LED strip lighting recommendation DIY or purchase

Wurkkos

eyeeatingfish

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Apr 19, 2007
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920
I have been reviewing a few DIY projects but feel like I still don't get it. I can mount an LED to an aluminum bar and solder the wires and all but what evades my understanding is the math behind it. How many leds on one power unit? What type of power unit? What LEDs will take what voltage? Each wattage/voltage vs total wattage/voltage? I also ask this because I have about 5 leds of different types, R5, XP-g, Luxeon3, xm-l and I don't know whether i could attach all of those on the same power strip or if different types need own power supplies.
I am not really planning on going all out and making fixtures to replace normal bulbs or put onto electrical boxes like some of the geniuses here.
I would like to build my own but don't know what individual stuff to buy from some of those LED stores like superbrightleds.com or whoever you might recommend.

The alternative is stripe lighting that you plug and play but I am not familiar with brands and models so I don't know what is good stuff. I went to a local lighting supply store and they had some strip/tape LED lighting and I told him 6-8' of lights with nothing fancy and he told me might run $100+ That seemed a bit excessive though, am I wrong? He said the power supplies are expensive but is a AC to DC really that expensive? Obviously we get them with so many electronics already.
Also if I buy the strip myself and the connectors and the power unit do I need a heat sink or do those not give off much heat light a bright flashlight LED.

Thanks for the help!
 

Ken_McE

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Jun 16, 2003
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1,684
I have been reviewing a few DIY projects but feel like I still don't get it. I can mount an LED to an aluminum bar and solder the wires and all but what evades my understanding is the math behind it...

If we tell you how the math works, will you change that awful user name?


I would like to build my own but don't know what individual stuff to buy from some of those LED stores like superbrightleds.com or whoever you might recommend.

You might start out with cheap parts, build nightlights, make affordable mistakes, work up from there.


... went to a local lighting supply store and they had some strip/tape LED lighting and I told him 6-8' of lights with nothing fancy and he told me might run $100+ That seemed a bit excessive though, am I wrong

I've been watching these:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/230849373637?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1423.l2649

also on eBay, you can buy LED ropelights and just slice off lengths to suit your needs. I've got a staircase lit that way.

He said the power supplies are expensive but is a AC to DC really that expensive? Obviously we get them with so many electronics already.

You can start off with a cheap wall wart leftover from something and build a light to go with it.


Also if I buy the strip myself and the connectors and the power unit do I need a heat sink...

My rule of thumb is that any LED that uses less than 1 watt of power (the little bullet shaped ones, Superfluxes) doesn't need a radiator, 1 watt or over does.
 

idleprocess

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I suggest that you familiarize yourself with Ohm's law, remembering that LED's effectively do not have any resistance. Then hit up google with something along the lines of "how to hook up LED's" or "LED calculator".

For a simple series application (ie, DIY LED strip with a DC power supply and a resistor to limit current), you'll need to sum the forward voltages of the LED's you plan on using then subtract that from the voltage of the power supply (it must exceed the sum of the LED's). Use this value to determine what resistance the current-limiting resistor needs - don't forget to account for the power that this resistor will be dissipating. You'll pretty much never find the resistor you need to hit your target current value, so be prepared to live within a current range. Also keep in mind that LED forward voltages are typically specified for their maximum rated current and will tend to be less when operating at a drive current less than maximum.

If you don't want to mess with that, LED tape is fairly inexpensive and simple - just cut to length, solder on wires as needed, and apply the rated voltage.
 

eyeeatingfish

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Apr 19, 2007
Messages
920
Well I have been wanting to learn the science of electronics but I don't think I have the time now that I think about it. 2 young kids leaves me very little time for DIY crafts.
I think what I will end up doing is buying the stip lights, or the bar lights where they are pretty plug and play easy and jsut hook those up.
Thanks for the help, and the suggestions. I will look into that tape lighting. Is it easy to figure out what voltage to buy?
If I can get around to doing anything maybe I will post some pictures so everyone can see.
I was also looking at these simple products.
http://www.superbrightleds.com/cat/rigid-light-bars/
 

AnAppleSnail

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Aug 21, 2009
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Location
South Hill, VA
I've made two very bright lights now with the 12v strips from Amazon. Costs about $1 per foot, provide your own 12v wall plug supply, and they're rated to about 1 amp per meter. I stick mine to aluminum bars for structure and added cooling, put it out of the way, and leave it on a timer outlet. I hardly touch the light switch in my kitchen. The other unit is growing sweet pepper seedlings right now.

My total investment in them has been about an hour of assembly and soldering, thirty bucks for LEDs, and about twenty in aluminum stock, and $4 for two timer outlets. I forget what the wall wart plugs were, but call those $15 each for acceptable quality. That means about $42 per fixture with automatic timer, decent output (About 800 lumen), and decent efficiency.

Edit: The search term on Amazon.com is "Flexible Light Strip" or "White LED Ribbon." I like the "Flexible Light Strip 300 SMD White LED Ribbon 5 Meter or 16 Feet by LEDWholeSalers, 2026wh." Warm white and neutral white serve me well, but I haven't tried any cool white. My build gives me a 'rigid aluminum bar light' with higher performance than most sold online near this price point.
 
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