Illuminated Leather Bracelet

Filled under: Fabrication

Date posted: July 2, 2009

Let’s go to the Disco!


Here’s a quick little side project making an illuminated bracelet, enjoy.


To the left are the electronics wrapped around a battery pack. The cable is salvaged CAT5 cable.


The leather is real, soft, and about .075″ thick. It was found relatively cheap at the local chain craft store. I cut the leather into strips by clamping down a ruler to a scrap wood surface with the leather in between. After measuring for the desired width I simply used a box cutter and scored the material with a heavy hand to make a one pass cut.


Here are most the tools, common generic stuff really.


Here is the control side of the controller with the ICSP port and the four control buttons. The PIC is a PIC16F688 clocked at 8MHz. The four button controls the color mode, color preference, speed, and brightness.


This side has the .100″ headers for the bracelet and two slots for other items such as a choker or a belt.


The battery is a triple 4.2v cell lithium-ion giving 1800mAh at 12vDC. The battery pack with the charger adapter can be found on eBay for about twenty dollars. This should power the bracelet for approximately 10 to 12 hours.


The control module fits nicely into the left or right side pants pocket. The bracelet power connector is purposely placed in such a manner to allow the hand to guide down the cable and grasp the controller by the sense of touch alone. With this design there is little chance of disconnecting the any of the cables or accidentally engaging the tactile switches.


The bracelet is glued together using fabric glue. This left the seams shiny, but should eventually dull out.

Also due to LEDs not being flush with the leather’s surface at certain angles the one of the three dies on the LED is blocked thus making parts seam a different color than the rest. This, in a way, is called color spreading. A solution is to place small frosted flat acrylic circles on top of the LEDs to diffuse the color.

To the left of the snap you can see the integrated .100″ female header for the power cable connection.


This is the RGB LED strip used inside the bracelet. The strip uses 5050 RGB LEDs and is 300 leds per 5M. They were once $118 per 5m (16.4 feet) now you can find them less than $60 per 5m. (eBay)


No power. Looks some what like an ordinary bracelet.


The connector is a bit bulk and is some what easy to rip out. A quick piece of medical tape keeps everything in place.