workshoptechnology

Make a ring light for your GoPro 

GoPro can be an amazing device to film, however filming in the dark can be an issue. Through this article you will understand how a Gopro ring light is made, the light is not only powerful but also is much more bright than it seems. With the help of this ring light you will be able to film in the darkest places with no hindrance. 

Materials 

Pro Trinket

NeoPixel ring (12)

100K potentiometer

Plastic knob

Hook up wire

Battery pack power bank

Ultimaker 2 Extended

Transparent filament (2.85mm)

GoPro Hero 3

Step 1

To begin with this project you will need a NeoPixel ring, this is used as it fits perfectly around the lens of the GoPro. You then will drive the ring with a Arduino compatible Pro Trinket from Adafruit. A potentiometer to control the brightness. This will then be powered by a cheap battery cell with the help of a USB. 

The long leads on the potentiometer are not required so you can cut them off, this can be done with the help of some nippers. Then, all the different connections of the components have to be pre-tinned, this is done by putting in solder in the place that you will be soldering later, doing this will make it easy to add the wires when you're ready. 

Step 2

A potentiometer is a variable resistor, you power in from one side, ground on the other side and the lead in the middle sends out a different voltage which depends on how the potentiometer is turned. You then have to add wires to the potentiometer terminals, as the Neopixel ring uses 5v, a data input and ground for addressing the LEDs. You then have to connect the ring to the potentiometer at the GND and 5v. These are then connected to the Pro Trinket for GND and 5v. Lastly you will have to connect the data input of the Neopixel to a digital pin on the Trinket. The middle terminal of the potentiometer was attached to an analog input, this is done so that you can measure a range of values on the Trinket.

Step 3

Since the wiring is complete we can move on to the code. The link for the code is provided. The code used for the project was  modified from the example Adafruit sketch provided. You will first need to include the library and then set the number of the digital pin that was connected to the data input to, then set the number of pixels in the ring, then the number of the pin that is connected to the potentiometer. The code will then run in a loop, there are a couple of changes that were made in the loop, you have to read the value from the potentiometer, you can do this with the help of an analog read. This is done to control the light of the LED. You then have to upload the sketch in the trinket and try it out. Plug the Trinket to the power cell with a USB cable and check if it is working. 

Step 4

You will then have to start mounting it on the GoPro. You will first have to measure the parts of all the components, this can be done with the help of  some digital calipers. You can note down all the measurements. Make sure to be as precise as possible when measuring the components. 

You can then 3D print a holder to the light. It is recommended to use transparent filament as it can act as the case for the diffusion ring of the LEDs. You then have to insert all the components into the holder, slots for the wires to pass through should also be made, this is done so that the ring can be placed as close to the camera as possible. 

Once you have wired all the components up, you will have to make two tabs to fit the holes in the trinket, the rest of the wires should then be trimmed and soldered back in their respective place. Lastly, you will have to add a knob to the potentiometer, this is done to control the brightness of the ring. 

Place the ring onto the camera and power it up to check if it works. You have now built your own ring light for your GoPro. 

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