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Thursday, March 23, 2023

Surgery On An LED To Preserve Vintage Aesthetics

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[Chris Jones] recently found himself in a pickle. An indicator LED off an old piece of stereo equipment had failed. It was a strange rectangular type for which he could source no modern substitute. Using a different LED would ruin the aesthetic. Thus, what else was [Chris] to do, but attempt surgery on an LED!

The first attempt was the simplest. [Chris] tried soldering a small SMD LED between the legs of the existing part, which was open circuit. It worked, but the light didn’t really propagate to the top of the LED’s plastic. It was too dim to do the job.

Unperturbed, [Chris] instead elected to cut the LED apart. he soldered the SMD LED to the original LED’s leads, inside its body this time. The top part of the plastic lens was then notched to fit snugly over the new SMD part. A bit of superglue then joined everything back together. The finished product looks a touch messy on the PCB. However, installed back inside the stereo, it’s a perfectly stealth fix that looks great.

Some will consider this fix frivolous and a waste of time. Others will appreciate the way it preserved the attractive retro look of a piece of vintage audio gear. In any case, we can all agree that modern LEDs are often a great replacement for older parts in many cases. If you’ve pulled off your own weird, oddball repair hacks, don’t hesitate to share us with them on the tipsline!

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