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Here is the led tested that we used at the make and take. It used a 9 volt battery instead of a wall wart. I used foil tape on the wood and just used screws to attach the wires and the resistor to the foil tape. Note the two angled blocks have a small piece of cardboard in between them to create a small gap to prevent a short.

 

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Discussion Starter · #122 ·
There were several requests for an LED TUTORIAL. The main construction part is more or less finished. I've edited several sections and probably need to edit it some more. I still need to add a post or two to cover power supply hacking, Effective use of the wire, Making branches etc.

Has anyone read it??

Comments?? Suggestions?
 

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I have read through it and it is very informative.

Being new at the whole LED scheme, I don't know much about resistors. I can figure out how much they are for through a calculator I believe, but when soldering them on, do they have to be directional and if so how do you know which end is which?

I have a feeling i am going to screw up the polarity and mess up the lights in the process.

I am also looking forward to the power supply hack. That intrigues me right now.
 

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I have read through it and it is very informative.

Being new at the whole LED scheme, I don't know much about resistors. I can figure out how much they are for through a calculator I believe, but when soldering them on, do they have to be directional and if so how do you know which end is which?

I have a feeling i am going to screw up the polarity and mess up the lights in the process.

I am also looking forward to the power supply hack. That intrigues me right now.
Use the LED Array calculator here to calculate the proper resistor needed. The calculator will also generate a wiring diagram for you.

Don't worry about the orientation of the resistor. Current can flow either way through the resistor itself, so you can't install it backwards. As far as which lead of the LED to solder to, I generally attach to the negative lead. Not sure if it really matters. Just make sure which ever lead you decide to use, you use that on all of the LEDs in the circuit.

Plus, when you are looking at an LED you will notice that the leads are of different lengths. The shorter lead is the negative, or cathode lead. The other is the positive, or anode lead. Also, when using the standard round LEDs, there is a round ring around the base of the LED. This ring has a flat spot next to the negative lead of the LED.
 

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Discussion Starter · #125 ·
I have read through it and it is very informative.

Being new at the whole LED scheme, I don't know much about resistors. I can figure out how much they are for through a calculator I believe, but when soldering them on, do they have to be directional and if so how do you know which end is which?

I have a feeling i am going to screw up the polarity and mess up the lights in the process.

I am also looking forward to the power supply hack. That intrigues me right now.
Spider, Thanks for taking the time to read it.

Resistors are bi-directional, so you can't mess that part up. Also, you can put the resistor anywhere in the circuit, I just found it easier to put them on the negative (Short) stem of the LED. NEVER test ANY LED without a resistor, you will burn them out instantly.

As for Polarity of the LED's, Just go slow at first, untill you make a few and test them. I test EVERY ONE once they are in the cap and soldered. Joe made a VERY Simple testor shown a few posts ago. Your LED's won't light if you have even one of them reversed. You won't damage them by reversing them.

To make it easier to orient the LED's, I place the cap on a table with one of the holes in a specific orientation (Pick your own?), Then I install my first LED with the Long (+) lead to the left (Again pick an orientation as long as you can repeat it). Rotate the cap 1/3 so the next hole is in the same position and install your next LED the exact same way. Rotate 1/3 more, and repeat. Then inspect using the same process. then glue them in place with the cheapo super glue.

I like using the Super Glue method, since it makes twisting the LED's together much easier afterwards. Joe's Method is perfectly acceptable as well. I just wanted to pick ONE METHOD for the complete assembly so it would give a nice concrete way of teaching the concepts. Once you build a few, I'm sure that you and others will find thier own way that is better.

As for computer power supply Hacking. I used this
on Youtube, and managed to do my first hack without any help. The Video is a bit clumsy and wordy (like me?? LOL), BUT the process is explained very well in parts 1 and 2. Youtube will also recommend other videos that are very informative.

Some CPS's already have an On/Off switch which makes the hack EVEN EASIER. In this case you won't need to install a switch, and you (probably) won't need an indicator light. For some reason, many CPS's need a load (one LED) to start up. My first hack didn't have an On Off switch, but it DID have a built in Indicator Light.

Hope this helps.
 

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Glad you posted the power supply video. I was thinking the powersupply was the little plug in pack you use for a laptop. This is way different and will take a bit more to hook it all up. I need to find a good schematic of what wires do what and how to hack it. Luckily, my uncle owns a computer repair company so hopefully he will have a few laying around.

Still collecting bottle caps, this will be the end of my sanity I think.

:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #128 · (Edited)
Glad you posted the power supply video. I was thinking the powersupply was the little plug in pack you use for a laptop. This is way different and will take a bit more to hook it all up. I need to find a good schematic of what wires do what and how to hack it. Luckily, my uncle owns a computer repair company so hopefully he will have a few laying around.

Still collecting bottle caps, this will be the end of my sanity I think.

:)
LOL Spider, It is rather funny how this bottle cap collection affects you. I find myself choosing drinks in the deli just based on what caps are on the bottles.

But here's a helpfull hint on the caps and power supplies..... NETWORKING.

Since I've been doing this for a year I can instantly identify which caps I want and I mention it to all of my friends. I'll see the correct cap on a friends beverage container and ask them if they drink a LOT of that. You will be surprised at how many of your friends will help you if you just speak up. YES, a few will give you the ULTIMATE funny look, But, most people really get it, especially if you mention that your lights are "Environmentally Green(er)". My dad gave me two bags of caps which he religiously saved for me, and I had a few friends do the same thing. I also always keep my eyes peeled on recycling day, as well as recycling bins at work, and always find a few. It can get kind of addictive in an geeky kinda way.

The same thing applies to the power supplies. I ask friends if they have old computers. I usually get one or two that way. But after a while you might get a motherload. I have a good friend stop by last week and dropped off 7 of 'em. Just speak up and put the word out.
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As for hacking your power supply, Make a rudimentary testor by using a 9V battery. If your array of 3 has a resistor already attached you can use the 9V battery to see if they light up. Touch the long leg of your finished grouping to the positive button on the 9V battery, and the short leg with the resistor to the negative button on the battery.. They won't be as bright, but they WILL Light if you wired them correctly. You now have a testor for your CPS.
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As for hacking a CPS, it really is easier than you think. First, test your power supply to make sure it's working just by plugging it in. If it has an On/Off switch, turn it on. If you see/feel a fan working inside it, and/or an indicator light (Sometimes in the button itself), it's likely that it is working just fine.

Just note this: if it already has an On/Off switch, the hack is the easiest, and you probably don't even need to open the power supply up.

You can do a quick test by sliding the legs of your tested (finished) LED grouping into one of the clips of your power supply in the following mannor. Pick a small clip with 4 wires (Usually used to power up a hard drive), Slide the positive (long) leg of your LEDs into the spot where the yellow wire is attached, and the short leg with the resistor into the slot where a black wire is. It should Light the LED array. If it doesn't light try plugging the LED's opposite just in case you soldered the resistor on differently. You WON"T hurt the lights by hooking them up backwards, they just won't light. If Your LED's work than your already pretty much ready to go. Pick any clip with 4 wires, cut the clip off, Strip the yellow and one black wire, and your ready to go. For Halloween you will attach your Landscape wire (or other connection system) to JUST THESE TWO WIRES.

If you don't have an On/Off switch, the thing to look for is the Green wire comming out of the back of your CPS (not all CPS's have them, but most do). In this case, a Simple hack would be to cut the green wire and one black wire (near the white clip), strip 1/2" of insulation off the ends of both, and twist them together with a wire nut. That green wire (if it has one) is the ON/OFF wire and will activate your power supply when you plug it in as long as it is grounded to a black wire. If you want to live dangerously, You can use a metal paper clip to bridge the circuit between the black wire and the GREEN wire in the clip without cutting it off (FOR TESTING PURPOSES ONLY!!! BE CAREFUL!!). You can also attach a switch between these two wires. THe guy in the video did this INSIDE the body of the power supply.

If it Still doesn't work, then you probably need to impart a "load" on the power supply to get it to turn on. All this means is it needs an LED for the CPS to sense a load (You can use one of your resistorized groupings of 3 LED's as a temporary fix). With your power supply off, Temporarily attach the long leg (+) of your LED grouping to the yellow wire, and the short leg, with the resistor soldered on, to the black wire. As I said before you can just plug your LED's in the small clip as I mentioned above.

If it STILL doesn't work with your (Tested) LED's, your CPS likely has an issue. I wouldn't throw it out untill you have someone more experianced look at it since there are some variables on some older CPS's that I'm not familiar with.

If you have any more questions, Joe (Hpropman) and MANY others are a LOT more familiar with Electronics and can likely offer more information.

In Summary, I'd look for a CPS with a lighted switch built in it for your first hack, It really simplifies the process.
 

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Ok, Lets say I collect all my bottle caps, get the rest of the supplies and need to order the LEDs from Asia engineer. You stated that you need to specify which resistors you need and he will send them to you for free.

If I got his basic package of 100 LED lights (in multiple colors) in the 5mm (I think) whichever ones you used, and I did the set up just like yours with 3 lights to one resistor, what resistors would I need to order and how many of each?

I want to make sure I don't screw up an order and have to try and locate resistors elsewhere.
 

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Discussion Starter · #131 ·
Computer Power Supply Hacking for 12V

First off, I deny any and all responsibility for using the following information. Proceed at your own risk!!!! If you are uncomfortable applying this information, than consult a professional. You are working with electricity!!! PLEASE use common sense.

With that said, CPS's are hacked by the millions for use in various testors and powering other circuitry. They are extremly versatile, powerful and are the workhorse of the haunting community. They can run Wiper motors, experimental circuitry, and many other things.

Here are a few pictures that might help explain some of my last post on Power supply Hacking.

In this first photo, it shows some typical connectors that are attached to an OLDER Computer power supply. The connector on the left is a small one used for newer hard drives. Your finished LED arrays fit nicely into the holes for testing purposes. It's not a rock solid connection so you might have to play with it a little. Note that the resistor is plugged in the slot where the black wire is. I happen to connect my resistor on the negative side of my LEDs. You may do it differently.

The middle connector is used to attach to the motherboard directly. This model does not have a switch attached, so NOTE the paperclip with tape on it that acts like an "ON" switch by connecting the Green wire, and one black wire. This power supply would NOT turn on without the LED's plugged in. It needed that load attached before I used the paperclip as a temporary switch. Some would say that my Paperclip is Dangerous..... well it can be a little dangerous if you aren't careful... SOO BE CAREFUL!! or DON"T do it! I'm doing it for demonstration purposes only. I usually use this technique ONLY to test if a power supply is working before I spend ANY time permanantly hacking it.

The connectors on the right are additional Hard Drive plugs. I like to cut one of these larger connectors off to make my connection to your landscape wire or testor. Again, Yellow is +12V and the black is ground (-)



This is the same power supply from a distance.


This next picture is an example of another OLDER power supply that was removed from it's computer with a switch intact. The switch is the little black square on the left connected to the thick black wire. This switch was originally mounted on the front of the computer and you pressed it to turn the computer on. It was removed from the computer "as is", and now it just turns on the power supply. Again this CPS wouldn't start without the LED array attached for a startup "Load"


NEWER (ATX) power supplies either have a switch directly mounted on the back OR the wires connect to the switch THROUGH the motherboard before it get's to the front of your computer. That's why you sometimes need to attach a switch to the correct wires as shown in the first two pictures above.

In this photo is my first Hacked power supply. If you look closely you can see that the green wire and the black wire next to it have been cut. They were pulled inside the CPS box, where I drilled a hole, installed a switch, and soldered the wires to the switch instead of using a paper clip (MUCH SAFER!!!). Also Notice that adjacent to that switch is a "Built in LED" which was installed by the factory. I don't need to add any additional "Load" for this power supply to turn on since it's already built in. You can add an LED just like this one, but the resistor value will be different since there's only 1 LED instead of 3 (for our spotlights). You can also just buy a resistorized LED from radio shack rated at 12V. It has threads and a retainer nut. Just drill the hole and attach to a black and yellow wire using proper polarity (Positive still goes to positive).


Lastly, since I didn't want to add to the confusion during this Mini- tutorial, your power supply also has other voltages that can be used for other purposes. That's what (most of) the other colored wires are for. It is common for a typical modern CPS to have +3.3V, +5V, +12V as well as -12V and -5V and possibly -3.3V.
 

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Discussion Starter · #132 · (Edited)
Ok, Lets say I collect all my bottle caps, get the rest of the supplies and need to order the LEDs from Asia engineer. You stated that you need to specify which resistors you need and he will send them to you for free.

If I got his basic package of 100 LED lights (in multiple colors) in the 5mm (I think) whichever ones you used, and I did the set up just like yours with 3 lights to one resistor, what resistors would I need to order and how many of each?

I want to make sure I don't screw up an order and have to try and locate resistors elsewhere.
I believe that that pack of multiple colors are MUCH weaker than the ones you can get Individually. For intensity you want the highest "mcd" available in each color. I don't think you'll be happy with the "Mixed Bag"

As far as proper resistor ordering, I have to contact our MnT group leader "Vlad". I've been trying to reach him for 2 months to get the proper ordering proceedure. He placed the order for our original "Group buy". However, I can tell you that if you order 50 LED's you get 50 free resistors of any value you want.

Also, when I wrote the tutorial, Asia Engineer was on vacation and I couldn't access thier website to get exact available resistor values. I'll Do that now and get back to you shortly.
I'll try again to reach Vlad this evening. BUT... now that I've made one order (incorrectly), I'm pretty sure how to do it. Each color comes up as a separate order untill your ready to check out. Once you look at the "Summary" before you Pay for it. You can Add instructions to send a specific resistor for that order (Eg. - 100 white LED's @ 18,000mcd: You will add under comments "send with 120ohm FREE resistors")

DO the same for each color and resistor value.

Thier website treats each color as a separate order untill the end of the ordering process where it bundles it together and gives you a total for review and payment.

Again I will check thier site to get EXACT "available" resistor values, then update the tutorial, Atempt to contact Vlad, and then get back to you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #133 ·

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Discussion Starter · #134 · (Edited)
Ok, I sent an e-mail to Asia Engineer to get the proper way of ordering custom resistors. It could be 2 days before I get a reply. Meanwhile I did make another attempt to contact "Vlad". I know he's really busy with work and remodeling his home.

As far as exact resistor values,
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Reds and Ambers 360ohms.

That value is on the low side of being acceptable according to the calculator. Mine have 360ohms in them and they've been running for 8 hours each day for the last 4 weeks with no issues. The next available resistor from Asia engineer was 470ohms which is outside of the acceptable range.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Whites, Greens, Blues, Pinks can use 100 ohm resistor.

The calculator says 100-120 ohms. Again, mine have a 100ohm resistor which is on the low side of being acceptable, but still within range.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I'll follow up as soon As I am sure of the ordering proceedure.

Update: 2/14/11 Here is the ordering procedure through Asia Engineer for your Custom Resisters: For individual colors, Just place your LED order like normal, Then and add a note with the order to send 360 ohm, and/or 100 ohm resistors (or whatever Ohm you need if your doing something different). I Follow up your order by sending a note to Georgio via E-bays, mail program. I'm not sure what resistors the "Mixed bags" use, so calculate them using the info for each color and use the same procedure above. I'll Update the Tutorial.

I wanted to try the Ultra High powered LED's, so I ordered a few of the 3W 95 Lumin to test. If you decide to use these for any reason, You must use a special LED Driver which Giorgio can special order for you. You can also make a driver using a voltage regulator and a 1W or 2W Low Ohm resistor. I wanted to use the recommended Driver for my first batch so I don't overdrive them. Apparently they are very dependant on PRECISE Milliamps and Voltage. Giorgio (His E-mail name) is very committed to helping you out, but be aware that his understanding of english is limited, so use simple terms, and be very concise with your phrasing. I'll report back on the High Power LED's once they arrive. I

Notice above that I replaced the 130 Ohm resistors with 100 Ohm. They said that they didn't have 130 ohm. 100 Ohm still falls in the acceptable range for the Whites, Greens, Blues, and Pinks if your doing groupings of 3 LED's in series.
 

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First off, I deny any and all responsibility for using the following information. Proceed at your own risk!!!! If you are uncomfortable applying this information, than consult a professional. You are working with electricity!!! PLEASE use common sense.

With that said, CPS's are hacked by the millions for use in various testors and powering other circuitry. They are extremly versatile, powerful and are the workhorse of the haunting community. They can run Wiper motors, experimental circuitry, and many other things.

Here are a few pictures that might help explain some of my last post on Power supply Hacking.

In this first photo, it shows some typical connectors that are attached to an OLDER Computer power supply. The connector on the left is a small one used for newer hard drives. Your finished LED arrays fit nicely into the holes for testing purposes. It's not a rock solid connection so you might have to play with it a little. Note that the resistor is plugged in the slot where the black wire is. I happen to connect my resistor on the negative side of my LEDs. You may do it differently.

The middle connector is used to attach to the motherboard directly. This model does not have a switch attached, so NOTE the paperclip with tape on it that acts like an "ON" switch by connecting the Green wire, and one black wire. This power supply would NOT turn on without the LED's plugged in. It needed that load attached before I used the paperclip as a temporary switch. Some would say that my Paperclip is Dangerous..... well it can be a little dangerous if you aren't careful... SOO BE CAREFUL!! or DON"T do it! I'm doing it for demonstration purposes only. I usually use this technique ONLY to test if a power supply is working before I spend ANY time permanantly hacking it.

The connectors on the right are additional Hard Drive plugs. I like to cut one of these larger connectors off to make my connection to your landscape wire or testor. Again, Yellow is +12V and the black is ground (-)



This is the same power supply from a distance.


This next picture is an example of another OLDER power supply that was removed from it's computer with a switch intact. The switch is the little black square on the left connected to the thick black wire. This switch was originally mounted on the front of the computer and you pressed it to turn the computer on. It was removed from the computer "as is", and now it just turns on the power supply. Again this CPS wouldn't start without the LED array attached for a startup "Load"


NEWER (ATX) power supplies either have a switch directly mounted on the back OR the wires connect to the switch THROUGH the motherboard before it get's to the front of your computer. That's why you sometimes need to attach a switch to the correct wires as shown in the first two pictures above.

In this photo is my first Hacked power supply. If you look closely you can see that the green wire and the black wire next to it have been cut. They were pulled inside the CPS box, where I drilled a hole, installed a switch, and soldered the wires to the switch instead of using a paper clip (MUCH SAFER!!!). Also Notice that adjacent to that switch is a "Built in LED" which was installed by the factory. I don't need to add any additional "Load" for this power supply to turn on since it's already built in. You can add an LED just like this one, but the resistor value will be different since there's only 1 LED instead of 3 (for our spotlights). You can also just buy a resistorized LED from radio shack rated at 12V. It has threads and a retainer nut. Just drill the hole and attach to a black and yellow wire using proper polarity (Positive still goes to positive).


Lastly, since I didn't want to add to the confusion during this Mini- tutorial, your power supply also has other voltages that can be used for other purposes. That's what (most of) the other colored wires are for. It is common for a typical modern CPS to have +3.3V, +5V, +12V as well as -12V and -5V and possibly -3.3V.
Great info! PC power supplies are a great resource.

I'll throw this out there - the switch on the older AT power supply in the 3d image switches mains voltage - 120VAC here in the U.S. If you find one of these and decide to use it, BE CAREFUL with this switch and it's connectors. Make sure it's well insulated, even when the power supply is turned off.
AT supplies are getting harder to find so it's probably not much of an issue, but if you come across one just be aware.

The trigger wire (green wire on the main connector) is very low current & is likely not too dangerous. I regularly bench test supplies by jumpering the green and black wires with a bare paperclip with no problems. Still we're talking about electricity here, so better safe than sorry!

ATX power supplies can be had for very little money online. I probably wouldn't put a $9.99 power supply in a computer, but I've used several in a yard haunt!
 

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Discussion Starter · #139 ·
I agree with Joe about using a car battery with one crutial exception. IF you use my connection system (Vampire clips) as seen in my LED spotlight tutorial, it is common to create a temporary short if you miss the wires while connecting them. With a car battery there is no "Fault Protection", and the wires will spark wildy or heat up VERY FAST and probably melt. Most CPS's that I've used have a circuit breaker (fault protection) and will just "click" off safely. Other than that little tidbit, you could easily use a car battery. If you want to use a car battery, I'd install a fuse, or circuit breaker, or just use a connection system similar to Joe's as seen earlier in this thread.

Conversely, a CPS can power anything that a car uses (12V), Wiper motors, Car stereos, Cooling fans, Automotive relays, Halogen headlights, Power door locks, Snow plow lifts, and window motors etc.
 
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