Introduction: Super Bright Tunable Led Light Panels
These super bright LED light panels are tunable, so they can go from about 3500 to 6000 kelvin. That means that you can create just the right color temperature you want for the specific setting and time of day. For this build I'm using MDF to create the panels and two different colored LED strips to provide the lighting as well as a few switches and PWM dimmers.
All the products used for this project are listed in the video description.
Step 1: MDF Boxes
I started with cutting up some MDF for these panels. I'm using mostly 1/4 inch or 6mm MDF, with a few pieces being 1/2 inch or 12 mm. I'm actually making three light panel boxes - one large and two smaller, as well as one control box.
Step 2: Assembling the Boxes
Next up I'm cutting up some aluminum here, and this is to attach to the MDF to act as a heatsink to distribute the heat from the LED strips. Once I had them cut to a good size, I stapled them to attach. Then it was simply a matter of assembling the boxes, and I'm just using glue and a pin nailer.
Step 3: Strip Lights
Now for the lighting, I'm using two different types of strip lights, one cool 6000 Kelvin and one warm, 3500 kelvin. I'm cutting them up to the same length, and then I'm alternating the strips on the panel. So gluing on a cool strip next to a warm strip and so on. Just making sure I have all the positives lined up on one side etc....
Step 4: Soldering the Lights
Once I had all the lights attached began the task of soldering them together.
So I soldered all the cool strips together and then all the warm strips together. This is pretty time consuming, because each needs a positive and a negative, so there was quite a lot of soldering to do.
Step 5: Painting
I also connected the two smaller light boxes to a piece of scrap plywood, that way I can later attach both of them to the ceiling in one piece.
And I painted everything white.
Step 6: Acrylic Panels
Next up I connected the two light boxes with wire, and I'm hiding the wire on the other side so you won't see it once it's up in the ceiling.
I didn't want to be looking directly at the strip lights. So I'm cutting up some acrylic panels here. I'm cutting up three pieces, two small and one large. And this material cuts really well on the table saw and the miter saw. Then I took off the protective plastic and sprayed some frosted spray paint to diffuse the lights. And here's the idea. I was thinking I could connect it with some brackets, held by pressure, just screwed to the MDF, not the panels, so you can slide them in and out.
Step 7: Attaching the Fixtures
Putting up the larger unit, and I'm just screwing that in, before putting on the cover. .
Step 8: The Electronics
So the idea here is that I have two fixtures - one over the tool wall, fixture A, and one over the bench, fixture B. Each have two colors that can vary warm and cool. I want to independently be able to control either fixture on or off, cause sometimes I might want the bench light on but not the back light etc.
So I have the two light fixtures, a power source, two switches - one to control each lighting fixture, and I have two PWM dimmers, one will control all the warmer lights, and one will control all the cooler lights. This is how they're all connected - and these are all positive wires. Then the negatives wires are the black ones in the last picture.
Step 10: Control Board
Here are the MDF control box pieces.
Once I had tried the concept out on a test board, I drilled some holes in the MDF, and this is where the various switches and knobs will attach to.
Then I connected the control board unit underneath the cabinet, and then I put on the bottom, also tested out the front.
Step 11: Adding the Lighting Wires
When I knew that worked, I went back to the electronics. I connected the knobs and switches to the front board and put everything together.
Then I brought the wires from the lighting fixtures together, trying to keep them neat here with some cable organizers, so down the wall and into the box. Also doing the same with the smaller panels, keeping the wires together neatly on the beam.
Step 12: Final Assembly
OK, so now I have all the electronics connected on the front piece here and I'm connecting the incoming wires from the lights to the board, and for power I'm using a 10 amp, 12 volt power brick which I special ordered for this project.
The complicated part here is the dimmers each effect the colors of the ligths, but the switches control the fixture. So that means you have to independently switch the colors to each fixture. That requires a switch that can switch more than one line independently.
Step 13: Conclusion - Watch the Video
For a much better perspective, make sure to watch the video that goes over all the different steps and the final result.
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