Is an LED bow tie ironic or awesome?


We’re not exactly trend setters when it comes to wardrobe. And so the recent revival of the bow tie as an accepted dress item confounds us. We’re even more confused by [Arichter's] LED bow tie. Sure, the hobby electronics part of it is a win… but when it comes to fashion is he making fun of the bow tie wearers, or setting a new standard?

The tie is made of three PCBs, which lets the wings sit on a bit different plane than the center. He populated the boards with about 100 RGB LED modules which he desoldered from a couple of meters of LED strip. They draw a lot of juice and to supply that he uses a boost converter. A standard Arduino UNO board controls the lights.

If you’re still sold on the bow tie form factor we’d like to direct your attention to this long-tie version. It doesn’t just show patterns, but plays a wicked game of Tetris with you as the game board.

[via Reddit]


  1. bolke says:


  2. BillP says:

    The second link, long neck tie version is sporting some firework animations for Independence Day.

  3. Alex says:

    uh… Awesome!

  4. Frank says:

    Is there a third option?

  5. Oh holy crap. I log into HaD to do my daily browsing and see me looking back. What a trip!

  6. Tom the Brat says:

    Surprised to see yourself? All you need now is a Fez hat to go with it.

  7. soundman98 says:

    so why is a boost converter needed if they draw a lot of juice?

  8. DaveO says:

    Cheesy! There used to be a guy with a light-up bow tie who used to wander the pubs of Dublin and try and shame men into buying a red rose for their lady. He would be in the market for this.

  9. CB4 says:

    Come on, Hacking a led strip, learning to make pcb’s, reoldering the whole thing.
    I like it and I think it;s a very decent piece of hacking.

  10. Smonson says:

    Finally, a way to combine my love of bow-ties with my desire to blind everyone I meet!

  11. Jerzee says:

    The picture above is sort of reminisent of Sylvester McCoy as the Doctor. Props to you, you have some mad soldering and board making skills (and patience).

    I tip my hat to you.

  12. echodelta says:

    Ditto the Doctor. Picture needs HDR processing, or just dim the lights for the picture.
    Interesting hack, only if it was in any different shape, a propeller perhaps.
    Fashion is the work of fascists! What anyone wants to do is fine, just don’t push it on others. I am old enough to remember those horrors of dress.

    • Orion says:

      I think the picture is cool the way it is, the aura around him makes the picture look etherial, like we are closing in at the speed of light, maybe thats why HaD chose it? So I vote ‘no!’ for HDR processing (or HDR process another copy ).

  13. shocked and annoyed says:

    As it seems you make at least some small portion, and I hope it is quite small, of your income as a wordsmith I would love for you to expound upon exactly what you find ironic about this tie? Additionally, Please, in your explanation….indicate which of the definitions below you feel best apply to this situation.
    : a pretense of ignorance and of willingness to learn from another assumed in order to make the other’s false conceptions conspicuous by adroit questioning —called also Socratic irony

    What I have written thus far is a reasonably gentle example of the first form of irony. A bow tie that lights up is clearly less subtle.

    a : the use of words to express something other than and especially the opposite of the literal meaning
    b : a usually humorous or sardonic literary style or form characterized by irony
    c : an ironic expression or utterance

    My implying you are in anyway a competent writer….. Wow, Mike Szczys is quite the wordsmith…..would be a reasonable, though less gentle, example of the second form of irony, than that I offered for the first.

    a (1) : incongruity between the actual result of a sequence of events and the normal or expected result (2) : an event or result marked by such incongruity
    b : incongruity between a situation developed in a drama and the accompanying words or actions that is understood by the audience but not by the characters in the play —called also dramatic irony, tragic irony

    Me writing this post…you and the other paid members of HAD taking a couple of English classes, or perhaps hiring a proofreader/editor…..would be an amazingly welcome example of the third form of irony.

    So again….upon close review I fail to see the irony you have detected in this. Did you perhaps mean “Is an LED bow tie MOronic or awesome?” Alternatively, if you were to say ” Wouldnt it be ironic to show up to a formal black tie event wearing this gaudy construction of a bow tie?”, you would be terribly correct….instead of just terrible.

    I certainly hope if anything other then obsolescence and abandonment comes with the sale of this website, it is a pile of pink slips, some decent writing, and perhaps an editor who at the very least is as capable as my 12 year old at running online grammar and spelling checks before committing to submission.

    • left says:

      Additionally, Please, in your explanation…
      in anyway a competent writer….. Wow, Mike Szczys is quite the wordsmith…..would be a reasonable
      running online grammar and spelling checks before committing to submission.

      i think i’m getting this irony thing

      • shocked and annoyed says:

        The use of trailing punctuation and the structure of my writing in that post is a mechanism common to creative writing, generally considered acceptable in editorials, monologues, and diatribes. The intent is for the readers internal voice to match the authors. It is not to be absorbed as a dry and mechanical text, but, rather, read as it would have been spoken by the author.

        Will I run spell check? grammar check? Have I even proofread this before I hit submit this time….NOPE.

        My 12 year old would if he was getting a grade, as would I if I were writing for my work.

        I will try to make things a little easier for you to understand.

        Me No Get pay to make word on screen. Me no have make word pretty.
        He get pay make word on screen. His job make word more better here.
        He fail.

        This site is for sale. $500k-1M is the owners hopeful wish. John has stated this site is bringing in $15k mo in ad revenue. He has further given figures of “$6k in blog posts a month, and another $5k a month if you want a FT editor with benefits”. This shocks me. Im shocked that this site brings in $15k in ads. Im really shocked that the poorly scribbled segues to these projects cost $6k a month. And I am shocked that while trying to hit a seven figure payday there is clearly no $5k ft editor doing anything to make this site appear professionally run.
        So Ill reiterate by quoting myself,
        “I certainly hope if anything other then obsolescence and abandonment comes with the sale of this website, it is a pile of pink slips, some decent writing, and perhaps an editor who at the very least is as capable as my 12 year old at running online grammar and spelling checks before committing to submission.”

        • left says:

          So Ill reiterate by quoting myself,

        • Augur says:

          Ah the pessimistic trolls come out of hibernation.

          If you would be so kind dear sir to elaborate on your qualifications of owning, writing, or blogging for any site that is currently in existence; we may take your grammar rant as more than just a mere attempt at grabbing attention to yourself.

          Personally and professionally the staff of Hack-A-Day have exceeded their duties as site owners and workers on more than one occasion. They continually bring to our attention, hacks, mods, and creations from all over the world to which they could easily charge, but rather offer to us for free.

          So please enlighten me on how you feel justified in dishonoring the staff of this site, when there are other sites that trolls as yourself could focus their attention on.

  14. Bim says:

    As a project: nice. As actual clothing: eyecancer.

  15. Augur says:

    This is actually really cool.. Now all he needs is a top hat with a scrolling marque.

  16. einballimwasser says:

    The guy in the picture just freaked me out a little… he looks like Professor Snape at first glance :-)

  17. Alex says:

    Super dorky but very well done, haha. I bet Hendrik Ball ( ) would enjoy it.

  18. frontside says:

    How did they do the motion blur picture?

  19. Anthony says:

    Option 3: Absolute Shit

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