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12v LED resistors

ajstars

May 10, 2014
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I have a number of 6 - 12v DC micro leds which I want to fit to a vehicle, but I am concerned they will blow when the voltage tops 12v (vehicle will be running at around 14v). I was wondering if I can reduce the voltage by around 3v using a resistor. It does not matter that the leds would not be as bright. I have been told that this is not possible - any ideas or suggestions? If it can be done what resistor would I need?
Thanks
 

Harald Kapp

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Get to know the current these LEDs draw at 12V (datasheet or measure it). You can drop any voltage by adding a series resistor. Ohm's law tells you which value you will need: R = V/I where V is the voltage drp (e.g. 3V) and I is the current.
Yull also have to observe the power rating of the resistor P=V*I.

Have a look in our ressources section for more information about driving LEDs.
 

ajstars

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Thanks for the info. So I need to test the current draw on the led. I can't find the specs in the data sheets.
My multimeter should therefore have the red cable in the dc port or the ma port?
Then where does the dial need to be set?
My Avatar is my multimeter!
Thanks
 
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poor mystic

Apr 8, 2011
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It's a good avatar but a bit low-resolution for my poor eyes.
Looks like the red lead goes in the left-hand hole to me... is that marked 10A?
 

BobK

Jan 5, 2010
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Yes, try the 10A range first. Then if is below 1A, use the mA range to get a better reading.

Bob
 

ajstars

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Ok thanks, yes 10A on the left. Which setting does the dial need to go on? I have ohm, V-..., V~, A-... and a few others all with various values!
Sorry, even the electronics for dummies struggles with me!
Thanks
 

ajstars

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So I put the multimeter in series first on the 10a range, no reading but the led lit up - then I tried on the mA range and tried all the settings in the V-... range and the best I could get was a reading of 14 but the led did not light up.
 

(*steve*)

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If the LED didn't light up on the mA range it probably means you've blown the fuse on that range.
 

ajstars

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Yup, fuse is blown. Is that because I put it on the wrong dial setting? Still not sure which one to use - 200m, 2000m, 20, 200, 600?
Will grab a new fuse in the mean time.
 

BobK

Jan 5, 2010
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The range does not matter, the fuse will probably blow somewhere above 2A. That was the reason for doing the test on the 10A range first.

BTW: I blow that fuse on my multimeter regularly, usually be forgetting it is on current range and trying to measure a voltage.

Bob
 

ajstars

May 10, 2014
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I think it was probably blown before. Just need to get some new ones and will try again.
 

ajstars

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Ok, new fuse in and I have selected the A-... 20m setting with the test lead in the V ohm/mA port. I get a reading of 18.58 and the LED lights up. Have I done this correctly? If so please can someone advise what resistor I will need please? All I know is the LED will work between 9 and 12V DC. I want to use it in a car that charges at around 14V so was thinking of reducing voltage by around 3v at the LED. It matters not if is is not so bright. Thank you
 

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(*steve*)

¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd
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Ok, so let's call that 20mA.

If you were powering this from 12V then you need 100ohms to drop 2V.

More generally you would need v/0.02 ohms to drop v volts. This works out as 50 ohms per volt.
 
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