Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Populating the panels

So all of my panels are dry and ready for switches, etc.  This is about as straightforward a step as you can get.  Simply put each switch / device into its opening.  All the arcade switches, toggle switches, and rotary potentiometers and switches have nuts to hold them in place.  Just use them, it's that simple.  You'll want to cut out the opening through the transparencies first, of course.  I've currently left all the transparencies intact over the 7 segment and bargraph LEDs.  I may leave them that way for a neater appearance, if it doesn't interfere with the LED appearance.

I've also noticed that as I glued the transparencies to the cutting board for the status lamps, the cutting boards were warping significantly.  We'll see if I can correct that as it cures.  If not, I'm going to leave the transparency across the opening intact and simply sandwich the cutting board and the label transparency between this outer transparency and the printed LED matrix holders.

Now is also a prime opportunity to switch the LEDs in the square arcade switches - these come as white LEDs, but you'll probably want to change the color.  I've settled on using a 5 mm diffused red LED in the master alarm and the abort switches.  The switches in the mission sequence panel I'm populating with 5 mm diffused blue LEDs.

Switching out these LEDs is pretty easy, but I'll step through the process.  First, remove the switch and LED from the back - just a slight turn and its out.

 Now pull the LED and its holder straight out from the switch.  

Now just straighten out the LED leads from the holder

And then push the old LED out through the front of the holder.

At this point, put the LED of your choice into the holder.

 Then wrap the LED leads around the end of the holder, like the old LED was.  It doesn't matter which way you orient the LED on the holder, but for best contact with the rest of the switch, keep the leads to the outside of the holder. 
Then put the led holder back into the switch.  At this point, you'll want to test the orientation of the LED - you'll need the LED holder put in the right way around for it to light up when you wire everything together, since LEDs only work with power running in one direction.  I chose to align things so the anode (the longer of the two wires on the LED) was connected with the lead on the red side of the switch - this matches the orientation that the round switches were shipped with, so it should work well for soldering things together.

And voila!  The switch now lights up a nice, blindingly bright blue...

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