Jed Segovia – Zipper Switch Test 2 – Zipper Switches are Hard


This is my entry documenting my second attempt at making a zipper switch. This time, I used a zipper with plastic teeth. I also brought beeswax (actually hair wax for dreadlocks) so that it can smoothen and tighten finicky conductive thread frayed ends.


Threading conductive thread was still tricky, but I managed to sew the negative end of the battery through the underside of the zipper. And because it’s negative, I sewed the resistor and LED negative end into it. But if you’ll look closely, you’ll see I made the mistake of sowing through the positive end as well.

It’s tricky. When sowing, I got caught up with the idea of threading through the hole, not realizing that it would ruin┬áthe proper path of the circuit.


So I snipped the thread connecting the negative and positive ends of the LEDs. I would sow it with thread but not close it.

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You can see here I tested the connectivity of the battery holder to see if the LED was working.


And here, you can see me testing the connectivity of the conductive thread patch through the negative diode. It works! The conductive thread is holding strong while the positive end of the battery is powering the LED through lobster clips.


Here in this photo I’ve sown the negative end of the LED into the circuit and left it open. When I attach clips between the positive end of the battery holder into the positive leg of the LED, it lights up. Great!


And here you’re seeing me test the connectivity of the positive leg that has been sown into the zipper with conductive thread. This time I left it open. And it works.

Just one problem…


I sowed the thread with such a large gap between the teeth and thread that it doesn’t close up. Unlike Liza’s zipper switch, which is very carefully sowed to be as close to the teeth as possible, bridging it almost.

Zipping teeth this small is excruciatingly hard. Making a zipper switch is harder than it looks. It’s also painful in the fingers because I’m compelled to twist this and the zipper around to get the needle through.

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So here, I tried closing the circuit by attaching the positive conductive thread patch to the negative thread patch. The connection on the negative side was too lose. The thread wasn’t wound tight enough. Max, our teaching assistant, recommended I solder the lose end.

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And there. With the loose ends soldered in…


… the LED lights up when the circuit is closed.

Now that I’ve learned these, it’s off to buy another pair of plastic zippers. Little victories.

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