LED sequencing/supplies

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Postby Kinetik V » Sun Sep 12, 2010 1:34 am

I'm using electronics solder and not the stuff for plumbing. Tinning..as stupid as it sounds...I can't even seem to do that right. And I've tried it with brand new wire, old wire, telephone wire...

I even tried looking at the ehow stuff online...but it's just not working for me.
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Postby gyre » Sun Sep 12, 2010 2:19 am

Make sure the tip is screwed into the heating element properly.

Tinning the soldering tip is best done with special materials and flux, but I rarely do that with electronics irons.
Some tips come pretinned, and some small tips seem to plate naturally.

What you are doing is transferring heat, which requires good contact, and controlling the flow of the solder.

You may not be waiting long enough for the iron to heat fully, or using too small an iron, though it doesn't sound like it.

The best thing is to practice, but it does sound like there is some issue.
You should be conversant with how the solder melts and adheres to the iron's tip, and flows.

You should learn what a good joint looks like and a bad one as well.
Solder can be used to lock crimp style joints too.

I use multi-core solder myself, 60/40 tin/lead for electronics.
Many prefer 50/50 which is easier to use.
Some materials may need a stronger flux.

I use 50/50 for stained glass.
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Postby junglesmacks » Sun Sep 12, 2010 9:30 am

Kinetic V wrote:I'm using electronics solder and not the stuff for plumbing. Tinning..as stupid as it sounds...I can't even seem to do that right. And I've tried it with brand new wire, old wire, telephone wire...

I even tried looking at the ehow stuff online...but it's just not working for me.


Try this:

I use a simple pencil tip soldering iron for everything. Nice and precise, lightweight.

Let it heat up fully, then hold the iron flat on the wire about 5-7mm away from the tip of the wire. Let it heat up. Put the solder up to the wire.. not the tip of the iron. All of a sudden, the wire will heat up and actually suck the solder onto it. Voila. This is how you tin multi-strand wire. Once you have the solder all sucked onto the wire, you can then put it where you want.. just touch it to the point you want soldered, and brush the tip of the soldering iron over it like a paintbrush.. slowly. It will all of a sudden reach melting tip and just suck into each other. Very easy...
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Postby AntiM » Sun Sep 12, 2010 12:16 pm

If I could find my old Navy 2M manuals, I'd send you one. I used to solder under a microscope, I could solder anything. I'm not giving more advice, as the techniques outlined are solid advice. However, pictures would be better and practice is best. I'll keep looking for sources for the training guides.
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Postby Kinetik V » Sun Sep 12, 2010 12:21 pm

I'm visually oriented so being able to see examples would be a godsend. I'll do some online searches and see if I can track down the Navy or military manuals. Thanks!
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Postby AntiM » Sun Sep 12, 2010 12:44 pm

2M = micro-miniature repair. I could show you hands on in a heartbeat, and so could MyLarry.
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Postby junglesmacks » Sun Sep 12, 2010 1:11 pm

Kinetic V wrote:I'm visually oriented so being able to see examples would be a godsend. I'll do some online searches and see if I can track down the Navy or military manuals. Thanks!


Try this one. There are tons of YouTube videos. Just search for "how to solder" or "soldering". The trick really is to not touch the solder to the tip of the iron, but use the iron to heat up the wire or contact so that the wire itself sucks the solder onto it. Using good rosin core soldering wire is key as well.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BLfXXRfRIzY[/youtube]
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Postby junglesmacks » Sun Sep 12, 2010 1:14 pm

..and so uh, back on track with LED sequencing.. I decided to use this kit:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SKe67xZG8Sg&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

http://picprojects.org.uk/projects/ledc ... m#Firmware

This kit comes pre-programed via PIC with something like 32 different patterns, and you can create your own via the downloadable firmware. The whole thing with components and shipping was like $17. I'll be hooking up 24 LEDs per channel I think.. going for the full rainbow spectrum from red to UV purple. Should be pretty fkn awesome if I can pull it off..
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Postby junglesmacks » Mon Sep 13, 2010 6:57 am

Just purchased my LEDs as well. After searching, the lowest price domestically that I could find was like $0.70/each. Ouch! I'm using 24 LEDs per channel, times 8 channels.. that would be around $134 in just LEDs!! No way. The answer: Ebay

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vi ... K:MEWNX:IT

There are 25 of my Red, Green, Blue, Pink and Yellow LEDs for a grand total of $6.25 with shipping

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vi ... K:MEWNX:IT

There is 100 purple ones for $4.99.. giving me 76 extra ones to experiement with in the beginning.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vi ... 0693381706

There are my orange ones for $0.90 with free shipping.


Now I have almost the full spectrum that I'm looking for minus the aqua ones: Red, orange, yellow, green, (aqua soon), blue, pink, purple.

So, search around on Ebay for the LEDs.. you'll save TONS of money.
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Postby gyre » Mon Sep 13, 2010 8:57 pm

All LEDs are not equal.
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Postby junglesmacks » Mon Sep 13, 2010 9:11 pm

gyre wrote:All LEDs are not equal.


Very true. But.. I guess I'll take my chances. At very worst, all of the above cost me under $20. Just one spectrum would have cost me that much if I would have bought them domestically.

All I wanted was the standard dome top 5mm LEDs anyway. The super bright ones would have taken was too much draw for a wearable battery pack. I'm planning on using a simple 8 x AA battery pack to make 12v. I'll check the usable lifetime of it once I construct it, and if need be I was thinking of using a 12v lantern battery that would sit inside my backpack with a wire and plug popped out. I could just wear my backpack like I do anyway, and then plug my pants in. The only problem with that is being a pain in the ass when I want to get something out of my bag.. lol
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Postby gyre » Mon Sep 13, 2010 9:17 pm

12 volt controller, I'm guessing?

I hoped you checked the larger distributors.
There are some surplus wholesalers with good deals on occasion too.

Sounds like a good price though.

The most important thing to me is usually dispersion angles.
Often the cheapest ones have no available specs.
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Postby gyre » Mon Sep 13, 2010 9:23 pm

If you aren't using rechargables, don't overlook D cell packs.

I use the industrial duracells.
Under a dollar each.

One use lithiums are an option if weight is an issue...or voltage.
Very light.
Good for headlamps.
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Postby junglesmacks » Mon Sep 13, 2010 9:39 pm

gyre wrote:12 volt controller, I'm guessing?



Actually, like I was talking about above.. I'm planning on using a sequencing/chaser kit with user programmable modes:

http://picprojects.org.uk/projects/ledc ... m#Firmware

This gives a basic trigger signal to 8 LEDs. The plan is to use NPN power transistors to use those trigger signals to trigger a string of 24 LEDs on each of the 8 channels. So yeah, the board runs off of 12v.. and then each string is jumped by the same 12v source via transistors.

The weight of the battery pack is a concern. This is for a pair of pants, and I would like them to be totally self contained. I plan on sewing in the battery pack and circuit board into the waistband on the backside belt line in a velcro pouch. D's would be quite heavy. With my calculations on the current draw, I should be able to get away with about 4-6 hours of use on the 8 AAs..
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Postby uski » Fri Sep 17, 2010 8:30 pm

Kinetic V wrote:So...questions. I've got tons of LED's and cool projects I can do over here. What kind of soldering iron / gun do you use for your projects? And how did you learn to use it? Can you recommend any books or guides of any kind?


As it was already mentionned, a CLEAN and TINNED tip makes all the difference. Get a tip tinner/cleaner and use it frequently.

Get a good iron, regulated if possible. For lead-based solder (SnPb), I like 240°C/470°F. Tin-only solder requires a higher temperature.

Also, find good solder, with lots of flux. This is very important! I even bring my own solder at work because I like it better than the one they're using there.

I've been soldering things for several years, but I can solder component pins spaces 11mil with a thin iron and good solder. If I can do it, you can do it too!
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Postby Token » Fri Sep 17, 2010 9:56 pm

junglesmacks wrote:I plan on sewing in the battery pack and circuit board into the waistband on the backside belt line in a velcro pouch. D's would be quite heavy. With my calculations on the current draw, I should be able to get away with about 4-6 hours of use on the 8 AAs..


You know, 8 D-cells down the pant leg leave a lasting impression. :shock:

Just sayin'

Go with MOSFET. less parasitic resistance and higher impedance. Much more efficient with battery source.
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Postby Token » Fri Sep 17, 2010 10:13 pm

Soldering 101.

Doesn't matter if you are fixing pipe for plumbing or doing micro SMT electronics under a microscope. Same technique.

Principle: two metal surface (copper we hope) to be joined and sealed with a compatible metal medium (tin based solder).

1. Both surfaces must be clean.
2. If surfaces are unclean, (they are unclean, trust me), use flux (flux is an acid based cleaner).
3. Heat both metal parts you wish to join above the melting point of the solder material used.
4. Dab a small amount of solder material onto the heated joint area of the base metals. The solder material should melt and flow into the joint.
5. Hold base metals in stasis until they cool below the melting point of the solder material.


You have now soldered two pieces of metal.
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Postby Elorrum » Sun Sep 19, 2010 5:26 am

Token wrote:
junglesmacks wrote:I plan on sewing in the battery pack and circuit board into the waistband on the backside belt line in a velcro pouch. D's would be quite heavy. With my calculations on the current draw, I should be able to get away with about 4-6 hours of use on the 8 AAs..


You know, 8 D-cells down the pant leg leave a lasting impression. :shock:

Just sayin'

Go with MOSFET. less parasitic resistance and higher impedance. Much more efficient with battery source.

oh yeah, in series....
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Postby junglesmacks » Sun Sep 19, 2010 2:02 pm

Elorrum wrote:
Token wrote:
junglesmacks wrote:I plan on sewing in the battery pack and circuit board into the waistband on the backside belt line in a velcro pouch. D's would be quite heavy. With my calculations on the current draw, I should be able to get away with about 4-6 hours of use on the 8 AAs..


You know, 8 D-cells down the pant leg leave a lasting impression. :shock:

Just sayin'

Go with MOSFET. less parasitic resistance and higher impedance. Much more efficient with battery source.

oh yeah, in series....


Hmmm?
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Postby junglesmacks » Mon Sep 20, 2010 6:53 am

DOH!

Of course, now after I've spent $60 on parts and supplies, I find someone with exactly what I'm trying to build. FML.

http://www.digitallighting.com/animatio ... /bcser.htm

I just spoke with these guys, and they said that they supply to a number of Burning man art cars. Check em out and maybe do something cool for next year.. :wink:
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Postby Zhust » Mon Sep 20, 2010 10:28 am

Kinetic V wrote:I don't know if it's me, the gun I'm using but I can't even solder two strands of speaker wire together.


Flux is what you're looking for. Get flux-core solder to start with. Your copper wires should be copper-colored and clean -- regular flux-core solder does well with that. In addition, get hold of some soldering flux for electronics -- it's a greasy-looking stuff that etches through oxidation and wets the metal so the molten solder will stick to it. Look for "no clean" flux which doesn't conduct electricity; water-soluble stuff is okay too, but the no-clean is really the way to go.

In desperate situations, plumbing solder will work, but most will continue to etch or actually conduct electricity making it unsuitable for electronics. That said, I have had good luck with "Nokorode" paste solder from Rektorseal which will let you solder copper corroded green, and can even get most steel wet (i.e. copper-to-steel electrical bonds).
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Postby gyre » Tue Sep 21, 2010 2:17 am

Or clean the joints.

I've soldered 100 year old joints.
That takes some aggressive work.
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Postby junglesmacks » Fri Sep 24, 2010 10:32 am

So.. just got in my $60 10 channel 12v LED sequencer that will run up to 5A outputs.. just plug and play! Pick your string resistor values and run up to 100 or so LEDs per string.. love it.. mind is going wild..

Also, it's nice to see a board pre-built exactly how I was trying to custom build it.. taking the signals from a PIC and using MOSFETs to jump more power to them.

I also have the other kits that I ordered here from the UK, and I'll still try and adapt them with the MOSFETs since I like the sequencing options on those better. I think I have an excess of electronics here now.. lol

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vi ... K:MEWAX:IT



Image
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Postby Theres Always One » Thu Sep 30, 2010 12:54 pm

I do like the arduino board but the MOFSET looks like it will be more reasonable for a simple chase sequence. No?
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Postby junglesmacks » Thu Sep 30, 2010 10:36 pm

Theres Always One wrote:I do like the arduino board but the MOFSET looks like it will be more reasonable for a simple chase sequence. No?


Comparing apples to elephants..

That arduino board allows you to run 1 LED per channel.. that's it. One dinky light.

The MOSFETS are acting as mini relays and allowing you to connect (in this case) up to around 100 LEDs per channel.. So, you could conceivably run 1000 LEDs off of this board. Imagine the crazy sequences that you could pull...
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Postby Theres Always One » Thu Sep 30, 2010 11:31 pm

junglesmacks wrote:Comparing apples to elephants..

That arduino board allows you to run 1 LED per channel.. that's it. One dinky light.

The MOSFETS are acting as mini relays and allowing you to connect (in this case) up to around 100 LEDs per channel.. So, you could conceivably run 1000 LEDs off of this board. Imagine the crazy sequences that you could pull...


HAHA Really??? Of forget that then. The MOFSET is what I want. I'll be honest though I had never heard of a MOFSET before and I bookmarked those links with all the diagrams but the small amount of electrical knowledge I possess did not allow me to really understand what was going on so I put it aside until I have more time to get into it.

I have kind of a side question though. I had put together an LED scarf (as seen in my avatar) that had 120 slow change color wash RGB LED's on it. The problem I was having was that I was running them off 4 AA batteries and they were all wired together in one parallel line. After a couple minutes of "being on" the battery pack would get scorching hot and the lights would start to dim and i would have to reset it and they would come back to "full strength".

I think this happened because I needed to have the right resistor at each LED depending on where it was in the parallel sequence. All the online calculators I found only went up to like 30 LED's and couldn't compute 120. I didn't know how to do it either. I'm about to start making a new scarf and I am thinking about instead of having one super long parallel string, I will split it up into separate strings of 20-30 (within the online calculators limits) and then use the right resistor for each LED as per the resistance calculators. Will this make my battery hotness issue and the issue of the LED's growing dim then having to get reset go away? What causes it?

Thanks. :)
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Postby junglesmacks » Fri Oct 01, 2010 7:29 am

Theres Always One wrote:
junglesmacks wrote:Comparing apples to elephants..

That arduino board allows you to run 1 LED per channel.. that's it. One dinky light.

The MOSFETS are acting as mini relays and allowing you to connect (in this case) up to around 100 LEDs per channel.. So, you could conceivably run 1000 LEDs off of this board. Imagine the crazy sequences that you could pull...


HAHA Really??? Of forget that then. The MOFSET is what I want. I'll be honest though I had never heard of a MOFSET before and I bookmarked those links with all the diagrams but the small amount of electrical knowledge I possess did not allow me to really understand what was going on so I put it aside until I have more time to get into it.

I have kind of a side question though. I had put together an LED scarf (as seen in my avatar) that had 120 slow change color wash RGB LED's on it. The problem I was having was that I was running them off 4 AA batteries and they were all wired together in one parallel line. After a couple minutes of "being on" the battery pack would get scorching hot and the lights would start to dim and i would have to reset it and they would come back to "full strength".

I think this happened because I needed to have the right resistor at each LED depending on where it was in the parallel sequence. All the online calculators I found only went up to like 30 LED's and couldn't compute 120. I didn't know how to do it either. I'm about to start making a new scarf and I am thinking about instead of having one super long parallel string, I will split it up into separate strings of 20-30 (within the online calculators limits) and then use the right resistor for each LED as per the resistance calculators. Will this make my battery hotness issue and the issue of the LED's growing dim then having to get reset go away? What causes it?

Thanks. :)


Lol.. yeah. That would cause some serious battery issues!

Use this schematic generator here: http://led.linear1.org/led.wiz

Assume 20mA for the forward current. If you are using 4 x AA batteries, than at 1.5v per battery that means that you have 6v as your source voltage. Get the LED forward voltage from the specs that you bought them from. If you don't know them, then use the specs on this page by color: http://www.led-supply.com/leds.html

Basically, per parallel string, you can't have more forward voltage than the voltage that you are outputting with the battery pack. You need to look at the type/color of LED you are using for each sting and the required forward voltage. Red LEDs need about 2.2v, green/blue need around 3.6v. So, if you had a 12v source.. the most amount of LEDs you should have on one parallel string should be like 5 if they are red, and 3 if they are green/blue. Yeah.. 120 connected together is a problem :)

Use that link I posted to figure out your strings and resistor values..
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Postby gyre » Sun Oct 03, 2010 8:42 am

No, you cannot assume anything about LEDs now.

Different voltages for different colors?!!!
News to me.


Why do you need a resistance calculator for parallel LEDs?


Can you set the voltage for the whole string at the source?
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Postby junglesmacks » Sun Oct 03, 2010 12:59 pm

gyre wrote:No, you cannot assume anything about LEDs now.

Different voltages for different colors?!!!
News to me.


Why do you need a resistance calculator for parallel LEDs?


Can you set the voltage for the whole string at the source?


Yup! It's basically around 2-2.2v for all red/orange/yellows and 3-3.3v for all else. Whenever you buy the LEDs, there should always be specs available for them. It's also important to note the amount of current that they want. Most should be getting fed 20mA. Some superbrights want 30mA. Again.. always check the specs on each LED and wire them accordingly for optimum usage.

I made a mistake when I said parallel.. I meant series. You hook them up in strings of series connections, and then parallel the strings together. Play around with that link that I posted that generates your wiring diagrams and resistor values when you are hooking up multiple LEDs. It's super invaluable.

You do set the voltage at the source by the type of battery or configuration of batteries that you are using. A single AA battery is around 1.5v, so do the math. If you have a 8 battery pack, that's 12v. A 4 battery pack = 6v.
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Postby Theres Always One » Mon Oct 04, 2010 12:36 am

junglesmacks wrote:
gyre wrote:No, you cannot assume anything about LEDs now.

Different voltages for different colors?!!!
News to me.


Why do you need a resistance calculator for parallel LEDs?


Can you set the voltage for the whole string at the source?


Yup! It's basically around 2-2.2v for all red/orange/yellows and 3-3.3v for all else. Whenever you buy the LEDs, there should always be specs available for them. It's also important to note the amount of current that they want. Most should be getting fed 20mA. Some superbrights want 30mA. Again.. always check the specs on each LED and wire them accordingly for optimum usage.

I made a mistake when I said parallel.. I meant series. You hook them up in strings of series connections, and then parallel the strings together. Play around with that link that I posted that generates your wiring diagrams and resistor values when you are hooking up multiple LEDs. It's super invaluable.

You do set the voltage at the source by the type of battery or configuration of batteries that you are using. A single AA battery is around 1.5v, so do the math. If you have a 8 battery pack, that's 12v. A 4 battery pack = 6v.


I saw the link and looked at briefly but yeah that is exactly what I needed! I'm going to settle this this week on what I want to do and will report back.

But for right now I am thinking of redoing my initial design which was a mass of slow change RGB's and let them cycle on their own. I think a more ambitious project would be to wire up different colored LEDS in a rainbow and let a MOFSET cycle through them creating a rainbow chase sequence. Not sure yet on what exactly will be best. I think the rainbow chaser would be better on energy use because only 4-5 lights would be lit up at a time instead of 90 trying to draw power all at once.


Oh and FYI, those lights that I had used previously had 3.5v forward voltage, and were 20-205 mA.
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