Homemade Switch, LED Ligthing

Project 1: Object with Home Made Switch


Although it’s nothing new, an illuminated umbrella sounds quite cool to me. So why not make one? For my first Physical Computing project I will be wiring 8 LED lights to the inner frame of a $6 umbrella that I purchased at Home Depot. When the umbrella opens, the LED lights will turn on using a switch created by using a piece of tin. When the tin makes contact with the umbrella frame, the circuit will have continuity, illuminating the LEDs.


Each set of LEDs will require its own resistor.

A sketch of my circuit schematic showing a switch, two separate rows of LEDs, each with its respective resistor.


My schematic works resulting in only minor LED losses.

After a few mishaps; out of place wires, a shorted LED (may it rest in peace), and more wrong wiring, I have continuity!

The circuit:

  • (1) 9v battery as my power source
  • (8) 3.3v Blue LED lights
  • (4) 1k Ohm resistors
  • Scrap piece of tin (conductor)
  • Booze to keep my stress at bay

Soldering is very fun. Although I did struggle a bit because I lack a steady hand. That’s probably why I suck at Operation.

Since my circuit will involve a lot of wire to run along the frame and back to the power source, I will solder the bits together to make sure there are no gaps in the circuit. Tape seemed to cumbersome to use, and melting stuff together is cool.


Measuring the length of the leg made it easier to calculate placement and the amount of wire needed.

After soldering 4 separate strings of LED lights and testing them, I aligned and taped them to the umbrella frame using electric tape.


The LEDs are taped to the frame.

9v battery taped to the umbrella handle

A 9v battery taped to the umbrella handle.


Tin attached to the umbrella stem will make contact with a second piece of tin completing the connection.


The second half of the switch that will complete the circuit once contact is made.

Success! After many attempts, a few tweaks, and a little help from a classmate, my LED lighted umbrella is up and operational.


Let there be light.


One thought on “Project 1: Object with Home Made Switch

  1. Pingback: Project 2: Arduino Implementation | Fundamentals of Physical Computing

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