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How do I Build an LED Flasher?

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  • Written By: Patrick Lynch
  • Edited By: R. Halprin
  • Last Modified Date: 29 November 2016
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An LED flasher is used in many different lights and is relatively easy to build. Components such as a 9-volt battery, resistors, and capacitors are required as well as a timer chip. Place the requisite equipment on a breadboard and connect electrical wires to the positive and negative terminals of the battery. Connect the resistors to the ground rail and the LED flasher should work. Change the resistor for a different frequency of flash and always handle electronics carefully.

The Light Emitting Diode (LED) has become an important fixture in the field of electronics. An LED flasher, in particular, is used in various different types of lights. Examples of LED usage include Christmas lights and flashing signs.

Advances in technology mean that it is easier than ever to build an LED flasher. It is also possible to control the amount of time the light remains on as well as the frequency of its flashes. The flasher circuit can be made with a standard 555-timer chip. Other items that are required include three resistors, two capacitors, a 9-volt battery, wire cutters, wire, and an electrical breadboard.

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The timer chip should be placed on the breadboard along with the capacitors and resistors. Two of the resistors should have a resistance of 1 megaohm with the other having a resistance of 1/3 of a megaohm. Connect the electrical wire to the breadboard via the negative terminal of the 9-volt battery. Use the positive terminal of the battery to connect another wire to a rail on the breadboard.

Connect the LED in the space between ground rail and the resistor which has the least resistance. There are certain pins which need to be connected before both capacitors are joined to the ground rail. The LED flasher should start working at this stage. The LED will blink on and off at intervals of perhaps half a second.

To adjust the frequency of the circuit’s output signal, change resistors. For example, resistors with a resistance of above 1 megaohm will result in the LED flasher emitting slower flashes. Likewise, resistors with less than 1 megaohm resistance allow the LED to flash more quickly.

Once it is determined that the LED flasher is working, take it from the breadboard and place it on a circuit board. To keep the LED flasher in place, solder it to the circuit board. Store it away carefully to avoid damage.

It should be remembered that each capacitor has a positive and negative side. Failure to determine the correct polarity will cause the device to fail. When dealing with electronics generally, note that there is always a possibility of an electrical shock if the equipment is mishandled.

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