Hacked Gadgets Forum

December 3, 2009

Inside a Flashing RGB LED

at 5:27 am. Filed under Electronic Hacks

I have always been interested in how things work. You might remember when we cracked opened up a power regulator, unfortunately my camera didn’t have a good macro feature back then so the very fine wires that connect the silicone to the external posts can’t be seen very well. It’s amazing how small the internal wires are! This time we will crack open a RGB LED. In the video above it shows a close up image of a Flashing RGB LED. Well, since the LED is clear there is really no opening the device but what makes it hard to see what is going on inside is the LED lens that directs the LED light beams out the front. A removal of the lens plastic solves that issue.

The first half of the above video shows the LEDs operating at a voltage that is just high enough to light them. The second half of the video is at a normal operating voltage which makes it hard to see what is going on inside the component.

To get a close look at the inside I ground the top of the plastic with a few grits of sand paper. The first was 120 followed by 240 and finally 400. At that point it was down to the level that I wanted however it was still very hazy. To get the final clear polish I used some toothpaste, that’s the blue stuff in the picture.

You can see that there is a very large controller that has power input going to it and power going out to the 3 separate LEDs.

To see the Flickr image slideshow click here
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8 Responses to “Inside a Flashing RGB LED”

  1. Mike D Says:

    Really nice pictures, I always kind of wondered about the RBG LED’s.

  2. Brandon Says:

    Hm. Might have to try making your own LED next xD I think I remember seeing something about that waaaaaaaaay back.

  3. Paul Says:

    @Brandon: like in this video from Make: http://www.wonderhowto.com/how-to/video/how-to-make-an-led-or-a-light-emitting-diode-268141/

  4. Alan Parekh Says:

    I remember that video, it’s fantastic how simple it is to make a crude LED.

  5. Alexander Says:

    I used to hate ‘lapping’ my heatsinks so much that I built a auto-polishing rig out of a old mixer with a planetary gear and a couple of vicegrips. Grip the item to be polished, put it to a low setting and just let it spin for a few hours.

    Ahh… The good ol’ days.

  6. Alan Parekh Says:

    Hi Alexander,

    What did you use as a polishing compound?

  7. Haku Says:

    The embedded video player in this article keeps making my mouse pointer disappearing when I stop moving it. Even when the video isn’t playing and hasn’t even been played yet! And it doesn’t matter wether I’m looking at this page or something else on another tab, it keeps disappearing and is most annoying.

  8. Alan Parekh Says:

    Hi Haku,

    I didn’t notice that, but it sure does. I found someone stating the issue here also but I guess it hasn’t been fixed.
    http://www.flickr.com/help/forum/en-us/79445/page4/

    I will remove the slideshow and just link to it for those who want to see it.

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