Brief History of Fairy Night Lights
It has remained a long standing practice to use decorative lights during festivals, marriages, and ceremonies. Especially in Christian culture we can find the use of these decorative multicolored string lights or fairy lights exclusively used to beautify a Christmas tree.
The first Christmas tree that was illuminated through electricity was in the year 1822. This decoration was proudly displayed by Edward Johnson, an associate of Thomas Alva Edison, inventor of the incandescent bulb.
Obviously there were no LEDs in those days, but people were thrilled by the sight of an electrically lit, brightly colored incandescent bulb decoration of a Christmas tree.
Since then, illuminating objects and structures began getting popular and today is being followed with great enthusiasm. Nowadays it has become quite a trend, and we find people very fond of decorating their houses, shops, gardens, and vehicles with colorful string lights during such celebratory occasions.
How can the Present Circuit be Useful for Decoration Purpose?
The circuit of a fairy night light presented in this article is as simple to build as it can be. Yet it is able to exhibit a spectacular display of LED lighting. The circuit uses just a single IC 4049 which contains six inverters in one package and a few other passive components. It produces a beautiful array of flashing lights which may be used for different fancy decorations.
These LEDs may be nicely stuck in an ornamental fashion over a fairy doll to enhance its beauty and give it a real fairy look. Alternatively the circuit may be used to decorate house and car interiors, photo frames, and as Christmas fairy lights. Or one may further go ahead to discover new innovative ways of using these artistic lighting.
For example these lights may be arranged and fitted over cardboard to create twinkling illuminated images or to display flashing numbers and alphabets.
Another novel way of using these lights is to fix them over a plastic ball (used by kids as cricket ball). Cut the plastic ball into half, drill appropriate holes over them and fix the LEDs into the drilled holes. The two halves may then be glued together with the circuit board enclosed in it and only the supply wires coming out of it.
You will need the following mentioned parts for the construction:
- CMOS IC 4049 = 1 no.
- Resistors ¼ watt, CFR, 5%: R1 – R5 = 750 K, R6 – R11 = 150 Ohms,
- Capacitors Ceramic Disc 50 volts: C1 – C5 = 0.22 uF
- Capacitor Electrolytic: C7 = 100 µF / 25 Volts
- Diode D1 = 1N4007
- LD1 – LD24 = LEDs random colored, 5mm, diffused.
- General Purpose PCB = 4” by 4” in size.
- Transformer: 0 – 12 Volts, 500 mA.
- Mains cord: 2 PIN
Image Credit: https://www.zen22142.zen.co.uk/Prac/pinouts/4049.gif
The simple construction of this fairy night light circuit is explained as under:
- In the procured piece of general PCB, begin by inserting the IC first, somewhere in the center of the board.
- Solder the IC leads and continue by filling the rest of the smaller components like the resistors and the capacitors around the IC in an organized manner.
- With the help of the circuit schematics interlink the soldered leads of all these components to each other by soldering small bits of wire in between them.
This completes the board assembly of the circuit. We may now proceed to see how the series LEDs are wired:
- Make six groups of four LEDs each (color chosen randomly). The longer lead of a LED is its positive and the shorter one is its negative terminal.
- Connect four LEDs in series by soldering the positive of one LED to the negative of other using flexible wires. The length of these wires will depend on the size of the object or place over which the LEDs would be hung or positioned.
- Make six numbers of such series. Join the LED series outputs to the relevant points of the circuit board as shown in the diagram.
- This concludes the construction procedure. On applying mains power, the LEDs should instantly start producing a cool display of some colorful dancing lights.
- Enclose this fairy night light circuit along with the transformer in a nice looking plastic box with only the mains cord and the LED mesh hanging out of it.