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RC LED Resistor Calculator

RC LED Resistor CalculatorA frequently asked question is how to calculate the right resistors to use when building a custom LED light set. Although the math is fairly easy we’ve made things even easier with our RC LED resistor calculator. All you have to do is fill in the battery voltage you will be powering your LED lights from, the LED’s forward voltage and the LED’s current rating. The specs of the resistor you should use with your LED will appear below. The resulting calculations are for each resistor wired (in series) to each LED bulb you want to use.

If you cannot find a resistor with the exact resistance in ohms as recommended by the calculator, just use the next size up. Also, when it comes to the power rating of your resistor, it is always better to err on the side of caution. If the calculator recommends a .230 watt resistor you are within spec to use a 1/4 watt (.250) resistor but with the numbers being so close the resistor is likely to get very hot. In that situation going with a 1/2 watt resistor would be the much better choice. You can also use higher number resistors to lower the light output of your LEDS, which also results in longer battery life.

If you have any questions feel free to post them below and we’ll do our best to help out.

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5 Comments  comments 

5 Responses

  1. dennis

    can i run leds from a lipo?

    • You can definitely power LEDs from a lipo battery pack but you have to make sure you use resistors with the right power (watt) rating. For example, powering 2v/20ma LEDs with a 7.4v lipo will only need a 1/8 watt resistor per LED. If you powered the same LEDs from a 6S lipo you’d need half watt resistors and even those will probably get pretty hot.

      • dennis

        does it matter if they are 3mm or 5mm leds

        • Every LED will have a forward voltage and maximum current, as long as you punch in the numbers for your LEDs it shouldn’t matter whether they are 3mm or 5mm. With that said, you’re going to want to make sure your light bar (or whatever) is made for 3mm/5mm LEDs. Also, 5mm LEDs are usually brighter so if you’re using them for headlights you’ll want to go with the larger size if it fits.

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