put into the boxes:
    18 LEDs
    it will show you how to wire it up, just change the values as required. If it gives you a very small resistor value (<20 ohms) check back here for advice, sometimes the wizard gives bad advice.

    If the total current is over 50mA then the 555 might need a transistor to supply enough current.
  4. Eric007

    Senior Member

    Aug 5, 2011
    A project for love! :D I really like the purpose of this project...
    Sounds like an *engineers* couple!:D

    Happy anniversary btw...
  5. wayneh


    Sep 9, 2010
    That confuses me. Isn't everything contained within the cube?

    I was also wondering if you couldn't just use a single, bright light source behind a diffuser instead a string of LEDs.
  6. Bernard

    AAC Fanatic!

    Aug 7, 2008
    Just 3 LEDs / heart??
    Have you decided on material for box?
    I am making a beer can cooler with 147 R-G LEDs. Outer sleeve is tin plate with a inner layer of 3/16 in cork. Hole pattern is punched for a tight fit for 5 mm LEDs. Total wall thichness about 5/8 in. A 2.7 in plastic can fills inside with some room for poly-beads.
    If you choose wood, might consider surface mt LEDs with fine wire or copper tape wiring. For 3 red LEDs in series, would use 6 ea NiMH AA batteries. Full charge should last about 18 hours. Batteries and ckt would fit a 3/4 in base thickness. Maybe you might find clear or translucent red plastic hearts at a craft store & back light??
  7. THE_RB

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 11, 2008
    If the 6" cube is a hollow box, the circuit board is likely on one side, so the furthest LEDs are about x*2 to x*3 distance away in wire length (12" to 18" away).

    For the OP, that sounds like a fun project! How much electronics experience do you have? It's easier to get the LEDs to flash, as "throbbing" like in most movie effects is a fade up and fade down sequence which is a bit harder to do.

    To run multiple LEDs from one circuit is not that hard but will probably need a transistor. Have you worked with transistors before? Done any soldering or made any kits involving a PCB?