Really tiny LED

Somewhere between here and the other Vancouver, a package of gubbins from NGineering has been waiting for almost a month. The package contains some solder strippable magnet wire, the recommended flux and a handy-looking tool for holding the wire together with the tiny surface-mount LEDs that are available today. Tim Anderson of NGineering sent the package right away; I blame our two postal carriers and the package contents for the delayed delivery.

I can’t wait any longer, and so, today I took the enameled magnet wire that is available from Digi-key and the 0402 LEDs that I purchased from the same source a little while ago to see if I could put them together and make them work. The LEDs are 1 mm x .5 mm x .5mm, and are just about the smallest things I’ve ever soldered.

To strip the wire, I first coloured it with a Sharpie so I could see what I was doing. I then sanded the wire lightly by drawing it through some 220-grit sandpaper. Then I stuck the LED face down to a piece of masking tape looped onto the desk, and draped the wire over the LED, sticking it to the tape on both sides of the LED; next time I might try double-sided tape so things don’t move during the operation. A minuscule drop of Carr’s Orange flux (it says right on the bottle it’s good for electronics) helps things flow. Then I caught a tiny drop of solder on the tip of my iron (tuned to 2.7, whatever that means) and pushed it against the wire and LED until the flux spat and evaporated.

Surprisingly, when I hooked it all up in the breadboard, it worked!

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