Evan Pratten
Evan Pratten
Software Developer

Beside my desk, I have a bookshelf. While this "book"shelf barely contains any books, it is a key part of my hobby work as it contains all kinds of electronic components, a server, some networking gear, and my 3D printer.

Office Layout

A few years ago, I semi-permanently affixed a strip of PWM-controllable RGB LEDs around the frame of my desk to make it glow at night, and since then I've been looking for more things to LED-ify. Thus, the next logical step was to light up my bookshelf!

The lights on my desk

Lights on my desk

The plan

My bookshelf is laid out as follows:

Bookshelf Layout (side)

I only wanted to light up the top row, since the bottom row has very little room for light to bounce around in, so after a few hours of tinkering, I settled on the following wiring layout (top-down view):

Bookshelf Layout (top)

NOTE: In both images, the purple lines represent the LED strips, and the red lines represent the wires connecting them.

I opted to use some WS2812 LED strips, and a small Arduino to tie everything together software-wise.

Of course, in real life, the wiring looks a.. um.. appropriate amount of sketchy.

A photo of the wiring

A photo of the left-most section

A custom LED controller

The LED controller that came with my LED strips isn't awesome... mainly because it doesn't even power on 😆. So, equipped with an Arduino and a soldering iron, I set out to make my own.

The software isn't really important here, since its basically the NeoPixel example code, but I did opt to make my program function with one button.

I can tap the button to cycle through a few different preset colours, and I can also hold it for a few seconds to turn the whole thing on and off.

The controller itself is 100% function and 0% aesthetic, but that sums up most of my personal harware projects, so it fits right in.

The controller

The results

So, how does it look?

Great actually!

The lights on my bookshelf

A note from later me

Hi! It is currently February 2, 2024. I've recently re-written and open-sourced the software tha powers this shelf. Feel free to check it out on GitHub.