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Making your own SMD LED STRIP
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Making your own SMD LED STRIP

by Skorpiono on Sun Feb 09, 2020 10:26 pm

Hi i looked at all of 2020 led strips and im disappointed about density of this things. So i would like to make my own SMD PCB and solder it by my own hand. What should i know before i start making one. And how tight it can be. Can it be one after another without any space?

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Re: Making your own SMD LED STRIP

by adafruit_support_mike on Tue Feb 11, 2020 5:11 am

Skorpiono wrote:Can it be one after another without any space?

It's technically possible, but would be difficult.

You need space for the traces that connect the output of one strip to the input of the next, and some separation between pads to keep solder bridges from forming between the pads of adjacent LEDs. You'd have to route some of the traces on the back of the strip and bring them through with vias, which would be quite a challenge in a 2mm square footprint.

You'd also run into mechanical issues. The space between pixels is the part of the strip that flexes, so the less space you have, the more force any motion would apply to the LED packages and to their solder joints. I wouldn't be surprised to see LEDs pop off completely, or fall apart if such a strip was exposed to continuous flexing.

If you want to do hand assembly, the least painful method would probably be to use a combination of a heating tray and a hot air rework station. Set the tray to a few degrees below the solder's melting point, and use the hot air gun to apply that extra bit of heat that melts the solder for a specific pixel. That way you can melt the solder on the pads for a specific pixel, place the part, then back off and let the solder harden before the hot air gun melts another half dozen pixels loose and blows them out of position.

Hand soldering would be out unless you allow enough space for the tip of the iron to touch the pads, and that would be a significant fraction of the size of the package itself.

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