24 LEDs is the usual maximum total number in a regular psihoop, whether on one circuit or split between 2 circuits, sometimes I have done 30. On larger hoops with AA batteries it is possible to use up to 36 LEDs or more, email me about this.
The three main type of pre-programmed LEDs are dragonfly, elfin and rainbow. The dragonfly strobe – they look white or bluish/white at rest, and then when moved they leave multicolor trails. The colors cannot be altered at this time. The Elfin and Rainbow Strobes do not sync together. They start in sync but gradually drift so that you get multiple colors in the hoop at one time
The elfin slowly fade between one color and the next through the whole spectrum, and are mellow and leave good trails as well. The rainbow go through the same colors as the elfin but they are much more active, and they flash and blink and fade fast between the colors. Both these types of LEDs cannot be synchronized …ie they don’t stay all the same color at the same time…they slowly go out of synch and you will have many colors appearing at once......
The steady LEDs don’t flash, fade or blink, they just put out one steady color…their trails are perhaps not as interesting but they color the tube and also serve as a kind of “base” around which the other changing LEDs can weave their trails. In descending order of brightness….white, green, red, blue, yellow, orange, pink, purple (UV), with the pink and purple being much less bright than the first ones….orange is also quite a step down in brightness from the yellow. If you are getting steady LEDs I would say that you should get all one color, and have 8 of them for good effect. You could get by with 4 of one color and perhaps 4 of another color, but less than that doesn’t give that much effect.
I have some LEDs that fade between two colors....blue and red, blue and UV (the UV is quite dim, not nearly as bright as the other colors), blue and lighter blue, green and yellow, blue and green, blue and yellow, dark red and red, red and orange, orange and yellow, UV and pink, pink and green, pink and cyan blue, white and green, white and yellow, white and red, white and blue....the synch problem is not really visible with these LEDs as they are going through a much more limited range of colors, and it gives the hoop a cleaner look in a way, though you don’t get quite as long trails and you don’t get the variety of colors that you do with the elfin and rainbow.
I also now have some three color LEDs, red/orange/yellow, blue/green/yellow, blue/red/cyan blue, yellow/blue/orange, red/UV/blue and red/orange/blue. The idea of all these is to be able to make a multicolor hoop that makes cool trails but has a specific color range all over the hoop or in parts of it….all these LEDs can mix with each other but you may want to think in terms of similarities and contrasts – like you want a mostly pink hoop with some greens in it etc. Best to have just one or two kinds of these 2 or 3 color fades, because if you have more than that you might as well stay with the elfin or rainbow LEDs.
I recently made some rainbow hoops that appeared at the santa cruz hoop camp and the harbin hoop jam at the end of September 2008. They are not made with the multicolor rainbow-rider LEDs described above. The hoop is made with a mixture of steady LEDs that don’t flash or fade, and some 2 color fades that transition between the colors ( like red/orange, orange/yellow, yellow/green, green blue etc) but the whole hoop looks like a rainbow, and I call it the “RICA” (named from an inspired piece of electronic music from the 60s by Terry Riley called “A Rainbow In Curved Air” ). Some people have referred to them as the chakra hoop. They are very bright, have more LEDs than the other hoops ( 24 - 27 is normal for a RICA) and cost $30 more
than the other hoops cos of the extra work.
The latest LED type I ordered and just received is a fast flashing (strobing) green/blue/yellow in the style of the dragonfly, but a slightly slower strobing speed and GBY instead of RGB (red/green/blue) . It is a crazy flashing bright amazing look that is kind of white-ish at rest and when the hoop moves it seems to make 3 hoops and leave blue green and yellow shorter trails…and if you do isolations slowly you can mix some purple colors and you can make the colors appear to stand still or move depending on the speed of your rotation in the isolation..
I call these LEDs “3D” (cos they are a 3rd generation dragonfly and they make kind of 3D patterns)…
Here is an example from Fiona
Those hoops have 9 of the 3D strobe in green/blue/yellow and 6 red and 6 blue steady LEDs facing each other to make the purples…(note there are other ways of making purple, and this option takes 2 LEDs to make each purple, but it does make a bright purple, though not as dark as the UV).
Purple can also be made with UV LEDs (these are the dimmest of the LEDs though, and work best if they are on a separate circuit with some other steady colors like red. They are the darkest purple however). Purples are also made with UV/Pink fading, or the dark red/UV fades or the 3 color fades in red/blue/orange which makes a great purple as a main part of their cycle and a pinker purple is made with orange/blue/yellow fading LEDs….
3D strobe LEDs of this kind only require 12 LEDs in the hoop to get the right effect and I strongly advise having 2 circuits, one with the strobes and one with mellow LEDs like elfin, or slow fading LEDs in matching colors, cos the new strobing ones are too intense for long play times and the other LEDs weave in and out and create an interesting combo. You can mix the new 3D strobes with some of the fading LEDs in the blue/green or blue/yellow or yellow/green or the three color fades of the blue/green/yellow, or with any steady colors or even elfins or rainbow or regular dragonfly, all looks good….
Another approach is to have just one or two or three or four of the 3D strobes in the same circuit as the other types of LEDs….and the new 3D ones will still stand out, giving short and bright staccato like trails, which are particularly effective with poi-style or off the body fast moves.
I have just received several new color schemes in the 3D LEDs …. so as well as the blue/green/yellow (its more orange than yellow) I have blue/cyan blue/red …. blue/UV/dark red…. UV/blue/yellow….blue/green/red. The B/G/Y are the brightest and then the B/G/R , then B/UV/Y and then B/CB/R and then the B/UV/DR….but they are all very cool ….they are intense on the eye and nervous system though, and great for performance but too much for long flight times. They all seem to mix well with all the other kinds of LEDs. You could mix two or more of these new 3D LEDs in one hoop, I haven’t tried this yet, but the most 3D look you get seems to be from having 9 to 15 of them on one circuit on their own.
These 3D LEDs also have the advantage of using less current and so with the lighter AAA batteries
12 of them will light for over 3 hours with the AAA batteries and much longer with the AAs.