Kinda Like A Tutorial
Playing with electronics is
fun. A person can be very creative if they just learn some of the
basics. Basics like
Or the difference between an Anode and a Cathode.
Electronics? Not That Scary
I have been in the electronics field
for over 30 years, and I have learned a lot from just jumping in
with both feet and doing it. One of the best ways to get good at
anything is to jump in and give it a try, so follow me and let's see
how creative we can be.
purchased this Lights Of America Under Cabinet LED Light Set
to test on my
web page. It came with four, 24 LED lights. Once I had all of the
review information I needed, I was going to just put them under my
But before I had a chance to put them up, I
decided to do the
LED Garden Project
and these lights were exactly what I needed. Well two of them
I figured, with 24 LEDs, they should
give off plenty of light for growing plants. Problem was, I needed
to install LEDs that were Red and Blue in one of the lights. Well
for me, that was no problem. And it really shouldn't be a problem
for you either, if you learn some of the basics.
are the two main skills you should learn in order to install LEDs,
and many other projects. So if you are inexperienced with these two
skills, go to my
If you know your way around a
solder sucker or solder wick, and a soldering iron, please continue
In order to do
this right, unless you already have these supplies, you'll need to
head to your local Radio Shack or electronics supply store to gather
up a few things. You can also get them online at any number of
websites. Just search for "Electronic Supplies" on Google. You'll
find a bunch.
I assume, if you are experienced or have
already gone to my Soldering and Desoldering tutorials, then you
have what you need. But I'll just mention a few things anyway.
WES51 Electronic Soldering Station
A good soldering
station or iron with stand is important to install LEDs.
I purchased the one, (above on the left) a while back and love it. Click on the picture
and check it out.
need Solder, Solder Wick or a Solder Sucker (Which ever you prefer),
some flux-off or flux cleaner spray, a old clean
toothbrush, a sharp pair of side cutters (Diagonals, Dykes,
you want to call them), a helping hand vise (Or anything to hold the
circuit board), and, now that I'm 50+, I require a magnifying lamp
(Eyesight isn't what it used to be), and eye protection. I have seen
what happens when hot solder went into someone's eye, they went to the
That's about all you need to install LEDs. If any
of these things don't sound familiar, go to my
tutorials, the answers should be there.
Wait, Don't Forget The LEDs
I should also mention here, if you
are going to go get some supplies to install LEDs, you will also
need to get the LEDs to complete this Install LEDs project. I went
online and purchased mine from Amazon. I purchased 20
Clear White LEDs
Clear Blue LEDs
They were moderately priced and seem to be of good quality.
De-Solder The Original LEDs
mentioned earlier, the set came with four lights, but I only need
two for my
One will stay white but the other will need to be a combination of
19 red and 5 blue LEDs. Why 19 and 5? Well, from what I've been
reading, plants like 70% red light and 30% blue.
First we need to disassemble the light. Once it's all apart, we'll
put the circuit board into the vice so that we can use two hands to
De-Solder the LEDs. I prefer solder-wick for De-soldering. It's just
a personal preference.
Once you have removed all of the original LEDs, and before you can install
LEDs, you need to clean the circuit board. This is where the
Flux-off and a chem-brush come in. Start at one end and spray a
small amount on the solder side of the circuit board where the old
rosin has built up. It will probably be brown. Lightly scrub the
areas where the LEDs were until it is clean. Continue until the
whole board is clean and then give it one more spray to rinse it
Flip the circuit board over and start installing the LEDs. It is
very important to make sure you put them in with the proper
polarity. LEDs have a positive lead (Anode), and a negative lead
(Cathode). The circuit board should have a plus sign marking where
the positive lead goes. There are usually three ways to determine
the polarity of an LED. The cathode of an LED is the short lead,
there is also a flat side on the flange at the base of the LED that
tells you it's the cathode. The last way is to look inside the
epoxy. The cathode is the larger cup-like object (I know, real
technical, huh?). Anyway, install the five blue LEDs in a pattern
towards the middle of the circuit board, and then install the
remaining 19 red LEDs.
Get The Bases Flat
It is very important
when you install LEDs that you make sure the bases of all the LEDs
are flat against the circuit board. I actually flipped the circuit
board over, once I filled it with the LEDs, and lightly pushed and
wiggled the circuit board until they were all flat. You can slightly
bend the leads of the LEDs while holding the top flush, it's up to
Now it's time to
solder all of the LEDs into place. Once they are all soldered and
cool, you will need to cut off all of the leads. Use the cutters and
cut right at the top of the solder where it ends and the lead
starts. This is what it should look like.
Now just one more good cleaning of the circuit board and a thorough
inspection to look for poor solder joints or leftover flux and it's
time to reassemble and test.
Does It Work?
Well? How does it
look? Are all the LEDs lit? If not then the first thing I would
check is the polarity of the LED. I've put them in backwards before
myself so, check it out.
If you have purchased this same Lights Of America Under Cabinet LED
Light Set then this tutorial should be very helpful. If you have
some other type then use the information here as a guideline. But
remember, this project requires 110VAC to operate and that kind of
voltage can kill you, so be very careful.
Wait, One Last Thing
All of the information on this and any other
page on this website is to be done at your own risk. Soldering irons
are very hot and can cause severe burns. Melted solder can easily
fly and get into places you don't want it, so be careful. ALWAYS USE
EYE PROTECTION. It's just a good idea. If you get hurt or damage
anything, IT'S NOT MY FAULT. Please use good judgment when
performing these tasks. BE SAFE AND SMART. Thank you.