# Activity 1: Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs)

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1 Activity 1: Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) Time Required: 45 minutes Materials List Group Size: 2 Each pair needs: One each of the following: One Activity 1 bag containing: o Red LED o Yellow LED o Green LED o Blue LED o 1 KΩ Resistor (Brown, Black, Red) 9 V Battery 9 V Battery Snap (in bag with breadboard) Breadboard To share between every two groups: Multimeter Pliers Student Handouts Activity 1: Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) Learning Objectives After this activity, students should be able to: Build a simple circuit using a solderless breadboard. Explain that engineers use solderless breadboard s to test circuit designs because these circuits may be changed quickly. Identify a battery, resistors, LEDs. Explain what a a) battery b) resistor c) LED does. Measure the voltage across a circuit element. Introduction During the next few classes, we are going to be introducing you to some of the components used to make your TV remote work. TV remotes use infrared light, a form of light that the human eye cannot see, to transmit a signal from the remote control to the TV. TV remotes are one example of a technology that engineers have designed that that uses infrared light. Today s activity will introduce you to some fundamental concepts in electrical engineering that you will use in building infrared transmitting and receiving circuits in the next few classes. In this activity, you will learn how to build a circuit that makes a light emitting diode (LED) turn on. You will also learn what a breadboard is and how electrical engineers use them to design circuits. Finally, you will learn how to measure voltage using a multimeter. Pilot Module Spring 2008 (Updated 2/7/08) 1

3 require different amounts of electrical energy to produce light, then the voltage across a blue LED and a red LED will be different. Additional Resources For additional information on how an LED works: Assessment 1) Collect or copy page 6 of the student handout. The first assessment is to determine if the students understand how the resistor color code works. Exercises 1 and 2 will be used to determine this. 2) Collect or copy page 9 of the student handout. The answers to the questions about the voltage across the red LED, the blue LED, and the 9V battery will be used to determine if students understand how to measure voltage with the multimeter. 3) Collect or copy page 10 of the student handout. The answer to the question: What does a light emitting diode (LED) do? will be used to determine whether or not students understand that an LED is an electrical component that changes electrical energy into light energy. References No additional references Authors: Dr. Gary A. Ybarra, Dr. Paul A. Klenk Contributors: No additional contributors Copyright: Engineering K-Ph.D. Program, Pratt School of Engineering, Duke University Pilot Module Spring 2008 (Updated 2/7/08) 3

4 Activity 1: Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) Student Handout Name: Date: In this activity, you will learn how to build simple circuits on a breadboard and how to measure voltage. A Light Emitting Diode, or LED, converts electrical energy into light of a single color. It has two metal leads. The longer lead is positive and the shorter lead is negative. Picture of an LED The longer lead is positive (+) and the shorter lead is negative (-). Look closely at your LEDs. You should have red, yellow, green, blue LEDs. Note that one lead is longer than the other on each LED. Electrical energy is voltage and is supplied by a battery. We will use a 9 V (Volt) battery. Picture of 9 V batteries and snaps. Each battery has + and terminals marked on the battery. Battery snaps have red (+) and black (-) wires attached. Look closely at your battery. Look for the + and terminals. Warning! The terminals of a battery should never be directly connected together! This is a short circuit and can be dangerous. Later in this activity, when the battery snap is connected to your battery, make sure that the wires do not touch each other! Pilot Module Spring 2008 (Updated 2/7/08) 4

5 A resistor limits the energy flow between the battery and the LED. Resistors convert electrical energy into heat. Each color has a number associated with it. Picture of resistors. Each resistor has four colored bands. The fourth band is gold on each resistor. Look closely at your resistors. What is the color of the fourth band on all of your resistors? The first three colored bands indicate the value of the resistor in Ohms (Ω). Resistor Color Code Color Number Black 0 Brown 1 Red 2 Orange 3 Yellow 4 Green 5 Blue 6 Violet 7 Gray 8 White 9 The first two colored bands provide the significant figures and the third band provides the number of zeroes that follow the two significant figures. For example, suppose the first three colored bands are brown, black and red. The resistor color code produces: Brown (1) Black (0) Red (2) The value of the resistor is 10 followed by two zeroes or 1,000 Ω. This is read 1000 ohms. It can also be written 1 kω, where k means kilo or 1,000. This is read 1 kiloohm and means exactly the same thing as 1000 ohms. Pilot Module Spring 2008 (Updated 2/7/08) 5

7 Navigating your Breadboard All 25 holes in a column of a bus strip are connected together inside of the breadboard. The bus strips are used for power supply rails. Connect your battery snap with the red (+) wire in the bottom hole of the red bus strip on the right, and the black (-) wire in the bottom hole of the blue bus strip on the left. Later, when you connect your battery to the snap, this will make +9 V of energy available in every hole along the red stripe on the right and ground (0 V) available in every hole along the blue stripe on the left. The terminal strip is used to connect components such as resistors and LEDs. All five holes in one row on one side of the terminal strip are connected together inside the breadboard. Pilot Module Spring 2008 (Updated 2/7/08) 7

8 LED Circuit We are going to build the following circuit: This circuit diagram is called a schematic and shows a 9 V battery in series with a 1 kω (1000Ω) resistor and an LED. Obtain a 1 kω (1000Ω) resistor (brown, black, red) and a red LED. Build the circuit by plugging these elements into your breadboard as shown in the picture. Remember that the longer lead of the LED is positive (+) and the shorter lead is negative (-). One of the resistor leads is plugged into hole 1E and the other lead is plugged into the positive power supply rail. The + terminal of the LED is plugged into hole 1A and the terminal is plugged into the negative power supply rail. Plug in your battery to the battery snap. The red LED should glow. If it does not glow, check your connections and make sure the negative lead of the LED is in the negative power supply rail. Remove the red LED and plug in the green LED. Remove the green LED and plug in the yellow LED. Remove the yellow LED and plug in the blue LED. Pilot Module Spring 2008 (Updated 2/7/08) 8

9 Measuring Voltage using a Multimeter as a Voltmeter A voltmeter measures voltage. The red probe is positive (+) and the black probe is negative (-). Set the dial on the front of the multimeter to 20 V DC (DC means constant). You do this by rotating the dial until the indicator points to 20 V DC as shown in the picture to the left. Unplug your 9 V battery from the battery snap. Measure the voltage across your 9 V battery by touching the red probe (+) to the + terminal of the battery and touching the black probe (-) to the terminal of the battery. 9 V battery voltage = Connect your battery to the battery snap. Rebuild your red LED circuit and measure the voltage across the LED. To measure the voltage across the LED, touch the red probe (+) of the voltmeter to the positive terminal of the LED and touch the black (-) probe of the voltmeter to the negative terminal of the LED. Red LED voltage = Replace the red LED with a blue LED and measure the voltage across the blue LED. Blue LED voltage = Pilot Module Spring 2008 (Updated 2/7/08) 9

10 What does a light emitting diode do? Disassembly and Cleanup Disassemble your circuit. Remove the battery snap from your battery. You may need to use the needle nose pliers to remove the battery snap. It is important to remove the battery snap after you are finished using the battery because this keeps the leads from touching each other and draining the battery. Return the circuit components to their proper storage bags as instructed. All of your small components from the breadboard will go in the Activity 1 bag except the battery snap. Activity 1 Bag Contents: Red LED Yellow LED Green LED Blue LED 1 KΩ Resistor (Brown, Black, Red) The battery snap and breadboard will go in a bag together. Finally, return the battery to your instructor. Pilot Module Spring 2008 (Updated 2/7/08) 10

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