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Modding Astrojax

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by Midasssilver, Aug 9, 2011.

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  1. Midasssilver

    Midasssilver

    4
    0
    Aug 9, 2011
    Hello,
    I am interested in modding a light toy called astrojax. Essentially, the astrojax is a circular circuit board with either 2 or 3 batteries and 2 leds attached to it, facing opposite directions. In the attached pictures, you can see the places where the prongs of the leds fit in to place. Obviously the leds are not meant to be removed, however I really want to do so to mod my astrojax with different bulbs. I have broken most of my astrojax balls by breaking off the leds and trying to remove the remains of the leds prongs with a soldering iron. In doing so, I accidentally removed the metal pads where the led touches the circuit board. The only time we were successful removing the led without the pads was by using our fingers to force the led out of its slot using equal force on each side. This allowed us to remove the prongs, instead of breaking them off. This was very taxing on our fingers and nearly impossible, hence breaking multiple Astrojax balls. If anyone could recommend a more efficient way of removing the leds without soldering off the metal pads of the astrojax, I would be extremely appreciative.

    Thank you. Please see the attached pictures for reference. Photo on 2011-08-08 at 20.20 #2.jpg

    Photo on 2011-08-08 at 20.24.jpg

    Photo on 2011-08-08 at 20.20.jpg

    Photo on 2011-08-08 at 20.24 #2.jpg
     
  2. TBennettcc

    TBennettcc

    292
    2
    Dec 4, 2010
    You should practice your de-soldering skills on a piece of printed circuit board you don't care about damaging. A good place to find such items would be a local computer repair store, or even your own home, if you have a piece of cheap electronic equipment you would otherwise throw away.

    I cannot emphasize this enough: practice, practice, practice! The more you solder (and de-solder), the better you'll get at it.

    For removing the LEDs, I would suggest getting a "third hand" tool (such as this: http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3928375&numProdsPerPage=60). Put the circuit board in one clip, vertically, with the solder pads facing your soldering iron. Put the soldering iron across both contacts of the LED. When the solder turns to liquid, pull the LED out. If the solder is taking a long time to turn to liquid, you need to properly clean, tin, and wet the tip of your soldering iron with fresh solder. There must be fresh solder on the end of your soldering iron, otherwise, the heat won't work correctly, and you'll just end up pulling the traces off the board, or equally as bad, damaging sensitive ICs.

    An alternative to pulling the LED out while melting the solder on both contacts at the same time would be to use a "solder sucker". There are mechanical-type and bulb-type. I much prefer the bulb-type, as I feel it give me more control over the process. The mechanical type uses a plunger that is held down by a button. When you press the button, the plunger shoots up, and while it does suck up the solder, it also gives a fairly good kick when the plunger reaches the end of its travel.

    And if you really like the bulb-type, there is a special de-soldering iron with a bulb on it.

    Find some good videos and other tutorials of how to properly solder online. It's not that hard; it just takes some time to get to know what's happening with the process. After you learn how to solder, you'll be a solderin' fool. There won't be any stopping you!

    Good luck!

    [Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with RadioShack in any way, shape, or form. I simply shop there a lot, and have plenty of their tools at home. The RadioShack website is also convenient to illustrate certain products.]
     
  3. Midasssilver

    Midasssilver

    4
    0
    Aug 9, 2011
    Wow

    Thank you soo much!! Not only did you give me information I couldn't find anywhere else, but you gave me options as well. Awesome! I'll def post video with the finished product. For the amount of time/trouble/money I've wasted so far, I definitely owe ya one. Thanks again. :)
     
  4. Midasssilver

    Midasssilver

    4
    0
    Aug 9, 2011
    Hi there, I've made a lot of progress with modding the astrojax, and am almost ready to post a video. My question now, if anyone is able to answer it, is how do I tell what types of leds require the most electricity. Right now, I have had some success modding the lower powered astrojax. I have all the tools and learned how to desolder properly, but the high powered ones are nearly impossible. The second grade of astrojax can power up to 2c color strobe leds. The 3rd grade of astrojax can only power solids and 7 color changing rainbows. The 1st grade of astrojax is the highest power, and can theoretically power 3c strobes and ribbons, but I haven't been able to successfully mod them yet.

    Thanks in advance to whoever can post advice.
     
  5. TBennettcc

    TBennettcc

    292
    2
    Dec 4, 2010
    An LED has a minimum forward voltage (Vf). That is the minimum voltage required across the LED before it will turn on. The LED will also have a rated current (Usually around 20mA.) This is the maximum current you should put through the LED. According to Ohm's Law, amps x volts = watts (I x V = P). The number of watts gives you a general idea about how much power the LED is consuming. The available voltage and available current the AstroJax are capable of producing will give you an idea about which LEDs you should be able to use.
     
  6. Midasssilver

    Midasssilver

    4
    0
    Aug 9, 2011
    Thx!

    Thanks Tim. You seriously provide me with valuable information every time. :)
     
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