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I was a computer science major in college, and dabbled in EE related stuff where necessary for coursework, but I'm working on a small Arduino project for Halloween and need some advice.

I've got an Arduino Uno board hooked up to two full color LED's in parallel. When complete, these LED's act as eyes mounted inside a head. Obviously right now they're just connected on a breadboard, but I will need to wire them together so that they can be mounted inside the head appropriately. I have no experience using a soldering iron, and I'd rather avoid it since it's a lot of overhead work a project this small.

Are there any parts that I can buy that can clamp wires to the leads on the LED's? For instance, I'd like to cut and strip some wire so that it can be plugged into the Arduino pins and clamp the other end to the LED leads. If so, where can I buy them? That way I can take things apart when no longer necessary.

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    \$\begingroup\$ You can buy conductive glue. You can use terminal strips. But a cheap and nasty $15 soldering iron and 10 minutes practice is a better buy in my opinion. \$\endgroup\$ – RedGrittyBrick Sep 25 '13 at 14:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ Also see the Western Union Splice that can strongly join two ends of a wire (or a wire to a component lead?) without soldering. If you add solder, it becomes a permanent bond. \$\endgroup\$ – Li-aung Yip Sep 25 '13 at 14:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't touch soldering. It's addictive..... \$\endgroup\$ – Spoon Sep 25 '13 at 19:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ Really? Soldering irons are dirt cheap, soldering is easy, and a good skill to have at least some experience of. Plus, you're at college, someone somewhere will have the soldering kit you can use so that makes it free, apart from the effort of learning. \$\endgroup\$ – John U Mar 4 '14 at 14:56
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Various sorts of 0.1in header sockets on leads are available, e.g. http://www.adafruit.com/products/266 , which you can just plug onto pins and component leads. Obviously they don't really clamp with any firmness, so you need to mechanically mount everything firmly and maybe add a bit of tape or hot glue to connectors that may be subject to vibration.

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One option is to wire-wrap the connection. Radio Shack has a very cheap but still serviceable wrapping tool, and most through-hole LEDs have square cross-section leads that you can wrap directly. To connect to the Arduino side, you'll need to wrap the other end of the wire to a 0.1in breakaway header pin, or just use a piece of the LED leads if you're feeling particularly cheap. Note that wire wrapping requires 30 AWG wire, so the 22 AWG stuff for breadboards won't work.

Wire wrapping isn't reliable or convenient for the round leads on resistors, so I'd still recommend learning to solder. Spending a bit more to get a temperature controlled iron will make learning much easier.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for your answer. But another question arises. Can I solder two wires to a lead so that I can connect the two led's in parallel? It seems like the other suggestion above mentions using female jumper wires. But if I were to do that, it takes the space for connecting each led lead to the next one. \$\endgroup\$ – Joey Carson Sep 25 '13 at 16:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ @JoeyCarson: Do you mean making a Y-shaped bit of wire? You could do that cheaply and nastily by twisting the ends of three wires together (See "western union splice", above) and binding them with solder. You can then crimp jumpers onto the three free-hanging ends. \$\endgroup\$ – Li-aung Yip Sep 25 '13 at 18:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Li-aungYip: Yes this is actually the resolution I've already come to. Good to know I'm on the right track. \$\endgroup\$ – Joey Carson Sep 29 '13 at 17:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Theran: I agree with your answer and think it's the best approach, taking other's comments into account as well. I can borrow soldering tools from a friend and wrap and solder the wires. But you mention that the regular breadboard wire won't work. Is this only true when simply wrapping them, as opposed to actually soldering them? The solder should provide enough conductivity between the wires. And since I'm going to solder them, do I still need to use a header pin? \$\endgroup\$ – Joey Carson Sep 29 '13 at 17:20

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