AA batteries produce low voltage power, usually between 1.2 and 1.5 volts, depending on if they're rechargeable or nonrechargeable respectively. This makes hooking up a light emitting diode (LED) to an AA battery fairly straightforward, because LEDs operate on similar low voltage power. LEDs last a long time and the energy they consume goes into producing light, unlike many light bulbs that waste a lot of energy in the form of heat. This means that your small AA battery can power your LED for some considerable time.
Things You'll Need
- LED bulb holder
- Small Phillips screwdriver
- AWG 18 gauge wire
- Wire strippers
- Electrical tape
Check the voltage the LED needs to operate; the voltage is printed on the base of the LED. You need to match it fairly closely to the battery output to get the best results. If the battery produces 1.5 volts and the LED operates on 1 volt, the LED will blow, but if the LED operates on 3 volts and your battery produces 1.5 volts, the LED won't be very bright and will consume more energy from the battery.
Push the LED carefully into the slot on a purpose made LED light bulb holder using your fingers. You can find these holders at electrical supplies stores. LEDs have tiny metal connectors making it difficult to hook up without a holder.
Loosen the small terminal screws on the LED light bulb holder using a Phillips screwdriver. Refrain from completely removing the two screws, as they can easily get lost.
Cut two strips of thin wire using a knife; AWG 18 gauge is fine. Don't cut the strips too long as energy dissipates the longer the wire; up to about 18 inches works well. Remove just under ¼ inch of plastic of the ends of the two strips of wire using wire strippers, so you can see the inner copper metal.
Slide the end of one of the strips of wire under one of the terminal screws on the LED light bulb holder then tighten the screw using the screwdriver. Slide the end of the second strip of wire under the other terminal screw and tighten the screw.
Cut two 2-inch strips of electrical tape using a knife. Place the opposite end of the first wire from the LED bulb holder onto one of the two AA battery terminals; it doesn't matter which one. Put one of the strips of tape centrally over the wire and battery terminal and press down using your finger. Roll each end of the tape down the side of the battery so it holds the wire in place.
Connect the opposite end of the second wire from the LED bulb holder onto the remaining battery terminal using the second strip of tape to repeat the process. As soon as the wire touches the terminal, the LED illuminates. Simply detach the tape from the battery to remove the wire when you want to turn off the LED.
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