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.
A sketch of my circuit schematic showing a switch, two separate rows of LEDs, each with its respective resistor.
After a few mishaps; out of place wires, a shorted LED (may it rest in peace), and more wrong wiring, I have continuity!
- (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
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.
After soldering 4 separate strings of LED lights and testing them, I aligned and taped them to the umbrella frame using electric tape.
Success! After many attempts, a few tweaks, and a little help from a classmate, my LED lighted umbrella is up and operational.