I needed extra lights for our reflector microscope so I built this parallel wired LED octopus.
I discovered early in the project I was out of solder! And, as I live in a place where bread boards are not easily available, I ended up using wiring connectors... the project is essentially solderless (I did find some solder at the end and used it for securing connections).
What you'll need
- LEDs (all same)
- 1 resistor (don't know which one, sorry)
- wire (I scrounged and stripped some old CAT5 wire)
- wire clippers
- wire strippers (using a knife is possible but results are not clean)
- small screw driver
- push switch (press and hold to keep lights on... saves battery)
- wire connectors
- soldering iron
- wire cover (not necessary, just makes it look nicer)
- plastic box to hold the 'innards' all together
Step 1: Parallel LED
I went with parallel wiring after reading this: http://www.theledlight.com/ledcircuits.html
I cut all my wires to more or less the same length, stripped the ends and wound them around the LEDs. I made sure to keep the color coding to pos/neg on the LEDs the same!
Step 2: Testing the Initial Idea
I'm a big believer in testing as I go... I tested the switch and the connector and the resistor and the LED working...
Step 3: Parallel Wiring With Wire Connectors
Connect the positive wires together in the wire connector. Do the same with the negative ends.
Step 4: Test Your Connections!
I test every step as I am not sure that my connections are solid with the wire connectors but as it turns out, I had very few connection problems.
Step 5: Box Up the Battery and Connectors
I found an old plastic shoe polish box that would hold the battery, wire connectors. I melted a hole through the top and inserted the push switch.
I still haven't used any solder! :)
Step 6: Test Again
Everything is working. It's ugly but solderless!
Step 7: Wire Wrap and Solder to Polisht the Octopus
I added some shrink plastic over the two wires to reduce tangling and soldered the LEDs to the ends though I DIDN'T have to.
Step 8: Lighting Up the Miscroscope
Ok, truth is, the wire I used was too flimsy. I am having trouble keeping the LEDs pointing where I want them to... /sigh.
But, it does work! Check out the difference, slight it may be.
Step 9: Do Differently
- Heavier gauge wire
- brighter LEDs