Plastic LED spinning tops available in the market typically feature one or multiple LEDs powered by two button cells and activated via a switch triggered by centrifugal force. According to the author’s research, more advanced versions incorporate a microcontroller to create dynamic light displays. It is highly problematic, both from an educational and environmental perspective, that replacing the batteries without damaging the top is nearly always impossible. This issue serves as a strong incentive to create our own version. Initially, crafting skills are essential to create a wooden top on a lathe.
Creating a Mesmerizing Visual Effect: The Ingenious Circuit Design
This inventive circuit operates without a microcontroller, utilizing a mass-produced ‘rainbow LED’ commonly found in mood lights for home use. This LED contains an RGB LED and a control chip, enabling it to change colors. The LED’s slow color transitions, normally unsuitable for spinning tops, become captivating when modulated through pulse width modulation. The unique effect occurs when the LED spins rapidly, creating a visually appealing display of pulsating light, as demonstrated in the author’s photograph.
Simplicity and Practicality: Building the Circuit and Balance for the Spinning Top
The circuit design is elegantly simple, requiring only the color-changing LED, a 3 V button cell, and a centrifugal force switch. Ensuring the top’s proper balance is crucial. To achieve this, the centrifugal force switch, consisting of terminal pins ST1 and ST2, must be integrated securely. A makeshift sprung contact can be fashioned using a spring from a ballpoint pen and tinned copper wire. When the top spins, these contacts close, allowing the circuit to function. Additionally, a small drawing pin in the battery holder area serves as the bottom contact pad for the button cell. The counterweight, adjustable with an M3x10 screw, provides balance; extra washers or nuts can be added for more weight if necessary.
Streamlining Construction: Utilizing a Printed Circuit Board
To simplify the construction process, the author has designed a printed circuit board for this project. Once populated, the board aligns perfectly over the top’s handle, ensuring correct placement. The board layout is available for download, enhancing the project’s accessibility. It’s crucial to include the centrifugal force switch correctly to prevent disappointment caused by a depleted battery. With careful assembly and attention to detail, this circuit transforms a simple spinning top into a mesmerizing visual spectacle.