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Circuitry 101: How to Hook Up LEDs Options
RussG
#1 Posted : 09 April 2010 12:13:59

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Circuitry 101: How to Hook Up LEDs

I WILL NOT ACCEPT LIABILTY FOR ANY PERSONAL INJURY OR LOSS AND I TAKE NO RESPONSILITY IF YOU DAMAGE YOUR MODEL, YOU DO THIS ENTIRELY AT YOUR OWN RISK! IF YOU HAVE ANY DOUBTS IN YOUR MIND THEN CONSULT AN ELECTRICIAN. LED LIGHTS RUN COLD, BUT RESISTORS DONT THEY CAN GET HOT SO REMEMBER THIS WHEN PLACING THEM. SEE ADMIN REPLY IN THIS POST ABOUT THERE LIABILTY.

Below I've created a very basic guide to help people unfamiliar with circuits get their LEDs up and running without blowing them out and wasting all their money. IT IS VERY BASIC!! Current is hardly ever mentioned, not because it's not important, but because I've found it makes things confusing when trying to teach people about this sort of thing. If I've done a bad job explaining things or if you have a question this doesn't answer, hit the reply button and I will see what I can do.

There's two basic types of circuits: Series and Parallel.

Series or "How do I power lots of LEDs off a higher voltage source?"

When LEDs are placed in a series, the voltage is dispersed between the LEDs, meaning less voltage goes to each LED. This can be very useful. For example, if a 12 volt adapter were powering one LED, there'd be 12V going through that LED which is way too much for any LED to handle and would result in a rather unpleasant burning smell.

However, if you take that same 12V power source and put 4 LEDs in series, there would be 3V going to each LED and (assuming the LEDs are made to run off 3V) each would be powered and just dandy. Check out this illustration:



It's important to notice how the LEDs are positioned: (-) (+), (-) (+), etc. making sure that the end (-) connects to the (-) wire and the end (+) connects to the (+) wire, if any LEDs are backwards nothing bad will happen, they just won't turn on.

If three LEDs were in series with a 12V source, each would receive 4V, if six were in series, each would receive 2V, etc.

"But what if I have four LEDs powered from a 12V source and I want each to receive less than than 3V/ea?" This is where the little 'Resistor(s)' squiggly comes in. By adding a resistor it's possible to tone down the amount of voltage each receives. To find out what value resistor you should use, use an led calculator such as this one . Go to the middle form where it says 'LEDs in series' and simply type in your power sources' voltage, the LEDs' voltage you'd like and the LEDs current capability (use 20mA.) It then tells you what ohmage resistor to stick in the circuit.

But if one blows, they will all go out thats why I prefer to wire mine this next way!!

Parallel or "How d o I power lots of LEDs off a lower/higher voltage source?"

Let's say you wanted to power three of your brand new LEDs off a 3V battery pack (two 1.5V AA's in series, make sense?) you found lying around. If you were to series the three LEDs there'd be 1V going to each (3 Volts / 3 LEDs = 1V for each LED). That's not enough to power your LEDs! You want them to have the full 3V going to each. Here's how:




How this works is that while every LED receives the same amount of voltage, the current of the source is dispersed between the LEDs. What this means for you is that you have 20 LEDs paralleled off a battery, it's going to drain the battery a lot quicker than if you only had 2 LEDs in parallel. If you're paralleling off a wall adapter, for instance though, the source can constantly renew itself so you can essentially parallel as many as you'd like without fear of draining the wall .

To use resistors in a parallel circuit, say if you'd like each LED above to receive 2.5V instead of 3V, use an LED calculator (make sure you're in the parallel section) to find the right ohmage and then stick it somewhere in the circuit!

"Why do the LEDs have to be the same color?" If you mix colors, say if you paralleled a red (~2.3V) and two blue (~3.5V), the blue LEDs would not light. Why's this? Because the electricity is going to take the easiest path it can to complete the circuit and in this scenario the red LED requires less energy, leaving the two blue unpowered and lonely. To fix this you would need to stick a resistor onto the leg of each LED to 'equalize' all of the LEDs. Note illustrations:





To find the resistor you'd need for each LED, use the 'Single LED' portion of an LED calculator , type in the supply voltage, LED's voltage and 20mA for each LED and there you go. Now each LED will turn on and each will receive it's desired amount of power. The resistors act like 'shocks' in a car, they give the power source some 'squish' and let each LED find its happy place (forward voltage).

Hope it all makes sense!!!

Forgot to mention the figures in the last picture in (??? Ohm) is the actual Ohmage!
Happy Building, Russ

On the workbench: My Victory Build Diary - Victory Cross Section Build Diary - Black Pearl Build Diary

Under the Bench: Millenium Falcon, Black Pearl x 2, Coral Victory Cross Section, De Lorean

tom.ganc
#2 Posted : 09 April 2010 12:20:37

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Hi
If you posted any picture - nothing is showing up for me Confused
tomo29
#3 Posted : 09 April 2010 12:21:26

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tom.ganc wrote:
Hi
If you posted any picture - nothing is showing up for me Confused

same here no pic
RussG
#4 Posted : 09 April 2010 12:33:02

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Fixed or should be they are showing at my end!! lol
Happy Building, Russ

On the workbench: My Victory Build Diary - Victory Cross Section Build Diary - Black Pearl Build Diary

Under the Bench: Millenium Falcon, Black Pearl x 2, Coral Victory Cross Section, De Lorean

tomo29
#5 Posted : 09 April 2010 12:35:39

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can see them now thanks matey
dtgray
#6 Posted : 09 April 2010 12:36:03

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RussG wrote:
Fixed or should be they are showing at my end!! lol


I can see them fine now, thanks BigGrin
Regards,

David

data0002
#7 Posted : 09 April 2010 13:32:03

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Thanks RussG, The Pics are showing at my end as well. now all i need to know is how many i need. was thinking one for each cannon and 2 or 3 for the back end, lol
Allan
#8 Posted : 09 April 2010 14:06:48

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No problem seeing the pics here and very good they are too BigGrin BigGrin
Anyone that has lit up a ship of this period what would be the best colour LED to emulate oil lamps or candles?Confused Confused
sorry to ask so many questions Blushing Blushing Blushing but i just want to get it right
Allan
admin
#9 Posted : 09 April 2010 15:53:24
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Thanks for the post Russ.

Just wanted to post a disclaimer here!

We don’t endorse adding any LEDs or carrying out any electrical wiring to the model, so if you do choose to post or follow your own instructions then we can’t accept liability for any personal injury or damage to the model.

If others follow the instructions, again we cannot accept liability for any personal injury or damage to the model.

Cheers

Admin
“The charm of fishing is the elusive pursuit of the attainable, a perpetual series of occasions for hope”

John Burton
Allan
#10 Posted : 09 April 2010 17:14:11

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Lmao i am more likely to do myself personal injury waiting for my first issueFlapper Flapper Flapper Flapper Flapper Flapper Flapper Flapper Flapper
karl1113
#11 Posted : 09 April 2010 17:26:01

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adminCursing get used to it pal, your gonna get an awful lot of this going on,just wait till the gunpower recipe starts doing the rounds, you will have heart attack.LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL
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Kan
#12 Posted : 09 April 2010 17:32:52

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Love mmmmm gunpowder Drool
Tarbrush
#13 Posted : 09 April 2010 17:37:53

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Cheers Russ, as they say in the TV ad "it's simples".BigGrin
Admin? Don't worry so much, you'll live longer. It's only low voltage. I used to strip live 12 volt wires, on my model railway, with my teeth.Blushing It tickled and I still got most of 'em.LOL DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME FOLKS.Flapper

By the way I've just been to:
www.component-shop.co.uk
Seen lots of goodies like LEDs and optic fibres from 0.75 mm dia. plus some useful hints and ideas, such as "useful for getting points of light to inaccessible places", "nick the fibre at any point light is required" and, fibres are supplied in continuous lengths and charged by the metre (45p). LEDs are as little as 2p each when buying 100.[thumbs up]
I think this is just what we are looking for. The LEDs run cold, (no fire risk Admin) and we can produce lots of light points from 1 LED and a length of optic fibre that can be easily disguised as rope. (not so much wiring or risk of electrocution,no tickles Admin) Just what the Ships Surgeon ordered!LOL

Happy lighting LOL


RussG
#14 Posted : 10 April 2010 01:49:19

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Tarbrush wrote:
Cheers Russ, as they say in the TV ad "it's simples".BigGrin
Admin? Don't worry so much, you'll live longer. It's only low voltage. I used to strip live 12 volt wires, on my model railway, with my teeth.Blushing It tickled and I still got most of 'em.LOL DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME FOLKS.Flapper

By the way I've just been to:
www.component-shop.co.uk
Seen lots of goodies like LEDs and optic fibres from 0.75 mm dia. plus some useful hints and ideas, such as "useful for getting points of light to inaccessible places", "nick the fibre at any point light is required" and, fibres are supplied in continuous lengths and charged by the metre (45p). LEDs are as little as 2p each when buying 100.[thumbs up]
I think this is just what we are looking for. The LEDs run cold, (no fire risk Admin) and we can produce lots of light points from 1 LED and a length of optic fibre that can be easily disguised as rope. (not so much wiring or risk of electrocution,no tickles Admin) Just what the Ships Surgeon ordered!LOL

Happy lighting LOL




Thanks for that Tarbrush, Yep Fibre optic seems a good idea, Like you say you could make it look like rope! Just to put Admins mind a rest, I was only asked how to wire LED's, Noboby said it was specifically for this build.

Anyway added a footnote to the how to!!!!

Happy Building, Russ

On the workbench: My Victory Build Diary - Victory Cross Section Build Diary - Black Pearl Build Diary

Under the Bench: Millenium Falcon, Black Pearl x 2, Coral Victory Cross Section, De Lorean

Allan
#15 Posted : 10 April 2010 07:38:59

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RussG wrote:
Tarbrush wrote:
Cheers Russ, as they say in the TV ad "it's simples".BigGrin
Admin? Don't worry so much, you'll live longer. It's only low voltage. I used to strip live 12 volt wires, on my model railway, with my teeth.Blushing It tickled and I still got most of 'em.LOL DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME FOLKS.Flapper

By the way I've just been to:
www.component-shop.co.uk
Seen lots of goodies like LEDs and optic fibres from 0.75 mm dia. plus some useful hints and ideas, such as "useful for getting points of light to inaccessible places", "nick the fibre at any point light is required" and, fibres are supplied in continuous lengths and charged by the metre (45p). LEDs are as little as 2p each when buying 100.[thumbs up]
I think this is just what we are looking for. The LEDs run cold, (no fire risk Admin) and we can produce lots of light points from 1 LED and a length of optic fibre that can be easily disguised as rope. (not so much wiring or risk of electrocution,no tickles Admin) Just what the Ships Surgeon ordered!LOL

Happy lighting LOL




Thanks for that Tarbrush, Yep Fibre optic seems a good idea, Like you say you could make it look like rope! Just to put Admins mind a rest, I was only asked how to wire LED's, Noboby said it was specifically for this build.

Anyway added a footnote to the how to!!!!


Sounds like a better idea than led's we just need someone now that has used this method to answer questions like: would 1 lenght of fibre optic cable nicked at desired intervals light up a complete row of Gunports???
and the good thing is you dont have the problem of having to replace a bulb risking damaging the ship
Allan
data0002
#16 Posted : 10 April 2010 11:08:53

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Hi all just a quick question if i was to go with the fibre way what size would be the best 0.75, 1.00, 1.50 or 2mm also what would be the best size LED to use

Thanks
kenny j
#17 Posted : 10 April 2010 12:04:57

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Well iam going to play it safe and get my pal who is an electrician to do this for me, at what stage of the build do i start thinking about the fitting of the leds russ or will you be sending pics as you go . my pal will only hook up the electrick and will not place the wiring for me. thanks R.Confused Confused
Tarbrush
#18 Posted : 10 April 2010 12:31:45

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Hi Data. Think of it as a patio watering system. The LED brightness at the end of the optical fibre is like the pressure at the tap. That's the potential light available. As with the watering system you could run 1 pipe to each pot in turn with a drip nozzle (nick) at each pot, so you would need a larger pipe or fibre to start with. Or, you could run a number of smaller pipes (fibres) to 2 or 3 pots each. Or, a combination of the two systems.Confused

In the end I think a little experimentation will be called for to determine the best method for the right effect in the right place. Gun ports may only need a glimmer so a moderate size fibre run above the ports with a nick in the right places for each port. The fibre may need a normal brightness LED for each side of the gun deck, or a bright LED and a thicker fibre to supply all 3 decks on the larboard and another identical setup for the starboard. Alternately 1 bright LED and 2 fibres, 1 for each side. Take your pick. There is always more than 1 way to kill the ships cat!BigGrin

Masthead(for signalling, not low flying aircraft[biggin] )and stern lanterns may need a single fibre or even a bundle terminating at each lantern. Fibres can be bundled like electrical wire in the good old days of strands, if more current (light)capacity is required. So one would not necessarily have to buy lots of different size fibres.Cool

I think we are going to have many hours of fun experimentation and conversation on this topic.LOL
Allan
#19 Posted : 10 April 2010 15:47:31

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If anyone is on a tight budget you can strip down an old fibre optic Christmas tree as they have a lot of FO strandsBigGrin BigGrin BigGrin BigGrin

Allan
Snorbitz
#20 Posted : 04 August 2010 14:16:43

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Correct me if I am wrong, but I have a question about method one. You are correct about the voltage being 'split' between the 4 led's. However I would be concerned about the current. Each LED has a voltage and current requirement, in my way of thinking the first LED would have to have enough current flowing through it to supply the other 3. And likewise the second LED would have to supply the other 2. So would the current required by the other series LED cause an overload problem for the first LED?.

Or am I overthinking this???
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