Programmable Led Light for Spokes - Any out there!

Hi just wondered if anyone had one or knew of a programmable led you can attach to a 20" unicycle wheel, I know of ones for bicycles but just wondered of any products out there that would be suitable for unicycles (slower speed and a 20" wheel)
I’m looking for something that I can possible program to add a corporate logo image into.
any ideas???

I saw on a 36", I can get the name of the rider if you need. It was at Monguni unitour in 2010

How about these?

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Pimp my unicycle? :wink:

I like the idea…These seem to show patterns only for 8 or 10 MPH and up. That’s an impossible speed for a 20".

I just read about them, For what you asked, you would need the PRO version. So if you can get past the $1090 price and figure out how to get a unicycle to go 10 to 30 mph, and how to program it, it sounds like you can get it to do what you want. Cool idea, but we need a cheaper/hacked version for a uni…

I have ordered these from many years ago, and still have them:

But in the specs it says:
“Fits on virtually any wheel with any spoke lacing configured 24” or larger."
“Only 7 mph speed is required for full image persistence.”

So perhaps not good for an ungeared 20".

Could you make something specific for a unicycle? Some ideas for lights:

Maybe use the 2nd one and fire the lights only when they are in the vertical position, like with a tilt sensor.

You need to get Corbin on this one (is it possible to tag people on here?) - he’s designed and built LED Cyr wheels

I’m kind of surprised he hasn’t already replied as this is something he clearly knows a lot about - is it possible to tag people on here?

I have a background in electronics and embedded processors - I’ve even made my own controller for LED Xmas light strings - so probably could make something myself, though I don’t have the direct experience Corbin does. At some point I might have a go at making something, it would be an interesting project (and there are a few tutorials around to start from).

Though having looked at what is available, to some extent the issue is that you don’t get persistence of vision if the wheel is going too slow - this can be solved by having more than one unit in the wheel. Clearly you still need something which will physically fit in a 20" wheel though.

Yeah! i have some outer rim ones on my 20", but it doesn’t do POV (ie: logos). I know Nik, from Switzerland, built the “Handy-Bar” that does do this.

There aren’t any products out there that are purpose built for a unicycle. Nik used a geared uni to achieve higher speeds, AND so the crank wouldn’t block part of the image (given the relative crank position changes at any given time when geared up).

I’ve been thinking about making one using a Pi Zero. I haven’t gotten around to it. It would probably cost $100-$200 in parts (rough guess).


Seems an obvious choice - doable with an Arduino I guess, but there’s not a huge form factor advantage and the extra power of an RPi would probably help a lot if doing anything complex (there wouldn’t really be anything else on the shortlist for me - I’ve done plenty of stuff with PICs and AVRs but all of my recent projects have used RPis, they just make dev so much quicker and easier). What is it you use in your Cyr wheel?

I’ve been using a Teensy 3.1/3.2 / Arduino libraries, but mostly hand-written C++ code that does all the work. But effectively I’ve been making my own OS (file system, timer, etc), which seems silly.

I like too POV illusions. Camera tends to kill experience though, they look much better in real life. 'Specially when they seem to “float” at high angular velocity.

A member on here bradford is really good with stuff like that. Ask him, he could figure something out.

Bradford’s project for winter parade lights in this thread:

A bike wheel POV lighting guide from Adafruit, a bit out of date now but probably still worth a look:

Like many of you, I’ve got a desk filled with various AVR and ARM Cortex M development boards and a short stack of Pi Zeros here. I also have a list of projects planned or already started that’s longer than my leg so I don’t know if I’ll ever get around to jumping into this, but I’m very interested in following along and seeing what folks come up with.

Yeah, that’s also about where I am! Though I have priced up LED strips and checked out some of the info on how to drive them!

Regarding the speed required for these to work, it’s worth pointing out that it’s wheel rotation speed which matters, so if 7mph is fast enough with 3 “spokes” with a 26" wheel as suggested on one of those pages, then 5mph should be fast enough with a 20" wheel, and that’s not an unfeasible speed.

Perhaps useful for this application:

(Let’s see how well pasting that Twitter link works here. Short demo video in the tweet.)

I have just ordered a XuanWheel X1. It is App programmable via Bluetooth. 196 RGB LEDs. Minimum wheel 26 inch. Displays stills or movies. Good reviews.

Gearbest has them on special for US customers at a ridiculously low price for the next five days. Currently 48 left in stock. Can’t go wrong at the price.

I had to pay AUD $71 through eBay Australia.

Wow, your idea sounds pretty interesting. I’ve never seen a unicycle with advertising. Suppose you want to make a logo for advertising, of course. You’re just trying to imagine it, lol. Okay, but speaking of your problem, why don’t you think about installing regular LED strips, like in cars and houses? You can place them any way you want. And there are multicolor options that are also very durable and last a long time I’ve been using smart light strips for car interior for two years now, and they’ve never broken. So if you can’t find a better way to solve your problem, I suggest you choose regular LED strips. I hope my comment was helpful!

Hi @anon99802370,

Welcome to the forum !
Technically, if you install a regular LED strip to a wheel it will either make a solid color (if it is only one color) or concentric circles of color (if it is an alternating pattern of colors like xmas lights).

The main challenge to “displaying” anything more structured requires a delicate balance between measuring the motion and calculating what the LED stripes should display.

Back to the original question: the 2 main challenges are:

  • the wheel size, because the programmable stripe should small enough to cover a spoke
  • the minimum speed, because you need it to achieve retina persistence

The first should be okay in DIY as you can order the right length (and account for it in the control program).
The second might be reduced by increasing the number of stripes (hence the good news of the Arduino driving 8 stripes).

In summary : you better be a fast big wheel rider or a tinkerer :wink:

Not the same thing but Spencer Hochbergs LED wheel is very cool.