Instructions For Building 12v LED Snowflakes
1. There are a few ways that these lights can be built. The simplest is to just place all of the components according to the diagram on the circuit board itself. This is not the way that I am going to show you. I think that building the board in that way clutters it. Instead I build it with the R1 and R2 components placed on the back side. This gives the front side of the board a much less cluttered appearance. To build it MY way, flip the board to the back side now.
2. Find the bag labeled R2, there are 2 resistors in the bag, enough for one per light. Remove one of them, fold its legs down from the resistor body, the resistor and its legs should now have a U shape to it. Insert the legs into the two holes(from the back side) that correspond with the R2 label on the front side of the board. This spot is located right below the “D1” that is underneath the “12 volt snowflake” label printed on the board. Once R2 is in position, as close to the board as it will go, solder the legs in place. Once the solder has cooled, go ahead and cut the long leftover parts of the legs off near to flush on the front side of the board.
3. Find the bag labeled R1, there are 16 resistors in this bag. Remove 8 of them, fold each one into the same U shape as you did with R2. Then place them in their spots on the backside, according to the silkscreen on the front side. Solder each one in, making sure to keep them as close to the board as you can (not critical, but looks nicer). Then cut the long legs off, like you did with R2.
4. Now it is time to add the 3 main wires to the back side of the board. These are the wires that will actually connect to your bug. While looking at the back of the board, you will notice 3 larger sized holes (including one square one) that are near the center. Now locate the bag of wires and connectors. You will find 8 pieces of Front side Back side R2 in position, back side R2 in position, front side All 8 R1 in place View of R1 from the front, cut these legs off after solderingwire in there, 6 of them are the same length in 3 different colors. You will be using 3 of these 6 wires at this step. Remove one of each color and strip about 1/8” (3mm) of the plastic off of one end of each wire. I like to dip the exposed end into solder paste or flux, as it helps the solder stick to the wire. Then, while looking at the back side of the board, insert the brown wire into the large hole with the square pad. Flip the board over and solder the wire to the board. Then flip it back over to the back add the Black wire to the center hole, and the gray wire to the last hole. Turn the board over and solder each one in place in turn. Then cut the wire stubs off nice and low like you did with the resistors.
5. (Optional) Now you get to make a choice before the next steps. I like to paint the front side of the board flat black, using simple spray paint. This hides the fact that there is a circuit board sitting behind the lens in your tail light. The lenses are dark but you can still see the greenish circuit board hiding back there. Black makes it look more original, as there is normally a dark plastic filter installed behind the lens. It is totally up to your personal preference. The downside of painting the board is that it hides all of the silkscreen. The board is still very buildable; you will just have to be a little more careful.
6. Now that you have or haven’t painted the board it is time to add the LEDs to the board. You will notice that each LED has a long metal leg, and a shorter metal leg. The long one is the positive (+) lead and the short is negative (-). On the board, positive is marked with a circle pad, and negative is marked with a square pad. Also note that the negative side of the LED has a flat spot on it. This will be helpful as you place the LEDs on the board. Find the bag Labeled D2, these are the flat topped LEDs. If your board is not painted, the D2 positions are labeled all over the board, I recommend that you build them 2 columns at a time, starting near the middle on both sides of the 3 wires that you just added. If your board is painted, the D2 positions are all of the pairs of holes, configured vertically with the round pad at the top and the square pad at the bottom. Insert each from the front side LED making sure that the long leg goes through the round hole. Solder only the SHORT leg to the board on ALL LEDs, this will make life much easier later if you do this. Now go ahead and add the last 2 rows of D2 LEDs, this will complete the snowflake pattern.
7. Once each LED has been soldered to the board, pick up the board, put your finger on one LED and gently push it towards the board, while at the same time touching the soldered joint that you just made with your hot iron. This will allow the solder to melt, and the pressure from your finger will seat the LED flat against the board. Do this for each LED that you have on the board at this point. This step will be repeated after each series has been added to the board.
8. Once each LED is seated in place, cut off the legs at the solder joint. Go ahead and solder the second leg on each of these LEDs as well. D2 are vertical, D1 are horizontal 1st 2 rows completed
9. Now you need to solder in the remainder of the LEDS. Find the bag labeled D1, the LEDs in this bag are shaped a little different, you’ll notice that they are taller and rounded on top. Once again, start in the center, and work your way towards the outsides, solder only the square pads (short legs), once all of the LEDs are in place, repeat step 7.
10. Congratulations! Your light is electronically complete! All that is left to do now is test it, and then add some epoxy to a few areas for strength and durability.
11. At this point you should be able to test the light. You can use a 12v car battery, or even just a simple 9v rectangular battery (most of the lights will be very dim with this one, but it will work). Touch the white wire to the negative (-) post on the battery, and touch the black wire and the gray wire in turn onto the positive(+) battery post. If everything checks out, move on to the next step.
12. Take the provided pieces (2) of black shrink tube and slide one over the wires on each light. Then use either a heat gun, or a lighter (carefully) to shrink the wires together.
13. Now that the lights are built, and functioning properly, you need to coat the base of the 3 main wires with epoxy. I like to use a basic 5 minute epoxy when I do this. There is no real art to it, you just want to make sure that those connections stay put forever. MAKE SURE THAT THE LIGHT PASSES ALL TESTS BEFORE YOU APPLY ANY EPOXY.
14. Once the epoxy has dried, I perform all tests again, just in case.
15. The last step involves those other 2 pieces of long brown wire. Strip about 1/4” of the plastic off, and dip the exposed wire end in some soldering paste. Now find the 2 metal ring connectors and dip the ends into the paste as well, insert the wires into the metal ends and solder the 2 parts together. It will take some serious heat, but eventually the wire will suck the solder in. When the connection has cooled, find the thin black pieces of shrink tube and put one on each of these wires and shrink them. These make the new ground wires that hook to the body of your bug. Now your lights are ready to install!