LEDs, or Light Emitting Diodes, are bright, colourful lights used for different purposes from decorative to practical. Connecting an LED to a toggle switch is a fun and simple way to learn basic LED circuitry. From this you may move on to more involved projects with multiple LEDs and complex circuits.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Snap clip for 9 volt battery
- Toggle switch
- Insulated wire, 20 gauge
- LED bulb
- Wire strippers
- Soldering iron
- 9 volt battery
Determine how many ohms of resistance your circuit needs. LED bulbs have an optimum operating current; resistors are used to adjust for differences in voltage and numbers of LEDs in any given circuit. Use an online resistance calculator such as the one by LED Calc (see Reference 3) to figure out how many ohms of resistance you need.
Arrange your circuit, beginning with the battery snap clip. Lay out a length of wire from the positive (red coloured) side of the snap clip to one connection of the toggle switch. Cut another piece of wire to go from the other toggle switch connection to the resistor's negative lead, then from the resistor's positive lead to the negative side of the LED. Place a fourth wire between the positive LED lead and the negative (black coloured) end of the battery clip. (See Reference 1.)
Strip the ends of each wire section. Use wire strippers to gently cut the insulation and slide it off the wire to expose the copper.
Solder connections. Line up the exposed wire end with the lead you are connecting it to, and then hold the solder next to the wire as you touch the connection lightly with the soldering iron. Let each joint cool for several seconds before moving. (See Reference 2.)
Connect the battery to the snap clip.
Test the circuit. Flip the toggle switch and check to see that the LED turns on. If it does not, check each solder connection, and check that all connections are positive to negative (rather than negative to negative or positive to positive).
Tips and warnings
- The positive lead of an LED is usually longer than the negative lead, and the head of the LED will usually be flat on the negative side.
- Do not solder any wires while they are connected to the battery.
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