(Getting Rid Of) The Ghost In The LED

Multiplexing is a very old technology in which control signals are intermixed for the sake of being able to control more devices than there are control signals. For [mihai.cuciuc], the problems started when he multiplexed some very efficient LEDs.

The problem? In two banks of six LEDs each, both LEDs connected to a single Arduino pin would light, even when only one bank was turned on at the ground side. The LED In the bank that was switched on lit brightly, and its corresponding LED in the bank that was off would also be very dimly lit. [mihai] was able to determine that the problem was not due to a leaky transistor, but rather due to a quality of the LEDs themselves.

What is an LED but a diode, and it’s well known that diodes also have capacitance. In fact, this quality is exploited in varactor diodes, a specialty diode whose capacitance can be changed by varying the voltage on the cathode. [mihai] deduced that this capacitance was causing current to flow in the bank that was off. Where was the current going? From the Arduino pin that was on, through its attached LED, and then into the rest of the bank of LEDs, charging them like capacitors. [mihai] hasn’t seen this before, but theorizes that for the latest batch of high efficiency LEDs, this minute current is enough to light the LED through which the current is flowing.

[mihai]’s solution is an elegant hack which he’s made available for your perusal. You might also enjoy this introduction to diode basics by W2AEW. If you have any great diode or LED hacks of your own, be sure to drop us a line!

A 7805 Regulator puts out 6.3 Volts

Simple Electronic Hacks Inspire Doing More With Less

It’s late at night. The solder smoke keeps getting in your tired eyes, but your project is nearly done. The main circuit is powered by your 13.8 V bench supply, but part of the circuit needs 9 V. You dig into your stash to find your last LM7809 voltage regulator, but all you have is a bunch of LM7805’s. Are you done for the night? Not if you’ve watched [0033mer]’s Simple Electronic Circuit Hacks video! You know just what to do. The ground pin of a LM7805 connects to the cathode of a TL431 programmable Zener diode pulled from an old scrapped TV. The diode is referenced to a voltage divider, and voila! Your LM7805 is now putting out a steady 9 V.

How did [0033mer] become adept at doing more with less? As he explains in the video below, his primary source of parts in The Time Before The Internet was old TV’s that were beyond repair. Using N-Channel MOSFETs to switch AC, sensing temperature changes with signal diodes, and even replacing a 555 with a blinking LED are just a few of the hacks covered in the video below the break.

We especially appreciated the simple, to-the-point presentation that inspires us to keep on hacking in the truest sense: Doing more with less! If you enjoy a good diode hack like we do, you will likely appreciate learning Diode Basics by W2AEW, or a Diode Based Radiation Detector.

Thank you [DSM] for the tip! Be sure to submit your the cool things you come across to our Tips Line!

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