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Shadow box dancer
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Discussion Starter #1
OK I will start with a disclaimer.... I KNOW VERY LITTLE about computer related issues.

Now that is cleared up, on to my question. I found a circuit board in a tread mill the other day and it has 8 LED lights on it. What I was wondering is if I can unsolder the LEDs and reuse them. Also I was wondering about reusing the resistors. I have heard people mention doing something similar to this, but thought someone here might know.

OK the second question I pose is about using computer components to make current adapters. I saw a how-to one time about using the power converter on a computer as an adapter. If I can salvage the LED's I was wondering if then I can power them with the adapter. Or if someone has a way to reuse these components that would be better, I would greatly appreciate it.

This is very similar to the thread about using LED's in a skull in the how to section, but I didn't want to bog down that thread with my frugality.

OH one more disclaimer.... I know I can go to Radio Shack and buy these items but I think that it is so much more fun so salvage stuff. :):D:confused: I have access to lots of circuit boards whether they are from computers, appliances, house hold items or other crazy stuff like tread mills so it would be really cool to reuse some of this stuff. Thanks in advance for any help!!!!



Here is the circuit board. The LED's are ate bottom.
 

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Bête noire
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Sure you can. Get yourself some Solder-wick or a solder vacuum (Soldapult) and go for it. If de-soldering IC's that are attached directly to the board, be sure to not overheat them. Use alligator clips as heat sinks if possible. Resistors can also be recycled the same way.
 

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Shadow box dancer
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Discussion Starter #3
Sure you can. Get yourself some Solder-wick or a solder vacuum (Soldapult) and go for it. If de-soldering IC's that are attached directly to the board, be sure to not overheat them. Use alligator clips as heat sinks if possible. Resistors can also be recycled the same way.
How do I use alligator clips as heat syncs? Do I unsolder it from the back of the board or the front? Once I get the components I need, do I just solder them back together like they do in this http://www.halloweenforum.com/tutorials-step-step/72148-l-e-d-eyes-bucky.html thread? Or is there someway to wire them up with an adapter?
 

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Bête noire
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De-soldering is done from the back of the board. Use small clips so you can attach them to the leads (legs) on the IC you're removing. I usually do this with 2-3 legs at a time. Heat the solder until it melts then use the vac to pull the solder away. If you use copper wick place the wick on the solder then the soldering tip on the wick. Heat until the solder flows into the copper wick. Make sure that the lead(s) are completely free of the board before you try to remove the part or it may be damaged.

I'd just use the 9 volt battery snap for powering the LED eyes. It's cheap and the battery will last for many hours. I wouldn't worry about using an on-off switch unless you really want it.

That board in the pic is a resistor gold mine. Most boards nowadays use SMT resistors (very tiny) that are a pain to solder manually.
 

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There are a couple of downsides to using salvaged LED's IMO. It's difficult to establish the component ratings as there aren't any labels on them. For example, LED's have forward voltage and current ratings which are used to determine the required resistor value to use with a given power supply voltage. The other issue is the leads are typically trimmed flush with the board, so you have very little to work with unless you plan on mounting them on another PC board. I learned a long time ago, it's just not worth trying to salvage this type of stuff - especially when you can pick up a hundred LED's off of Ebay forn under $5 shipped.

Mark
 

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If anything I would look for components that are going to cost a descent amount if bought new to try and reuse. If I can pick up X component in a bag of 5 for $1 brand new, then I would have piece of mind that this component is probably going to work. At least a better chance then a used component. At least with my skill level, new to electronics, I don't feel that I have the experience to deal with used components.
 

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Shadow box dancer
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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks bubbels that makes sense. I know that people can't really comprehend my frugality. :) I take great pride in the fact I make my own props and primarily use salvaged parts. I have learned that if I want to ask a question on a forum like this I need to take the good with the bad. Do you find that too being a novice with electronics? Its cool when you get great advice from someone like Otaku though. Thanks again Otaku by the way. Without him I wouldn't have known about the resistors on the board I found not really being used any more.

I also come across tons of relays and I mean lots of relays. So I am going to compile a list of them and see what people think I might be able to use.
 

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Shadow box dancer
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Discussion Starter #8
Oh and one more question. Its more of a theory so I hope someone can tell me if I am wrong. Basically I am a complete beginner to all things electric and computer related and in my mind if i see a device has lights I assume that if I follow the path from the plug in the wall to the light that logically there would be the components I need to make the lights work on their own. So lets just take a hypothetical situation, say I have a tread mill that plugs into 110. If that tread mill plugs into 110 and there are LED's on the tread mill, am I wrong to assume that along that path there is not a voltage regulator that transfers the current for the existing LED's? Once again I will preface that I know nothing about such things I am just thinking out loud with the hopes there are people willing to impart some wisdom.
 

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Absolutely.. I get some great idea, ask for opinions and the responses I get usually point me in some other direction. I know all about frugal pride. I worked construction during college, so I consider myself fairly skilled with wood. I am always finding super cheap ways to build things. My shelves out in the garage are made from an old computer desk. My new computer desk uses old dock legs I got for free. And I recently built 4 dvd shelves all from scrap wood.
 

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Shadow box dancer
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Discussion Starter #10
Absolutely.. I get some great idea, ask for opinions and the responses I get usually point me in some other direction. I know all about frugal pride. I worked construction during college, so I consider myself fairly skilled with wood. I am always finding super cheap ways to build things. My shelves out in the garage are made from an old computer desk. My new computer desk uses old dock legs I got for free. And I recently built 4 dvd shelves all from scrap wood.
Have you used any of that frugality for Halloween projects?
 

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Sure. My FCG harness is built from 1 x 2 I had from an old cage. The spray foam skulls I have, going on number 34 I would consider the cheapest way to make skulls. I am also experimenting with paper mache. And hoping to build a few tombstones out of scrap pieces of plywood.
 

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Shadow box dancer
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Discussion Starter #12
Sure. My FCG harness is built from 1 x 2 I had from an old cage. The spray foam skulls I have, going on number 34 I would consider the cheapest way to make skulls. I am also experimenting with paper mache. And hoping to build a few tombstones out of scrap pieces of plywood.
I actually only had to buy the styrofoam head for my FCG. I got the motor(reindeer motor last year and rotisserie motor this year) for free. The frame I built out of scavenged 2x4's I ripped into 2x2's. My dog was made with scavenged appliance motors and parts. The frame was free 2x4 pieces I ripped down into smaller pieces. All I bought for the dog was the fur. My jail jumper was totally free if you include the mask I already had. Same with the witch(I bought a $1.99 hat, so sue me). :)

This year I am making a bunch of animals for my Pet Cemetery themed haunt. I was hoping to use the LED's I found in the eyes of an Owl I am building. If that doesn't work out I am not going to buy LED's because I already have tiny lights from the panel of a kitchen stove that I can use. So really it is about salvaging for me more then anything else. :)
 

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Open up and say "Aaaaahh"
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A word on frugality, if I may..

I too was a frugal junkie. I could not bear to use anything new for my haunt and I understand COMPLETELY your desire and pride from taking something that would otherwise go to waste or landfill and turn it into something no one else would think of doing. In fact, it is this drive which steered me into home haunting to begin with, for there is no other hobby that can utilize what others percieve to be useless junk and turn it into something people go "ooooo" and "ahhhh" over.

Then time passes. Skills improve. And with it the need for supplies to implement ideas that junk just can't possibly accomplish. It is, ironically, the same drive to build things from junk that produces the skills beyond the use of it.

Bottom line, junk eventually gets, well, frustrating! It takes too much time to turn a can opener into a servo, (metaphor) than it would be to just buy one and get that project moving.

So, enjoy the frugality, my salvage-happy friend, and know you will grow not just because of it, but beyond the use of it.
 

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Shadow box dancer
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Discussion Starter #14
Yeah or I could just go out and buy stuff, like lets say a talking skull. That would be really easy and not cheap. It is hilarious how if you pose a none electrical question or comment on this forum you get amazingly helpful suggestions and comments. Post an even remotely electronic or computer related question or comment and someone with something to sell will more that gladly "help" you. I have no problem alienating myself from this forum now that I have tired of the much too common "help" from the people with something to sell. But thanks to those that I have not offended with my quest to learn about new things.
 

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On a treadmill without looking at it I would say there is a voltage converter and a motor which is probally what the AC powers then a converter/transformer to turn he 110V into a lower voltage to power the board.as far as salvage the motor is useable, led screen,rubber tread,metal frame,The IC's on the board,restoitors,just about anything on the board,wire longer than about a foot,any connectors.most of it will be placed in a junk box till just that right project but you'll have it.or be looking at it going hum what could I make with that?also if your going to de-solder get yourself a de-soldering tip there wider that a soldering tip makes life easier.and those boards bare boards are worth money too.they have gold on them.takes alot but if you have alot you can sell them.
 

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Shadow box dancer
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Discussion Starter #16
On a treadmill without looking at it I would say there is a voltage converter and a motor which is probally what the AC powers then a converter/transformer to turn he 110V into a lower voltage to power the board.as far as salvage the motor is useable, led screen,rubber tread,metal frame,The IC's on the board,restoitors,just about anything on the board,wire longer than about a foot,any connectors.most of it will be placed in a junk box till just that right project but you'll have it.or be looking at it going hum what could I make with that?also if your going to de-solder get yourself a de-soldering tip there wider that a soldering tip makes life easier.and those boards bare boards are worth money too.they have gold on them.takes alot but if you have alot you can sell them.
Yeah I am excited about the rubber tread. It most likely will end up being the feathers for my owl. I am going to cut it into feather shapes and fray the edges.
 

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Bête noire
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I agree with Dr. M - while it may not always be time-effective to recycle parts, it a good way to start. Also, I balk at paying the $7-$10 shipping costs to get a couple of $0.50 parts that aren't available locally. And the brick-and-mortar's are giving up more to the Internet stores every day. If I can pull 'em off of a used board, I usually don't mind spending the time.

The other thing is that I hate to throw anything away. Ask my wife, she'll tell you all about it...
 

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Shadow box dancer
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Discussion Starter #18
On a typical day I will "dispose" of 2 or 3 washers and dryers, a few refrigerators, a dishwasher or two, microwaves and T.V.s. Plus a computer,exercise equipment or other random stuff every now and then. So in dealing with all this stuff I find some really cool stuff. This may be JUNK to some people, but I like the challenge of creating something with it. If I can make something cool with it then that is even better. My Halloween projects may look like crap to some people and thats ok with me. People who see them know that I built them. I wouldn't get any enjoyment out of buying a bunch of stuff and sticking it in my yard.
 
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