Phone control of your LEDs is a pretty impressive feature, where you can showcase the music sync, set up different effects or wow the audience by the lights when you start speaking. It’s also a super low effort solution without a need to carry any additional device, that you’d normally would (remote control), or reaching inside your costume for wired control board.
I’ve already written a tutorial about how to programm LED light effects for your costumes and props in THIS ARTICLE. Programming will allow you to achieve very complex effects like fire bursts, electric discharge, flickering, or anything even more advanced than that.
But what if you need to implement a much easier effect, don’t have time, experience, funds for the programmed effect? I’ve already written a tutorial IN THIS ARTICLE for that too and implemented this solution to many of my costumes! And the effect you can gain is still very impressive, so I’d recommend that to you too 🙂
What if I told you, you don’t need to click on a switch on your costume or carry a remote to controll your LED lights? The only thing to have your lights under controll would be YOUR OWN PHONE! You still carry it with you even in the costume, right? 🙂 If you are interested, I’ll share with you a super easy way how to do it:
In comparison to the -without programming- LED’s I decided to go with the 5V LEDs this time, because it is much easier to charge them from an USB power bank instead of a 9V battery. (But if you have space just for the battery, you are free to choose the 12V LEDs, which can be powered by the 9V battery no problem), but all the supplies listed below will be for the 5V solution:
- LED light strip: There are a lot of LED light strips on the market to choose from – in our previous tutorials, we’ve worked with programmable 5V 3pin LED light strips capable of RGB, we’ve also worked with super simple 12V 2pin LED light strip capable of just one color, but this time we will need a 5V 4pin LED light strip capable of RGB. The density of the lights influences the brightness and fullness of the light effect, the more you have, the faster your power bank will drain though. The waterproofness is just a layer of silicone over your LED lights – it is better if you are afraid of the heat distroying your diffusion layers, it is worse for soldering, since you have to strip the end of the LED strip from the silicone and risk damaging the segment with your knife. But none of those options will influence the way we will install the lights in the costume/prop.
- Bluetooth controller with a connected app. I bought THIS ONE, but you can get the controllers even as a set with LED lights.
- Phone with Android (might work on iOS too, didn’t try) with any barcode scanner app installed.
- Any other soldering supplies – any connectors, wires, insulation tape/heat shrink tubes, solder, soldering iron, soldering solution, that you’d need for any other electronics soldering.
STEP BY STEP:
In this tutorial I will describe the whole installation of LED lights in my jacket for cosplay of V from Cyberpunk, so not only how to do the phone controll, but also how to install and diffuse the lights properly and get the most light out of them.
1) The collar
I will describe the creation of the whole collar in my next tutorial article about the whole Cyberpunk V costume, so let’s start just with the lights part:
The 3D printed base has a window I cut out on the back, where a normal printing paper with Samurai logo printed out will be glued to. To get rid of the transparency of the black part of the print, I’ve used black acrylic color to hinder the light coming through anywehre else than through the Samurai logo letters.
In the inner part of the collar, I originally glued an aluminum foil for better light diffusion and included the LEDs only in the corners on top and bottom of the collar. The effect was good, because there were no individaul LED’s visible, but the light was very dim in comparison to the in-game character.
So I decided it needs a rework, even if it is going to be time-consuming:
The rework brought the brightness of the lights to the maximum. I exchanged the aluminiom foil for a proper solid mirror foil, added 2 additional strips of led lights for a more powerful results. Inserted 3 layers of bubblewrap for better diffusion and a layer of plastazotte diffusion foam.
Then I created the striped pattern from 2mm thick black foam, glued to the diffusion foam. and covered the insides of the collar sleeve in paper orgnaiser transparent foil.
The wires lead through the right side of the collar. and I made a grommet hole on the right side of the jacket to lead the wires towards the sleeve, where I have all the electronics in the pocket.
2) The backlit logo
I wanted to include the lights in the back of the jacket too, because only the stamped logo kinda didn’t fit into the whole jacket design for me. I started by using my Samurai logo template, I’ve used for my Johnny Silverhand’s guitar originally and transferred it onto the jacket.
I cut the logo out, which took forever, underglued it with matte paper organising foil ans since the foil is not sticking to glue very well, I had to handsew around ALL the edges to fasten the foil in place properly.
And since the handsewn part with the thread was too visible and not aesthetic, I decided to cover the edges of the cutout logo in black latex, which is normally used for the bottom of the socks and should prevent slipping.
I’ve made a paper template of the size of the logo and made a foam „plate“, where I inserted the mirror foil, LED lights, which I’ve glued to it. The border around the plate is there to be able to diffuse the lights more properly – the more far the lights are from the diffusion material, the better diffusion we can achieve. But since it is a jacket, I couldn’t do the border too high, so I won’t look like a hunchback.
I’ve again added few layers of bubblewrap, diffusion foam and I’ve glued the foam base around the edges to the inside of the
back of my jacket.
As a last step, I soldered the wires from the back and collar together, lead them in the pocket and connected them to the LED controller, which has na USB already installed in it. So the last part is to connect a power bank and we are ready to go to your phone.
3) Phone control
You’ll need an Android phone with a Barcode scanner installed and your Bluetooth controller. Scan the barcode from the manual and download the free app from the Google Play store. Open the app, connect your phone to the Bluetooth device by searching for deviced in the upper left corner of the app and start controlling your LEDs.
There are a few different options to control the lights:
- ADJUST – lets you set up solid colors, save up your presents of colors and set a desired brightness. You can also switch on/off the lights in the upper right corner.
- STYLE – lets you choose from different light effects from static to changing, jumpibg and blinking betwen different colors. You can also set up the effects speed and brightness.
- MUSIC – you can select a music track from your device and the app will sync the ffects to the music you’re listening
- MIC – will allow your LEDs to react to sounds caught up by the phone mic or external mic
- SCHEDULE – lets you plan and program your LEDs
You can use any android phone for this, but it was an opportunity to try to use my new Moto G100 by Motorola. You can see me controling the lights to music in this video:
Hope this small tutorial was helpful! Please, come back soon to check out the Cyberpunk V cosplay tutorial including my step-by-step jacket progress.
I hope you like my turn on Johnny Silverhand Samurai jacket worn by V in the Cyberpunk game and my guides will help you create something stunning!
If you happen to use some of my patterns/models/files/ideas, don’t forget to give credit!
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