Solder your own Solid State Relays

My Christmas display uses a Digital I/O card to send 5v signals to SSRs to turn on and off the lights.
I also used 8 SSRs and a parallel cable controller to control a float in a Christmas Parade.

Here is how I made my own SSRs.

  1. First, its best to start with a Printed Circuit Board to solder the parts to.
    You can make your own or buy one pre-made. ComputerChristmas.com has a good tutorial on How To Make Printed Circuit Boards yourself.
    I found that SimpleIO sells pre-made boards that are very inexpensive. The boards also come with detailed instructions on their construction.
    This is the board that I order.
  2. You'll need to get your parts together also. To find most of these, I search Mouser and Newark. I also sometimes find great deals on E-Bay
    If you select different components, you will need to check the data sheets to ensure resistor values.
    I used these parts:
    8 - BTA08-600B Triacs
    8 - MOC3043 Opo-Isolators
    8 -180ohm Resistors
    16-220ohm Resistors
    1- 5x20 PC mount Fuseholder
    1 -10 Amp Fuse
    4 -Electric Outlets
    You'll also need some 1/16 x 1/2 aluminum angle for a heatsink. ( I got a piece at lowes in the trim dept)
  3. I start by soldering the 180ohm resistors in place.
  4. Next, I solder the 220ohm resistors in place
  5. Now solder the MOC3043 Opo-Isolators in place.
    NOTE: the little "dimple" goes to the left, indicated on the board as a slot in the diagram
  6. Next, I PLACE (but not solder) the TRIACS in place.
    While they sit there, get the aluminum angle you have for a heat sink, and cut it the length of the board.
    Hold it up to the triacs and mark the holes.

    Now drill thru the aluminum on the marks, and insert some #6 screws through the hole, and LOOSELY bolt the triacs to the heatsink.
    I do this because its HARD to drill perfectly straight thru the aluminum, and if you solder thew triac first, you may not get your holes to line up on the heatsink.
    Once the heatsink is on the triacs, you can then solder them to the board. The Flat metal part goes to the back, just like the board diagram implies.

    Once soldered, you can tighten the screws on the heatsink.
    (You should probably put some thermal compound beteen the heatsink and the triac plate before tightening)
  7. Now solder the fuseholder in.

The header on the left controls the card.
Connect your 5V ground to the GND, and your 8 +5V control signals to 1-8.
There are exra control connections for using card edge, or cat5 type connectors.
I just soldered the contol wires to the card.

I won't get into the 110V side here, because connecting the power should only be done by someone that knows their way around electricity.
It is dangerous, and shouldn't be approached lightly.
The board is clearly marked where to supply power, and where to connect your outlets, so a qualified electrician will understand.