Customs: having LED headaches any advice would be great

Discussion in 'Creative General Discussion' started by bonus2003, Aug 16, 2011.

  1. bonus2003

    bonus2003 Well-Known Member

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    I have already read and watched various videos from members about soldering LED lights. Here are the two things that I am running into that are giving me all kinds of headaches.

    1. Where to put the batteries. Obviously I would prefer to put the batteries inside of the figure, since it does not impact the look of the final product. However this creates two problems. First is especially with non-leader/masterpiece class transformers there is very little room even for a cr1012 battery (about the size of a nickel). "But bonus why don’t you use those tiny batteries the size of a freckle?" This brings me to the second part of my problem. Battery holders, These tiny freckle sized batteries do not have any holders, and short of taking electrical tape and taping two of them together (to get the 3v needed for the LED's) I don’t know how effectively use them. At least the larger batteries I can find holders for.

    2. Switches- Where do you put them, and how do you protect the soldered parts from coming undone. The problem I run into is where to put the switch in the first place- you want to make sure it doesn't get in the way and that it does not detract from the look of the figure. The other problem is inevitably there is a bump or a twist of the arm or leg that breaks the solder to the switch (the switches I am using by the way are on/off slide switches that are about 2mmx5mm) So how do you protect it so that doesn't happen?

    Anything you guys can give me in feedback or constructive criticism would be great.


    thanks

    -Bonus-
     
  2. big hank

    big hank Resident Slacker-Basher

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    What figure are you adding LEDs to? That will help me help you.

    The locations of the switch and batteries will almost always vary from figure to figure. Look for a void or nook inside the figure to figure out the optimum placement.

    I use tiny batteries, I almost always utilize the voids to hold my batteries together. I make my battery contacts by punching small disks out of brass sheet stock.

    If you take time to solder a nice joint, you shouldn't have any issues with the solder joint breaking. I recommend 60/40 rosin core solder.

    Here's a bunch of examples that all use my basic principles. They all have unique circuit paths.

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  3. bonus2003

    bonus2003 Well-Known Member

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    well the two figures that I have worked on recently that have been a pain in the butt are recon ironhide (led in both cannons and head) and leader bumblebee (head and cannon). My soldering I think is pretty good but I might need to look at the type that i am using. It is very brittle which is why i am having some difficulties. I see from your picture the brass that you mentioned you punch. Can I ask where you find such a thing? I have home depot,lowes, harbor frieght, and sears around me. also if you could explain the first picture a little bit, it seems there are both power and ground wires going to two screws, are these LED's?
     
  4. big hank

    big hank Resident Slacker-Basher

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    Give me a minute to dig up some links for you, and another pic I just thought of that will help you out.:thumbs2: 
     
  5. big hank

    big hank Resident Slacker-Basher

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    To make the brass contacts I use a punch set from Harbor Freight, this one:
    9 Piece Punch and Die Set


    The brass I get from one of my local hobby shops, I think you could find it at any big box type hobby shops. here's an example:
    K&S Brass Sheet 4x10x.005" Peggable (1) K+S5250 | eBay

    You are correct the wires go to LEDs just above the screws you mentioned.

    60/40 rosin core solder is 60% tin, 40% lead. The "rosin" is a flux added to clean the joint and improve solder flow. It melts very smoothly and leaves a nice strong joint.

    Here's a better pic in which you can see the batteries, brass contacts, and switch for a Voyager Shockwave head. The LED replaces the light piping and resistor is inside the head:

    [​IMG]

    That particular Shockwave has a light/sound effect chip in the cannon. I threaded the hose with two wires and added connectors. Then located the battery pack to the backpack of the Shockwave figure. Outside the box thinking:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Reading that whole thread might be useful too:
    http://www.tfw2005.com/boards/radicons-customs/422963-dak-moon-shockwave-w-lights-sounds.html




    -
     
  6. bonus2003

    bonus2003 Well-Known Member

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    I just got done reading your and Koof's tutorial. Do you secure your soldiering with epoxy/putty like Koof does? Like I said that is an issue for me, all it takes is a little pressure and the soldier joint snaps. I think putty or epoxy would work but i guess if it snaps after that you have to trash the switch/LED because you can't get the epoxy/putty out.
     
  7. big hank

    big hank Resident Slacker-Basher

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    Yes, most often I will use Aves Apoxie Sculpt which is a two part epoxy putty.

    Sometimes I'll use Loctite two part epoxy for plastics, which is a liquid resin and hardener in a double barreled syringe.

    I have to say though, you may need to get new solder. After I solder a joint I can pull and tug with quite a bit of force without affecting the joint at all.
     
  8. bonus2003

    bonus2003 Well-Known Member

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    well thank you for the help and the pictures. i may pm you in the future if i get stuck but new solder and your suggestions are on my list
     
  9. Gatchaman

    Gatchaman Well-Known Member

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    hey Big Hank,
    just saw this thread and read the shockwave thread. first off let me say that I am a big fan of your work and admire your electrical and wiring ability very much! I too am working on my first LED application on a custom. HA BB cannon (not the stock one, more
    like the size of the one on the bumblebee unleashed statuette because well it's a modded cannon from the bumblebee unleashed statuette... @ any rate the switch is where I'm having issues. I got it from the shack and its the same and type, but it has 6 contacts that come off the bottom and I've already had one of
    those prongs break on me. any suggestions on other options for switches, and also where I can pick up tiny connectors like you used to
    plug the hose into the power port?
     
  10. big hank

    big hank Resident Slacker-Basher

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    Hey Gatchaman, thanks for the compliments!

    Here's some awesome new switches I'm using now (though I still use the other type too) :
    50 C&K SDA01H0BD 1P FL.Actuator Thru-Hole Dip Switches | eBay

    These are great, plus they are no brainers to wire, having only two pins.

    HOWEVER, the listing is for switches with "flush mounted" actuators (the white part) which I find very difficult to use without a toothpick or pin to slide the switch.

    I'd ask the seller if he has and can post up this type for you to buy:

    50 C&K SDA01H1BD 1P (these have a raised actuator)

    Those connectors are pricey as hell, 5 male/female sets for $15(USD) + shipping (OUCH!) I get them from a radio control airplane site called Plantraco.

    Hope that info was helpful!
     
  11. Gatchaman

    Gatchaman Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Big Hank, I checked out the plantraco site, those connectors might be pricey, but man are they sexy, at least as sexy as tiny electrical connectors can be... I mean they're no Carmen Electra or the Christina Hendricks from Mad Men, but I'm going to have to get some of those!

    This is the switch I've been working with. I got it at Radio Shack:

    [​IMG]

    I like it except that the connectors seem kind of fragile, though maybe it is because my switch wasn't yet mounted very well and I moved it around too much... I was hoping the ones you were using would be a plug in type so no contacts to break, but the contacts on the ones you use do look beefier. I guess there really wouldn't be enough room to put a tension device to hold the wire in a switch that small. I've got one more of the shack switches, and I'm itching to have this project done, so I'm going to try one more time with this switch. but if this switch lets me down like the first one, I'll def order some of those. I should probably order one of those and just wait, but I'm too impatient. I saw from the guys store he has some of the non recessed in stock too. I'm also glad to know how you make contacts. I struggled with that trying to mod diff contacts from broker toys or busted small flashlights etc... I finally found an inline fuse holder whose contacts were just the right size for my battery compartment, but your way is soo much better, and would've been so much easier!! will definitely remember that for the future.Thanks again for the info, it was all very helpful!
     
  12. big hank

    big hank Resident Slacker-Basher

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    You can most likely salvage that switch with the broken pin. You only need two for a typical circuit. Go from the positive of your battery to the center pin on one side, and then run a wire from one of the pins to the right or left of the center pin on the same side. From there take that second wire and go to your LED's + leg (on a brand new LED it will be the longer leg, or anode). Then run the - leg of the LED to (a) the resistor, if you are needing/using one, or (b) to the negative side of the battery(-ies).

    Also yes, the red switches I linked have much beefier legs on them, when I get back from vacation Sept 1st I'll post up a few WIPs (Laserbeak & PinkBee) which utilize these switches. Mounted with two part epoxy for plastic by Loctite.

    As far as recycling parts from broken toys/gizmos. I guess I've spoiled myself because anymore I use all brand new stuff. Except for the sound chips I grip from toys for cannon effects and such.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2011
  13. Gatchaman

    Gatchaman Well-Known Member

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    I kinda trashed that first switch, trying to expose enough metal to solder to after the contact broke and ended up destroying the casing, but I've got another unbroken one. that's the way I wired it and rt now it's all newly wired save the switch so I can have the wires make contact and the led comes on. so now just have to integrate the switch... but if I had it to do over again I'd use nano conductors and put the batteries and switch somewhere else. On the next project for sure. thanks again for the great info and enjoy your vacation!
     

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