Chromation Systems RGB LED Tube Light
Built utilizing a 24 Channel High Current USB LED Controller to control 12 volt RGB LED Light Strip, in 8 separate groups. Each group has individual 8-bit PWM which can create over 16 million colors. And is driven at full current for maximum color saturation and accuracy. Using the ColorMotion Compatible Firmware, various colors patterns and effects can be created in the software and the uploaded to the device for it to run by itself, without a computer.
This device contains 8 groups of 2 segments(6 RGB LEDs) of 12v RGB LED Strip spaced out on a 2″ ID white PVC pipe, encircled in a 6″ diameter tube of white/cloudy plastic. Supported by two 6″ plywood discs. Its fairly simple and creates very eye catching effects. A favorite of everyone who sees it.
Electronic Kits including a 24 Channel High Current USB LED Controller Kit, 16 sections of 12v RGB LED Strip, Dual-Voltage 12v & 5v PSU with Panel mount DC jack, and all the required Wire, is available for purchase. RGB LED Tube Light, 8 Channel , Electronics Kit
Or get a Full kit, with all the required electronics, the PVC Pipe, the Plastic Sheeting, the end caps all ready to use. RGB LED Tube Light, 8 Channel, Full Kit
Step 1: Supplies & Tools
** This might be hard to find, I bought some 48″x24″ sheets through a wholesale distributor. I have no idea where else it could be found.
There are many things that could be utilized, such as semi-translucent paper(rice paper?) or some other type of plastic.
- Jigsaw or bandsaw
- Sander or Sandpaper
- Soldering Iron
- Power Drill or Drill Press
- Razor or Rotary cutter to cut the plastic sheeting.
- Pop Rivet Gun and Rivets(I used white ones)
Step 2: Prepare the Pipe
Skeleton: A 2″ ID PVC pipe with an OD of about 2.35″ was used for support. Two segments of RGB Light strip can be cut so they butt together perfectly when wrapped on the outside of the tube. Two types of end caps are attached to the ends of the pipe that the plastic will be wrapped onto. The pipe’s length is less than the overall length so a space can be left for the controller and for the end caps. Allow 1″ for the controller, and one of the end caps will allow the pipe to recess into it, so it will be about 0.25″ deep. 32″ total light = 30.5″ pipe
- Cut the pipe to length, try to get the cut end straight as possible, the pipe should be able to stand on one of the ends by itself.
Prepare the Pipe:
- Find the flattest end of the pipe, that will be End Cap 2, the other end will be the controller end, mark it with a C or something.
- Clean off the pipe with some soapy water, rubbing alchohol or other cleaner/degreaser
- Mark the LED strip spacing with a sharpie, see the diagram for details
- Cut 8 pieces of 8″ aluminum tape
- Apply the tape on center to your spacing marksDrill a 1/4″ – 3/16″ hole in between the tape, 7 holes total
- Either Re mark the LED strip positions, or you will have to guess to place it.
- Cut off 2 sections of RGB LED strip
- Wrap it around, on the center of each piece of tape. Some brands can be cut and the ends will butt up to each other, but on other brands that are a bit to long, wrap the LED strip at a slight angle.
- Apply all 8 sections of RGB LED Strip and press them down firmly.
Step 3: Wiring the LED Strip
Run Anode Wires: Each LED strip’s “+” or +12v lines need to be all connected in parallel(all share) and connected to the +12v input from the power supply jack.
- Using some black or white wire(any color other than Red, Green or Blue) start connecting all the “+” positions on all 8 sections of LED strip together. Keep the wire tight, don’t let them have to much slack. Make sure the solder connections are good, shiny not dull.
RGB Line Wiring: Simple enough run wires from the RGB postions on the LED strips down to the end with the controller.
- Starting from the hole in the pipe closest to the controller.
- Feed down some 3 conductor RGB wire, until it comes out the end. Stiff wire can be pushed down, but other wire may need to be fed with a tool such as the bolt-grabber pictured, or some other method.
- Have the wire hang out the end at least 4″, so there will be slack to connect them to the controller
- From the hole where the wire was fed down from, pull the wire tight (so you still have 4″ out the end) and position it over to it’s LED strips solder pads, and cut all 3 strands.
- Strip those ends and solder them to the LED strip
- Label the wire channel 1 – 8
- Repeat, running 8 sets of wires down the pipe to the controller.
Final Anode Wires: It is recommended to run 2 different anode wires to supply the +12v from the power supply jack.
- From the top most hole, run a wire down to the controller end, leave 4″ or so and cut
- Solder that wire to on of the LED strips anodes.
- Repeat with another wire, but run it to on of the LED strips closer the controller
Step 4: End Caps
- Layout and rough cut with a jigsaw, bandsaw or handsaw, two plywood discs 6″ in diameter
- Finish the discs so they are as round as possible, use disc sanders, files and sand paper to do this
- One disc gets a 2.36″(the OD of the pipe) diameter circle cut out of the middle using a 2.25″ hole saw, this is End Cap 1
- The other is left as it is, End Cap 2
- Paint both discs white, make sure to get the sides well. Painting the sides white will help hide them when the device is lit.
Finish the End Caps:
- End Cap 2 Needs to get attached to the far end from the controller onto the pipe.
- Either use a 2 1/4″ hole saw on some 5/8″ MDF to get a circle, and glue it on center to End Cap 2.
- Or bolt a small block of wood inside the pipe so it sits flush to the end of the pipe, to have something to screw into from the end.
Make Faux Bottom: The fake bottom(end cap) is made out of 125mil polystyrene, but acrylic or hardboard could be substituted.
- Cut out of 6″ diameter disc.
- The plastic end cap and End Cap 1 need to have 3 holes drilled at the same time so they line up, these will be used to conceal the controller in the end compartment.
- Place the plastic disc on top of End Cap 1, line them up
- Mark 3 evenly spaced holes, 1/4″ in from the edge around the outer edge
- Drill a 1/16″ or so hole through the faux bottom into End Cap 1(doesn’t need to go through)
- Pick the best side and counter sink the holes on the faux bottom.
Attach End Caps:
- End Cap 2(with the circle of MDF) goes on end farthest from the controller, seat it all the way down.
- Drill 3 holes through the PVC pipe into MDF circle, and screw in with small coarse threaded screws.
- Depending on the hole drilled through End Cap 1, you may need to apply some electrical tape to the pipe so that it will be snug when its attached. Loosely twist it as you wrap to make it thicker then wrap it once over normally.
For more detail: Chromation Systems RGB LED Tube Light