Simple question for you guys. I am trying to drive an LED with a 5V power source and a resistor in series. I understand how to calculate the minimum resistance needed to drive the LED with maximum current ((voltage supply - forward voltage) / maximum current) but I can't for the life of me figure out how to calculate the current through an LED with a given resistor. Say, we have our 5V source --> 330 ohm resistor --> LED with forward voltage of 3.15V --> ground. What's the current flowing through the circuit?
By applying Kirchoff's Voltage Law, you know the voltage across the resistance (supply voltage - forward voltage). With this, you can apply Ohm's Law to calculate the current through the resistor (you know the voltage across it and the resistance). Since it is a series circuit, the current through the resistor = the current through the LED.
Ugh, of course. Too simple. I knew I had enough information to back that number out, I suppose it has just been a long day and my brain already went into weekend mode. Thanks!
You'll want to check the LED datasheet for typical operating voltage @ specified current. Assuming a standard 5mm LED: White @ 20mA (Vin - Vf) / R = I Vin = 5 V Vf = 3.2V (found from LED datasheet @ 20mA) I = 0.02A 5V - 3.2 / R = 0.02A R = 90 Ohm Dont burn up your resistor! Calculate power in R: P = I^2 * R P = (0.02 * .02) * 90 P = .036W