Recycling free white SMD LED from e-waste

Today I will show you how to recycle a super bright white LED from a broken T8 LED tube.

At the present, almost every household prefers to use LED light bulbs over other light bulbs. Because it uses about 50% less energy and is also cheaper.

Recycling free white SMD LED from e-waste

The LED tube size T8 can be used to replace the original fluorescent tube. When it’s broken, many people tend to throw it away, which is one of the serious e-waste-related environmental problems.

T8 LED tube

We need to properly manage this e-waste. As for me, I choose to collect, bury, and pour thick concrete over it. This concrete foundation will then be used for other purposes.

landfill e-waste

How to recycle LED tube

But right now, we are going to reuse it. I noticed that inside the LED tube, there are several LED chips lined up. It is an SMD or Surface Mounted Diode type LED mounted on a flexible circuit board. The flexible circuit board is made of laminated copper foil and a flexible substrate.

SMD LED Chips inside LED tube
SMD LEDs are connected in series.

Learn more: what is a simple series circuit

When my daughter tests it with an ohmmeter in the Rx1 range. She notices that some of the LEDs are fine. They can be used with 3 volts of voltage, emit very well-diffused white light, and consume a low current as well.

Testing SMD LED chips

Using it is very easy; just use a scissor to cut the LED chip out. Then use a knife to scrape off the PCB insulation for easier soldering.

Scratching the PCB insulation of the SMD LED.

Solder the tiny connection wires on the PCB. But be careful—do not hold the soldering iron at it for too long, as it may damage the LED by overheating. Then solder that wire with the resistor (33Ω to 39Ω) in series with the LED chip.

As shown in a simple circuit below.

simple LED circuit with 3.7 battery

We use a 3.7V Li-on rechargeable battery to power this SMD LED, which produces bright light and has low heat.

We solder it onto a perforated PCB; it’s suitable, easy to install, and helps reduce the heat of SMD LEDs during long-term use.


When we tried to connect the SMD LEDs in parallel, the brightness increased. and can only measure a current of about 60 mA.

measuring SMD LED current

Also, for the 12V battery, we take three SMD LEDs and connect them in series according to the circuit as shown.

12V SMD LED circuit

The Free SMD LED is suitable for lighting small areas such as animal enclosures, garden paths, and dark corners in the house. And it may be used in other applications got much more. With this experience, we hope it will be useful to you. We love you.

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