How do you design an LED circuit?


Quick Answer

To design an LED circuit, decide on the number of LEDs and the type of power source for the circuit. Calculate the necessary voltage based on the LEDs' forward voltage, then calculate the necessary resistor value, and assemble the circuit. Use an LED holder, and add an on/off switch to complete the project.

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Full Answer

Each LED has its own forward voltage, which is likely specified on the packaging. Different colors of LED have different forward voltages; add the voltages together to calculate the necessary amount of power.

DC voltage from batteries is the easiest source of power to connect, although it is possible to wire a plug for a power outlet into the circuit. In either case, the power supply must be greater than the LEDs' total forward voltage.

A resistor is needed so the current does not destroy the LEDs. Subtract the LED voltage from the supply voltage, then divide the result by the LED current to calculate the necessary amount of ohms. If a resistor with the exact value is not available, use one with the next value up to protect the LEDs.

Crimp or solder the circuit together before mounting it or incorporating it into a larger project. A simple circuit design such as this one is suitable for 5 millimeter LEDs; high-power LED circuits need a constant source of power.

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