DIY Infrared LED

Written by phil lamass
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DIY Infrared LED
You can add an infrared LED to your circuit in the same manner as other LEDs. (water clear led image by Kir from

You can work with infrared light-emitting diodes in the same way that you work with most LEDs. Examples below show you how to wire an infrared LED to a push-button switch. You can build this on a solderless breadboard. If you're not familiar with solderless breadboards, see the link in the Resources section for more information.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Infrared LED
  • Limiting resistor
  • Push-button switch
  • 2 D-cell batteries
  • Battery holder

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  1. 1

    Calculate the value of the limiting resistor by subtracting the LED's forward voltage from the battery voltage and dividing the result by the LED's forward current. For example, assume the forward voltage is 1.2 volts, the forward current is 20 milliamperes, or ma, and the battery voltage is 3 volts. The limiting resistor value is (3V-1.2V)/.02A = 75 ohms.

  2. 2

    Connect the positive lead (usually the longest) of the LED to the power strip at the top of the breadboard.

  3. 3

    Insert the negative lead of the LED into the main section of the board.

  4. 4

    Connect one lead of the limiting resistor to the negative lead of the LED.

  5. 5

    Connect the other lead of the limiting resistor to one of the push-button switch terminals.

  6. 6

    Connect the other push-button switch terminal to the ground strip at the bottom of the board.

  7. 7

    Connect the negative lead of the battery holder to the ground strip.

  8. 8

    Connect the positive lead of the battery holder to the supply strip.

  9. 9

    Place fresh batteries in the battery holder.

  10. 10

    Thoroughly check your wiring.

  11. 11

    Test the circuit by pointing the LED toward your digital camera and press the push-button switch. You should see the LED light on your camera's display screen.

Tips and warnings

  • Avoid staring directly at an LED light.

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