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DIY LED Light Panel
August 2, 2012 1:38 PM   Subscribe

I would like to learn more about electronics and circuitry by making a LED light panel. I have questions about how to calculate the number of LEDs I need, soldering, and how to diffuse the light.

I would like to make LED light panels to mount to a basement ceiling, like the following examples (1, 2). I know mine won't be as pretty. It's a learning experience!

My plan, inspired by this video and this previous question is to make a LED panel that will fit into a 10 inch picture frame and then get mounted to the ceiling. There won't be a battery, I plan on wiring it to a 12v power supply. Dimming is intriguing, but seems like a v2 feature.



Based on the previous question, I am probably going to go with this roll of LEDs in Warm White (3000-3500K), unless anyone has a better suggestion.

Questions:

1) The video would have the LEDs laid out on the bottom of the box. Should I be arranging the lights like in this instructable? I worry that won't be bright enough.

2) How do I calculate how many LEDs I need per panel? Assuming I am trying to replicate the light output of a 60 w light bulb (800 lumens.) Will the resulting output from the panel be equal to the number of LEDs multiplied by the amount of lumens per LED? The website says each LED is 4-5 watts. Solving for x, that is 160 LEDs. That seems like a lot.

3) I am going to ask a friend to show me how to solder them together. Can I use speaker wire? I don't know if Radio Shack is the best place to buy it, but they do have white wire which will blend into my ceiling and walls.

4) The light panel in the video has super frosted glass. Can this be simulated? I don't know if the self-adhesive vinyl frosting for windows would be thick enough. Perhaps two layers?

Thanks for your help. I am excited on learning several new skills, and fixing the terrible lighting situation that is my basement.
posted by gagoumot to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (2 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
It looks like the LED roll you linked to does not require soldering -- don't you just use the "strip wire connector"? In any case, soldering is no big deal if you have someone show you how (and practice).

If you need 800 lumens, and each LED emits 5 lumens, then you need 160 LEDs. Call it half a reel.

They say each strip of LEDs is 3A. Speaker wire should be fine for that.
posted by phliar at 3:44 PM on August 2, 2012


Be sure to grab a power supply sufficient to power your LEDs. They can draw quite a bit of current. If you use 1/2 of a roll that takes 3A/roll, you'll need a 12V 1.5A supply - definitely findable but beefier than most random wall warts you might have laying around.

If you ever want to go REALLY big on the LEDs, an ATX PC power supply is very useful. You can get lots of current out of them.
posted by SakuraK at 8:49 PM on August 2, 2012


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