The Path of a Solder Man (part 1)

It is no secret that I work part-time at the local RadioShack electronics store in order to pay for my college tuition.  In my year working at RadioShack, I learned that their business model is catering more toward smartphones and cellphones.  My skill with handling these devices are impressive if I do say so myself; however, there is a section in RadioShack of products that I dare not touch or help customers with due to my ignorance in the subject.  This section we call the parts drawer; it is a collection of drawers that house soldering components such as capacitors, diodes, transistors, LEDs, fuses, and other little gadgets that I don’t know what their uses are.  In an effort to learn more about these parts, I will attempt to learn how to use these parts by building small little projects.

For my first project I will attempt to recreate a DIY LED Throwies projects suggested by RadioShack’s project of the month team.  An LED throwie is a LED powered by a button cell battery and wrapped around a magnet by some electric tape.  It is a simple to make light that is fun to use and requires inexpensive components.  You can follow with me by purchasing the components found below and following the instructions as well.

  1. The first step was to identify the anode and the cathode of the LED light.  The longer wire/lead of the LED is the anode and the shorter wire/lead is the cathode.

    White 10mm LED
  2. Fit the button cell battery in between the leads; make sure that the anode touches the positive side of the battery while the negative is touched by the cathode.  Don’t freak out, it should turn on.

    Button Cell between anode and cathode
  3. Tape down the leads to the battery once around.

    Tape down the battery
  4. Once that is done, place the magnet on top of the positive side of the battery and use some electric tape to wrap the LED throwie tightly.

    LED throwie is ready

The LED should stay on until the battery life is extinguished.  Congratulations, if you followed along then you have just built your very own LED throwie.  The estimated time to build one of these is around 15 minutes.  For my first project, it took me over an hour to complete this.  Why?  Because I’m I misinterpreted the instructions and thought that the LED throwie only lights on whenever it lands on a metal surface.  Without that little mishap, I could have completed the project in less than five minutes.

Parts Name Parts/catalog number
10MM white  LED 276-0005
Enercell CR2032 (3 Pack) 230-0804
Round Ceramic Magnets (5 Pack) 640-1888
20 ft of 3/4in Electrical tape 6402373

Have any ideas of what project I should do next or you want to see?  If so, let me know by commenting below.

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