July 31, 2014

SMD / LED - Infos for my ETSY shop and anyone else who's interested:)

Because the space for instructions is limited on ETSY, I decided to write a post about my way of using SMD. These are the teenyweenytiny SMD - only about 1mm in diameter:)
The wires are so tiny, they can also easily be used in ready houses or scenes, because they need only extremely tiny holes to go through the wall.
It gives us incredible possibilities to add atmosphere to our scenes. Unfortuately there are still so many miniaturists, who fear to work with electricity. Hopefully this will change with the SMD.
The white and blue SMD need 3-3,5V and there are different ways to give them power.
I prefer transformers out of ecological reasons. In most of my scenes I work with 2 different ones. 12V for LED strips and 3,2V for SMD.

The plugs from my lamps fit perfect into this transformer or the battery box for 2 AAA batteries.This transformer from Steger has an EU plug but perhaps you already have an adapter, if your country has other sockets (and 230V input).
If you'd like to buy another transformer, make sure, that it is DC (direct current) and that you can use them with a fitting power board.
With the 3,2V DC transformer (from Steger 230V 200mA) you can illuminate a lot of SMD. It has a little power board for 5 plugs and you can extend it with more power boards.

If you rather like a battery box, you can use this box also with rechargeable batteries.

If you like the battery box, you could need a switch. It's much more comfortable, than unplugging.

Another source for a battery box is Carol from True2Scale.
She has a battery holder for button batteries, that comes already with a switch. 
She also offers SMD/LED so you can buy replacements easier, if you're living in the USA. 

This is the power board that comes with the transformer from Steger. Even if I have different plugs, my lamps will come with the red and black plugs. They are more expensive, but so much easier to attach. If you'd rather have the brown plug, you can send a convo and I'll change them.

Some lamps can be made with 12V bulbs.
I still have some power boards from Eurominis.They're great for 12V system, but I won't recommend them for the small SMD/LED.

SMD/LED are working best with direct current.
This way electricity flows only in one side of the socket. It's possible that you plug the lamp and it doesn't work. In this case, just change the position of the plugs - right / left   left / right. This is another reason, why I prefer the red and the black plugs. I always mark my transformers with a red dot, when everything is working. So I know on which side I've to put the red plug.

Let me know if you've any questions. It would help to "enlighten" this way of electrification and I'll try to answer everything in the FAQS:)
 And they offer so many wonderful ways to bring more atmosphere into our miniatures.
You don't have to be afraid of electricity - 3Volt are safe to use.


Can I use the SMD/LED with my normal 12V transformer?
Yes, but...:)
You'd wreck the  SMD/LED - unless you use a pre-resistor. This is a cute little thing, that must be inserted.
It "eats" the voltage so only 3 Volt are reaching the SMD/LED. But by "eating" the excess voltage, it gets hot. And I mean hot! In a surrounding of easily inflammable miniatures, I wouldn't recommend them.

Can I use AC/DC transformers?
Yes, but...:)
It's possible that the light flickers and the SMD/LED won't be that long living.

How long does a SMD/LED work?
I don't know. Some manufacturers say up to 100.000 hours, but they don't guaranty it.

How to repair the wire or replace the  SMD/LED
The very tiny wire from the LED/SMD are a little bit delicate. The part that holds the plug is fragile. If it breaks, you can't just put it again into the plug - you have to remove the isolation first.
 Just scrape off  about 1cm of the isolation with a screwdriver or the blunt side of an exacto knife.
Turn it around and scrape the other side too.
Another way to remove the isolation is to burn it of with the flame of a lighter or candle. That's easily done, but can make the wire a little bit more brittle.

Then crumple up this part of the wire and put it into the plug.

  Fasten the screw tight.

My new SMD isn't working. What's wrong? 
Before you think, that the SMD is wrecked, check out the following things:
1. Are the wires sitting tight in the socket?
2. Have you plugged it into the right side? Just change the sides to be sure.
3. Is the isolation removed from the end of the wire?

Can the power boards be attached?
Yes. They have 2 holes and you can screw them on wood. This is the "backstage area" of my Bay Window Room. Behind the.wall with the window I have a lot of space for the power board. Another one is behind the fireplace. As in a theatre the backstage area is looking much different than the stage:)

How long are the wires of these SMD?
Normally they are very short. The wires of my SMD have more than 30cm!

Can I extend the wires without soldering?
Yes. There are plugs with a "female" counterpart and you can use the same or other wires for the extension.

Can I get the equipment at the ETSY shop?
I'll offer my lamps "plain" and also with transformer or battery case. If you like something special, I can make a reservation for you with all the things you need (spare SMD, extensions, other plugs...)

I hope this post will help to bring some light in the darkness:)))
Have a wonderful day

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