Introduction: 900 LED Light Panel for Video and Photography // 360 Degrees of Rotation

So, professional grade LED Lighting panels are crazy expensive, it's stupid. I present you with my own (and soon your own) pro lighting panel. I call it pro because its not just some LEDs wired up. It's 75 Watts of 900 crisp white LEDs mounted on a full 360 degree rotatable/tiltable stand. But the best feature of all is that it cost me less than $50!

Full disclosure: I used a 90 watt laptop power supply that I had lying around, but most everyone has one of those! Second point is 1/2 of the parts are sourced from over seas, so you might have to wait a week or two. But if you aren't in a rush, then its no biggie. If you are, then pay the price and buy them off amazon :)

So I've taken the time to lay out how to build this lighting panel, I task you with adding one more feature: boom poll (like this one). Then I can follow your tutorial to mod my own light panel :)

Light Panel Specifications:

  • Luminous Flux: 12,600 lumens
  • Color Temperature: 6000K
  • Operating Voltage Range: 6-12 volts
  • Amperage (peak): 6 Amps
  • Power Consumption on full brightness: ~75 Watts
  • Input Voltage Range: 7-32 Volts DC

Features:

  • Fully Dimmable
  • 360 Degree Tilt
  • 360 Degree Swivel
  • Compatible with standard 11/16" Lighting Tripod Heads

Step 1: Schematics and Parts List

Parts:

The parts below can all be purchased at your local hardware store (Home depot)

  • 1 @ 1/8" by 24.75" by 14.25" hardboard
  • 1" by 2" finished pine (actual dimensions: 3/4" by 1.5") - two 8' boards is sufficient
    • 2 @ 24"
    • 2 @ 13.5"
    • 2 @ 2"
    • 2 @ 9.25"
    • 1 @ 27.875"
  • 1 @ 1/2" threaded female PVC coupler
  • 2 @ #10 32 threads/inch 2.5" screws
  • 1 @ #10 T nut
  • 4 @ #10 washers
  • 1 @ screw for tripod (sized according to your tap)
  • 2 @ 1.5" wide steel angles (optional)

Electrical Parts

Again, if you want to do this cheaply, use all of the Banggood links wherever possible.

Step 2: Making the Frame

Boards Needed:

  • 2 @ 0.75" X 1.5" X 24" finished pine
  • 2 @ 0.75" X 1.5" X 13.5" finished pine
  • 1 @ 0.125" X 24.75" X 14.25" hardboard

Make a square the the 4 pieces of pine standing on their 3/4" thick side. Make sure that each board has one side of it's end grain exposed so that when the box is assembled, its dimensions are 24.75" by 14.25". Use wood glue and a few nails to secure the boards together.

Lay out the hardboard and apply glue around the outside, about 1/4" in from the side. Lay the box down that we just made on the glue. Flip the whole assembly upside down and shoot a few nails into it.

Fill in the holes with wood filler and sand the whole thing.

Step 3: Making the Arms That Hold and Pivot the Panel: Part 1

Materials needed:

  • 2 @ 0.75" X 1.5" X 9.25" finished pine
  • 2 @ 0.75" X 1.5" X 2" finished pine
  • 1 @ 0.75" X 1.5" X 27.875" finished pine
  • 1 @ T Nut
  • 2 @ 1.5" wide Steel angles (optional)
  • 8 @ small screws for the steal angles (optional)

First we need to drill and assemble the right arm which will house the mechanism that provides tension for the tilt.

  1. Clamp one of the 2" long boards on top of one of the 9.25" long boards
  2. Use a 7/8" bit to counter sink (as shown in picture 1)
  3. Use a 15/32" bit to drill through both boards directly through the predrilled hole
  4. Hammer the T-nut into the hole on the 2" board from the predrilled side
  5. Glue the the T nut board on the right side of the panel (looking into the box), sandwiching the T nut between the 2" board and the outside of the rightmost 13.5" board on the frame
  6. Glue the other 2" board to the outside of the leftmost 13.5" board on the frame

Now we need to make the arms

  1. Butt the 9.25" boards up against the 27.875" board (take care that the overall length of the assembly does not exceed 27.875"
  2. Make sure that the 9.25" board that we drilled a hole through, has the hole farthest from the 27.875" board
  3. Using glue, a corner clamp and nails, fix the 9.25" boards to the 27.875" board as shown above
  4. (optional) Add steel angles to the inside corners of the arm assembly to help with rigidity and flex

I say that the steel angles are optional because the amount of movement in the arms is very minimal. The steel angles are probably overkill, but for the long term, it can be a good idea.

Step 4: Making the Arms That Hold and Pivot the Panel: Part 2

Materials needed

  • 1 @ 0.75" X 1.5" X 10" finished Pine
  • 1 @ 1/2" to 1/2" threaded PVC coupler
  • 1 @ #10 32 2.5" screw

Lay the arm around the Panel box, making sure that the arm with the hole already drilled in it, is on the right side (the side with the T nut). Using one of the 2.5" screw, attach the right arm to the side of the panel.

Clamp the left arm to the left side of the panel. Predrill from the outside (arm side) with a 7/8" bit. Then drill through the arm, the 2" board and the frame with a 15/32" bit. This will be the tensioner assembly on the left side of the panel.

Now we need to make the tripod mount. I used a 10" piece of left over pine and drilled a 1.125" hole. Glue the 10" board to the bottom of the arm assembly, making sure to line up the centers of the boards. Then apply glue to the threaded male side of the PVC and clamp it inside the hole we drilled.

Step 5: Drilling the Holes for the Electrical Bus and Painting

Materials Needed

  • Paint

Drill two holes at the top of the panel, one inch in from the side and one inch in from the top. The hole just needs to be big enough for your 12 AWG bud wire to fit through.

This is the time to fill in any holes, sand and paint the entire assembly. You probably want to leave the inside of the LED panel white as it will reflect the most light, but get creative with the outside.

Step 6: Laying Out the LEDs

Materials Needed

  • 3 @ 5 meter strands of 300 LEDs each

The LED strands are made up of 3 LED batches. Every third LED there is a resistor and a pair of exposed copper contacts. At this junction, you will see a depiction of scissors. This is the place where you will be cutting the strands. If you cut it someone not on these contacts, then you will kill a portion of your strand.

Count 10 contact points (or 30 LEDs) in and cut. Repeat this process until you have 30 smaller strips of 30 LEDs each. You can throw in a few extra LEDs as the panel dimensions will accommodate at least 5 more strips depending on how closely you lay them out.

Mark two lines in from the bottom and side so that your LEDs are centered and straight. Then start laying your LED strips down. It doesnt matter the orientation that you lay them. If you really want consistency, have all of the Positive leads of each strand on top on the right side of the panel, but this isn't so important.

Step 7: Laying Out the Positive and Negative Bus Wire

Materials Needed

  • 12 AWG Wire

Cut two lengths of wire that are 1 inch longer than the width of the LEDS. Then poke one end through the hole drilled near the top of the hardboard. On the back end, bend the wire down so it stays there. These will be out positive and negative bus bars for our LEDs.

Step 8: Soldering the LEDs to the Bus Wires

Materials Needed

  • 22 AWG Wire (preferably without insulation)
  • Solder

Now we need to connect all the positive leads of the strips to the right copper bus, and all of the negative leads of the strips to the left copper bus.

From an electrical perspective, we are wiring up all of the LED strips in parallel (positive to positive, negative to negative).

TIP: pre-tin the positive and negative leads on the LED strips. Pre-tinning is a process in which you melt solder onto each of the leads before you solder them together. This will make your life so much easier.

Step 9: Testing the LEDs

You can test the LEDs by hooking the positive of a 12 Volt power supply to the positive (right side) of the LEDs and the negative to the negative. I used a 12 Volt power supply with a barrel connector on it. For me, the positive was inside the barrel and the negative was on the outside.

It is important to test the LEDs for bad solder joints. In the first picture above, I hadn't soldered a few of the strips together properly, so they didn't light up. Check the panel in several different places to make sure all of your solder joints are good.

Step 10: Wiring the Voltage Regulator Circuit

Materials Needed

  • Voltage Regulator
  • 22 Kohm Potentiometer
  • 22 AWG Insulated Wire
  • Solder

The voltage regulator we are using has two micro potentiometers on it. Those are the little blue guys with the brass screws in them. We are only interested in one of them. That's the top one when you are looking at it and the Voltage in/out points are on the left (refer to video for clarification on which one). Potentiometers are just resistors that change their value when you turn them. This will perform our voltage dimming.

Solder the two short wires to the left and middle lead of the potentiometer. Solder the middle wire of the potentiometer to the middle lead on the micro pot on the voltage regulator (refer to the picture above for clarification). Then solder the other (right wire when looking at it upside down) to the lead just to the right of the middle lead we just soldered to (right as pictured upside down in the picture above).

Step 11: Tuning the Voltage Regulator

Materials needed

  • Multimeter
  • 19 Volt power supply

Now we need to turn the circuit.

First attach your multimeter to the outputs of the voltage regulator. Then plug your 19 volt power supply into the voltage input

Set your multimeter to Voltage reading Direct Current. You should see a voltage reading. Try turning your potentiometer and see if the voltage output changes. If it doesn't, then you may have soldered the potentiometer on wrong.

Now we need to adjust the output voltage so that it does not exceed 12 volts. If it does, this will kill our LEDs. Turn the potentiometer all the way to the right. Then using a small screw driver, turn the small brass screw until the voltage reading is 12 volts. Turning it to the right (clockwise) will increase the voltage output, and left will decrease.

Test your voltage range. It should be something like 1.2 Volts to 12.0 Volts.

Step 12: Connecting Everything Together

Materials Needed

  • 12 AWG Insulated wire
  • Solder
  • Heat shrink or Electrical Tape

Connect the positive LED Bus wire to the positive output on the voltage regulator. You can do this either with solder or by using the screw terminals. Do the same for the negative side of the LED lead with the negative output of the Voltage regulator. Shrink wrap or cover with electrical tape the leads.

Instead of just mounting the electronics directly to the back of the panel, I made a small enclosure for it. I also added a small 12 volt fan and an on/off switch.

The 12 volt fan leads can be soldered directly onto the voltage regulators positive and negative leads. This way, the rotational speed of the fan will vary with current draw. Be careful that your fan isnt too loud or it will pollute your video's audio.

The on off switch is just wired in series with the positive voltage input to the voltage regulator.

Step 13: Attaching the Arms to the Panel

Materials Needed
  • 2 @ #10 32 2.5" screw
  • 4 @ #10 washers
  • 4 @ #10 nuts
  • 2 @ #10 1" aluminum tube
  • 1 @ #10 3/4" aluminum tube

Right Arm:

I made a custom handle for the tensioner on the right side of the panel. I used 1" X 1" X 4" oak with a hole drilled into it. Insert a screw through the handle and tighten it with a nut and washer on the other side. Place as many nuts/washers as you need to create tension when you screw it through the arm into the right side of the panel. For me, this was 3 nuts and a washer.

Slide a 1" aluminum tube into the arm/panel. This will made the pivoting smoother and stop it from slowly stripping away the wood.

Left Arm:

Insert the 1" aluminum sleeve into the panel and the 3/4" sleeve into the arm. Then insert a screw and washer from the inside of the panel through the panel and into the arm. Place a washer on the end of the screw and screw on two nuts. The first nut holds the arm and panel together while the second one locks it in place. Do not tighten the left side or the panel won't tilt.

Step 14: Get Creating!

Now its time to use your creation to make some sweet videos!

Thanks for reading through and watching! Make sure and check out the rest of my channel and share what you've learned here today!

Comments

author
JohnH299 (author)2016-03-17

First, thank you for a great-looking, well-presented project! I'm a still photographer, have plenty of strobes, but am looking to do both still and video...on a budget. I'll be making at least one of these.

Second, have you considered any mods to allow for filters? Larger sheet filters aren't common, so I'll need to do some research for sizes, costs, etc. Mainly I was wondering about ways to affix filters in front of the lighting so you can have different light temps from different sources. If it were all one temp, Photoshop is the obvious answer. If you want to get creative with different light temps, then filters are an answer.

author
PatrickW51 (author)JohnH2992016-03-18

Thank you!

I have not looked into mods for filters. The cheapest way to do it would be to simply tape it to the front. Otherwise you will need a larger transparent of plastic but those can get pricy. One way to do it, is to use two different temperatures of LED's like DIY Perks does:

Or you can put an acrylic sheet over the front like he does in this build:

I'm going to be making another one of these panels, and I like the 6000K so much that I think I am just goign to use the same temperature LED's again, buttttttt his flexible, temperature variable LED panels are really temping. Might try those out!

author
StressTest (author)2016-02-23

There is only one addition I'd like to see with this panel and that's to be able to control the color temperature of between 3000K and 6000K. Do you know how we could accomplish this?

I was actually going to buy a led panel that has this capability but if I can build it, that would be even better. I'm not very electronics savvy but if you have the know how, this would be a great addition.

author
PatrickW51 (author)StressTest2016-02-27

You might be able to get white LED strips that have varying temperatures. That is definitely something I would like to have too. You have to be careful about your lighting with this panel because the light is so white!

author
StressTest (author)PatrickW512016-02-29

That's a good idea... It would probably be the easiest way to implement this provided you could find such a set of lights. At any rate, great instructable.

author
PatrickW51 (author)StressTest2016-02-29

Actually, I just recently saw this video. He used two different temperatures of LEDs and dims them individually: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qlMtakaa7u8

author
StressTest (author)PatrickW512016-03-02

This is great! Thank you very much for the link, this is exactly what I needed and I appreciate you taking the time to find it.

author
PatrickW51 (author)StressTest2016-03-05

No problem! :D

author
DIY Hacks and How Tos (author)2016-02-20

This is a really impressive panel light.

author

Thank you!!

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Bio: My sister and I like to make things! And even more than making things, we like to share our creations! We want to create beautiful ... More »
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