Wires

Mini Challenge

Create the following board using a piece of cardboard or styrofoam-core posterboard.

Instructions:
  • Attach your LED and coin cell battery to the board where indicated.
  • Use wires to electrically connect the LED and coin cell so the LED lights up. It's okay if your setup isn't very stable for now.
Show Next Hint
  1. You will need two wires.
  2. Connect the + side of the battery to the long leg of the LED, and the - side of the battery to short leg of the LED.
  3. Make sure the metal conductor parts of the wires touch the metal legs (on the LED) and the metal surfaces on the battery.
  4. You will have some trouble keeping the wires in place at this stage. Use electrical tape if you absolutely need to.

I don't have any wires!

Our lessons use 16 AWG stranded copper wire, which is a type commonly used to set up home speaker systems.

Image List You will need:
  • Spool of Wire
  • Wire Cutter/Stripper
Step 1

Unroll the length of wire you need from the spool.

Step 2

Use your wire cutters (or cutting blade on the crimping tool) to cleanly cut loose the section wire you want. This involves sharp cutting edges, so use caution!

[Show both types of cutters being used, separately]
My wires has wires inside!
[Show end view with two wires inside]
  • Since many systems use more than one wire, it's common to pack them together. However, for this lesson, we only need one.
  • First, see if you can simply pull one of the two inner wires out. If so, that's all you need.
  • If the wires will not come loose, use the wire cutter to cut open the outer insulation layer holding the multiple wires together. Start at one end, and cut lengthwise down the wire.
    [Show both types of cutters being used, separately]
  • You should now have at least one individual wire!
Step 3

You will need to expose a small amount of the conductive metal inside the wire on each end. Do this by cutting off a small portion of just the plastic insulation around the wire on both sides.

Wires too short?
[Photo of short wire]
  • If you need to expose more conductor, use a wire cutter.
  • If you have a ????-style wire cutter, find the hole that matches the size of wire you have, place the wire through the hole, and squeeze the handle firmly. Twist the wire back and forth until the insulator is cut, and the conductor slides out smoothly.
  • If you have a ????-style cutter, place the cutting head where you want to trim to, and cut "around" the outside by squeezing the blade down gently on the outside of the insulator, and rotating the blade and wire back and forth to saw through the insulation without damaging the conductor inside.
Step 4

Your wire should look like this:

[PICTURE with callouts to two exposed ends]