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Optimus3k
January 7, 2013, 12:05 AM
Hey all. This Christmas, I got an Iron Man model. It's a statue, so I decided that I would try my hand at putting in some LEDs to spruce him up a bit. I already found a good guide for the parts I need and how I need to calculate ohms and volts and all that good stuff, so I've got the electronics side of it down, but I decided to post here and see what tips you guys could offer me for actually installing the electronics.

For instance, would you recommend hot glue for securing the wires and LEDs in place?

Should I put some kind of cover plate around the LEDs so the light only comes through the parts of the model where I want it to?

Do you guys have any other tips that might help me installing my first light kit? For those of you who have done it before, what problems have you run into that might trip me up?

Thanks for your help in advance!

Squee
January 7, 2013, 12:57 AM
Look into getting some thin wire. I like to use thin magnet wire, much easier to get it all in there. You could also go with fiber optics.

Jfl0
January 7, 2013, 8:51 AM
Hey all. This Christmas, I got an Iron Man model. It's a statue, so I decided that I would try my hand at putting in some LEDs to spruce him up a bit. I already found a good guide for the parts I need and how I need to calculate ohms and volts and all that good stuff, so I've got the electronics side of it down, but I decided to post here and see what tips you guys could offer me for actually installing the electronics.

For instance, would you recommend hot glue for securing the wires and LEDs in place?

Should I put some kind of cover plate around the LEDs so the light only comes through the parts of the model where I want it to?

Do you guys have any other tips that might help me installing my first light kit? For those of you who have done it before, what problems have you run into that might trip me up?

Thanks for your help in advance!

1) To secure LEDs inside the plastic? yes, very small amounts. You'd be surprised how impossible it is to get stuff off of polystyrene if you used a lot of hot glue (experience).
2) Your call. If you see light shining where you don't want it to, it's advised you block light going in that particular direction.
3) A little bit of basic electrical engineering.


a) Voltage = (Current)(Resistance)
volts, amperes, resistor

You will likely be working in DC current (not wall AC).
You will need to have a soldering iron and solder (rosen core is my choice).
For hobbies, I use 14 gauge or 16 gauge wire. Whichever one is smaller.
If you want to be clean about it, wrap electrical tape around the joints after soldering (let it cool).
Use proper ventilation
Helping hands is an awesome tool.
Try and be compact about it, avoiding "stuffing" stuff all in there

If you work in a series circuit, which I believe will save you the most battery life (it splits voltage, but not current), you will need to know the total current draw of each LED. It should be on the package. If it isn't, ask the seller. Choose your voltage source (I've seen these Iron Man models, they look cool). I personally would buy a 2-D cell battery holder and work something out where I fit it under a base I would put him on. If you wanted to you could fit smaller batteries somewhere inside him, if there is room. For that you will need to custom make plates so that contact is made between the battery and the wire (NEVER SOLDER WIRE TO A BATTERY OR TEST A BATTERY'S RESISTANCE). Make sure that said plates and batteries do not touch any other metal, or you will short circuit the system and likely blow the LEDs.


Solder basics (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=xrVCkEoY_8M)
Electrical Engineering 101 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=xwFacS9PsCE)
Slightly Off-Topic, but I want to save you money in the future anyways- How to wire a house circuit (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IEqadwXNUpQ) (expensive to call an electrician when you can do it yourself and save money. IIRC you wrap the wires securely around the screws, tighten them, with power off of course.)

Don't worry about the coulombs or joules.

His soldering iron kit is overboard. You can get a really nice one for $20 USD. Get one that has two temperatures.

Jfl0
January 8, 2013, 1:05 AM
surprise lecture series :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=oqXNeEFTRc0

Optimus3k
January 8, 2013, 11:36 PM
Thanks for the tips! I'll test the LEDs before I glue everything together to make sure the light doesn't bleed through. As for the hot glue, I was worried it might melt the model, so it's reassuring that you've used it before.

I'm really looking forward to starting on this guy. I'll have to post pictures on my progress!