Hello all you happy people. Welcome to my first instructable.

This project came about as I recently rebuilt my garage and found myself in need of complete lighting throughout.

I had two main objectives: I wanted bright/even coverage and I wanted to do it as inexpensively as possible.

For a number of reasons I wanted to use all LED lighting for my project but the commercial products were cost prohibitive. At the time of this writing, 4 foot shop lights are going for $40 and higher. I did some research and before long came across inexpensive lighting strips from China. The strips are sold in 5m lengths (16.5 ft) and can be found on ebay for $5-7 each. But how to use them?

After a lot of thought, I came up with the idea of putting them directly onto my trusses. This would give me even lighting throughout and a clean modern look.

I found that one LED strip wasn't bright enough, so I added a second for more light. This is probably enough for general lighting but I wanted MORE POWER and added a third. Why not at this price, right? To give you an idea of the coverage, my garage is 24'x40'. I'm putting lights on 5 trusses and they are 8'6" off the ground.

The other piece of the puzzle is powering the lights. The LED strips run on +12vdc and require an external power source. You can easily buy 12v power supplies but I'm trying to go cheap, right? So I used old discarded PC power supplies. Cost? Free!

You won't need to know electronics for this project but you will need some basic soldering skills.

Let's begin!

Step 1: Prep the Trusses

Although the light strips come with adhesive, I found that it wasn't strong enough to support the weight of the lights when mounted facing down. Therefore I needed a better solution. Through trial and error I ended up with Scotch outdoor tape. This stuff is super strong and holds in extreme temperatures. It is 1" wide and works perfectly for attaching three LED strips to a truss.

Grab a ladder and roll the tape along the bottom of the truss. Only roll out as much as you can reach so that the roll doesn't fall to the ground and get dirty. Place the tape directly on the center of the truss.

I used a small roller to securely press the tape onto the truss. I think I bought this roller years ago for sealing the edges of wallpaper. A rolling pin would probably work as well or even better.

<p>What about using lath which is the same width as the truss, laying out the length you want to put lights on, doubling the lath to straddle the ends, taping the lights to this at counter level and then screwing this to the truss? Would it destroy the strips to put screws through this to the truss. Or maybe a person could even use zip ties every 2-4' to hold the strips up. This would save a lot of overhead work and ladder time. </p>
thanks a lot. these have helped light our new barn. so far I've got three done
Used in bedroom with an arduino to dim it down to be able to have a little game light
<p>Say I got a SMD 5630 that needs 35/40w a roll Could I just buy a dc12v 3A Adapter? Splice plug in and that should work? </p>
<p>35W/12V = lower than 3A</p><p>40W/12W = higher than 3</p><p>With a supply that can supply 3A, the 35W strips are OK, 40W is too much. That would be a quick way to kill the adapter...</p>
So this should be what I need and can hook up 2 strips. Correct? Thank you for your help. Want to see if this will do the job in my Garage.12V 3A Switching Power Supply
ok so I could get this and should work? 12V 3A Switching Power Supply<br>Then can hook up 2 strips. Correct? Thanks for your help
<p>Assuming a power supply with sufficient capacity, is there any concern about wiring an entire room's perimeter (say 25 meters worth, which should be about a 12.5amp draw @ 6W/m) off of one power supply? i.e. would the end of the strings get proper current, or is there a max run length to take into account?</p>
<p>I would use heavier wire to connect to the power supply. Wire is all current capacity and will burn if loaded too heavily.</p>
Thanks. That's certainly a good suggestion, and one that I would have been taking in either case.<br><br>My main concern is if the LED strips themselves can handle the current. <br><br>I've done projects with WS8212 RGB LED strips, but it's never been with more than 5ish meters, so long runs are a bit foreign to me.
<p>The internal wiring in the strips is thin, so there is significant voltage (and light) loss in the far end of a long strip. I run extra wiring parallel to my strips and connect it to the strip every meter or so.</p>
<p>yeah that is a good method to prevent power loss. In the end all the sections are electrically in parallel but you need the external wiring to overcome the internal resistance of the strip</p>
I was so drawn into your inst that I rushed out and bought all the stuff I needed only to find that all the led strips I got were either 75 or 60 watts which easily doubled the number of power supplies and open breakers in my breaker box not to mention the amount of power required to flip the light switch. my question is whether I'm reading the specs wrong or is everyone here able to find 30 watt 5m led strips?
<p>Hi Ron, it seems this is no problem, you just need fewer strips. In the case of this instructible I think it would have been even easier to use those higher-powered strips (mostly because the wiring is simpler).</p><p>It is a good idea to run a copper wire parallel to the LED strips and connect at least at both ends (maybe also in the centre if you use the entire 5M in one go) to get nice and even lighting.</p><p>The mains voltage side should be no problem to begin with, because if you want light the LED solution is the most efficient and anything else would require even more mains current.</p>
<p>Super n&aacute;vod ! :-)</p>
<p>what does it look like at night ?? now that is the true test...if so, please show us :)</p>
<p>I'd be interested to know if these LED strips from China emit radio frequency interference. I had a cheap LED bulb that completely wiped out reception in the lower shortwave bands and even interfered with some parts of the AM broadcast band. North American, Japanese and European LED products are supposedly FCC-approved (or similarly regulated), so they shouldn't emit RFI.</p>
<p>The LED strips are different construction from your LED bulb. So no worries...:) However, the power supply that you use 'may' generate the EMI. So pick a good quality power supply. </p>
<p>My 2 cents here:</p><p>I built a similar setup in my garage, using old laptop power supplies as the power source. (I modified the supplies to output slightly more than 12V, so I got the right amount of current for my strings. I also added wiring to avoid voltage drops along the length of the strings.) This created some interference on my garage radio, as the LED strips act as a large antenna for the noise coming from the switching power supplies. So I have to add additional filtering, the PC supplies were not designed for this purpose. (And my radio is right next to the lights.)</p><p>Possible solutions for those who get similar problems:</p><p>-Listen only to strong radio stations ;-) (or use WiFi radio). I am currently at this stage when using my lights, the following is on the to-do list for when I have too much time on my hands.</p><p>-Add extra RF filtering to the DC power. RF chokes and RF decoupling capacitors will be the right medicine here. Place the filters as close to the power supply as possible, noise should always be treated as close to the source as possible.</p><p>-Use a better power supply. If you have one of the old fashion, heavy, transformer based power supplies available, you get the noise on the mains power frequency and nothing on the RF bands. The led strings are way to short to act as antenna for mains mains power frequencies, so this will not be any worse than the noise from the DC power itself. Make sure you get true DC, though. Some older &quot;DC&quot; power supplies are rectified AC with poor filtering, so the voltage has a strong AC component. This is OK for many applications, like car battery chargers, but not for LEDs. Too high voltage, even for just a short amount of time, is the one of the best ways to reduce the life of your LEDs. (Heat is the other one, but that it not much of a problem for these LED strings.) And be aware that many of the 12V power supplies used for halogen lights are 12V AC, you need a rectifier, decoupling caps and a voltage regulator to use these for 12V LED strings.</p><p>-If necessary, add RF shielding to the LED strings. Start by shielding the DC cable between the power supply and the LED strings if the cable is not already shielded. (Laptop power supplies are usually shielded already.) The shield should be connected to the shield of the power supply at one point (and one point only) if the power supply has a shield. Connect to 0V (or GND on the DC side) if not. Adding a layer of aluminum tape behind the lights should reduce the radiation from the led strings. The alu-tape should be connected to the cable shield (again, at only one point). This can be done more elaborate by also adding insulating tape over the strings (unless you use strings that are already insulated) and then an additional layer of alu-tape over that, (not covering the LEDs themselves, of course), effectively creating a Faraday cage. Small holes in the shield to let the light out will not decrease the efficiency of the shield significantly at these frequencies. Just make sure you get good metal-to metal contact between the two layers of alu-tape, the glue on most of these tapes is not conductive and can create gaps in the shield.</p>
<p>If you install a power line filter such as Uxcell 20A rated current JR-1220-R power line EMI filter ( Amazon) on the output of your power supply and run a separate ground this should knock out the noise. I used these years ago to stop the 50,000 watt AM radio station I worked at from get into phone lines up to ten miles away </p>
<p>Dear Firesign,</p><p>LED or Light Emitting Diodes do not emit any RF.</p><p>They also do not emit Infra-Red emission.</p><p>It's safe, cool to touch and use low volts for operation.</p>
<p>@firedesign the LED strips have nothing on them but dropping resistors and LEDs, they generate no noise that I can find on any of my radio receivers and CBs. I did have to decommission one of the switchmode power supplies I was using because it DID generate a horrible white noise hiss, but I think when buying these things at opp shops I was bound to get at least one faulty SMPS. </p><p>There are also three-colour, data-controllable strips of some diode similar to WS-2811 LEDs that use digital controllers and/or Arduino to manage, and I imagine they could cause RFI with a badly designed controller circuit. Also, some of the colour-controllable LED light bulbs have rubbishy little controller circuits and they can generate RFI. </p><p>But in my experience simple white LED strips are as silent as the power supply you use to drive them and are ideal for the shack. </p><p>Hope that helps. </p>
<p>I'll just add my $0.02. There is nothing in the LED stripes that could emit RFI (they are just LED's and resistors) - unlike the LED bulb which apart from the LED's themselves incorporates switching power source (including most notably coils running at several tens of kHz).</p>
<p>Thanks for the information. My husband and I are getting ready to do under counter lighting in the kitchen and your article was helpful.</p>
<p>Hi buddy, that's a very detailed instruction. Just a quick one, I wanted to put up 70m long LED stirp for my 6m*6m garage, just the same density as yours. So how it works at night when making solely the LED as the light source? Thanks.</p>
<p>I have 6 * 2 * 55 cm of led strips in a garage. 800mA for a light fixture. 6*0.8 = 4.8A * 12V = 60W. 7meters total. Not too much, but quiet enough. I don't have white ceiling, so some of the light is lost. Led strips are 5630.</p>
<p>That's very helpful Stefan, as in my previous plan 70m of LED strip will make 560W, almost as consuming as my bandsaw, not worthy for the lighting. Cheers.</p>
I wish i had seen this before ordering LED light tubes for my shop. I ended up ordering direct from China to get 8 foot tubes for a reasonable price. I still had to fork over about $23 each. The lights already have dead spots. Thank you for posting your efforts! What a great instruvtable this is!
<p>Brilliant idea with 3M tape. I intend to redo my entire workshop this way. It is brilliant and saves a ton of space too. I don't need graphs to know that no matter how you look at this, it is cheap, and highly efficient compared to any other form of lighting that you are going to install in your garage.</p>
<p>Oh yea...they can get hot but they won't set your trusses on fire. :-)</p>
<p>WARNING! I believe that the output from a PC power-supply is a pulsing DC pulsing at either 120Hz for American 60Hz supplies and 100Hz for European 50Hz supplies.</p><p>Using a pulsing DC supply will cause a strobe effect and cause any device rotating at an harmonic or sub-harmonic of the pulse to appear to be stationary. In a workshop, shed or garage where rotating machines exist This could be VERY DANGEROUS. </p>
<p>TomHoag is true and I would like to add: PWM uses 10ths of kHz and then rectified and filtered. Lathes uses often their own lightbulb.</p>
I stand corrected on PC power supplies I wasn't sure quite how they worked. I'm still in the age of transformers and rectifiers as depicted in the Instructable. <br><br>I don't understand, however, &quot;10ths of kHz&quot; surely a tenth of a kilohertz is 100Hz (Which is what I said). Do you mean tens of KHz?<br><br>I'm not just referring to lathes but also angle grinders, hand drills and routers etc. most of which are not self lit.<br><br>My warning still stands for anyone who is thinking of powering the LEDs from and old 12V Battery Charger.
<p>Sorry, I thought about arduino pwm, which is variable from arduino to arduino in a range 1Hz to maybe above 62000Hz<br>As you see, English is not my native language. I understand that 1/10 is not equal 10. Angle grinder is so loud. I have one in my hand summer-daily.</p>
<p>It is correct that PC power supplies do use a pulsing method (PWM), however the DC output is well filtered, so there is no pulsing. </p>
I stand corrected on PC power supplies I wasn't sure quite how they worked. I'm still in the age of transformers and rectifiers as depicted in the Instructable. <br><br>My warning still stands for anyone who is thinking of powering the LEDs from and old 12V Battery Charger.
Is there any fire hazard here? How hot do those less get against the trusses?
I'm pretty sure that LEDs don't get hot. The only thing that might get hot would be the power supply which usually has a fan.
<p>LEDs - like all forms of lighting - emit heat as well as light. They are just more efficient than other forms of light and dissipate a lower proportion of the electrical energy as heat.</p>
<p>In fact... LEDs have an electric efficiency of about 10%! This means that almost 90% of the electric power you give them is dissipated as heat. This varies a lot with the LED type and color (higher power leds are more efficient), but.. &quot;dissipate a lower proportion of the electrical energy&quot; is wrong ;) Then, since with that 10% they can emit a lot more light than other light sources, they light a lot with low power ;)</p>
<p>I think this image will clear up any questions about LED efficiency, which is the highest. CFL is next and regular light bulbs are the worst.</p>
<p>As the image clearly say, that one is the lighting efficiency (i.e. how much light you get versus the input power), while I was speaking about electric efficiency (i.e. how much power you convert in light versus the input power). Of course LEDs lighting efficiency is the highest among the &quot;consumer&quot; lamps, and I remarked it a lot of times, but they do waste a lot of energy, just like the old ones. Taking the values provided by Steven, a 100W incandescent bulb throws away 95W (and converts the other 5 in about 1500lm, so each &quot;used&quot; watt produces 300 lumens), while an LED throws away 90W (and gets about 10k lm, so about 1000 lumens per each &quot;used&quot; lumen). So the reason why LEDs are more lighting efficient is more related to the fact that they better convert the &quot;used&quot; power into light (because they output a narrower spectrum, thus avoiding the waste in IR and UV ranges) rather than because they dissipate less heat (because they still dissipate 90% of the input power)</p>
<p>Yawn, this is getting so old!!! If you cannot admit that an LED which converts 3 times as much of its input power into light compared to an incandescent lamp is wasting a smaller percentage of its power input as heat then it is pointless to continue. For me, 85% is significantly less than 95% - it is about 10.5% less (to one decimal place). Try taking a 10.5% cut in salary and see how you feel about it!!</p>
<p>Sorry, I disagree. A typical incandescent bulb converts energy into IR, heat and light - with only about 5% ending up as light. The IR ends up as heat (won't go into the physics here), so 95% of the input energy ends up as heat and only 5% as light in the visible spectrum. LEDs (current generation as used for lighting) convert around 15% as visible light and 85% as heat. </p><p>Taking a 60W incandescent bulb as an example, for comparable light output a CFL generates about 9 times as much heat as an LED, and an incandescent generates about 25 times as much heat.</p>
<p>Well, I suppose this depends on what you call &quot;efficiency&quot;. As for the electric efficiency, I admin I don't know the electric efficiency of fluorescence light, but you have to admit that a loss of 85% of the power in heat (which is valid for power leds, but I doubt that the cheap LEDs on the chinese strips have this value) is very similar to the 95% of incandescent light. Then, as I told earlier, LEDs have a much higher luminous efficacy, so 1W of electric power into the LEDs generate much (much) more light than 1W of electric power into a CFL or incandescent light.<br>Again, I'm not saying that changing your lights to LED technology will not reduce your heat. I'm just pointing out that the reason is not that they &quot;dissipate a lower proportion of the electrical energy&quot;, but because they better exploit the remaining part, and consequently you can reduce the input power.</p>
<p>I can see you are a pedant so I must choose my words with extreme care. In terms of efficiency as a source of light (and this is the reason most people buy lamps) LEDs outperform incandescent and fluorescent lighting. Most people choose their lighting to get the highest light levels per watt of input power and although LEDs do dissipate a relatively high amount of power in as heat, for comparative light outputs they are much more efficient than their commercially available competitors. </p><p>The figure of 85% for LEDs is a typical figure - as technology improves this will reduce. You can't improve on a hot bit of wire so incandescent lighting will soon be relegated to the annals of history. Fluorescent are more efficient than incandescent, but have high startup power consumption and a significant delay in reaching full light output. Taking all factors into consideration LED lighting comes out on top for the majority of applications - mainly due to their higher lumen output per input watt.</p><p>There's no such thing as a free lunch - all forms of lighting also emit heat (all energy reduces to heat eventually) so it is always sensible to consider this and protect surfaces or install appropriate heatsinks when installing any form of lighting.</p>
<p>I thought that my first comment was clear enough, but just to be really sure I could explain well it, I'm writing it in other words.<br>As I already told you, I totally agree that LEDs emit more light, and so for a comparable light the input power (and the heat produced) is much lower. I was just pointing out that the idea that LEDs produce less heat than other sources because of their properties is wrong: they do not dissipate a lower part of the input power in heat, but just require less power.<br>Just a quick example: to have a comparable light, an incandescent light has to consume around 10 times the power of an LED. This means that a 50W lamp (which produces 45W of heat) has about the same &quot;perceived&quot; light as a 5W LED (which produces 4.25W of heat). The LED heat is much lower, but the proportion is almost the same.<br>So, yes, LEDs produce less heat; anyway the reason isn't that they are more efficient (from the electric point of view, which means Power_actually_used / Input_Power), because this is &quot;almost&quot; the same, but because they exploit the remaining part much better (producing more light with the same actually used power).</p>
<p>I refer you to my earlier comment repeated below:</p><p>A typical incandescent bulb converts energy into IR, heat and light - with only about 5% ending up as light. The IR ends up as heat (won't go into the physics here), so 95% of the input energy ends up as heat and only 5% as light in the visible spectrum. LEDs (current generation as used for lighting) convert around 15% as visible light and 85% as heat.</p><p>Taking a 60W incandescent bulb as an example, for comparable light output a CFL generates about 9 times as much heat as an LED, and an incandescent generates about 25 times as much heat.</p><p>However, since I am only a degree qualified electrical engineer with 40+ years of experience I am probably totally wrong.</p>
<p>No, you aren't. And as I already told you a lot of times, it's true that LEDs, for comparable light, emit much less heat. What I told you, is that this is just because the LEDs require much less power. Taking your example, a 60W incandescent bulb generates (about) 57W of heat, while a 60W LED generates about 51W. It's very much similar. The real advantage is that to produce the same light of a 60W inc. bulb you just need a 6W LED, generating 5.1W of heat.<br>So the reason why usually you say that LEDs emit less heat is that, for a comparable light, the LED require much less power, not that they &quot;dissipate a lower proportion of the electrical energy&quot;.<br>I've tried to say this in every possible way I could, so if you could not understand that I'm saying &quot;you are right, I'm just questioning that sentence because it was misleading&quot;, well, I'm just a master's degree electronic engineer with a PhD in electronics, not a linguistic, so I can't find any other way of saying this..</p>
<p>Right, this is getting really silly.</p><p>Point one - we BOTH agree that LEDs are more efficient at producing visible light than other forms of artificial illumination.</p><p>Point two - we BOTH agree that the real economy with LEDs is the relatively low power input for light output compared to other lighting..</p><p>Point three - we disagree on heat output, I consider that wasting a smaller PERCENTAGE of power as heat represents increased efficiency. You repeatedly tell me that the figures are almost the same but they are not the same. Remember that we want more efficient lights, and to my mind a light that converts 15% of power consumed into light is 3 times as efficient as a light that only converts 5%. Please tell me how it is misleading to state a fact - LEDs are more efficient because they convert a higher percentage of power consumed into visible light. Please also explain to me how it is wrong to say that LEDs dissipate a lower proportion of the electrical energy as heat when this is a known and published fact.</p>

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