Soldering LED Strips

Last month I posted about making an LED graduation hat for my friend when she graduated from WSU and about my Instructable that goes through all the steps. What I didn’t mention was that I also made an Instructable on soldering LED strips.

 

The soldered high heel.
The soldered high heel.

 

I am definitely not a soldering expert, but, with all the LED strips I had to solder, I did learn a lot . Mostly I learned what not to do, so I figured I would share the insight that I gained.

 

Here are some of the major things I learned:

 

 

4 Very important tips:

 

– Pay attention to the direction of the LEDs. They have Data in and Data out as indicated by the pins and the arrows on the strips.

 

– Make sure you solder the correct pins. If GND is soldered to one end of the wire, make sure the other end of the wire is soldered to GND on the next strip. I made the mistake of crossing wires when I stopped paying close attention to it.

 

– If you make a mistake, de-solder the connection. Do not try to rip it off the strip.

 

– Note the arrows on the strips. Make sure all of the arrows are going the same direction. This ensures each data out goes to a data in. The strips only go in one direction.

 

 

They seem like easy things to remember, but when you’re soldering many strips together it can be easy to forget.

 

 

Here is the short version of the steps:

 

1. Cut the shape.

 

Cut the shape. Pay attention to the arrows!
Cut the shape. Pay attention to the arrows!

 

2. Heat the copper pad.

 

Heat the copper pad.
Heat the copper pad.

 

3. Touch the solder to the heated copper pad.

 

Put a solder blob on the pad.
Put a solder blob on the pad.

 

4. Heat up the solder and touch the wire into it.

 

Heat the blob and stick on a wire.
Heat the blob and stick on a wire.

 

5. Hold the wire while the solder cools.

 

Let the wire cool
Let the wire cool

 

6. Continue until you have a shape.

 

TA DA! Now you have a shape.
TA DA! Now you have a shape.

 

And of course, before you begin, remember caution: everything gets really hot.

 

 

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