Today we continue our newest blog series - the Component Corner, with a very small component indeed. The Micro Bit Light! While all of the parts that make up a Light My Bricks kit could be considered small (this is miniature electronics after all!) it's safe to say that these extra tiny LEDs are among the smallest!
Comprised of an LED measuring less than a single millimetre across it's ahead, as well as specifically produced extra thin wire and connector, the micro bit light is our go to component anytime we need to light up an essential miniature detail in a LEGO set.
The very first Light My Bricks light kit to incorporate the micro bit light, was the 10236 LEGO Star Wars Ewok Village and just like a lot of our more interesting components, it was designed to solve a lighting problem!
At the time there was enormous demand for a lighting kit for the set. Those familiar with the hugely popular LEGO Star Wars instalment will know, it features a famous scene from Return of the Jedi where C-3PO is seated atop a flaming throne.
The LEGO throne includes several torch components with the very smallest gauge LEGO hole. Well, we knew we absolutely had to light these torches otherwise we wouldn't have been doing everyone's favourite golden god/droid justice, but our regular sized bit lights certainly would not have fit! Quite the lighting conundrum we were in.
A growing realisation came over our lead designer - that an extra extra small bit light would not only suit the torches in question, but many other LEGO sets on our to-do list, a world of possibilities began to open up in the teams mind!
This led to a series of in depth discussions with our manufacturing partners. Could they produce a bit light small enough to fit inside the smallest LEGO gauge? And if they could, how difficult was it going to be to incorporate it into our existing system? What hurdles stood in our way?
After a lot of back and forth we were finally met with good news! An LED small enough could be produced, but it would mean using a specially made miniature sized wire which was not compatible with our current wires, connectors and expansion boards.
To create a unique made for purpose expansion board, featuring centrally mounted micro connection ports to accommodate our newly minted micro bit lights - as well as regular sized connection ports located at either end of the board, to allow it to connection and function within our existing light system.
The finished result is an incredibly small bit light that can fit.. well, anywhere!
We employed the micro bit light, in its flashing incarnation, with our recently released Elf Clubhouse light kit. It was the perfect component to light the centre piece of kit, the Christmas roof lights.
Just the latest LEGO set to require these tiniest of tiny LEDs, we’re sure glad to have them in our repertoire when it comes to lighting detailed sets - and all thanks to C3PO! Wonder what design challenge will produce the next new component?