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.

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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
mrdrbobo3 years ago
I bought 2 packages of Ledberg, gives me 2 x3 strips and 2 power supplies.
I first joined 3 strips, connected the PSU, and measured the current. My multimeter said I=130 mA. The PSU says it can supply 0,25 A. So I figured one PSU could power 2x3=6 strips.
Just to be sure, I included one ballast resistor (R=3,9 Ohm, 5Watt). I then connected the 6 strips (and the resistor in series) to one PSU and measured the Voltage drop over that resistor, which was 0,7 Volt. This makes for a current of about 180 mA, which is well below the specified maximum on the PSU of 250 mA.
Conclusion: you can buy 2 packets of Ledberg, connect them to a strip of about 1,6 meter of nice warmwhite light and power it all with one power supply.
So far nothing seems to overheat.
I live in The Netherlands, by the way.
JABLAW3 years ago
If you are careful you can also remove the plastic connector and re solder it to a length of wire to allow the light to be moved and still work as a plug in to the strip.I took my soldering iron and melted the little circular tab to remove the strip as indicated and very carefully un soldered the connector. I re soldered wire to the light strip and replaced it in the plastic. If you re heat the original tab, it will hold the strip in place. I then re soldered the connector onto the wire and covered the whole thing with heat shrink tubing. Be careful to match the polarity of the wire when re doing the connections.
ffavre3 years ago
check out mine :D
http://www.instructables.com/id/Simple-IKEA-Ledberg-Computer-Ambilight/
dennisjudd (author)  ffavre3 years ago
There ya go, those things just beg to be modded don't they :)
pcooper23 years ago
I solved a similar problem for myself at work over 10 years ago with a #10 food can, a piece of melamine-clad shelving board, a surface-mount melamine light socket, a 60W incandescent bulb, a cheap 12-foot extension cord and an in-line dimmer. I mounted the light socked on the board, used the extension cord to provide a power supply to the socket and some of the spare wire from the cord to run off to the dimmer, which was wired up pendant-style and lies on the desk next to the computer monitor. I cut both ends out of the food service can and set it over the light socket so it acts like a "can up-light", and placed the contraption behind the monitor. It illuminates the wall behind the monitor and the ceiling above, giving soft, indirect light in the desk area. I still use a pantograph-arm desk lamp to provide high intensity task lighting when I need to read printed material. A commercial can light (see image) could have been modified to work with an off-the-shelf pendant dimmer just as well for a little more money, but less effort. The key is that the light source is hidden from direct view by the computer monitor and all the illumination is indirect.
totszwai3 years ago
Why do you need to take the ends out? I thought by default IKEA have the extension connectors that allows you to connect multiple strip together.
3 years ago
If you buy the expensive, \$50 for 4' version, yes you get adapters. The cheapo version has 1 short power cable and no extenders.

They do use the same power supply (with a different connector). I had two expensive sets, and 7 cheap sets wired/soldered together to lite up some shelves. Saved over \$100 by using the cheap sets for the same amount of lighting.
wjcarpenter3 years ago
It's fun to make things like this. When I wanted to put bias lighting behind my big old flat screen TV, I wanted instant gratification more than I wanted this kind of fun (and it's 25 miles for me to go to IKEA :-).

Antec produces something almost exactly like this specifically for bias lighting behind monitors. You can find a meager description of them at their brand web site: soundscienceaudio.com. It's a 14 inch strip of 6 LEDs with a USB plug for power. The strip is adhesive on one side, so you can just stick it on and plug it in.

They are available for sale at a lot of retail and online places (at least in the US). For example, the local Staples sells them for \$12 or so.

Unfortunately, Antec doesn't say what the color temperature is in the literature, and I have no easy way to figure it out. Since they specifically call it bias lighting, I hope it's near 6500k (and that I'm not just falling for the placebo effort of a cool looking white glow ... ooooh, pretty :-).
dennisjudd (author)  wjcarpenter3 years ago
yeah I totally saw those but the reviews on Amazon were really mixed. I think for v2.0 I'd really like to "roll my own" basically and build pretty much the same thing expect spec out my own LED's.

It would awesome to power them off USB...heck I suspect they might even turn off while my computer is in sleep mode. I tried originally testing out using the 5v rail but it slowly burnt out a few LED's because I didn't put the proper resistor on it.

Also since they only use a single strip then I think it relies a little to much on the back surface reflecting and spreading the light. My concrete walls make that a poor choice....but who know they might be super bright enough to compensate.
jpayton3 years ago
Have you looked at the EBAY LED Strips? Look for 30cm 5050 led strips. I put these in my truck tool box and they light everything up. I put some in the bed and It looks like day in there. with just 4 strips. Make sure they are the 5050 LED bulbs,
Thereyouhaveit3 years ago
if it's 12V then even a 500mA supply would suffice .
Because i use a laptop .
teddlesruss3 years ago
Ive used four sets of these LED lights glued across the roof lining of my motor home, throw out the switchmode power supplies and connect them direct to the house 12V system, they light the bus up a treat and also make it look like a million dollars.
Nice guide Dennis, but I figured out a way to do it even simpler and easier.
see http://www.emsai.net/projects/soldering/ledberg/

Hopefully this gives you some ideas on what to do for that 2nd "batch" you mentioned.

Roger.

dennisjudd (author)  Roger HÃ¥gensen3 years ago
It's interesting. I didn't notice any plug to remove them from the sheath but I might have been a little to eager to use my Dremel. :) If somebody doesn't feel comfortable with a Dremel your method would be a good choice.

It's interesting that by your estimate you could run up to 5 lights off one power supply. Since I'm using all 6 that wouldn't have necessarily worked for me...at least on paper.

Good to see somebody else who played with these. I wish I had the resources to have tried it your way too!
3 years ago
Interesting tidbit: at 0.6 watt per strip, and 7 lights per strip, that means each individual LED only uses around 0.086 watt, a rater brilliant invention the LED indeed.
3 years ago
It's a bit difficult to see from the photo with the unopened package, but by the looks of it it doesn't say 0.5-3watt as it does here, it looks like it says Max 5 watt.

So it looks like it varies by region (or even production runs?) what the specs are.

5watt / 0.6 watt = 8.33333333

This means that if your power supply states max 5 watt then you could run 8 strips off one power supply... But 9 strips would be too many for example.

Please note that there is no way of knowing if the max or range printed is with margin or without. I assume there might be a margin in addition, but why take the chance of the box overheating or shutting down (due to a blown non-replaceable fuse or overload prevention circuit), so treat what is printed on the supply to mean exactly what it states, just to be safe.
lal235psu3 years ago
Very Cool Instructable! I've been wanting to do something with IKEA LED's.
dimtick3 years ago
this is really cool. i'll think i'll do this at home.
now as an architect i'm not a big fan of the dark computer room. to reduce eye strain you want more balanced general light levels (ambient light). it's the contrast between light and dark that causes eye strain.
if you can increase the overall light level without having hot spots or glare you can greatly reduce eye strain.

randofo3 years ago
Very cool. How has has it been working out for you? Have you found it easier to look at?
3 years ago
Also, if you make the picture of the finished project the main image I would be happy to feature it to the homepage.
dennisjudd (author)  randofo3 years ago
good suggestion, done.
dennisjudd (author)  randofo3 years ago
So far they're working out great. I have them hooked up to a foot switch so I can turn them off and on and when I do I can feel my pupils contract and expand. So I really do think there's something to this whole concept.

In a perfect world I'd order my own LED's (close to 6500k) as I could get and then wire them up to run off USB. But this was just a proof of concept...and I have a limited budget. :)