but... how do you use them? where do you get them?
1-watt and 3-watt Power LED's are now widely available in the $3 to $5 range, so i've been working on a bunch of projects lately that use them. in the process it was bugging me that the only options anyone talks about for driving the LED's are: (1) a resistor, or (2) a really expensive electronic gizmo. now that the LED's cost $3, it feels wrong to be paying $20 for the device to drive them!
So I went back to my "Analog Circuits 101" book, and figured out a couple of simple circuits for driving power LED's that only cost $1 or $2.
This instructable will give you a blow-by-blow of all the different types of circuits for powering Big LED's, everything from resistors to switching supplies, with some tips on all of them, and of course will give much detail on my new simple Power LED driver circuits and when/how to use them (and i've got 3 other instructables so far that use these circuits). Some of this information ends up being pretty useful for small LED's too
here's my other power-LED instructables, check those out for other notes & ideas
This article is brought to you by MonkeyLectric and the Monkey Light bike light.
Step 1: Overview / Parts
1) LED's are very sensitive to the voltage used to power them (ie, the current changes a lot with a small change in voltage)
2) The required voltage changes a bit when the LED is put in hot or cold air, and also depending on the color of the LED, and manufacturing details.
so there's several common ways that LED's are usually powered, and i'll go over each one in the following steps.
This project shows several circuits for driving power LED's. for each of the circuits i've noted at the relevant step the parts that are needed including part numbers that you can find at www.digikey.com . in order to avoid much duplicated content this project only discusses specific circuits and their pros and cons. to learn more about assembly techniques and to find out LED part numbers and where you can get them (and other topics), please refer to one of my other power LED projects.