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.
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.