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    LED Queries

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    CaptainMcFiesty

    Posts : 3
    Join date : 2011-02-26
    Age : 29
    Location : Eltham, Melbourne

    LED Queries

    Post  CaptainMcFiesty on Tue Mar 08, 2011 4:05 pm

    Hi, I've acquired a pair of Nerf guns not too long ago and while I'm not that interested in the performance aspect of the sport, I am interested in some aesthetic modifications. So I thought I would share some ideas and see if anyone had any experience in the directions I'm looking at going in.

    First of all I'm planning on taking a normal maverick and cutting into it and replace sections with acrylic that I will impregnate LEDs into. The LEDs I plan to use however are SMDs, so I was wondering if anyone had any experience with them. They are incredibly small and hard to solder, but they have a massive viewing angle and are pretty bright. I have managed to mount one onto a piece of plastic by drilling into it and filling the holes with solder which worked, but I wanted to know if anyone had any better ways of going about it since they don't seem to stick to solder directly and are easily fried.

    Why use SMDs at all if they are so hard to use? They are tiny, so they allow a better distribution of light from packing more in.

    Also regarding the maverick, does it have any known stress concentration points where cracks occur from regular use?

    Secondly, I have seen little documentation on LED stefans, it seems a common complaint is weight/size issues. I am fairly confident that I could make one using a SMD LED and a button cell. What I ask are just some specs of common stefans. The SMD's size and weight are negligible and I can get my hands on a button cell that will power it that is about 5.8mm in diameter, by 1.65mm tall, weighing 0.18g (though bigger ones are cheaper). Does that seem about right?

    Of the two ideas, I am probably more likely to try out the custom darts (since I'm hesitant with cutting into a gun in case I lose interest halfway through) so if anyone can give some incite into that then I might have a go this weekend.
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    oxymoron

    Posts : 357
    Join date : 2010-12-19
    Age : 34
    Location : SE Brisbane, QLD

    Re: LED Queries

    Post  oxymoron on Tue Mar 08, 2011 9:07 pm

    All I know is that the streamline darts have a tip that weighs 1.2 grams. if you go much heavier than that a Mav you will lose some range. in a more powerful blaster, up to 1,8 grams will increase accuracy.

    I'm keen to see how these darts turn out.


    ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    "...My presence is a present - Kiss my a$$..." K. West
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    clunk07
    Administrator
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    Posts : 2953
    Join date : 2011-02-02
    Age : 37
    Location : Blackwater, Queensland

    Re: LED Queries

    Post  clunk07 on Tue Mar 08, 2011 11:57 pm

    I've done three LED Maverick mods, just using super-bright led's. I managed to fit 16 in to one blaster, and the light output is pretty impressive. I've only used SMD strips, and not too sure if they'll be versatile for this application. Other people with more experience may be able to shed some more light on the subject (pun intended).

    Apart from the cocking slide, the rest of the Mav is fairly structurally sound.
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    238232

    Posts : 203
    Join date : 2010-12-17
    Age : 29
    Location : Sydney

    Re: LED Queries

    Post  238232 on Wed Mar 09, 2011 1:08 am

    CaptainMcFiesty wrote:First of all I'm planning on taking a normal maverick and cutting into it and replace sections with acrylic that I will impregnate LEDs into. The LEDs I plan to use however are SMDs, so I was wondering if anyone had any experience with them. They are incredibly small and hard to solder, but they have a massive viewing angle and are pretty bright. I have managed to mount one onto a piece of plastic by drilling into it and filling the holes with solder which worked, but I wanted to know if anyone had any better ways of going about it since they don't seem to stick to solder directly and are easily fried.

    Why use SMDs at all if they are so hard to use? They are tiny, so they allow a better distribution of light from packing more in.

    Are we talking SMD packages like you'd see in 0805 or 0402 packages, or dedicated power LEDs? Links or pics for the ones you're using would be great.

    If they're power LEDs, then you should know that running them will most likely need a heatsink if you're running them above 50 mA or so, or possibly less. Power LEDs generally have three solder points, two on the sides for V+ and V-, and then a third (relatively) huge solder pad for heatsinking underneath the die in the package. This last one is crucial, otherwise the part will fry.

    As for why use them, same reason you mentioned, they're tiny, so they cost less, you can make a smaller sized PCB and so on. Also, for power LEDs you need them to be surface mount for the heatsinking reasons mentioned earlier.

    On the scale that you're using, they're not that hard to use when you get to know them. Blu-tac is awesome for holding everything in place, just make sure you don't heat it up too much or it'll get really sticky and a bit annoying to remove.

    I've got more info, but it'll most likely be dependant on which type of LED you're using. Also, what level of electronics experience do you have?
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    CaptainMcFiesty

    Posts : 3
    Join date : 2011-02-26
    Age : 29
    Location : Eltham, Melbourne

    Re: LED Queries

    Post  CaptainMcFiesty on Wed Mar 09, 2011 3:55 am

    oxymoron wrote:All I know is that the streamline darts have a tip that weighs 1.2 grams

    So it seem's I can go for the cheaper batteries, those 0.18g ones are $4-8 each so would only be used as a last resort.

    clunk07 wrote:I've done three LED Maverick mods

    I'm interested to know how you did yours. I've seen one's using the clear shells but nothing really in the way of making your own illuminated segments in the body's shell.

    238232 wrote:
    Are we talking SMD packages like you'd see in 0805 or 0402 packages, or dedicated power LEDs? Links or pics for the ones you're using would be great.

    These are the biggest of the ones I bought.

    238232 wrote:This last one is crucial, otherwise the part will fry.

    I hadn't thought too much about operating temperatures but I will make sure to keep an eye on it.

    238232 wrote:
    I've got more info, but it'll most likely be dependant on which type of LED you're using. Also, what level of electronics experience do you have?

    I'm in my 5th year of a Mechatronic Engineering degree so the maths of it I have no trouble with, but there hasn't been as much soldering as I'd like which is why I've done some little projects in the past (laser pointer, walking robot). I have a variable temperature soldering iron and all the other accessories so this sort of stuff is just a matter of practice.
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    clunk07
    Administrator
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    Location : Blackwater, Queensland

    Re: LED Queries

    Post  clunk07 on Wed Mar 09, 2011 4:42 am

    With my 3 maverick's, I've done them similar to AJ. If you look in the mod directory, you'll find pictures of how he completed the project.

    no. 1 - 3 x 3 blue 3mm led's in series and parallel, using 9v battery.
    no. 2 - 4 x 4 red and orange 3mm led's in series and parallel, using 9v battery.
    no. 3 - 4 x 2 flashing blue/red 5mm led's, in series and parallel, using 2 x 14500 3.6v Li-ion batteries, with appropriate resistor's.
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    238232

    Posts : 203
    Join date : 2010-12-17
    Age : 29
    Location : Sydney

    Re: LED Queries

    Post  238232 on Wed Mar 09, 2011 6:29 am

    Excellent stuff...

    CaptainMcFiesty wrote:These are the biggest of the ones I bought.

    I hadn't thought too much about operating temperatures but I will make sure to keep an eye on it.

    You should be fine with those LEDs as long as you stay within the recommended specs, I was worried you were using some of the 1W+ LEDs, which would definitely have needed a heatsink. Probably a good idea to keep an eye on it, but it's not as crucial unless you've stuffed up your resistor calculations.

    CaptainMcFiesty wrote:I'm in my 5th year of a Mechatronic Engineering degree so the maths of it I have no trouble with, but there hasn't been as much soldering as I'd like which is why I've done some little projects in the past (laser pointer, walking robot). I have a variable temperature soldering iron and all the other accessories so this sort of stuff is just a matter of practice.

    Even better, apologies if what I posted before was stuff you already knew. My personal recommendation if you want to use those LEDs is:

    1) Dot of Blu-tack on the desk.
    2) Place the LED on the Blu-tack, pads up. Try keeping the pads as free from the Blu-tack as possible since it gets annoying to remove it afterwards if it overheats.
    3) Tin some appropriately sized wires, hold the end of the wire on the pad (I personally use more Blu-tack although other people use a 3rd hand). Think about how the wires are going to come off it, maybe you want them running in the same direction, maybe opposite directions.
    4) Solder with your finest tip.
    5) Confirm it works.
    6) Embed the whole thing in clear epoxy for mechanical strength. Maybe you'll do that before installing it, maybe after.

    Another alternative if you're happier with a larger overall package would be to buy some veroboard, cut off a tiny piece and solder to that like you would with any other SMD package, then solder wires onto that. Or if you want to really learn some new stuff, take it as an opportunity to learn how to etch your own PCBs?
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    CaptainMcFiesty

    Posts : 3
    Join date : 2011-02-26
    Age : 29
    Location : Eltham, Melbourne

    Re: LED Queries

    Post  CaptainMcFiesty on Wed Mar 09, 2011 10:00 am

    238232 wrote:Probably a good idea to keep an eye on it, but it's not as crucial unless you've stuffed up your resistor calculations.

    I'm not going to bother with resistors for the proof of concept. If I decide to make more afterwards I'll look at ordering some with the other components.

    238232 wrote: My personal recommendation if you want to use those LEDs is:

    I had a quick try of your method with what I had on hand. It worked at first, then I went overboard trying to hold everything in place with the blu-tak and ruined it. Though I must say that blu-tak holding wires is much easier than the soldering stand I was using before since that's more for bigger stuff, so I might go back and try a few different things as I get used to it.

    238232 wrote: Or if you want to really learn some new stuff, take it as an opportunity to learn how to etch your own PCBs?

    I already have some experience with making PCBs from an electronics class I did in year 9. I'd rather keep the overall size down though so I can balance the weight easier.

    Anyway, I did some more looking into the design and construction of an LED dart, seems that I will need to use 2 button cells since the batteries I have aren't a high enough voltage for the LEDs. I can order in better LEDs and batteries but I don't want to pay over $10 a dart.

    So the only thing left for me to build this prototype is the foam and a clear plastic cap to protect the LED. Has anyone seen anything that would work as a plastic cap? I have looked around a bit and there is the little knob on a CD spindle that could work, though a hemisphere would be better.

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