7-Color Hoop Tutorial

7-color Rechargeable LED Hula Hoop

Difficulty Level: Advanced
Cost of Parts: ~$100
Time to Complete: ~40 hours

In this tutorial we’re going to walk through the steps for building a 7-color LED hula hoop. This is for advanced users that have experience soldering and building hoops. Beginner tutorials for less advanced hoops coming soon. The majority of the time goes into soldering the LEDs together, you can save time by cutting down on the number of LEDs used.

Parts:

    • 24 – 7 Color LEDs
      Can be purchased through this site at a discount or at your local Radio Shack.
    • 24 – Resistors – 10 ohm
      Buy on DigiKey for a cheaper price or at your local Radio Shack.
    • LiFePo4 Battery – 600 mAh AA size
      Can be purchased from BatterySpace
    • LiFePo4 Charger
      Also available at BatterySpace
    • Polypropylene Tubing – 10 ft at 3/4″ OD and 1 ft at 5/8″ OD
      Both can be purchased at McMaster.com, 3/4 inch and 5/8 inch.
    • Intercom Wiring – 25 ft
      This can be purchased at Radio Shack.
    • BEC Male/Female Connector
      You can get these at BatterySpace but can probably be find them cheaper elsewhere.
    • Electrical Tape – Lots of it
      You can find electrical tape at your local hardware store.
    • 2 – Tactile Switches
      You’ll want to order these from DigiKey, the ones from Radio Shack are very cheap and break easily.
    • Connection Jack – 2.1mm ID, 5.5mm OD
      These can be found at both DigiKey and at Radio Shack.
    • On / Off Switch – 0.5A minimum
      These come in a variety of sizes. I’ve found the switches from DigiKey to be more reliable than the ones at Radio Shack.

This image shows many of the parts but is not a comprehensive list nor does it show exact quantities. Click the image to enlarge.

Step 1: Solder LEDs
The first thing you’ll want to do is solder together the LEDs into a chain. For the 7 color LEDs use a needle nose pliers and bend the positive line one direction and the negative lines the other direction. Solder a resistor onto the positive wire. Once the resistor is on, connect up the positive and negative lines to the LED.


Note: A resistor is required when soldering more than 16 7-color LEDs in parallel. The video above was recorded when building a 15 LED hoop which did not require resistors.

Here is how the first three LEDs should be wired. Continue this pattern for all 24 LEDs in the hoop. You’ll be using 4 wires total and at the end, you’ll be able to control every third LED with one of the tactile switches and the rest of the LEDs with the other.

Step 2: Create the Control Panel
This step requires the use of a drill so be very careful! It can be very difficult to fit the parts needed for the control panel into the tubing along with the LEDs. Make sure that you don’t have any excess wiring. I used a coat hanger with a hook on one end to feed the wires through the control panel area. Here is a picture of the completed control panel:

The first component that you’ll want to add to the panel is the on / off switch. *Note* I’m currently looking at other on / off switches. This switch has been resetting the power on heavy impact. A more durable switch would solve this problem. *End Note* Second, add the power jack. Lastly, add the two tactile switches. After Everything was in place tighten all of the bolts and tape over all of the components with clear packing tape to prevent them from wiggling loose.

More information coming soon!

Comments:8

Leave my own
  1. copyimitation
    11/09/28

    i really wish you would finish this or at least tell me how you wired your led’s in a 2-1 pattern and why you need 2 tactical switches instead of just one… thanks

  2. admin
    11/09/29

    Thank you for the comment!

    This is a relatively new site so it’s great to hear that people interested in the rest of this tutorial. I will be wrapping up the instructions soon but can answer your questions right now. All of the LEDs are on the same power switch, however every third LED is wired to a separate tactile switch. Doing this allows the hooper to select patterns with two colors rather than just one. If we only used one tactile switch, all of the LEDs would be the same color rather than in a pattern. I’ll draw up a quick diagram when I finish out the post. Let me know if you have any other questions.

    Cheers,

    Chris

  3. copyimitation
    11/10/06

    oh i see…that’s awesome!!! so if i’m correct there are 4 wires in the hoop?? another thing is do you actually need the resistors? because if your battery is 3.7v shouldn’t you not need them? i built an led hula hoop for my gf and i didn’t use them, but i used an “led booster” to power the hoop off of one aa battery… thanks for your help

  4. admin
    11/10/07

    Yup, there are 4 wires in this hoop. There are two things to consider with the resistors, voltage and current. The battery has a max output of 3.7v and a max draw of 600mA. The 7-Color LEDs have a maximum voltage of 3.6v and a max current of 35mA. The LEDs could probably handle the 3.7v but I didn’t want to max out the current on the battery (24 * 35 = 840mA > 600mA).

    If you used tubing with a larger inside diameter, you could use a bigger battery and wouldn’t have to worry about the max current. You could also use a low dropout regulator to ensure the output voltage never exceeded 3.3v which would be much easier on the LEDs in the long run. I’ll be doing another tutorial with those specs later this month. Long answer short; for this 24 LED hoop, I would recommend the resistors.

    Hope that helps!

  5. copyimitation
    11/10/07

    http://www.ledsupply.com/02009a.php this is the driver that i was talking about…it allows you to power leds off of a single aa battery…the leds are slighty dimmer than they are when using rechargeable batteries but makes it much easier for constant hooping at festivals… i appreciate your help man

  6. satorifound
    11/11/17

    Could you add pics of the actual wire hook ups to your tutorial? I think it would really help some of us newbies to the wiring world. Maybe how you hooked them at the closing of the hoop? Is this a continues circle or a linear set up?

    Thank you!

  7. katy
    12/01/16

    I’m not sure if you even check this site anymore, but I’d love for more information if you have any to give!! :D

  8. admin
    12/01/16

    I still check the site often! The 24-7 hoop ended up being a bit more work than it was worth. Using fewer LEDs and a slightly different circuit I was able to cut the time from 40+ hours down to about 10 hours. My plan is to put the instructions for the 10 hour hoop online soon. If you have any specific questions please post them here. Thank you for the comment!

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