Exposing 7-segment led through front panel?

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by mbabayan, Oct 6, 2010.

  1. mbabayan

    Thread Starter Member

    Jul 12, 2010
    I'm working on the project that exposes a single digit 7-segment LED as part of the interface.

    The LED I'm using is about the same as the one in the attachment.

    The problem is that I'm having is that I can't find any decent solution to expose it though the front panel. I did not find any bezels, etc. for it.

    The solution is supposed to be waterproof, or rather, weather resistant. I don't intend on dipping in in water, but it should withstand an occasional rain (this will go on the motorcycle dash).

    My current solution is to cut out an opening to the size and then use JB-Weld or such to plumb it in, but it doesn't look great at all. Also, this assumes that the unit itself is waterproof. It appears to be as it is potted. I'd rather have some tinted acrylic over it to hide non-lit segments though.

    I'm basically looking for ideas at this point.

    Thank you,
    • led.jpg
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  2. marshallf3

    Well-Known Member

    Jul 26, 2010
    The display itself should be sealed on the face (actually totally sealed) so gluing it in is an option, however you're facing the problem I face often with trying to make square holes.

    There's a tool called a "chassis nibbler" (they go by various names) that work very well in these situations. Couldn't find mine from when I was using it years ago, so a while back when again facing the problem I think I bought the Klein brand off Amazon - then they started showing up on many of the electronics websites as well as the discount tool places, I just hadn't been looking.

    Basically you drill a hole big enough to get the tool in there then selectively "nibble" off small slices and you can make very nice, clean square holes in most materials that are under 1/10" - provided it isn't a plastic that splinters easily.

    Klein Tools #76011B - you can find them cheaper that are almost identical but not all work as well as the others.
  3. AlexR

    Well-Known Member

    Jan 16, 2008
    Its usual to mount the LED display behind a perspex window (red if its a red display or neutral density/smoky for green displays). This not only protects the displays but also increases the visual contrast and makes the display easier to read.
    Cut out the opening for the window in your panel then use either a file or router to rebate the perspex so it fits the panel opening and ends up flush with the front face of the panel. Then use super glue or silicon sealant to fix the perspex window into the panel.
  4. Wendy


    Mar 24, 2008
    If you can cut a square hole in your case you can make the LED flush with the front panel. If you need it to be reasonably waterproof there are many makes of transparent tape or translucent tape which can be used on the panel covering the LED, starting with postal tape and ending with red (or whatever color) electrical tape.
  5. k7elp60

    Distinguished Member

    Nov 4, 2008
    Digikey has bezels. The narrow one may be too wide, but you could mount your display in the center.
    http://search.digikey.com/scripts/DkSearch/dksus.dll?Cat=524327&k=LED Bezel