What should I do with these LEDs?
April 20, 2005 3:58 AM   Subscribe

After a trip to BestHongKong, I find myself with 1000 5mm red LEDs. What should I do with them?

I'm handy with a soildering iron, but not an electronics wiz, so can't really design the circuits myself. Projects using more LEDs would be good - building 500 clowns with flashing lights for eyes is no fun.
This is all I have so far
posted by Neon to Technology (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Try here.
posted by peacay at 4:24 AM on April 20, 2005

This guy has used a bunch of LEDs to make a clock.
posted by blag at 4:51 AM on April 20, 2005

Get Yourself some different coloured LEDs and make yourself a dancefloor.
posted by seanyboy at 5:44 AM on April 20, 2005

I was thinking of this not too long ago. I've got several thousand red, blue, white and ultra violet LEDs. When I get some free time I want to build a paper or rice-paper lantern with the mess of leds inside. A circuit will vary the intensity of the various colours with time or possibly in sync to say sound or something like a light organ would.

The rice paper should help to diffuse the light so it doesn't appear as (literally) a myriad points of light and more of a glow. You could do the same thing with only one colour, you'd just be varying the intensity.

Maybe start here for some MicroChip based pulse width modulation routines. You'll need a driver circuit to (maybe an open collector circuit) to drive the actual LEDs or the current will cook your MicroChip.
posted by substrate at 6:07 AM on April 20, 2005

Make a LED Zeppelin.
posted by pracowity at 7:36 AM on April 20, 2005

I think finding a cheap way to align them (and keep them aligned) is the biggest issue. That and soldering them all...

A great trick is to drive 8, 16 (more actually, but there will be a limit due to the speed of the circuit) LEDs from a shift register. This way you can send a sequence of on and off bits serially. The transitions will be completely invisible.
posted by Chuckles at 8:03 AM on April 20, 2005

Here is a bunch of projects. You could also raise lettuce.
posted by euphorb at 9:29 AM on April 20, 2005

If you don't mind a LITTLE bit of extra electronics work, I'm sure I can dig out of my memory the cheap-ass LED sign I worked on as a high-school project.

Note that since it didn't use memory for a buffer, it'll be flickery and require you have it connected to your printer port for the entire time you plan to operate it, but it would be interesting.

Of course, now I see someone else has done this already. Ho hum.
posted by shepd at 9:30 AM on April 20, 2005

just thinking how you might make something a bit more amorhpous/analog/biolgical from these - could you wire some fraction to wires so that the electronics are all insulated, then, somehow stick them all together in an big messy blob? the wires would come out of the blob at the "back" and, when connected, you'd get some points in this red mess glowing, and the light refracting through other, unlit, leds. if you could get the temperature right, melting them together slightly might work. do you see where i'm going? something a bit more organic (the word i was looking for earlier!) than "just another electronics project".

if you decide you're an artist, you are.... ;o)
posted by andrew cooke at 10:35 AM on April 20, 2005

Sweet prices there.
posted by Mitheral at 11:48 AM on April 20, 2005

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