Pipboy 3000 LED help


New Member
Ahoy hoy RPF. This is my first original post. I've been working on a 3d printed Pipboy (from draginator's files) and I'm very nearly finished, I just need one more finishing touch: The LED buttons.

Here's the pipboy so far:

2015-07-18 12.10.19.jpg

The issue I have with the buttons is that I have no idea on where to start. I'm not sure what parts I need to look for (other than I need 3 LEDs and a circuit?) and even then once I have the parts I have even less idea what I need to do with them.

Are there any resources or tutorials anyone is aware of? Most of what I've seen seem to use parts far to big to fit in the pipboy itself.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.


Well-Known Member
Depending on what LEDs you're using and power supply will determine the circuit structure. If your are using a power supply way over rated for the LEDs you will need to shunt the voltage with a resistor. Simple math will solve that, but will need to determine your LED choice first.

You will need info as follows:
-type of LED?
-power supply?

There are pre-wired LED options. I have not used any myself, but from what I am to understand, they are basically plug and play. Get the proper power source and you're ready to go. May be an option as well.


New Member
thanks gixxer. That's given me something to think about at least. I'll get some measurements after work and figure out what size of LED I need (my guess would be 5mm diameter.) I know I need yellow, and power supply I was thinking a 9 v battery?

Ideally I'd want them to function as push buttons, so press one and it switches on while the other two are off.

Prewired is probably a good shout too.

Thanks for the speedy response!


Well-Known Member
No problem. 5mm is a good size. I would check superbrightleds.com. If you're only running LEDs than a 9 volt should cover it. If you're running other items than that's something to consider. I run a 12 volt pack (8 AAs) and a 4.5volt (3 AAs) pack. While 9 volts are nice and clean, a lower input voltage may make for a more efficient circuit as you won't have shunt as much voltage for the LEDs. You would essentially be wasting a lot of energy.

For example if you're running a 9 volt source and your led specs out at 3.5 volts, you're shedding 5.5 volts for no reason. A 4.5 volt source would only require a 1 volt shed and a lot less wasted energy. If possible build your source around your specs. Food for thought.


New Member
Thanks again, I'll keep the power requirements in mind once I work out what I need. I'm starting to think a rotary switch might be preferable to push buttons after trying to find tutorials. I mean that's how it works in the game after all.


Sr Member
If you mean the LEDs are also pushbuttons, the most common way to go about it is source the button first, but look for "illuminated." Digikey is a great place for this sort of thing. The number of options can be overwhelming but their catalog system lets you drill down by successively narrowing your selection.

That said, you can make an LED a "button," but it is somewhat more complex. Involves dual-purposing them as photo-detectors, or if they have metal bezels, using those as the contacts for touch sensors.

In any case, if you source an illuminated push-button, you get your choice about what voltage it will require to light it, whether it needs a ballast resistor, etc.

Err... Digikey also has rotary switches, I've ordered from them on a couple of different props. If you are willing to face a little programming, however, you can look into a rotary ENCODER instead.
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