A Beautiful Fibre Optic Chandelier

[Bill] Decided that his living room could use some more light, or at least some more colourful light. To meet his needs [Bill] has designed and build what he describes as a modern/contemporary chandelier. The chandelier uses about 250′ of fibre optic cable to distribute the light from eight LED’s, light from the fibre optics is being diffused using marbles in place of the globes you would normally expect in a chandelier.

Control is achieved wirelessly via a pair of Xbee modules, this will allow [Bill] to integrate it into his home automation project he plans for the future. The colours are currently set using three slide potentiometers, and the chandelier is powered using a repurposed ATX power supply. It looks like a lot of time was spent on the acrylic enclosure and it was worth it because the results are fantastic. Check out his website for build details and the video after the break for a demonstration on the chandelier in action.


14 thoughts on “A Beautiful Fibre Optic Chandelier

  1. Maybe a couple of layers of roughly sanded clear acrylic with a 1mm gap between them or even a bit of white paper stuck in between the LEDs and the end of the fiberoptics with a 3 or 5mm gap would be the cheapest way to defuse the colours. Anyway nice build (: if i ever do this for my self I would be tempted to mount the electronics in the ceiling though or at least make the enclosure a little smaller (maybe fit it inside a plaster moulding). It would be tempting to use acrylic rods bent into shape instead of rings cut from a flat sheet (might make using the fibreoptics a little harder but it saves a lot of sanding). Might also add some super bright LEDs (some in the moulding pointing across the ceiling and some on the rings pointing up as not to “blind” the current of the room on a separate circuit to add a bit of light to the room and not just colour (shame to have something so nice and still have to have a standard light fitting to aluminate enough to see detail by).
    Would be nice to see what yours looks like when it’s actualy
    hung in a room and all finished (: good luck (:

    Next one I would love to see is a chandler made of floresent tubes and thin fishing wire. (powered wirelessly by tesla coil) (: hmm if I don’t build it first that is haha

  2. @MrX

    Since the post on my blog i have set the cpu fan up to only turn on while all LED’s are on. There are 8 LED’s at 3 watts a piece. They put off quite a bit of heat on the backoff. Since it is going on my ceiling i would prefer it to run cooler than nessecary rather than overheating. Like i said in the video and post that i should have used an on board supply or a brick from a laptop charger. The ATX supply was free and had the amp ratting that i needed (~5A).

    Also, this was built for somewhat of a learning purpose. I have never used the fiber optic filament before. It has proven to be quite versatile. I have already started designing a version 2 that can be installed in low-ceiling conditions. This will be much more simple, using a single halogen lamp. However this doesn’t offer colors, it decrease production costs signifigantly.

  3. @CRJEEA

    Those diffusion materials would have probably been easier to use. The version 2 model will use sanded acrylic dowel as the diffusers, allowing for different shapes to be used.

    I had the thought to install the electronics in the ceileing. However, in the end i decided to revolve the design around the ability to install without modifying in wall wiring.

    As far as the lumes produced. The LED’s put out ~65 lumes a piece (calculated using a light to frequency sensor). However, you are shoving light into the ends of the fiber optic cables which reduces the final output to be more ambient/ mood lighting. As a result i just plan on adding some recessed lighting fixtures into the entry way to provide a suitable light output when needed.

    Also, look forward to my automated stair lighting using infrared trip wires. Comming soon ;)

  4. @TheCreator
    I do not know your electrical engineering background so I just toss in my ideas just to get a leaner design.

    If you want to get rid of the ATX, the current limiting resistors with the (noisy) fan and maybe want some extra thermal protection for the (pricy) LEDs I would suggest that you take a look into high brightness multi-channel LED driver-ICs from Texas Instruments, National Semiconductor, Maxim or Linear Technology. IMHO it is the only way to reliably drive RGB HB-LEDs without risking thermal runaway on a nice warm summer day. ;)

    If you want to get an overview you can take a quick look on Nationals Webench Designer even if their products are not well suited for your application http://www.national.com/en/led/high_brightness.html.

    The easiest way should be a few Maxim MAX16823 (one IC per RGB-LED) with external BJTs (http://datasheets.maxim-ic.com/en/ds/MAX16823.pdf). I guess 2A per LED should be far enough. You can use your PWM signal to set the duty-cycles of the drivers. So it should be a nice slip-in replacement for your driving setup.

    But if you want a more sophisticated buck-boost setup to get even more Amps I would stick with drivers from Linear Technology.

    Sample requests usually work like a charm and the examples in the datasheets make it very easy to get a working prototype very fast.

  5. I recently saw a video from TED, where a woman (Edith Widder) was making an optical lure for deep-sea fish. She made a box with 16(?) LED’s that would blink and attract fish for her to observe, looking like bioluminescence. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IDkSDPgrtjs)

    Seing how Bill in the above video is doing some nice stuff with optic cabling, I think it could be used to make an even better lure.
    These people should meet.

  6. @TheCreator

    Oh I understand. Well, I really encourage you to the following in the final iterations:

    * replace the ATX power supply with a high class switching power supply (look for laptop power supplies on ebay).
    * try to replace the active cooler with a passive one. If you have too much heat there, try putting a thermistor there and regulate the fan speed according to the temperature.

    Other than that, congratulations, the chandelier really looks beautiful.

  7. @hekilledmywire
    Not necessarily, ATX is just a specification. Latest ATX power supplies are indeed switched but because they have to provide different voltage levels (at high currents) at same time, they are not that efficient and definitely not suitable (in energetic terms) for the purpose in this article. Laptop power supplies are much more efficient.. You can find them with a very high efficiency class.

  8. I have scrounged up a laptop brick supply. I will be building a small voltage regulation board that i can just use inline without having to modify the current driver board i have now. Wish i would have went with this originally, could have made the enclosure a lot smaller.


    I have no real engineering background. I am actually a mason contractor and have only been doing hardware based hacks for about a year now. Everything i have learned is from forums, articles, datasheets, and releasing the magic smoke from many components.

    In a future project i would probably use an IC similar to what you suggested. I didn’t use an RGB led because i would have needed more to acquire the same amount of lumes that i currently have. The fiber optic filaments require something close to ~500 lumes to properly light the sides of the filaments. I gave a lumes/Watt estimate above.

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