Best resources to learn how to make High Powered LED's work?

What are the best resources for learning how to use high powered LEDs.  I want to make my own Night vision IR flashlights and illuminators, but just don't quite have all the parts as to how to do this exactly.  Should be extremely simple I think. But, I've found how to calculate the resistors that may be needed, but don't quite understand what a "driver" is or how to figure out what one I need for "X" LED, I want to use.   Say, Put 2, 3, 5, 50 or whatever, 5w or whatever the largest LEDs are now......(that I can afford on the cheap).......together and use a 12v source or cr123 or whatever to power them.   And just making my own flashlights or converting an old flashlight or making video lighting with white LEDs would be nice.  Any advice from any of you would be greatly appreciated. 

seandogue7 years ago
There are several instructables on the subject, although in my experience, the very best resource is the manufacturer sites themselves. They often offer documents that help the engineer in using their products, covering electrical, mechanical, and thermal considerations.

good luck!
MOModMan (author)  seandogue7 years ago
Thanks. I've been using the this site a bunch actually. I just feel like I'm missing something. However, when I clicked here to reply, the "related" column to the right brought up a couple Instructables I haven't seen yet, so perhaps they will help me out.

Love this site. I'll hopefully contribute some good stuff here soon.
I'd like to note that for high power LEDs, a simple load resistor isn't suitable for use as the current regulator. A driver, in th4e context of a high power LED, is a constant current source, often with some sort of temperature measurement incorporated.

There are special integrated circuits available, although an LM317 (look that part number up at National semiconductors' website that can be configured as a constant current source. You'll need to monitor the die temperature and provide shutoff if the temp goes too high, or else wind up with a bit of dead silicon...
MOModMan (author)  seandogue7 years ago
Thanks. I appreciate our help. I'm slowly figuring it out.....I think. Hopefully, I'll get there.