Main Project: Design Review Part 1

My main project for this course will be modifying an old snowboard I have with LED lights that will change color with different motion of the snowboard. My inspiration for this project came from videos I have seen of other people adding LED lights to their gear for night skiing. All of the other versions I saw stayed one color or one spectrum of color, nothing changed with time. To make mine different and to cover the constraint of having a dynamic product, I plan to use an accelerometer to control color of the lights.

My aesthetic of my snowboard is going to follow that with (colorful) glow in the dark such as the photos shown below. I was limited in my options of aesthetics due to the lights only having certain tones. It was also suggested that I use a mirror vinyl wrap on the snowboard before attaching the lights to get a more futuristic look with reflected lights.

My initial sketches of this product were used to determine where on the board I would put the lights and how I would secure the battery/ Arduino for the power. Below shows my quick sketch from when I first had the idea. I am moving forward with the lights flat on the top rim of the board, as well as up onto the backs of the bindings to make this more three dimensional.

My next challenge was figuring out how the lights actual change color. To figure this out I stripped the lights I ordered and used a multimeter to measure voltages when the lights were a certain color. I was able to distinguish the voltage to ground combo required to achieve red, blue, green, and purple. All of which are shown below. It can be seen that the red wire always needs a 12 volt supply, and depending on where the ground is placed, changes the color. To get different hues of color, a different voltage is ran across the two other wires.

My next steps are to figure out how to incorporate the arduino, accelerometer, and how these would be powered and stored in a waterproof fashion. For this circuit I have found a few designs that I think will work. One example is shown below.  For the waterproof box I am considering a simply acrylic box, although now that campus is less accessible- I may just buy a compact waterproof box.

This product is still taking shape and I am excited to see how it turns out.


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9 Comments. Leave new

  • Christopher Lehr
    April 9, 2020 4:20 pm

    Hey Ausitn,

    I think this is an awesome project and that you will for sure be able to do it. I was originally looking at using lights such like this but they arent going to come in now with the covid life. So if you can do it then I would love to see the final thing, especially because I love snowboarding.

  • Benjamin Chang
    March 18, 2020 11:17 am

    Hey Austin,

    I think what you are making looks super cool and super fun. I like how you’re taken a different approach to snowboard decor, it’s something I don’t see. I also appreciate how you’ve considered where everything will go on the board. My only comment would be possibly being cautious on how you are housing all electronics and ensuring they are in a safe location that can take some weathering and high vibration. Overall though I hope you can find a way to make this work, I think it’s really interesting.

  • miles radakovitz
    March 16, 2020 4:11 pm

    I think this is a super cool project, shame all the ski mountains are closed for the foreseeable future :(. Conceptually I think your idea will work and it would work great as a visual piece, but logistically to take it out to the slopes it will require a few more considerations. Are you planning on soldering all of the connections so that they wont come undone during theoretical use? Have you thought about how you are going to waterproof the containment unit? How long do you expect to use it before the battery dies? Can’t wait to see how your project changes due to the coming difficulties, I’m sure it will be awesome!

  • Hey Austin,
    I liked your project idea! Are your lights supposed to be RBG or just cycle through a few colors? Also how big would the housing for the Arduino and power supply be? Would it be big enough to get in the way when you have to get off a lift or ride with one food? Overall, though, I’m really excited to see how your project turns out!

  • Ryan Weatherbee
    March 9, 2020 11:11 am

    Awesome Concept! I think that the end product will look super professional and engaging. I have one suggestion for a feature you could add if you are looking for more complexity/functionality. You could use a series of strain gages to change the color of the board as it flexes. Additionally, there are a lot of people that link the color changing to audio. The accelerometer is still, in my opinion, the easiest and most practical sensor to use for this application though.

  • Brooke Shade
    March 9, 2020 11:11 am

    Very cool idea! Have you considered how you will protect your electronics from the cold, harsh, wet environment of snowboarding and where you will place your electronics box? Waterproofing is kinda tricky. I love your creativity and the challenge level of this project!

  • Benjamin Robles
    March 9, 2020 11:10 am

    Presentation Comment:

    Neutral Questions for the Artist: will not use the computer that comes with the lights that connects to a controller? Will the lights be only controlled by the accelerator aka motion?

    Ben Robles

  • Jamie Frankel
    March 9, 2020 11:09 am

    you did a great job clearly explaining how your circuit is going to work. It will be really cool to see this change color as this accelerates!

  • Kensue Kiatoukaysy
    March 9, 2020 11:08 am

    I think it was a good idea that you thought everything through for such a large project. The design review looked great as you really planned through the whole project. A way to simplify the project would be to just spend the extra money on an already coded LED strip for ease of installation.


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