Saturday, January 5, 2013

Quick Tip – Soldering Resistors to LEDs

In a project this week, I had a need to solder a resistor directly to an LED.  Due to the human limit of only having two arms, this turns out to be a little more difficult than it should be.  Normally, I’d use my “extra hands” tool for this type of task but I had a lot of them to make and I needed a more efficient process.  Here’s what I came up with…

2013-01-04 23.40.21

First, cut the short (cathode) lead of the LED so that there is only about 1/4” remaining.  Do the same on one end of your resistor.

2013-01-04 22.53.52

Since we still want our resistor to indicate that it’s the cathode side by being the shorter leg, I also snipped a little off the other side of the resistor so that it will be about 1/8” shorter than the anode lead of the LED after the short wires are overlapped.

2013-01-04 22.57.26

Instead of the “extra hands”, we’re going to use an extra solderless breadboard to hold everything in place.  Begin by inserting the long end of the resistor into an empty hole in the breadboard.  Push it all the way in until it hits the bottom and then pull it back up about 1/4”.  Then insert the resistor into the hole next to the resistor and push it down until it aligns with the top of the resistor and they are overlapping.  They should be touching so that we can get a good solder.

2013-01-04 22.59.50

Solder!  Do this as quickly as possible to avoid damaging the components but be sure to use enough heat that you get a good solder joint.  I set my iron at about 330 C.

2013-01-04 23.12.57

2013-01-04 23.02.45

After doing a couple, you will have the exact places to cut memorized and should be about to finish one in 30-45 seconds.

Got any ideas on how to improve this type of soldering?  Did this tip help you with your project?  Leave comments and tell me about it!


Post a Comment