Easy to Make LED w/resistor for Solderless Breadboards

There is hardly a project that doesn't require some LEDs. When prototyping, you often need some LEDs for indication and troubleshooting. Of course, each LED needs a current limiting resistor. Therefore, putting these two components into one single package is logical and very useful. I tried cutting one of the LED's legs short and soldering a resistor in its place, but the assembly was just too fragile to be very useful. After some head scratching, I came up with this solution:

Step 1
Gather your parts:
  • 5 pin male header
  • 500 ohm resistor (or whatever size you want)
  • LED
Step 2
Cut off the three middle pins on the bottom (long) side. See photos.

Step 3
Bend pins of LED, soldering the cathode to the first two pins, and the anode to the next two pins. The cathode is usually the short lead and flat side of the LED body. I soldered the anode side first so as to not get confused. See photo.

Step 4
Solder the resistor between the anode and the remaining pin.

You're done now. The resistor is always connected to the positive which is the popular convention.

  • Solid and robust
  • Easy and quick to make
  • Bridges from either the negative or positive rail onto the breadboard
Here is another instructable with even more 'pluggable' components. Includes:
  • Switches - tact & slide
  • 2.1mm DC jack
  • Trimpot
  • Bipolar transistors
iApple guy1 year ago
Never searching around in my bin of resistors for a LED again!
I keep my resistors in bags in the order of their values. I got tired of searching for resistors myself. All values of resistors!
pfred21 year ago
I trim a lead of the LED, then solder a resistor to it. I made up a bunch that way with heat shrink wrap on the leads. They're my "experimentation" LEDs.
diy_bloke1 year ago
a lick of red paint on one end and you'll never have to wonder what the anode side was again
lewisb421 year ago
Heh, I recently did this with a push-button:

(pics at bottom of the page)
If you like this you may also like:
chuckvideo1 year ago
That is brilliant!
vitya1 year ago
Good idea! You may want to substitute the resistor with an SMD resistor - it fits between two pins easily and will give a neater image.

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