Teaching the LED Color Organ in Oregon with #WeekendProjects

Teaching the LED Color Organ in Oregon with #WeekendProjects


I was recently contacted by Chava Neuhaus, an electronics teacher at South Albany High School in Albany, Oregon. She wrote requesting the circuit schematic for the Easy LED Color Organ that you see flashing above.

Hey wait. You’re a teacher? And you’re teaching Weekend Projects to your high school students? “That’s great,” I exclaimed! For students of all age groups, our Weekend Projects are designed to be beginner friendly, to inspire learning and making, and — as the name would imply — be projects that you can start and finish in a couple days at most.

A “sound to light” project that turns audio input into flashing light, Easy LED Color Organ continues to be one of my favorite projects from the series. It fits all the bills mentioned above and is also inspired by a long line of color-organ projects. A sort of genealogy of making.


This breadboard version is simplified from Akimitsu Sadoi’s Color Organ Triple Deluxe II kit that requires around 125 solder points. You’ll notice in both the breadboard and kit version there are no microcontrollers present — you can thank the transistors in each circuit design for moderating the low, mid, and high LED “beat” flashes.

Those circuits in turn were both inspired by Collin Cunningham’s LED Color Organ circa 2010 (built around the MC33204P & MC34072P ICs) that itself was inspired by Aaron Cake’s 3 Channel Spectrum Analyzer.

And now some students in Oregon made this project for their electronics class!

It’s so cool to see how making – and sharing – one project leads to making another project which leads to teaching a project which leads to students learning about electronics and how to turn sound into light. Check out the students from South Albany High School below, watch the video that inspired the class further down, and email us your pictures and story if you make or mod this or any of our other Weekend Projects.

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Thanks to Chava for teaching this project and a special hat tip to her student KaySea for the photos.

And yes the post title tongue-twister is intentional.

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I'm an artist & maker. A lifelong biblioholic, and advocate for all-things geekathon. Home is Long Island City, Queens, which I consider the greatest place on Earth. 5-year former Resident of Flux Factory, co-organizer for World Maker Faire (NYC), and blogger all over the net. Howdy!

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