Introduction: Bias Lighting Using the IKEA Ledberg Light
I spend a lot of time on computers and currently have six monitors on my desk. My office is also located in a dark basement. Between these two things eye strain is a constant issue for me. So a couple of weeks back when I read about bias lighting I decided I wanted to try doing something similar.
On a recent trip to IKEA as I was gazing longingly at the Dioder I noticed the Ledberg sitting near by for a much more reasonable cost. It was hard to get a good grasp on the light out due to being in a retail store at the time but I figured for $15 each I could give it a shot.
Step 1: Test Em' Out
The first thing I did was open them up and connect them to each other to see how bright they are. I was actually surprised that it was able to light up a two car garage pretty well.
Step 2: Expose the Solder Contacts
After making sure they all work out of the package I decided that I wanted a system that would fit entirely behind a monitor. Since I have so many monitors i could have probably left them as just one strip but that wasn't what I wanted. So my assistant gathered up the LED bars while I setup the Dremel grinding wheel.
The concept is pretty straight forward. Take your cutting wheel and go around the plastic sheath without going in deep enough to hit the circuit board. The only tricky part is the vertical cut necessary to get the sheath off. I used a flat headed screw driver to spread the piece apart at the vertical cut
Step 3: Make Them Easy to Position by Adding Wire
Now that the plastic has been cut back we can proceed to making the connector a little bit more "flexible". I threw it in a vice and then used a soldering iron to remove the plastic connector. Removing it is easy enough with the only tricky bit being that the metal strips aren't held on with anything beyond the little plastic stress tabs. I recommend just melting them to help hold them on the metal strips.
Once I had the plug off all I did was take 3 inches of wire (24awg alarm wire I had a spool of) and add it. The only thing that can go wrong really at this point is reversing your polarity so make sure you keep the orientation of the plug correct. The good news is that you only have to do this twice per three strip pack.
Step 4: Creating a Mount
As I was thinking about how to orientate the three light bars it occurred to me that I wanted to spread the light a little bit and not just direct it straight back. Not that there's anything wrong with that but my walls are unpainted concrete so I need every bit of help I can get. After pondering on it for a while I came across the idea of using some spare 11/16" quarter round trim I had lying around. It's easy to work with, lightweight and best of all curved.
the Ledberg lights come with mounting clips and tiny little screws. Initially I scoffed at them but in the end they were actually perfect. Believe it or not I flattened the back of the 11/16" quarter round with my bench grinder just to give the double sticky tape some place to grab onto. To install the clips I used precision screwdrivers and good ol' fashioned elbow grease. Everything pretty much just fit.
Step 5: Put Them on Your Monitor!
Once you get everything put together there isn't much to do. The only thing I attempted to do on purpose was to stagger the led's when i put them in the clips. Again just another attempt to spread the light around.
I put a little double sticky side tape on (the red stuff) and then slapped it on the back of my monitor (I built two for this prototype). I plugged them on and voila, bias lighting
In the final two pictures you can see the light output with my monitors both on and off. They aren't as bright as I'd like and the color isn't anywhere close to 6500k (daylight) but for the cost I think they turned out pretty well. I'd honestly like to build a few more for my other monitors. There are a few things I could improve on. For example I wonder if the entire thing would run off a single power supply. The two of them together only pull 3 watts so I bet it probably would. For a prototype though I'm currently pretty happy with the finished product.
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