This week I have learned few things:
- Piet Mondrian LED dress is white- I’ve used a black dress and honestly it did not seem as pretty.
- Do not sew LED until you settle on the batteries and their voltages and amperages respectively – I have been too reckless and thus had decided to buy a new white dress, do the circuitry math and solder the LED ends instead of sewing them.
Now, I have added electrical tape as my black lines to my new beautiful white dress. Then, marked where I want to place the LEDs with a pencil and went on soldering the LED connecting. Also, this time I made some math first and decided to use a 9 V batteries, they usually provide 500 mA before dying so if I have 4 LED in 6 parallel lines (e.g. one LED consumes 2V minimum and 20mA max). As for the conductive thread I have decided to substitute it for normal wiring because I was a little worried using a thread with a 9V volt and it was actually rather hard to connect it with the battery. The dress has two layers and thus I can have a hidden wires that I can stab through the dress and solder to the LED. Additionally, the two layers can help me conceal the batteries whereby I plan on using electrical wire as a housing and sew that to secure batteries. Given that I have verified my circuitry calculation with physical testing, I am really looking forward for the final product, I am almost there!
I will update this post tomorrow with more pics and details.
I think you project is really cool. Wearable electronics are the clothing of the future, and clothing integrated with LEDs can change the way we look at fashion. I remember your project from expo and I made a few suggestions then. If its not too much trouble you should look into sewing the LEDs underneath the fabric so they are not exposed. This helps improves aesthetics as well as safety as it would have a less chance of being shorted. By putting clothing next to electronics you have a risk of shorting something and causing a fire. I would look into using LED strips, many of these have insulating coatings preventing shorting and waterproofing it, which I think is a must. LED strips also have the benefit of being incredibly compact, which allows for more comfort. As for power sources I would not use 9V battery as they cannot handle too much current without heating up, instead I would use a few AAA or AA batteries in series with some resistors to step down the voltage. AA batteries have a much higher capacity. You can even purchase AA battery series holders. This holder can then be attached to the inside of the dress where it can be hidden. 9V are usually connected with snap connectors, so it may be difficult to attach it to the dress. I think you project came out great regardless, I wish I could see some pictures of it in the dark.
Thanks Brandan for the feedback, I found all your suggestions very helpful and would take them into consideration as I plan on making another dress. I did actually try AAA batteries in serious but they don’t provide enough amperage for the LEDs I was using, but maybe they will with the LED strips
For the LEDs and other parts of the circuits, I would look into components that are easier to implement into clothing. Check out Adafruit, for example. I think you could do some really cool things with your dress.
Ah, I’ve had some hard lessons with electronics too. Today I accidentally damaged a project by plugging a cable in incorrectly. Please do upload a picture of your final project when you have a chance. Wearables are challenging because you have to consider aesthetics, user comfort and function