Burn baby Burn with fake fire


Senior Member
Hello to smarter then me friends
If you ever look at new electric fireplaces the flame affect on most is like someone spray painting red on a cardboard box
in other words looks great from the moon. I decided (two years ago) I am going to make a "real" looking flame so I tried everything my
simple mind would process like with amber leds and having pieces from tinfoil to wet toilet paper flash against it all of them looked like garbage
I then tried instead of having the leds reflect off something.. put the leds sideways in a flame like pattern of course being a behind the garage shed mechanic
this was no easy task but I did manage to make a interesting flame which looks almost ok

here is video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RyGE-ogcikE

I will try to update this post after I test my next idea
the flame in the video uses 28 micro leds from ebay cost 10 dollars wait time from china = forever I think I used canoe shipping
1 picaxe 20m2 (best chip for plumbers)
4 -74hc595 drivers (all driven from westaust55 code)
1 real lighter (if your dissatisfied of the flame then use lighter for backup)
My main goal is to make a fireplace so real you dont want to touch it with leds and picaxe
your friend
who tries and tries


Well-known member
Now duplicate that 512 times and you have a fireplace! :D

You put in a lot of work, and it shows.

Looks good for an accent or gas ignition effect. I can't tell if there is some randomness to the shape.


Senior Member
yes thanks the video doesn't show clear because of the brightness I tried using bright light /no light to get it to be clearer but no better results
PhilHornby I know I seen them but who wants to pour water everytime they want fire. For reals the reason why my flame flares up is because
I just can not get speed to flash it fast enough but I am going to try using my 40X2 with 20mhz clock then I can hopefully make it wave or etc
I love texasclodhoppers thought lol " ONLY 512!"
I might just buy one of those northwest led fireplaces off ebay for 250 rip it apart see if they have anything better but guessing they dont
because my personal thoughts they look like red paint on card board again plus I think its just the crystals they use for the flame with leds under neath
I am very picky that the flame must look very very real and I wont stop till they quit making leds.


Senior Member
@the bear yes and thanks for the input tho
I bought a few of them awhile ago and did everything I could to make it flash better with bad results but they look okay in the fog
one thing that keeps me motivated is a fireplace has 3 sides to hide everything
I'll update this thread if I accidentally discover some real flame
your friend who tests things but forgets the results


Senior Member
Little up date
After working with just single leds now I am going to try working with
it doesn't say how many leds per filament but i guess 12 + ... to bad they dont make these filaments in apa102s (micro size) :)
I also wish I could control each led by amount of voltage applied but after watching videos such as this one
..all leds are attached in series so all I would be able to control I think
is dim to bright but i will add more when i get them to test
If anyone has did tests to these kind of led filaments it would be great to hear


Senior Member
For anyone interested in this sort of thing, a tear-down of a very cheap fake log fire :-

(£9 and up on eBay at the time of writing)

(Obviously you'd swap the microcontroller for a Picaxe ;) )


Well-known member
The orange background looks like 3D Lenticular material to help to give the moving effect, I have tried to use the same material in my own design of LED tubes several years ago as a better diffuser than frost material normally used.
Great video, well laid out, waiting for the picaxe rebuild.


Senior Member
That's actually how the Dimplex unit - linked to in Post #4 - works . ("State-of-the-art, patented, technology" ... in 2015 ;) )

My other-half recently introduced me to the delights of "Ultrasonic Oil Diffusers", which seem to work the same way. She wasn't impressed with my idea to add blue lighting and fill it with Castrol "R" two stroke racing oil - so I could re-live my misspent youth ;)

(Being made in China, the unit she purchased only worked for a fortnight!)


Senior Member
hi everyone (sadly i'm still around :) )
Nice to see your info and slowly the new ideas on fire
I bought a few electric fireplaces and best i could do
is make perfect burning coals or ashes ...I should have took videos
but forgot and gave them to friends who are blind and appreciate the look alike :)
but for reals I will keep trying but seems the self addressable leds make perfect ashes effect


Senior Member
Real fire is SO much easier. I've built dozens of these flamethrowers.

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Technical Support
Staff member
Real fire is SO much easier. I've built dozens of these flamethrowers.
Indeed. But, as has been noted in the past, encouraging people to build 'cuddly teddy bears' which are actually flamethrowers and the like are not things this forum can support.