Tools and Equipment

Next to the components needed for the boards themselves you are also going to need some tools and equipment to solder and hook-up the board. Below will be a convenient list with the tools and equipment I can recommend! It will also feature some additional items like screws, wires or anything else related to the QuinLED project. Get what you need! 🙂

Index table

Hand Tools

Screw drivers

Screw drivers in all sorts and sizes always come in handy. Although most people have some lying around, for the QuinLED boards you are going to need small sizes with + and – heads. If you have watched my videos you’ve probably seen the kit I’m using and you can find it here:

9 Piece Aliexpress screw driver set (I use this one personally, very nice kit!)

Bit Style screw driver set

Precision bit set (I use this one personally)

 

  

 

Angled snips

During the building of the boards you are going to need some snips or cutting tool. I use angled types so you can reach the pins better! Very useful cutter which makes nice sharp and straight cuts.

One side/angled snipping tool

Tweezers

Most of the resistors, caps and diode’s I use are mostly in SMD 0805 size. Although this size can still be soldered by hand, a set of good tweezers helps A LOT with that proces. I use a kit you can find here:

Set of ESD safe tweezers (I use these personally)

Automatic Wire Stripper

How did I ever live my life before owning one of these. Incredibly strips all kind of gauges wire perfectly every time. If you don’t have one, if anything from this list, buy this!

Simple automatic wire stripper

Better automatic wire stripper (I use this one personally)

 

 

Ferrule crimping tools

A lot of wire is of the stranded variety, to make sure you get a perfect fit that holds I recommend using wire ferrules on the ends of stranded cable, they provide for a much better surface contact in screw terminals.

The ferrule crimpers come in a 4 sided and 6 sided variant, I like the 6 sided best myself.

Ferrule crimping pliers + ferrule set

Connector crimping tool

For longer length LED wire runs (see below for wire) you want the ability to connect and disconnect your lights. Using the following spade connectors and crimping tool makes it very easy. The crimped connector forms a good electrical connection that is fully insulated when connected together! This tool can also be used to put ring terminals for connecting with big power supplies.

Kit with crimping tool and spades

Wires and accessories

Terminal to Barrel Plug

I use screw terminals on all of my designs because when screwed down they form an excellent connection. But when you want to disconnect and connect more often or use different power supplies the screw terminals can quickly become annoying. For this I use little plugs which convert from barrel to terminal and the reverse!

I quickly use a lot of these so I’ve included a link to a 50 pairs pack, very handy!

5 pairs Male Female 5.5 x 2.1mm DC barrel plugs

100 pairs Male Female 5.5 x 2.1mm DC barrel plugs 

Connector blocks

To connect all kinds of wires (AC or DC) together, solid or stranded I use the following connector blocks. They work for everything and are even good enough to use them in a permanent installation, highly recommended!

I advise to get a lot of the 3pin blocks and a few 5pin blocks, they make your life a whole lot easier!

10pcs 3 pin connector block

100pcs 2pin, 3pin or 5pin connector block

WAGO connector kit (includes several sizes)

2 pin LED cable set

If you want to connect a lot of LED strips it’s easiest to use these little connectors. Be mindful though and don’t use these for connecting long strips which draw a lot of load, these tiny little wires aren’t suited for that! Short lengths of strips, etc. are fine though.

The connectors are also called 2 pin JST connectors!

Set of 25 pairs JST 2 pin connector

4 pin LED cable set

To connect digital LED strip such as APA102 or ws2812b strip you need more then 2 pins. That’s where these 4 pin JST connector sets come in! Very easy to quickly connect and disconnect LED strip. Again, the same warning as above, don’t try to push too many Amps through these little cables, use thicker wires for longer lengths!

4 Pin JST LED cable pairs

Wire

To connect LED strip or lights to your new QuinLED controller you are going to need some wires, especially longer lengths or high power (long strip) needs a decent gauge of wire. Tip, sometimes speaker wire is cheaper then electrical wire in the same gauge, in the end they both contain copper! Also remember to double feed (or even triple) if your LED strips get longer then 1m to 2m (depends on the quality of the LED strip), see this article for more information why.

Here are some examples:

10 meters simple 2 wire electrical wire (multiple gauges)

Variable length of thick speaker wire

Heat shrink Tubing (with glue)

If you are going to be doing projects with LED strip you want to be able to attach cable to it yourself, for instance for double feeding the cable or connecting thicker wire then comes stock. Using some heat shrink tube over these connections protects the connection and also insulates it from accidental contact. I like to use heat shrink that has a glue inside that automatically gets released when the heat shrink heats up. This forms a very tight and permanent bond allowing it to function as a bit of strain relief.

I use the 6mm size, it fits well over 10mm LED strips before shrinking and makes for a very tight fit when it’s shrunk. The easiest to shrink the tube is using a hot air soldering iron (see below). If you don’t have one of those or don’t want to purchase one a normal soldering iron can also work or a simple flame.

3 meter 6mm dual wall with glue heat shrink

Soldering Equipment

Most importantly you are going to need a soldering station. Now these come in a lot of different forms and shapes. It’s best to buy a middle of the road, temperature controlled soldering station. You both have cheaper options and (a lot) more expensive solutions, but value for money is in the soldering stations

Cheap Soldering Iron

If you really can’t spend the money, you can buy one of these “bottom of the barrel” irons. Still, you won’t have a very pleasant time soldering and I really can’t recommend it.

Cheap soldering iron

Good soldering Irons and stations

A step up to around the 50$ to 60$ mark you come into the territory of soldering stations and temperature controlled irons. Much much better and they will give you a much more pleasant experience the the above one. Even if you don’t solder often, I really recommend to invest into one of these options:

TS100 Soldering Iron + Power Adapter

A good OLED display 72w Soldering station

  

 

Hot Air SMD station

Next to normal soldering irons there is also something called hot air soldering stations. These aren’t used for through hole components but for SMD (Surface mount) components. Most of the QuinLED modules are based in through-hole but some components are SMD because of convenience and routing reasons. However, every component I use is hand solder-able using a normal soldering station. If you however intend to build a lot of boards with SMD components (such as QuinLED-Quad) a Hot Air station may be nice to have.

I recently bought one of these cheap air soldering stations and they actually work surprisingly well. Maybe not suited for big time production work but for home soldering they are perfect!

Cheap Hot Air SMD Soldering Station

Ultimate stations

If you want to go die hard and need all the things, get one of these combined ultra stations! They do through-hole, hot air and some even have a vacuum pump inside of them for easy desoldering!

 

Cheap Combined THT and SMD soldering station

Ultimate Soldering Station with THT and SMD soldering

Soldering consumables

To solder you are going to need some tin wire to melt to your soldering joints. Most of the QuinLED stuff is built around THT and uses this type of wire, if you are also going to do SMD soldering with a hot air gun, also pick up some soldering paste

Solder wire

I mostly use 0.6mm soldering wire with resin (so you don’t need extra flux)

0.6mm Soldering Wire

Soldering paste

For soldering with a hot air gun, make sure you also have some tweezers!

1 or 2 tubes of SMD soldering paste

Extra Flux

Sometimes, especially when soldering small pins, you need some extra flux to make sure everything flows correctly

Tube of soldering flux + apply needle

Solder wick

Or as I like to call it, “mistake wire”. If you get too much solder in the wrong place, this can help you clean it up!

1 or 2 rolls of solder wick

Solder suction pump

For Through hole components just using wick isn’t enough sometimes. A solder sucker can help with that! Good to have in your tool arsenal

Cheap solder sucker “pen”

Testing Tools

Multimeter

During the setup of a QuinLED you will need to measure some voltages to set the DC-DC converter to 5v, a multimeter is easiest to use for that!

Decent multimeter with leads included

 

MOSFET/Diode measuring

Want to know if the MOSFETs you got are correctly triggering below 3.3v? Use one of these little testing boxes, it can show you before you solder it on the board!

Tester with color screen and built-in battery!

 

Anything else?

And that’s it, I believe those are all the tools you might need next to the components from the component list. Make sure to check out my articles about Great Quality White Analog LED strip, RGB(W) LED Strip, Digital LED strip, COB lights or what kind of power supply you can use!