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My first simple(?) LED project. Could use some help, please.

 
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Captain Fantastic
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Joined: 26 Jun 2011
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2011 4:50 am    Post subject: My first simple(?) LED project. Could use some help, please. Reply with quote

Hi all.

First post (please be gentle with me).

I'm a computer technician (of some 30 years) but have little experience of electronic circuitry per se.

I've a lighting project to complete and was wondering if anyone could either offer some advice or point me in the right direction (books etc).

I want to make a sign (about 2" high and about 12" wide).

The "background" would be red LEDs and I also want an arrow (pointing left) to the far left of the sign and an arrow (pointing right) to the far right of the sign - each made up of white LEDs. Between the arrows would be the words "This Way" (again, in white LEDs.

I want a simple left/right switch that, when I flick the switch left the background along with the words and the left arrow light up - when I flick the switch right, the background, words and right arrow light up. When the switch is neither left nor right, but in the middle, all the lights are off.

I want the lights to run off a mains AC/DC adapter or a car battery (that could be recharged from the mains as required) and to draw as little current as possible.

Sounds simple, but I have little idea of where to start, even.

ANy help appreciated or any pointers to a decent book, tutorial, pdf or website that could show me how to assemble a prototype onto stripboard/breadboard along with the required resistors and switches etc.

Thanks for reading.
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Alan
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Joined: 29 Jan 2006
Posts: 1399
Location: Winnipeg, MB

PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2011 10:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi CF,

Sounds like an interesting project.

The heart of the project will be the right switch. The one you need is called an on-off-on switch. This type of switch has three positions as you describe. A common center connection gets connected to one side or the other depending on the left or right position of the switch and there is no connections when the switch is in the center.

This is just an arbitrary switch that I found on Mouser, you can get it from anywhere in many styles and sizes as long as it works the same way.
http://ca.mouser.com/ProductDetail/Mountain-Switch/108-1MS3T2B3M1QE-EVX/?qs=sGAEpiMZZMvudeGI7i40XNzJ50THBm%252bPc%2fQxwVUKMw4%3d
http://www.mouser.com/catalog/specsheets/MS-100771.pdf

If you look at the second link which is the data sheet you will see the diagram of the switch

I would suggest using a 12 volt DC plug in power supply to power the project.

The LED networks negatives would be connected directly to the negative of the power supply.

The LED networks positives would be connected to the right and left of the switch. Finally the positive of the power supply would be connected to the center pin of the switch.
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Captain Fantastic
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Joined: 26 Jun 2011
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 7:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Alan,

Thanks for your helpful suggestions and the links.

I don't know what happened, but I replied to your post a couple of days ago - just logged-on to see if any developments and discover my reply isn't showing.

Nevermind, I'll have another go.

I'm impressed with the range of switches at the site you linked for me but am more confused when it comes to searching for actual indivicual LED's on the site. I'm looking to obtain a range of stuff and wondered whether you and/or anyone else could point me in the right direction.

Stuff I'm after is:

Solderless breadboard (quite largish sizes or able to be linked - 15+" width and whatever height above 2 or 3 inches).

LED's (probably in packs of 100).

Resistors, switches, battery-holders, battery chargers along with anything(s) I may be forgetting or ignorant of needing.

Also, I've trawled the 'net and am beggared if I can find any books on the subject that just provide a step-by-step approcah to someone starting out (a nice little project for some technical-author or other, I'd have thought - maybe even turn a profit if they combined it into a kit - breadboard, lights, schematics and instructions etc - that could be bought as Chrimbo presents or roled out to schools and colleges), so any pointers in this respect would be most welcome, too.

Thanks again.

CF
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Alan
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Joined: 29 Jan 2006
Posts: 1399
Location: Winnipeg, MB

PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 9:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi CF,

We sell LEDs. You can see them here, but for a sign like this you might not want to pay the price for the quality we sell, Ebay has some lower quality ones that would be fine for your needs.
http://alan-parekh.vstore.ca/

But we don't sell much of the other things you would need.

For this type of project where you need all sorts of individual parts I would suggest having a look on Ebay first, just make sure the seller has a good rating.

Here is a switch for example. Not sure how they do it but China can ship product to North America cheaper than I can mail an empty envelope.
http://cgi.ebay.com/Lot-3-x-SPDT-Toggle-ON-OFF-ON-3-Position-Piano-Switch-/220751860688?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3365d613d0

I might also suggest using something like foam core instead of perf board for the actual sign part. Kipkay did something similar here.
http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2008/10/weekend-project-ultimate.html
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Captain Fantastic
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Joined: 26 Jun 2011
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 3:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alan wrote:
Hi CF,

We sell LEDs. You can see them here, but for a sign like this you might not want to pay the price for the quality we sell, Ebay has some lower quality ones that would be fine for your needs.
http://alan-parekh.vstore.ca/

But we don't sell much of the other things you would need.

For this type of project where you need all sorts of individual parts I would suggest having a look on Ebay first, just make sure the seller has a good rating.

Here is a switch for example. Not sure how they do it but China can ship product to North America cheaper than I can mail an empty envelope.
http://cgi.ebay.com/Lot-3-x-SPDT-Toggle-ON-OFF-ON-3-Position-Piano-Switch-/220751860688?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3365d613d0

I might also suggest using something like foam core instead of perf board for the actual sign part. Kipkay did something similar here.
http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2008/10/weekend-project-ultimate.html


Cheers Alan,

Will take a closer look at the first site as I only skimmed it before.

I agree with you on the Ebay Chinese suppliers. Here in the UK they are offering 3 of those switches for 99p (about a dollar twenty) carriage paid from HongKong. How do they DO THAT???

The third link is marvelous. Proof positive of necessity being the mother of invention. A great achievement and probably has lots of potential cheap'n'cheerful applications.

Thanks very much for your continued assistance.

I just need to find me a good book, now (have spent the best part of my life trialling and erroring or operating through a combination of instinct, logic and mathematical calculations). I'm getting older, of late and need someone to show me how, if at all possible.
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