"And the people bowed and prayed, To the neon god they had made.."

LED-Illuminated Star

The star screwed together.

The boards are 10' one-by-fours (3m x 2.5cm x 10cm).


The finished height is 9' (2.75m)

Here is where the star will be mounted.

Had to kill a rattlesnake during construction of the mount.

I was face down with my right arm fully extended into the post hole when I heard him...

Dead snake - closer.

My dog distracted the snake long enough for me to kill him with the posthole digger.

Headless snake.

The star showing the mounted channel raceway

which will hold the light rope.

The LED light rope

The bulge in the power cord is the rectifier which produces the direct current needed to operate the LEDs.

Installing the light rope.

It will require 71' (21.6m) of light rope to go around the star twice. A third round was added later.


The plastic raceway proved to be unsatisfactory in the long run. After a couple of years in the hot summer sun the raceway plastic darkened and warped. I eventually removed the raceway and used 1/2" plastic cable staples to secure the light rope.


The light rope installed and plugged in.

The star mounted.


Power consumption: 64 watts.
It can be seen a mile away (1.6km).

Morning star..

Here's a later, improved version.

Larger - about 13' (4m) tall; more light rope added; LED "halo effect" lamps added to the tips. Power consumption: about 165 watts. This version looks striking when viewed from several hundred yards and beyond. The digital camera imperfectly captures the look.

LED "halo" lamp.

These lamps (warm white PAR20 equivalent) have their reflective lenses removed to provide wider light dispersion.
They've also been 'weather proofed' with RTV to prevent moisture entry. (There goes the warranty.)


The little power supplies in the LED PAR20 lamps proved to be unreliable in extremely cold (<0°F) weather.
Some refused to start; this one failed outright.

I removed the power supplies, brought out the DC leads from the LEDs, wired all 5 lamps in series and powered the string with a current-regulated, high voltage power supply. The light rope was not affected and continues to be powered directly fron the AC line.

Improved again.

Blue ultra-brights added to inside points. The thing gets ever prettier.
Some of the ultra-brights twinkle (blink, flash). Checkout the Shunt LED Flasher circuit.

LED Power Supply

The new blue ultra-brights were wired in series with the white "halo" LEDs, for a total of 30 LEDs [later increased to 55]. The string is now powered with a current-regulated, high-voltage power supply.

The power supply is described here.


Related Links

Morning Star

More Star Photos

Photo Relay

Current-Regulated High-Voltage LED Power Supply

Shunt LED Flasher