RandomRanger

Armory Assistant
Community Staff
This guide is written for people who aren’t overly familiar with electronic stuff but still want to produce a high quality product.

Supplies
For all the supplies, there are many products that will work just as good, but I’ll link the ones I used for simplicity.


Overview
Generally speaking, the process is to solder a resistor onto each LED, solder these LEDs in parallel onto a wire, and connect this wire to the gutted usb cable for plugging into a power pack.

My intention is to write this guide in such a way that teaches the basics, but also encourages you to think about it yourself so that you’re able to build what makes the most sense for your suit.

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Important base knowledge:
Before starting, there are a few basic things to know about the items we’ll be using.
  1. LEDs are not bidirectional, that means positive must be connected to positive, and negative must be connected to negative. Otherwise, you’ll fry the LED and scare yourself.

Basic Electrical Steps:
It is recommended that you read through all the steps before starting. I recommend using 120R resistors for most LEDs.
Step 1: Prepping the LED
Let’s look at the first set of parts we’ll be using here:
Pictured here is an LED, a 120R resistor, 2 wires (18 awg, different colors), and some shrink wrap tubes.
AVpikb-FoRN7esjdKPMOB3LqcM9arWSb_94J5aRFlgOeSNMwrg.png

We’re going to add the resistor onto the LED. This can be a little tricky, and to help solder it on I like to wrap the resistor around the LED’s terminal before soldering. While it doesn’t technically matter whether the resistor goes on the positive or negative terminal, I like to keep it on the positive (longer) lead so that I maintain the shorter/longer relationship between positive and negative.

_hTmoAWjf_89j9rbEZ62GbOn8MOuo5Z7OiT8j1B1BZ6wl3kruA.png


Once it’s wrapped, solder them together
cQwEWA0YZml1vxB34uMBaFYZvGw98mlPGl69GSuYNVWUgI87N8.png


Next, solder the wire onto the other end of the resistor and shrink wrap it.
Note: To use shrink wrap, just put the tube over where you want it to be, and then heat it with your heat gun. Additionally, you may want to make sure that before you solder the wire onto the resistor, that you will be able to get the shrink wrap on. Depending on the situation, you may need to add the shrinkwrap to the wire (sliding as far from the solder joint as possible) before soldering.
kjh0SfEyIpQsfBQ0KXLP0Ati1rNyMsNpes0rhMVDTmx6wc_xh8.png


Then solder the other color wire onto the other side of the LED and shrink wrap as well
SRULDdSRX_X0ZznJuUDRZTJ_2mEOvRVJabXY-rPgCqBVshQbCw.png


The LED is now ready
Repeat this step for as many LEDs as you need.

Notes:
  • If you have an auto stripper like the one I pictured in the overview, you can stick an led on both ends of the wires since you can connect it to power via the middle of the cable.
  • Make sure to use the same color wire for your positive and negative sides. If you don’t, you will have a bad time.

Step 2: Parallelize all the LEDs
Before I start this section I’ll say that this is the part where a lot of the art of wiring comes into play. In this part of the tutorial, I’m only going to focus on making an electrical circuit that works, and NOT a circuit that fits inside a costume in a way that makes sense. I’ll cover that later.

Now, to put your LEDs (however many you made) into parallel, create a stripped wire section in the middle of the LED wire (both positive and negative), and get a long length of wire for each color. Just like you’ve done before, strip a section on this long wire, we’re going to solder these together. I like to use a trick where I fold them around each other to make the connection stronger.

Note: Once again, you’ll want to think about whether you need to use the shrink wrap before or after soldering.
IcDFrifyhkaalpabPGj_3G29LEu5ovArpaD_P1Gmzf6yL3domH.png
335Uz4Z_DUy4O0kF-oGDoG877fHMYkvR32bpDdvDDOlnbW5V4-.png


Solder these together, and shrink wrap it
_TgI6GDXSgFEzDjVzACSV1wZezegfzcVugLqjZkdSAdRNDLi0K.png


Do this for both wire colors on the LED.

Repeat this for as many LEDs as you made. Just continue creating a stripped section in the long wire and soldering on the LED bundles you made.

Step 3: More Power!
Take your USB cable and cut the non-usb type A end (type A plugs into the computer/wall charger) leaving a long usb type A cable with a bunch of wires inside it. Strip the outer protection off, and find the red and black wires. Solder the red wire to whatever wire is your positive wire, and the black wire to whatever is your negative wire. This cable can be as short or long as you want.
RU-GKC_llCkvZE8zPfQNE7QnlQtsA8rc_32bT8-IzmbtzqQVRU.png


Shrink wrap this connection to make it stronger if you like. At this point, double check all your joints as well to make sure everything is shrink wrapped. If you missed one and can’t shrink wrap it, you can wrap it with electrical tape, though shrink wrap is better.

Assuming things went well, you should now be able to plug this into a USB power bank and have lights!
 
Last edited:

RandomRanger

Armory Assistant
Community Staff
Notes about wiring for armor:
The length and placement of your LEDs on “the long wire” will depend on what armor your making and where the LEDs are. Additionally, you may actually want to make a couple of these “long wires” and then connect those together the same way you connected the LEDs to them.

From here on I’m going to be referencing my Reach Suit.
My reach suit uses 1 power source to power the LEDs in the front/back of the torso, biceps, and the thighs. Let’s see how.

Here’s the back of my torso, this is the main power grid. From here I plug into the power source into the LEDs and have branches that go off to the biceps, thighs, and front of the torso.
AM__p-QgieM-6AZBMNhppcMPPARkAywFMGcfcssmS4n48Z5tOy.png


At the top of my torso I have straps that run into the top of my bicep pieces.
BNXTLVuJC9ZoOGmWB1fBCGCHK4gIwkIkWfpGPSFbImxK0BZwkY.png


To make this connection removable, I solder my wires onto the plugs I listed in the parts list. Here’s what the bicep looks like connected
bB3SlBngsNmdlTaSfIyWusFOhOcQTjSziJjeZJX22zU65QkmU3.png


In case this is confusing, here’s a toy example of what the plug basically does. It simply connects black to black and red to red as if it were a solid wire.
Nw0ZHObWANPcwSuXK9If5_g3Ejs1QL5DSqVnWqmEp9nrelC_Tm.png


I use a similar plug method for connecting the front of my torso to power
L6bNGxDHfbZPt8TM7RcEJNIPjOZP_dd3-LzHVmP_bInBwFtWmE.png
rpEkIR1pdjA-pm7dyVTEJU6ip4H60thXRsAAkIRA6A4u0JPshU.png


The thighs were a little trickier. To pull this off I did the same thing as with the biceps and plug, except the wire is a lot longer and runs underneath my undersuit (optional) so it’s not visible.
YNgdMwUC8VZQ4nOmRYApr8xjSpvAuQ9dt58r49xm4krAnrRcoa.png
i1wXgUL-wvM-JChh0HYL5o3ABzcOD7TYPAZBuolFTp1uevbEwR.png


Here’s a picture of the inside of my shirt. Basically, I cut a hole under the armpit to run the wire through, but I won’t go into too much detail on that here as it’s more of a sewing project.
X6d1P_-G8kSzVe7eWvOrJARaoA5Lm6K137t8s-5mJbP85rz51q.png



Now, to actually put the LEDs in the suit I cut out rectangles of HDPE (linked in the supplies) and stuck it in armor cutouts. This took a lil patience and practice.
u2e23nROkU0YvTbDUV134miuMI3q7T8PZVJCTHZs6iP1P_uOw2.png


I then simply hot glued (a lot of hot glue) each of the LEDs to the back of these rectangles. In order to prevent light bleed, you’ll want to put a backing behind these LEDs. There’s two methods.
First, we can simply cover it with duct tape. Since we covered everything with shrink wrap, we can also put a little tinfoil on the sticky side of the duct tape to increase light dispersion and brightness. This is the method I’m currently using
QwIGV1gDQ8uL6aXC8is8X31U6A9gA8nG21NO1uKiimtQVnXhFj.png


Second (which I plan to update to), you can spray the back with an aerosol rubber like plastidip or Leak Seal. You won’t get the benefits of the tinfoil, but it should be more durable.


And that’s it! That’s how I wired my suit. I hope this was helpful, and if you have any questions feel free to comment on this thread below and I’ll try to respond. If it exposes a gap in the tutorial, I may even use your question to update the steps for other people.
 

MosquitoBandito

Jr Member
Does it need to be a 120r resistors? I bought a kit of resistors but it didn't come with 120. Which other resistors would work? I tried with 100r resistors, but the LEDs don't completely turn off and they kinda time out after a minute or so, so I'm assuming I need to use a different type of resistor.
 

RandomRanger

Armory Assistant
Community Staff
MosquitoBandito they don't necessarily need to be 120 ohm, as there's a little room for flexibility. To pick 120 I spent a day talking to an electrical engineer and experimenting with different resistors and wiring configurations and found what worked best for me. 100 should also work, your LEDs will just be a little brighter (and probably won't fry long term, but I've not tested it and thus can't confirm). I imagine your battery pack is turning off because it's not drawing enough power. I have 16 LEDs plugged into mine which thankfully draws enough power to keep it running.
 

MosquitoBandito

Jr Member
MosquitoBandito they don't necessarily need to be 120 ohm, as there's a little room for flexibility. To pick 120 I spent a day talking to an electrical engineer and experimenting with different resistors and wiring configurations and found what worked best for me. 100 should also work, your LEDs will just be a little brighter (and probably won't fry long term, but I've not tested it and thus can't confirm). I imagine your battery pack is turning off because it's not drawing enough power. I have 16 LEDs plugged into mine which thankfully draws enough power to keep it running.
Ohhh that makes sense. The LEDs don't completely turn off though. Like they slightly glow or flicker when plugged into the battery pack, even though it's turned off. Any ideas why?
 

RandomRanger

Armory Assistant
Community Staff
Ohhh that makes sense. The LEDs don't completely turn off though. Like they slightly glow or flicker when plugged into the battery pack, even though it's turned off. Any ideas why?
I would guess either A) That led is fried and no longer works properly/should be replaced (this can be tested by swapping the led), or B) the battery is leaking power even though it's off.

I'd recommend swapping the LED out and (separately w/ the dim led) also plugging in something with high power draw, like charging your phone, to keep the pack running. The results of those should tell you the nature of the issue.
 

MosquitoBandito

Jr Member
I would guess either A) That led is fried and no longer works properly/should be replaced (this can be tested by swapping the led), or B) the battery is leaking power even though it's off.

I'd recommend swapping the LED out and (separately w/ the dim led) also plugging in something with high power draw, like charging your phone, to keep the pack running. The results of those should tell you the nature of the issue.
Alright thanks I'll take that all into account!
 

marinesniper

Active Member
have you ever thought of magnetic switches you could you could put the magnet in your glove tip and touch the spot where you want to have the on and touch the other spot to turn them off.. its what i am going to use they are so small east to hide. these are also called reed switches..
here is a link to help understand how they work for anyone who wants to use them..

 

RandomRanger

Armory Assistant
Community Staff
marinesniper I did not know that these existed! I just bought a bunch of buttons I was going to put inside the glove, but this opens new doors! I'll have to think on it some thanks for sharing!
 

marinesniper

Active Member
marinesniper I did not know that these existed! I just bought a bunch of buttons I was going to put inside the glove, but this opens new doors! I'll have to think on it some thanks for sharing!
yeah i wish i still had the video of my ironman suit i built for a buddy his first finger would open the mask and the third finger would make the armorment come to life i was impressed my self.. you just have to put one in the power line so you can turn them on or off how ever you set it up.. but glad i could help.
 

Coreforge

Member
A hall effect sensor would be another option. They are smaller, and output a variable voltage depending on the strength of the magnetic field, so you could switch more things for example by using two fingers with one as the "input", which you hold in a variable distance to the sensor for different actions, and one as the trigger, which triggers the actions. Reed switches could be easier to work with though depending on what you're trying to do.
 

Sean Anwalt

RCO
405th Regiment Officer
Notes about wiring for armor:
The length and placement of your LEDs on “the long wire” will depend on what armor your making and where the LEDs are. Additionally, you may actually want to make a couple of these “long wires” and then connect those together the same way you connected the LEDs to them.

From here on I’m going to be referencing my Reach Suit.
My reach suit uses 1 power source to power the LEDs in the front/back of the torso, biceps, and the thighs. Let’s see how.

Here’s the back of my torso, this is the main power grid. From here I plug into the power source into the LEDs and have branches that go off to the biceps, thighs, and front of the torso.
View attachment 289117

At the top of my torso I have straps that run into the top of my bicep pieces.
View attachment 289118

To make this connection removable, I solder my wires onto the plugs I listed in the parts list. Here’s what the bicep looks like connected
View attachment 289119

In case this is confusing, here’s a toy example of what the plug basically does. It simply connects black to black and red to red as if it were a solid wire.
View attachment 289120

I use a similar plug method for connecting the front of my torso to power
View attachment 289121 View attachment 289122

The thighs were a little trickier. To pull this off I did the same thing as with the biceps and plug, except the wire is a lot longer and runs underneath my undersuit (optional) so it’s not visible.
View attachment 289123 View attachment 289124

Here’s a picture of the inside of my shirt. Basically, I cut a hole under the armpit to run the wire through, but I won’t go into too much detail on that here as it’s more of a sewing project.
View attachment 289125


Now, to actually put the LEDs in the suit I cut out rectangles of HDPE (linked in the supplies) and stuck it in armor cutouts. This took a lil patience and practice.
View attachment 289126

I then simply hot glued (a lot of hot glue) each of the LEDs to the back of these rectangles. In order to prevent light bleed, you’ll want to put a backing behind these LEDs. There’s two methods.
First, we can simply cover it with duct tape. Since we covered everything with shrink wrap, we can also put a little tinfoil on the sticky side of the duct tape to increase light dispersion and brightness. This is the method I’m currently using
View attachment 289127

Second (which I plan to update to), you can spray the back with an aerosol rubber like plastidip or Leak Seal. You won’t get the benefits of the tinfoil, but it should be more durable.


And that’s it! That’s how I wired my suit. I hope this was helpful, and if you have any questions feel free to comment on this thread below and I’ll try to respond. If it exposes a gap in the tutorial, I may even use your question to update the steps for other people.


BTW, I definitely see the Dirtdives!
 
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