Push Button Lights - HELP PLEASE

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by MullJess, Nov 28, 2012.

  1. MullJess

    Thread Starter New Member

    Nov 28, 2012
    I'm looking to build a pole with running lights that will lead up to a star. I want to be able to push a button, and without holding it in, keep the circuit functioning. I want the lights to run up the pole, light the star, then shut off.

    How do I accomplish this with as simple of a solution as possible as I'm no Electrical Engineer?

    I'm having a party for my daughter and it's a "magical wonderland" themed party. I want the girls to be able to stand infront of the star and make a wish. Then they would push and let go of a button and the lights will circle up the pole to light the star then go out... like the wish has been sent to be granted...

    Please help..
  2. MrChips


    Oct 2, 2009
    What kind of lights are you thinking of? Possibly LEDs?
    How many lights total?

    The simple solution will require a lot of wires leading up the pole.

    The elegant solution will require only three wires going up the pole.
    However, this would require putting a small microcontroller on every LED.

    How much lead time do you have to do this?
  3. t06afre

    AAC Fanatic!

    May 11, 2009
    Do you have any parts like the running lights?
  4. MullJess

    Thread Starter New Member

    Nov 28, 2012
    The lead time I have is a couple weeks.

    No, I do not have any materials as I did not know what should be bought.

    Initial thought was spiraling strings of LED christmas lights up to an LED Christmas star.

    I just didn't know how to make it function.

    The idea I have, the working knowledge of electrical functions I don't.
  5. MrChips


    Oct 2, 2009
    It is not a bad idea.

    Building it would require knowledge of microcontroller programming.
    Since you are possibly talking about a number of LEDs, you would need a PCB layout and as many very tiny circuit boards.

    A knowledgeable designer can get this done in two weeks, otherwise, nice idea but not in two weeks for someone starting out fresh.
  6. crutschow


    Mar 14, 2008
    The simplest solution would likely be to use one wire for each bulb with shift-registers to light each bulb in sequence. The wires could be very small so the wire bundle would be a manageable size.

    A suitable shift-register is the HEF4894BP which has outputs for 12 LEDs. They can be cascaded for any number of bulbs. The device can be clocked by a 555 configured as an astable multivibrator to generate the running sequence when the button is pushed.
  7. elec_mech

    Senior Member

    Nov 12, 2008
    Hmm, this is certainly interesting. This can be done without a microcontroller or programming if you so chose. One way:
    1. 555 configured as a monostable which will control the total amount of time circuit stays on when button is pressed.
    2. Second 555 or similar to generate a clock signal.
    3. Clock signal fed to 4017 which will light up each light in order (only one light will be on at any one time), up to 10 lights total, more if you use more than one 4017.
    4. Transistors or MOSFETs used to connect the 4017 to the lights to provide enough power to lights.
    I can put together a schematic and parts list if this sounds like it will meet your needs. The tricky part to the electronics is assembling the circuit and soldering (if you've never done this before) although you could get away with using a breadboard for a one time event.

    Electronics aside, the challenge I see is the electro-mechanical aspect.

    How big are you planning to make this?

    How bright do the lights need to be?

    How many lights are you thinking about?

    Also, how would the lights circle up a pole?

    Is having only one light on at a time okay?

    Edit: crutschow posted before I did - nice solution. crutschow, as I'm not familiar using a shift register with a 555, how would the lights appear, e.g., only one on at a time like the 4017 or would each one light sequentially and remain lit? Also, not understanding the datasheet real well, would the lit light(s) blink with each pulse from the 555?