Fiber Optic Illuminator

Edge Lite Fiber Optic Illuminator

This is a project have been working on for a while now, I know that there are simple store bought solutions to accomplish the same thing but I enjoy creating things on my own. This is also far Cheaper then buying a premade one. I bought about a 12 foot bundle of edge lite Fiber optics on eBay for a few dollars. My intent is to use it for photo shoots but it is just as easy to use in a haunted house environment. This will walk thought the construction of the 30 watt RGB illuminator that I have created.

Cooling fan
12 volt transformer
Power Cord
Heat Sink
30 Watt RGB LED
30 Watt RGB constant Current Driver
Small bracket and a grommet to secure the fiber
Edge Lite Fiber optic

For the case I used an old gobo projector that I had and for the Heat sink I Repurposed a processor heat sink. Every thing that I used except for the LED were salvaged from my parts bin. I reused the cooling fan and power cord from the gobo projector in this project.

The first step in this is to completely remove the old electronics from the gobo projector. I left the power cord and fuse in place as I will be using them to power the completed light. The fan was removed and set aside for reuse.

LED/Heat sink:
I needed a powerful light source to get a good glow from the fiber cable. I ordered a 30 Watt RGB LED to provide this at the same time I ordered a matched constant current driver to power the LED. The heat sink is one that I had laying around from an old computer and it will work perfect for this application. The only thing I had to do to prep the heat sink was to cut off half of the metal bracket for that it could sit flush in the case. To attach the LED to the heat plate I first applied a piece of thermal compound and then placed the LED. I used superglue to lock the LED in place, applying it around the edges and mounting holes to ensure it will hold tightly. I could not drill in to the heat plate because I would hit the heat pipes and they would leak. Once the glue had set I moved on to installing the current driver. I used more glue to affix it to the remaining metal support bracket of the heat sink. I used a couple of clamps to hold this tightly while the glue fully set.

The next step is to solder all the wires in place. There are four wires for the LED one for the common and three to select the color. These are marked on the case of the driver. I soldered the common wire to the single bus on one side and the RGB wires to the three tabs on the other side. I used a little hot glue to insulate these terminals after testing. The 120 volt side of the driver will addressed in another step. The only other thing that you need to do is to place the IR receiver outside of the case. I slightly bent one of the vent holes to fit the wires thought and used a zip tie to secure the IR receiver to the outside of the case. This will be used once it is finished to select the effects and colors using the remote that came with the driver.


Cooling Fan:
Since the fan required 12 volts to power it and I will be using 120v as the power for this project, I installed a small 12 volt transformer to power the fan. This is just a simple transformer salvaged from a circuit board. it has four pins, two for the ac in and two for the 12 volts out. I soldered the 2 leads for the fan to the DC side and a 6″ length of cable to the ac side for connecting to the power later one. The transformer is then wrapped in electrical tape to prevent any shorts and using some double sided tape it is secured to the side of the case.

120 Volt Wiring:
The last piece of wiring is the 120 volt side to allow everything to be powered from the main plug. As mentioned earlier I left the original plug and fuse in place. This step is pretty straight forward. You need to collect the three wires for the neutral side and cap them with a wire nut, You can also used solder and heat shrink tube. Next gather the three wires for the hot side and repeat this process. Make sure you have no bare wires exposed. Once that is done you can plug in the unit to make sure that the LED lights up and that the fan is moving.

Fiber Attachment:
The fiber is connected to the front of the case using a simple cable grommet. The grommet is connected to the case using the nut that came with it and the fiber cable passed thought that. Once it is all tightened down the cable will not move. I used a small amount of electrical tape to bundle the fibers together inside the case. To secure the bundle inside I drilled two holes in the bottom of the case and using a zip tie I secured a small metal L bracket in place. This serves two purposes one it to secure the fiber and the second is to align it better with the LED.

Finishing and Testing:
The last thing to do is secure everything in place. To keep the keep the heat sink from moving in the case I used to piece of wire threaded thought the mounting holes in the fan to wrap around the heat sink. Once they are twisted everything fits tightly and does not move. I also put a set strips of double sided tape under the driver to fill the small gap between it and the case bottom. After securing those two pieces in place you can put the cases top back on and reinstall the screws that you removed to take it apart.

Once you have secured everything in place plug the unit in to the main power again and it should light up. Then you can decide how you want to use it. The fiber lights up evenly and the color changes looks really good in the dark.