Introduction: DIY LED Panel
If you had ever made a video with any type of camera even with your cell phone you propably know how important is lighting. If you had ever work in dark place you also know that good light is necessary. I also need one but I haven't a huge amount of money in my pocket to spend for this thing, and because I love making, I made my own version of it, out of simple ad cheap parts. That's perfect DIY project for everyone, you just need some soldering, very simple one so you should do it without any problems! Soldering is not so hard so you can easily learn it from Instructables class. If you want to see video about this DIY LED panel you can check it above or here if you are in app:
So let's make a very useful LED panel for video, workshop and all of the other things where you need light.
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Step 1: What You Will Need?
The first thing that you will need is a base for LED strips, I used 5mm thick plywood it's 50cm wide and 35cm tall. You can use plywood with different dimensions, thats not a problem. Don't get too thick plywood because it will be very heavy.
Here is list of things that we will need, to make this project, with links to the cheapest products I had found:
- 10 meters of LED strip: https://goo.gl/FwFDuW (12% OFF Coupon: Lighting)
- About 5 meters of cable: https://goo.gl/L1x263
- Power supply: https://goo.gl/5ktHLU
- Switches: https://goo.gl/5ktHLU
- Tripod: https://goo.gl/5ktHLU (10% OFF Coupon: Elec)
You will also need insulation tape, hot glue, soldering iron and few basic tools that I am sure you have.
Step 2: Cut LED Strips
We can start by cutting LED strips to the length of our panel, remember to cut the strip in the right places (you can find small scissors on the strip, here you can cut). Don't forget to leave some space on the sides of plywood because we will solder here some cables. For my plywood I used 10 meters of LED strip so thats 2 spools.
Step 3: Fix LED Strip to Plywood
This is quite simple, but takes some time and pacient, so don't forget to play some good tunes while doing this :) As you can see I shift strips a little bit so the LEDs will shine more evenly. It looks like a chessboard. I hope you know what I am talking about :D To fix them I used a tape that is already mounted on the back of them. It holdes strongly and it should be ok.
Step 4: Solder LED Strips Together
Here soldering starts, don't worry it will be all right. You have to simple solder one end of the led strip to the beginning of another one, + to + and - to -. If you want you just solder like that whole panel but if you want to somehow control brightness you should connect it as I had connect it. So there are two separate circuits, first strip is soldered to third one and then to fifth one and so on. The second circuit starts with second strip then goest to fourth and then to sixth. So at the end I have two separate circuits and thanks to that I can light up half of the panel or whole panel however I want. Above you can find some photos and diagrams of the connection. Just to clarify when you connect one strip with another one you connect i.e. the right side of it with the right side of the strip below (or below below if you wan to control brightness) and then left side of that second strip with the left side of the strip below second and then again right side. I hope you understand if not leave a comment and I will help :)
Step 5: Break to Take a Look at Beauty of It :)
Just quick brake. Just take a look, isn't it beautiful? Yes it is! That simple, but really tidy look, and everything made by yourself. So awesome I love this kind of work. Ok, let's go back to work, there is no time for so long break ;)
Step 6: Box for Switches
Here I just 3D print a simple box for switches with a hole for connector. If you haven't a 3D printer don't worry you can easily make it out of wood or anything you want, I am not so talented wood worker so I make one on 3D printer. Holes for switches were a little bit to loose so I fixed them with some hot glue, now it's perfect. Then we have to solder some cables to those switches. Let's start by screwing down to the connector (or soldering if you haven't a connector with screw terminals) one short red cable to + and two long cables to - we will need those cables to connect to the LED strips, and the shorter one to the main switch that will turn whole panel on or off. So now we can put our DC socket in hole and also fix it with hot glue. Short red cable from connector as I mentioned before has to be soldered to main switch, then 2 short red cables (color is not very important we just use it to show that here is the positive voltage) has to be soldered to next two switches and the second "leg" of main switch. At the end 2 longer cables to the ends of the half switches, to connect them to LED strips. When everything is ready you can use a file to make small hole for cables, and to make box lay perfect on the plywood.
Step 7: Some Hot Glue
Now with hot glue we can fix box and cables from this box as shown as you can see one set of the cables goes to upper strip and one to the bottom those are our circuits.
Step 8: Last Soldering
That's the last soldering that w have to do in this video. Just solder cables from the box with led circuits. And protect them with insulation tape or hot shrink sleeves.
Step 9: Power Supply
For powering it I used 12V 10A power supply you can use smaller one because it can give up to 120W and our panel use just 60W. You have to use 3 wire cable, connect it to power supply. Brown to L, blue to N and yellow-green to PE. The other side of the cable have to be connected to plug as shown on the image above. Be very careful that's 230V it can kill, before connecting to power make sure that everything is ok.
Measure output voltage of power supply it should be about 12V. If it is ok, you can connect long piece of cable to output of power supply, and other side of this cable to DC connector. Insulate everything with insulation tape. You can check out photos of how I made it, it doesn't look beautiful but it is safer.
Step 10: Mount for Tripod
It is also 3D printed but you can use the original mount from tripod and fix it to the plywood. I don't waneted t use this mount because many I will use this tripod with my camera. Link to model here:
Step 11: Some More Hot Glue
Again hot glue. Just fix the tripod mount, you can put some hot glue on the bottom of it and around it. I also fixed cables that we have just soldered. And really important step zi protect all solders with hot glue, to prevent shorts and fix led strips to plywood strongly. It actually turns out quite good, and I really recommend you to protect it this way because it will last for longer time, without it cables are easy to pull out.
Step 12: Pure Perfection!
Everything fits so perfectly and it looks really good. I am so satisfied with this project I hope you are to.
Step 13: How to Power It?
For powering it we can use power supply that we made in previous step or use some other. Here are few that you can easily use. The first thing the smallest and most powerful is Lipo battery, unfortunately I haven't an XT60 connector. You can also use big gel battery, I used it but it is nor powerful enaugh to give 100% brightness, so if you want it to be super bright you should use power supply. The last option is to use car power socket, just connect cables and connector and you can fix your car in darkness.
Step 14: Final Test and Conclusion
Above you can see some photos of my panel in the complete darkness. It performs great and the light is super bright. It is also useful for your home and you can use it as a lamp. You can get some great videos and photos. Working in darkness is not a problem now. It perfect project for everybody, so you should definitely try, if you made one don't forget to post a photo of it!
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