wolfgang ziegler

„make stuff and blog about it“

LEGOs and LEDs

April 28, 2017

A perceived eternity ago I backed the Kickstarter project Build Upons: World's Tiniest Light Up Bricks. As it's the case with most Kickstarter projects (sigh), it got delayed, delayed and further delayed. But at least they even managed to get it done, shipped the rewards and I received mine last week.

The original Build Upons Kickstarter reward

I have to say I was not particularly impressed with the build quality:

  • The battery case looks really cheap.
  • The actual light bricks have varying brightness.
  • Also the bricks just don't fit that nicely as one expects when handling LEGOs. They either fit too loose or you have to apply a lot of force.
  • The electrical contact gets easily disrupted when the bricks don't fit excactly.

But then again - having had too many bad Kickstarter experiences (burn in hell Chris Walker!) - I am almost happy having received something halfway decent.

Now what ...?

Due to the mentioned shortcomings I considered these bricks not (yet) suitable for my 4-year-old to play with. It would cause him too much frustration. So I needed to find another purpose for it and decided to "upgrade" the LEGO business card holder I have sitting on my office desk.

My LEGO business card holder

But first I wanted to get rid of that battery power supply and added a USB one. The 5V coming from USB would probably have been OK for the LEDs but I decided to play it safe, add a voltage regulator and bring the voltage down to 4V which seemed to be sufficient for these LEDs.

Adding a USB power supply

So here's the illuminated business card holder.

The business card holder illuminated by LEDs