Noob help :) diode or Zener diode, and help id'ing a component

Discussion in 'Power Electronics' started by RevanReborn, Sep 28, 2016.

  1. RevanReborn

    Thread Starter New Member

    Sep 24, 2016
    4
    0
    Hi everyone :).

    Brand spank'n new to the forum and to electronics in general lol. Was hoping someone could point me in the right direction on a couple very specific questions about a project? Already in process of doing the homework ATM, but a little confirmation/ clarification would really help me out big time.

    Caught the bug through my love of Star Wars and building lightsabers. Had an idea for an ongoing set of experiments/ tinkerings to help me progress deeper into electronics- basically it's just taking found or salvaged or, at least, cheap, components lol and messing with creating little functional art pieces out of them. I have a thing for the potential of actual functioning electornics 'guts' as art.

    When I tackled the first one i admittedly didn't know much about anything outside of driving led's and wiring in sound boards etc lol, so I figured the simpler the better. Doesn't get any simpler than this, a night light for friend/ coworker (and his young kids)- 5000mAh portable power bank, of the lithium polymer variety I believe ( based on weight) as opposed to the 18650 cells u see sometimes, running out to 3/5mm blue, green, and purple led's all mounted in with little hand made brass/ aluminum/ copper housings and such. Latching illuminated AV running the circuit of the bobble heads, another latching for the box accents so he has choice of draw on bank/ battery life. All running off those variable resistors at 20/25 mA, roughly 0.5A draw combined with everything on, plenty of room left before the bank's protection circuit became a problem. Easy peasy :).

    IMG_1804.JPG IMG_1805.JPG IMG_1808.JPG IMG_1825.JPG IMG_1828.JPG IMG_1830.JPG IMG_1833.JPG IMG_1838.JPG

    But the next one I want to get into more actual electronics stuff. So I've got these components- and here's the first little bit of assistance i'd really appreciate :).
    IMG_1922.JPG
    I know the resistors, that's easy one lol. And from the bands we know they're 10k/ 100 ohm. The larger cylinders I've learned are capacitors, which I'm assuming have a polarity since one leg is longer than the other. But those other things... are those some type of transistor lol? I don't even know what they are to be honest haha, the instructions were in Chinese. The only English to be seen denotes resistors as R1, R2 etc, capacitors as C1, C2, etc., and then Q1, Q2 and Q3- so in my head I've been referring to them as Q's lol. But here's then plan- solder them all on the pcb upside down, cause the solder mask looks way better than the top side, being careful not to get the polarity twisted since it flips when u bring the through-hole components onto the opposite side of the pcb (backwards in a way).
    IMG_1932.JPG
    Just rigged in test pack for now. 3.7V 3400mAh 18650
    But the plan is to play with this little DIY circuit and use it to animate the led display for next project. Here's like 10 seconds of it going so u can see.



    It's listed as for use with power source in the 3-4V range... power bank's output 5V... so was hoping it'd be good at the slightly higher voltage. Tested- and while nothing fry's lol, the animation effect of the circuit stops- all the leds just stay continuously driven. Now this actually works just fine for me- my plan was to learn this circuit so I could recreate it without the board. Once I've done the learning/ research to understand capacitors and the Q's and how they work together with the resistors to drive the leds in that way at the 3/4V range,I'm sure it will just be a matter of doing the math, and swapping the resistors and capacitors and possibly Q's for different values... already got a range of them incoming. (Not 'Q's' though). Then I'm sure it will animate the lights the same at the 5V my projects will be driven on. Gonna run multiple lights out from each spot and out to my own loctations in a box, essentially modding this circuit into an led driver of sorts :).

    Thing is... let's face it- for a rookie like me it's gonna be a while before I can learn this circuit fully enough to reconstruct it on my own and mod it... in the meantime lord knows I could use the practice installing/ soldering so I'd like to do one just using this board as is... so my main question is, how to get this circuit to function the same at the 5V (with the flashing) as it does at 3/4V WITHOUT actually having to know the ins and outs of it... and I think I've already learned how... but was hoping to be set straight on this?

    Been learning about diodes. Thinking I can just use them to alter/ regulate the voltage of my project's power source just for this pcb bit. What I wasn't sure of though was- should I be thinking regular 'ol forward biased diodes in series on the positive lead, or a Zener diode in backwards in parallel with a resistor? My noob brain is having trouble discerning what application you'd use diode vs. when to go with Zener diode for this type of thing?

    Thanks so much for your time!!
     
  2. AlbertHall

    Well-Known Member

    Jun 4, 2014
    1,886
    375
    The Q's are probably transistors but other things do come in that package. They will (should?) have some writing on the flat side. If you put the code on there into Google you should be able to find a datasheet which will tell you what they are.

    Two 'normal' diodes in series with your 5V supply will reduce it to about 3.6V (0.7V per diode). Any of the 1N4001 to 1N4007 would do nicely.
     
  3. RevanReborn

    Thread Starter New Member

    Sep 24, 2016
    4
    0
    Aweome!! Thanks SO much for the help AlbertHall, really appreciate :). Hahaha! I knew someone would get a kick out of my terminology lol. Don't worry I'm a fast learner, I'll be making sense before you know it ;).

    I think this forum will help TONS with that- love it already.
     
  4. AlbertHall

    Well-Known Member

    Jun 4, 2014
    1,886
    375
    They do indeed have a polarity and it is probably safer to foollow the marking on the capacitor rather than the leg length to identify the polarity. If you look at the one in middle of your picture, along the right hand side you can see a white stripe with black lines along it. That marks the negative lead.
     
  5. RevanReborn

    Thread Starter New Member

    Sep 24, 2016
    4
    0
    Awesome! Thanks again man :). Very good to know- and that's a really good point about not going by longer anode/ shorter cathode... fried some leds that weren't right that way (I've since learned about flat spot on the flange of lens at the cathode lol).
     
  6. MrChips

    Moderator

    Oct 2, 2009
    12,420
    3,355
    RR, welcome to AAC.

    You don't have to go guessing about anything electronics related. There are enough knowledgeable folks here on AAC who will help you get your Ps and Qs straight.

    This is an international web site. If you have instructions in Chinese or any other language, post them here and someone will translate them for you.

    Need help identifying components? Post a clear well focus photo. If you can read the numbers, tell us what they are.

    Diodes vs zeners? Tell us what you are attempting to do and someone will guide you.

    Want to learn more? Go to the Education tab on the top of this page and start reading. Confused? Just ask a question and it will be properly answered.

    Good luck and have fun on AAC.
     
  7. RevanReborn

    Thread Starter New Member

    Sep 24, 2016
    4
    0
    Thanks Mr.Chips!

    Appreciate the welcome and the info/ help from everyone very much :).
     
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