It's time to learn how to solder electronics and wires; forget about breadboards and jumper cables. Join us as we construct a simple circuit to show you a range of techniques you may use for your own home improvement projects and repairs.
What Are We Making?
To get started on this project, we've decided to use an exceptionally simple circuit. You can solder a range of components without the difficulty of working with a complicated web of wires by using a potentiometer to adjust the brightness of an LED powered by a 9-volt battery.
What Do You Need?
- 1 x LED
- 1 x 1kΩ resistor
- 1 x 10kΩ (kiloohms) potentiometer
- 1 x 9V battery
- 1 x 9V battery connector harness (Optional)
- 1 x Blank PCB (Optional)
- 22 to 28 AWG PVC or silicone-coated wire
Small electronic components known as LEDs, or light-emitting diodes, may produce light when power is passed through them. Our LED has two legs, one for positive and one for negative, making it extremely simple to work with.
The 1kΩ resistor
If we let the whole battery current pass through our LED, it would simply flicker out, so we need a resistor to restrict the current and protect our LED. The order of the color bands on a resistor may be used to tell its value.
The 10kΩ Potentiometer
Potentiometers have a similar role to resistors in a circuit by restricting the flow of current, but they also provide variable control in the form of a rotary knob or slider. By reducing or increasing the current that is permitted to flow to our LED, we may make it brighter or dimmer.
The 9V Battery & Battery Connector Harness
Any 9-volt battery will be sufficient to power a portable power circuit like this for an extended time. We soldered wires straight to our battery; however, it is recommended that you use a connector harness to prevent damaging your battery and making an unpleasant mess.
The Blank PCB
Blank PCBs, which are similar to breadboards, make it simpler to build circuits by holding components in place for you. For this project, a blank PCB is not required, but we recommend it since it will increase the durability of the finished result.
The Circuit Diagram
You only need to make a few connections to get this project working, as you can see from the circuit diagram above. The blank PCB has been omitted to make the diagram simpler to read, but we will show you how to use this component as we go through the rest of the project.
Step 1: Soldering the 10kΩ Potentiometer
We started by soldering our 10K potentiometer to our blank PCB. The legs fit perfectly into the holes on the PCB, making it relatively simple to establish a solder joint for each one; however, it is worth being cautious to prevent a wonky fit.
Step 2: Soldering the LED
It's time to solder the LED to the blank PCB next. Simply push the legs through the PCB holes, soldering them at the base, and then snip off the extra wire. While you may put the LED higher if you wish, we decided to make it flat with the PCB.
Step 3: Soldering the 1kΩ Resistor
With the entire current of the battery running through it, our LED wouldn't live very long, but we can solve this by connecting a 1K resistor between our LED's positive leg and the 5V pin of the potentiometer.
We chose to solder one end of the resistor through the blank PCB to secure it in place, then solder the other end to the positive leg of the LED to make sure everything stayed tidy.
Step 4: Wiring the 10kΩ Potentiometer to the LED
With three legs to connect it to our circuit: VIN, VOUT, and GND, the potentiometer is the most intricate component we are employing for this project. Whereas VOUT, the center leg, may output power depending on the position of the potentiometer knob or slider, VIN, the right leg, is made to accept a current from a power source. The GND is the far-left leg (ground).
We just need to connect the VOUT and GND legs of our potentiometer to the LED at this time. Although the GND leg may be soldered straight to the LED's negative leg, the VOUT leg must be soldered to the resistor.
Step 5: Soldering the Battery Harness
We haven't used a battery harness for this project, as was discussed previously in the text, but we recommend adding one to your design to make sure it is safe. Our blank PCBs include solder pads around the borders, providing us with a secure position to solder our battery and battery harness. To make it simpler to connect the battery in the next step, we made sure to leave some space between the two wires.
Step 6: Wiring the Battery Harness to the 10kΩ Potentiometer
The last step in this procedure is to connect our battery harness to the 10KΩ potentiometer we used. The negative battery connection should be made to the left-hand GND leg of the potentiometer, and the positive battery connection should be made to the right-hand leg of the potentiometer (VIN).
Troubleshooting Your Circuit
At this point, you should be able to turn your potentiometer knob to dim and brighten your LED as long as you have a battery connected. If your project doesn't work, you may follow the troubleshooting steps below; they should be nice and simple to solve any problems you encounter.
- Test the circuit: Most multimeters are equipped to test circuits to ensure they are complete. You may find any poor connections in your circuit that need to be resoldering using a tool like this.
- Test the battery: It's worth making sure that your battery has power before you try anything else, since flat batteries may make life difficult for DIYers who work with electronics. A solid way to do this is by using a tool that has been proven to work.
- Replace components: It's not always simple to tell whether an LED, resistor or potentiometer is working. Changing or resoldering circuit components might be an effective way to fix your project.
Learning How to Solder Electronics and Wires
Taking on projects like this may be a great way to hone your soldering abilities and prepare you to work on more challenging constructions in the future. You may find innumerable entertaining and inventive electronics projects on the web that will inspire you to push yourself to try new things with your favorite pastime.