View Full Version : Makoto LED string blades: Diffusion and wiring

11-24-2009, 08:29 PM
So I've been researching the "Makoto" style blades for the last couple days, and most of the threads on the subject are pretty old, so I figured I'd start a new one.

The one thing I found the least amount of info on is hilt wiring. Obviously you make sure you have the correct voltage and a battery that can give the ma needed for a decent amount of time, but anything else? For example, has anyone used a driver? And have you gotten a scrolling effect with anything besides an FX board (or Makoto's board)?
What I'm especially concerned with is this: I'd like to build one of these blades, and I happen to have a 2005 Luke ROTJ board. What I'm wondering is if it will be able to give the appropriate amount of power to the LED's. (I remain hopeful, as I intend for this blade to be shorter than normal, maybe ~32").

Then there's the other thing: Diffusion.
On this subject I found a very diverse amount of info and opinions. So has anyone tried them all to see what works the best? I'm especially concerned about avoiding "corn on the cob" :rolleyes:.
In one thread, Tim mentioned trying EL diffuser. Did anyone give this a try? I ask because I have some left over from the EL days, and if it works...

So... Thoughts? I know Eastern just finished a double bladed saber "Mako style," and it looked pretty good. I'd love to hear what you have found works best.


11-24-2009, 08:33 PM
Eastern is definately the man when it comes to the DIY Mako style blades. He has mentioned that the UltraEdge or Tims special White Poly C blades work great for diffusion. The corn cob effect also seems to have a lot to do with how well you've ahem...."constructed your lightsaber" blade. I have also read that Mako's boards take a max of 4.5V so power shouldn't be an issue.

Kal El Rah
11-24-2009, 09:58 PM
Great info Fender.:mrgreen:

05-16-2010, 07:23 AM
I've got one thing to contribute, and one question on the topic.

For the diffusing I have been playing around a 1 inch diameter poly tube with the Green EL that I made my first saber out of, with a thin layer of semi transparent packing foam sheet. It lets the light out fairly well, and the wire does'nt tap around so audibly. I got it in the box that I bought my computer in! so I dont know where to get it though. Works quite well, so I might try it when I make a LED string saber.

About that: I have a Plecterboard (sabercore v.2), that I want to hook up to about 60 green LEDs. Is there a way I can control how much voltage is being sent to the LEDs through the soundfont programming text doc in the soundfont?

If not, then if anyone has this similar setup with a plecterboard, please let me know how you did it (resistors? etc.), or let me know if you've written how elsewhere on the forums and I'll look there.


05-16-2010, 07:38 AM
IF you mean either the CF or only the plecter labs driver, it is not capable of driving makoto/LED string blades. All of the LEDs on the blade would go on at the same time, without any scrolling effect or what so ever.

But I do believe that at least the CF is capable of controlling the voltage and the mA from the setup txt, but only for the single main LED pad.

05-16-2010, 07:57 AM
CF is auto voltage sensing, you just have to set the current parameter in the config file. Yes, CF cant make the Mako string scroll, but it does fade them on and off and can drive them and you get the cool flicker and so on. You just have to make sure that you don't exceed the voltage and current max of the driver, so you really have to pay attention to how you construct your blade with the groups.

05-17-2010, 12:02 AM
I am right now into a non-lightsaber project where I am probably going to use a 1000 mA buckpuck to drive the LEDs. Or maybe two.

Does anyone here have any experienve in wiring buckpucks in serial?

05-17-2010, 12:59 AM
I'm not sure anyone's wired 2 buck pucks in series. At least, I've never heard of it. I've only heard of them being wired in parallel to increase the current.

I'm not sure there's a point to wiring them in series. There's no set voltage that they put out, only what the LEDs need. Only the current out put is set at a specific level.

I don't think buck pucks are meant to be used with those kind of LEDs, only the high powered ones.

05-17-2010, 12:03 PM
Ooops. Well of course I meant parallel! I just didn't do the regular read-through-before-post. Stupid of me.
And, no, there would be no whatsoever point in wiring them in series.

However, they should work fine with LED-ladders. Yes, they were "meant to" be used with the high-power LEDs, but that doesn't really matter. Basicly, what a buckpuck does is varying the voltage till the desired current is reached. (ergo, you are right)
The puck "doesn't care" what it feeds the current to. It could be anything.

When soldering up small 5mm LEDs in parallel (ledladder) they will function pretty much the same as high-power one.
What I am saying is: electronic-wise I think that they should be fine to wire in parallel/function good with LED-ladders. But until someone have actually done it, we don't know.

But I'm about to.

05-17-2010, 01:47 PM
what im curious about is where mako gets that clear shrink tubing to protect his LEDs. when i saw his photos of his two strings in one blade. it showed the string put together very tightly, had the wiring sort of weaved into the ladder so the light wouldnt cast shadows against it, and they were heat shrank with clear. where can i get this? anybody know?


as you can see. nicely snug and tight construction, clear heatshrink, and weaved wires. i would say 26-28 gauge too.

05-17-2010, 06:14 PM
I think that's clear packing tape, not heat shrink. It looks too uniform to be heat shrink. It's not bumpy looking like it would be if it was.

I've used a type of "clear" heat shrink, but it's not completely transparent, it's slightly translucent.

05-17-2010, 07:12 PM
what? no way how could that be packing tape! you would see the overlap! unless he did it lenght wise.

Sloda Foade
05-18-2010, 05:10 AM
just google clear heat shrink tubing and lots of sites will come up

05-18-2010, 11:33 AM
Yeah, but if you do an image search for it, you won't find any that's as clear and shiny as the pics in that link that DJ posted.

Here's a pic of some of the clearest I've seen:


I still say it's packing tape. Maybe I remember reading that in one of Makoto's older threads or something.

Sloda Foade
05-18-2010, 02:23 PM
There is also a heat shrink very clear packing tape, shrinks to a clear acrylic look. Comes in rolls like corbin film - a few inches wide by x feet long. I only had a link to an australian supplier

Jase Kala Maris
06-03-2010, 05:00 PM
if you wrap them up like that and with all the legs soldered together where is the heat going to go???

I have a verision 2 full color blade from mako... it's awesome and crappy all at the same time but that's another story.

anyway I've never had a problem with it overheating or anything but I think it's still a concern.

06-13-2010, 04:21 AM

@Sloda - Yes, it's clear tape. I use it too, 3M clear packaging tape: it's crystal clear, functional, [lightly] heat-shrink-able, non-comittal (easy to remove), available everywhere, and best of all - cheap.

@JKM - Unless you overdrive them to the point of color-skewing for like an hour, heat isn't really a problem... at least not in my experience. The multiple contact points helps disburse and distribute the heat too. There's not a lot of current running through each segment, so there's not a lot of heat to build up.

@DJ - as above stated, it doesn't take much to drive a single segment of +/- 10 LEDs, 28g is fine, 30g is okay too.

I actually like the way the LED string looks when it fades on with a CF. I like the scrolling too, but fading is just as cool to me (and with the right sound font, instant on is just plain BA). If you have it difused properly, you might get a tiny hint of corn during power on, but just for a second. I use white polyc and the cannabalized foam difusers from MR blades.

In fact, I'd say my red makoto string is better, in most respects, than even a lux3 red or R/O... The CF that I have has a funny little bug in it that peaks the voltage on the initial power-up; particularly to reds with a lower vf. I blew 3 red star LEDs before I realized what the issue was. The LED sting bypassed that problem. It's inherently tougher because of the fact that it's many LEDs ALL in parallel. It takes all the current that a CF can push, plus, it's brighter... win.

06-18-2010, 07:37 AM
There is another thread going talking about this. Polyfoam sheet has been discussed as a diffuser. http://forums.thecustomsabershop.com/showpost.php?p=171128&postcount=5

To avoid the corn on the cob look, Makoto gets LEDs all from the same batch so they all match. Ask your supplier if the LEDs are "same batch." Tell them you doing a project that requires uniform lighting and the color of the LEDs needs to match.

06-18-2010, 10:08 AM
There is another thread going talking about this. Polyfoam sheet has been discussed as a diffuser. http://forums.thecustomsabershop.com/showpost.php?p=171128&postcount=5

To avoid the corn on the cob look, Makoto gets LEDs all from the same batch so they all match. Ask your supplier if the LEDs are "same batch." Tell them you doing a project that requires uniform lighting and the color of the LEDs needs to match.

Right... or you can just buy them from TCSS.