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Lighting up the Ghastlytone

Posted by zdl7754 on Monday, March 24, 2008

Well - here goes - my first blog post ...

I have just taken some pictures and uploaded them (in my "lighting system" picture gallery) to show how I have lit up the inside of the Ghastlytone. I searched around the internet for a flat, flexible LED strip that I could attach around the inside of the pot just below the tone ring. I found one that's actually used mostly for lighting up cars - there seem to be a number of different suppliers at different prices. I calculated how much I needed as:

   12 inch pot, 3/4 inch rim, 10-1/2 inch inside diameter times Pi equals about 33 inches - comes by the foot, so it's 3 feet, can only be cut at certain spots, so actually ended up being about 32, so I put the gap under the tailpiece, which also let me hide the wiring better.

Then it was a big hunt for a 9volt battery holder. The LED's are rated for 12v, but they work fine on 9v, and I suspect 12v would be too bright, at least for me.

After several visits to surplus stores, and much thinking about design, I ended up with a 9v holder, a little 3 pole switch (couldn't find a 2-pole small enough), some velcro, and a small plastic connector (with pins) intended for car wiring.

I wanted the connector so I could remove the battery box when I didn't want it lit, and so I can easily take the banjo apart easily, as there's nothing more attached to the dowel stick. The connector is made not to come apart very easily, so I took an exacto knife and shaved the locking bumps off. I also took off the little handles. And then I blackened it with a felt pen.

I glued the switch to the battery box, cut the positive lead, and soldered it to the switch, and cut the negative lead so they were the same length. Then I soldered the leads to the two male connector pins, and pushed them into the male connector until they locked.

Cut the end of the plastic off the LED strip and soldered short (about 2") leads to the positive and negative pads as marked. I used red wire for the positive and black for negative so I could make sure I was matching the polarity correctly with the battery. Then I soldered the leads to the female connector pins and put them in the connector to make sure I was red to red and black to black.

Then I tested it to make sure it worked before I installed it.
When that was done, I blackened all the red wires.

All OK, so I took a felt pen and carefully blackened the LED strip everywhere except where the actual LED's are to make it look like banding. Came out OK, but I can see from the closeup photos I missed a few spots so I'll touch it up with a small paintbrush and some ink when I feel like it (or not).

Then I put the strip in the pot, peeled off the backing, and stuck it on. Got a little piece of velcro and attached the female connector on top of the dowel, and some more velcro to stick the battery box to the dowel across from the pickup. and - voila!

I'm very pleased. It looks great when it's lit up, and it's not noticeable that there's anything there when it's off. I can't wait to get it on stage ... it's truly silly

Check out the pictures for details and some more explanations ...


2 comments on “Lighting up the Ghastlytone”

clio Says:
Monday, March 24, 2008 @4:27:11 PM

Wonder if you could arrange for lights to blink on and off like Christmas lights?

zdl7754 Says:
Monday, March 24, 2008 @5:50:57 PM

but that would be tacky ...

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