The internet is full of people who think they have the best thing since sliced bread because their LED lightsaber looks so bright and awesome… But if you are seeking an accurate comparison, google image search “Isla” or “knightship,” their sabers are almost as bright as daylight.So, after all, having a “neopixel lightsaber” that only uses two AA batteries won’t produce the same results as one that uses lithium-ion batteries or cr123a’s. Even with 550 lumens of power, the neopixel saber will fail as a primary (and second) lightsaber.
I understand that some people want to show off their latest LED saber modifications, and I am not saying that those neopixel lightsabers are bad for cosplay or non-combat… But if you want something real and suitable for combat (and not some flashlight wannabe lightsaber), keep reading on Zia Sabers.
The neopixel led saber is actually yet another way to put together an RGB LED on a PCB and battery, but it generally has some really bad flaws. The first ones are the dedicated controller boards that generally has poor response times (meaning you either can’t use it as a primary lightsaber because it will be too slow to react, or you can’t use it at all as a secondary main because your saber won’t respond well and the colors will be wrong)
The other issue is that those PCBs commonly use PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) for dimming the LEDs. PWM is a good way for dimming lights, but it also makes the light flicker; this will cause eye strain and headaches to the user. Flicker won’t be seen with naked eyes, but our brain still knows if it’s on or off, so you can’t trick it by simply not visiting anything.Another bad things about those PCBs are the number of LEDs used; most commonly, they have between 7 and 12 LEDs. 12 is more or less ok, but 7 is just plain silly; the average lightsaber hilt has at least 24 less your (12 per side). Talk about a downgrade…
Those PCB’s are useless by themselves; you would need to add your battery, switch, recharge port, and speaker. The neopixel sabers are not bad if you want a cosplay lightsaber; they give nice glowy effects, but the light output is low, and flickering produces eye strain issues. If you’re going to go for cosplay, get one of those “Light Up Your Life” toys that lightsaber nerds call saber fakes and get a pair of good sound fonts.
For combat purposes, get a proper led and controller board and solder it yourself (check this website for controller boards and LED stripes and lights), or take your saber to someone who knows what they are doing. There is no point in purchasing a lightsaber with neopixel sabers as primary or secondary if you ask me, even if the price is lower than those led + blade setups (imagine how much you would need to charge someone for a 12 led design and then buy their cheapest saber, not worth it).
But if you still want to get one of those neopixel sabers, go ahead and buy yourself the cheapest (they are all cheap) or go for a custom job that will fit your needs. I recommend Saber Forge’s RGB LEDs for combat use; they cost more, but the light output is fantastic, I use them on my sabers, and they are amazing.I hope this article helps you guys in some way! OLEDs (Organic LEDs) are the next step for lightsaber blades; check the OLED Saber forum here for news, information, and releases.
If you enjoy the work, I do consider supporting me on Zia Sabers. Pledge as little as 1$ and get access to my exclusive content, early releases, and even a free saber if I manage to release one in the next month!The idea of creating a lightsaber that changes color every time I touch it got me hooked. So I decided to experiment with it on my own, and here is what I came up with.
An Arduino at its heart that controls all the LED. The microcontroller reads an audio input from a microphone (Line-In) jack on the shield and determines when sound is present. When sound is detected, the LEDs change color. The shield also provides a 3-pin JST connector to connect a NeoPixel Stick (sold separately) for unlimited color combinations and effects possibilities.
Here is what you need: – An Arduino Uno board ( I used a clone from China, as the original one got misplaced). – A 3-Pin JST connector to connect your LED strip. You can use either a 5V or 12V strip since you will only need 1 pin for power and one other pin to control the LEDs.
Features of Neopixel Lightsaber:
I used an RGB Neopixel WS2812B LED strip to create a lightsaber with sound effects. I used an Adafruit Trinket microcontroller board for this project. It is powered by 2 AA batteries and has holes in it for mounting inside the hilt of your lightsaber or whatever you want to use it for.The Trinket microcontroller is very small and only cost 7 dollars on Amazon. It doesn’t have a built-in LiPo battery charger, though, but you can find separate ones online for less than 10 bucks.
First, I connected the LED strip to my computer by using a USB A Male to USB Mini B 5-pin cable. I had to turn off any power-saving settings on my computer I could find because this caused problems with the LED strip being recognized by the computer initially.My Adafruit Trinket running at 3 volts is perfect for powering the WS2812B LED strip, requiring only 4. 5 to 5.5 volts.
This is my first time working with an LED strip, so I purchased one of the Neopixel Jewel Light Kit from Adafruit to make this project more manageable. I highly recommend using this kit if you are new to tinkering around with LED strips since it includes a small solderless breadboard for prototyping circuits, USB cable, and power supply.
Once I had everything appropriately connected by following the Adafruit tutorial on using their WS2812B LED strip, it was time to start planning out my circuit diagram. I used Fritzing to create this layout. I just opened up an existing lightsaber circuit diagram I found online and modified it a bit to fit my needs.
I also had to modify the schematic on Fritzing because when I wired up everything, the LED strip was only lighting up certain parts of the blade instead of from one end to another since I wasn’t properly wiring up all the ground pins on each Neopixel LED.