Introduction: Beginners Wiring Projects: LED Banks
Learn to wire up two sequences of three LEDs to a PC board, mount to a project box (Altiods tin), and control them with the use of a power and variable switch.
Please note that this is a beginner project, and that I am just learning to solder and wire myself.
The wiring here is fairly simple, but it takes some thinking to figure out, especially without an equally confusing diagram...
It's amazing how much I'm getting flamed for such a simple project. I fully acknowledge that it was possible for me to use a bigger battery with a resistor, however I did not have a resistor with the appropriate ohm value at the time for any of the batteries I had present. Not to mention this is a beginner project, and the button cells work fine, even with a sequence of three LEDs. To go even farther, the maximum voltage for the green LEDs is exactly 3v. A 1ohm resistor would be useless here. The maximum voltage for the yellow is slightly less than 3v, but enough that they've been left on for more than a couple days combined, and are doing just fine.
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Step 1: Materials
The materials required for this project are fairly basic, and most can be bought/obtained from RadioShack and your local hardware store.
Wire - Any scrap will do, just make sure you have enough, it is extremely helpful if you have two colors
PC board - I got mine at RadioShack, they're cheap
Six LEDs - Three one color, and three another. All should be low enough voltage to be powered by 3-4 volts. (two 1.5-ish button cells)
Two switches - One 1-way and another 2-way
Two 1.5V Button cell batteries - Power
Multimeter - Optional, helps test connections
Step 2: Preparing the PC Board
In this step we will be using the PC board, solder, soldering iron, LEDs, and needlenose pliers.
My PC board I got from RadioShack Had this nice little travel circuit that I used to wire one set of my LEDs, while on the other, I manually hooked up the LEDs with wire.
Place one color of the LEDs like you see in the first picture, making sure that you keep the positive (longer) side of the LEDs to one side.
The last LED shown in the sequence is wrong in these pictures, it should be soldered like the others, exactly the same.
Once you have the three LEDs wired in sequence, simply solder a red wire to the positive side, and a green one to the negative. Snip the excess leads on the installed LEDs and start working on the other three, soldering wires to each of the LED leads instead of using the built-in travel circuit.
Simply solder the connection wires to the ends of the LED leads, and secure to the board with bent pieces of solder.
Remember, when soldering, safety is always important.
Step 3: Preparing the Project Box
In this step, we will use an Altiods tin, Dremel, switches, and some tape.
Take a Sharpie, or any type of marker, and mark out approximately where your holes will go. Attach a drill bit to your Dremel, and punch through for the six LEDs. Widen the holes, sometimes considerably, depending on how far off your original estimate was.
The PC board I used fits in the Altiods tin perfectly, and it sort of holds itself in place for you.
Next, repeat the process on the holes for the two switches. These need to be bigger than the LED holes.
Take off the nuts included with the switches, and mount both in the tin.
Now prepare for the wiring, here's where it gets messy!
Step 4: The Wiring
The wiring for this project is pretty simple, but requires knowledge of soldering. The first step will be to solder the two positive leads of the LEDs (marked by the red wires coming out of the PC board) together.
The next step will be to secure wire to your two button cell batteries with electrical tape. DO NOT SOLDER THESE BATTERIES, THEY EXPLODE! Next solder the two negative leads of the LEDs from the board to the two sides of the 3-way switch.
After that, solder the Positive lead of the battery to the power switch, and the negative lead to the middle of the 3-way switch to complete the circuit!
Good luck lighting up dark places!
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