DIY Longboard Lighting

It will please some of you to know that I almost titled this article ‘We Ride at Dawn Bitches’ it will please the rest of you to know that I realised not everyone spends as much time reading memes on the internet as I do and begrudgingly decided against it.

I’ve always been a major LED fan, I mean, what’s not to love? So I am super excited to share with you my first LED project which combines not only the awesomeness of LEDs but one of my favourite hobbies, Longboarding. Although this project’s application is ‘Longboard Lighting’ you can most certainly use this method to power RGB LED strip lights with a powerbank to make your next LED project portable. I’m talking LED room decor, cosplay props or even customising your backpack.

Here’s the thing. The powerbank has an output of 5V, so we need to step up the voltage to 12V with a step-up module. In this blog post, I’ll show you how to wire everything and demonstrate the functionality. Let’s go.

Supplies

The fact that you can find longboard lighting kits all over the interwebs is no secret, but where’s the Makery fun in that? So in the spirit of keeping things DIY, here is a list of supplies you will need for this project and links to where you can find them, as well as a bit of extra information because, well… I like talking:

12V RGB LED Strips: I hate to break it to ya, but you are going to need some LEDs. I used these beautiful RGB LED strips with bright SMD5050 chips. Do note to make sure the LED strips are compatible with the controller box coming up next.

2,4GHZ Remote RGB LED Strip Controller: Ooo! That is so fancy of me. Now you can switch between modes, colours and brightness levels to your heart’s content.

DC-DC Switchmode Boost Step Up: For those projects that need a boost, this is a super handy module that is easy to work with.

Powerbank 5V: The force is strong with this one. Your portable powered goodness awaits.

Micro USB Cable: If you don’t have any spare lying around, you are going to need an extra micro USB cable to charge your powerbank as we are going to strip the USB cable that comes with the powerbank and connect to the step-up module.

Male to Female Breadboard Jumpers Pack: To connect everything of course!

Sidebar: “How shall we power this bad boy?” A question I am sure every Maker has asked themselves. I wanted something portable/easy to work with that would save space and keep the longboard setup neat, so I went with powering my project with a powerbank. I originally wanted to go for the below items which are still super relevant if you want to add an extra element of ‘DIY’ to the project: Li-Ion Battery Pack 7.4V 2600MAH 2C 2S1P a DC-DC Switchmode Boost Step Up to boost to 12V and run the LEDs and a Constant Voltage Buck Regulator Module as the battery to keep your LEDs powered.

If you’re curious, there are also easier ways to do this that don’t require a step-up module, you can check out How To Power LEDs With A Power Bank (5V To 12V) EASIEST WAY & NO WORK INVOLVED to find out more.

Okay. This Is How We Do It

Now that you have all your supplies, it’s time to make this project come alive and get you longboarding (or whatever else you are lighting up) in style. Before you get started, check out How To Power LEDs With A Power Bank (5V To 12V) which was one of my inspiration videos and an awesome resource for this project.

Step 1: Connecting Micro USB Cable to Step-Up Module (5V to 12V)

Cut the micro USB cable to connect the powerbank to the step-up module.

Tip: Test the polarity of micro USB cables from the powerbank and check the voltage is in fact 5V coming from the powerbank. This is to make sure the powerbank is working correctly as it plays the most important part in powering this project. 

Next, solder the micro USB cable to the IN+ and IN- of the step-up module. After this, you will need to check the polarity of the step-up module’s output and adjust the knob to ensure that the voltage is 12V to power the LEDs.  

Step 2: Connecting LED Controller To The Power Supply

Connect the 12V output from the step-up module to the LED controller module, ensuring correct polarity. Then connect the 4 outputs from the LED controller and solder them to the appropriate pads on the LED strips. These are R, G, B, and +12V. 

Step 3: Test

YAY!!! It’s so shiny.

Step 4: Mounting LEDs & Power Supply

I hope you know your way around a glue gun. The mount is pretty straightforward. I hot glued my power supply to my longboard which worked very well. Watch this space because I will be adding a 3D Printed enclosure for the power supply here after a bit more testing.

Final Thoughts

Well, there you have it, my first LED project. This project was an awesome introduction to working with portable LEDs, a skill set that I look forward to evolving in the future. Also, if you’re stuck on LED project ideas and need a little extra inspiration then I suggest clicking here, and here. NeoPixels controlled with Arduino up next anyone? I think yes. Gaze upon this space and take a look at these 13 Neo Pixel Project Ideas that have me bouncing off the walls. Whether you’re busy working on an LED project or have a bunch of LED project ideas stored up in your Maker archive, I would love to hear about it in the comments section below! And lastly, I hope you enjoy your newfound LED portable powers as much as I have. Until next time, I’m out.

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