DIY Cheap LED TV Backlight - a Layman's Version

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Introduction: DIY Cheap LED TV Backlight - a Layman's Version

Hello Makers,

If you are wondering what makes this DIY backlight instructable so special when there are already so many available, read on :).

These days everyone has a TV , to be precise an LED, LCD or Plasma TV. So why need a TV backlight? A simple answer is to reduce strain on eyes and add a great ambient to your TV room. So a backlight is both functional and also has aesthetic value.

For the same reason I wanted one for my TV. While looking for a TV backlight I did some research and concluded these points, which later became motivation for this DIY version.

  1. Commercial backlight system are available but not popular.They are somewhat expensive.
  2. Most online tutorial directly stick LED strip behind the back of TV, I want my TV untouched.
  3. Some tutorial requires lots of electronic and/or electrical knowledge, they are good indeed but I am not, I want something effective yet so simple that you can do it without any prior knowledge or such components.
  4. Most TVs are wall mounted so I want something for that and I could not find any simpler ones.
  5. I want to make it portable or removable without affecting my TV.
  6. I want to use something which is super cheap and easily available.
  7. I want it super light weight.
  8. I do not want to drill another hole.

I think that's enough, so if you agree even to some points in my list I would suggest you read on and I assure you wont be disappointed :)

NOTE: If you haven't worked with electricity or LED or electronics, great!! you will still be able to do this :)

WelcometoDIY Cheap LED TV Backlight - A Layman's Version and let me tell you how I transformed my TV to a backlighted TV

Step 1: Stuff Required

You can buy all the stuff from your local hardware electrical store.

  1. About 10 Feet electric cable plastic casing of width 1 inch Wide. This length may vary depending upon the size of your TV.
  2. 4 L Shaped Casing Connectors
  3. Single Color LED Strip I bought a 5 meter roll. I picked green because it suited my wall color. They call it SMD 3528 Single Color
  4. Compatible LED Strip Driver or Adapter
  5. Insulated Tape: For covering wire joins
  6. Measuring Tape
  7. Small Hand Saw
  8. Some electrical wire with a plug, length depends on your requirement, I used about 4 Feet.
  9. Transparent Tape (not in picture)
  10. Some large Binder clips to secure joins (not in the picture).
  11. Some glue like E6000 or rubber glue or something that can join plastic to plastic.

NOTE: Make sure when you buy LED strip, ask the store expert to provide you with compatible adapter

Step 2: Some Basic Measurements & Cutting the Casings

So here is the Idea finally revealed, we want to create a frame of plastic casing which has LED strip lights glued. And which can be easily placed behind the TV supported by LED mount thus leaving the TV untouched.

Why measurements are important ? The obvious reason is to determine the size of the frame but the important reason is to make sure that the frame is hidden behind the back of the TV.

  1. Take length and width of your TV. In my case it is 35.5 inch & 20.5".
  2. Measure how far the mount is located from the edge of the TV. In my case it was about 3.5" from the edge.

With these measurements we can hide anything behind the TV which has dimensions at least 1 inch less than the TV.

Therefore I will create a frame that can rest on the mount. Which means I can create a rectangular frame which is 3.5 inch lesser than TV dimensions: That is

TV Dimensions (33.5 x 20.5) - 3.5 inches= Frame Dimension (32 x 19) inches

BUT...Since our casing is 1 inch wide, let us add 1 inch to Frame Dimensions

Now the Frame Dimensions are 33 x 20 inches

BUT... When we attach the L shaped connectors, it will add additional 1 inch to width of the frame on both sides thus making it 22 inches

Final Frame Dimensions 33 x 18 inches

Using the hand saw cut 2 pieces of 33 inches and 2 pieces of 18 inches long

Mathematics is over :), now lets get into arts :)

Step 3: Building the Backlight Frame

We will make a rectangle using the plastic casing by attaching the 4 L shaped connectors, see the diagram above.

See images above and follow

  1. Simply connect the casings and L shaped connectors as shown in the diagram above WITHOUT GLUE
  2. Try to place this frame in front of the TV to test if your measurements are correct and it is having desired gap from each sides. This is important before gluing.

Plastic casing are usually not very strong, they become loose if not secured properly. therefore I decided to glue the L shaped connectors with the Casing to ensure they are secured nicely and don't get loose. I applied glue as per instructions on the glue packing. (I did not use E6000 here) . They were:

  1. Apply glue inside the L shaped connectors.
  2. Apply glue on the ends of casing covering at least one inch of it.
  3. Leave it for 5-10 minutes .
  4. Join connectors and casing and secure them with binder clips.
  5. Leave the arrangement for about 30 minutes.
  6. Once dried remove the binder clips.

The frame might not be very sturdy but the glue will hold nicely to keep the rectangular shape, that's what I wanted.

Lets enlighten the frame in next step :)

Step 4: Sticking LED Strip to Frame

I did not want to cut the LED strip to match the frame size, but if you want that, you can measure the LED strip size and cut it from the next separator indicator (4 copper dots with scissor mark on the strip after every 3 LEDs usually, you can't cut LED strip from anywhere but these marks)

The plastic casings were just thick enough to accommodate two LED strips in parallel, so I decided to stick LED till it finishes . And for that I started sticking LED strip on the side leaving enough gap to have another strip in parallel.

See images above and follow:

  1. Start removing the sticker paper from strip and stick in outside of the frame from the middle of wider side of the frame i.e. the length.
  2. Remove a little sticker paper and glue. Repeat till you come back to origin.
  3. Now gently twist the strip lifting a bit higher above the first strip so that we can start sticking the second round. See 5th Image. (this is the only dirty job)
  4. Remove a little sticker paper and glue. Repeat till you no longer have LED strip to stick.

That was fun ..right :), lets do some basic wiring for LED Strip

Step 5: Basic Wire Connections

When you get LED Strip, Adapter and Electrical wire, you them separately. To light up your LED Strip, you have to connect them together which is very easy.

See images and follow:

  1. Notice the Adapter, it has black & red wire on one side and black & black on other side. Also notice that LED strip has black & red wire .
  2. Twist red wire of strip and adapter together to join, do that for black too.
  3. Cover the naked joins using insulated tape.
  4. Similarly join the electrical wire to black & black wire of the adapter, cover it with insulated tape.

Your backlight system is ready. Plug in to see if the LED lit up. In my case, it was beautiful :).

Now comes the most easy part, installation of this System.

Step 6: Installation

Once tested, it is time to finally install the backlight system which is very easy.

See images above and follow :)

  1. Un-mount the TV from the wall mount and place it in a secure and safe place.
  2. Remove any wiring to clear off clutter only if necessary.
  3. Hang the frame onto the wall mount, adjust it to middle.
  4. Place the LED strip adapter on top of inner frame. If you want , you can secure adapter on frame using a double sided tape.
  5. Mount the TV over frame.
  6. Plug into a spare electrical socket
  7. Light up

What else? Pour a glass of wine or a cup of herbal tea and enjoy your favorite TV show or movie in this amazing ambience :)

FURTHER ENHANCEMENTS :

  1. You can also use a multicolor LED strip with Remote.
  2. Attach a single color dimmer to adjust brightness when you need to.

Thank you for your time to read this ible. I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I did while making it. Please do share your thoughts, feedback and suggestions in the comments below.

If you choose to make any of these, please use the "I made it" button to post a picture.

Hope you will like it and Vote it.

You are awesome.
Stay Tuned.

2 People Made This Project!

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38 Comments

I don't know why, but no matter how I try to see your instructable, they do not show. Clicking the next steps doesn't work nor does reloading the page, selecting the 6 steps above or using the "?STEPS" after the url address. Is them possible to have it sent via email? Thanks for posting.

Barry

I am sorry to hear that. It could be a browser issue. I have sent a private message to you with 3 month pro membership code. Once you become a pro member, yo can download the tutorial as PDF.

Hope this helps

Thanks

Wow! Thank you!

I may have just missed it, but do you have an estimated cost?

Awesome hack! Maybe you're a genius anyway... ;)