Introduction: Red Light Therapy

About: Please support and share our mission; the Plant Doctor is a non-profit, open source online research laboratory specializing in electronics+plants. Our vision is to bring together nature and technology in a sim…

Hello everybody !


I am back with another LED project. This idea came about when I read the " Blue LED light box by ewilhelm ". This incredible post by mr.ewilhelm pretty much created a new system of waking up, the natural way. Now we have lots of other posts with the same topic, all of them very amazing. BUT they always use blue light, never any redness...


Apparently benefits of the red light are just as much.! In this instructable I will be showing you how to hack an existing night lamp into a USB powered red light source. It can be used as a reading light, night time working station, or just while getting ready for sleep.


Let's first learn a little bit about the scientific side..>

Step 1: What Is Red Light Therapy?

According to my research from various web pages red light has many healing effects on the body. It does this by penetrating the cells of the skin and forcing them to produce collagen and elastin faster. So basically it speeds up the healing process using the cells in your body, but look what it actually CAN do.


660nm spectrum red light can;

- slow down skin aging, help with wrinkles, acne and age spots / used a lot in cosmetics appareantly

- sports injuries joints, knee, ankle, shoulders / used a lot by athletes too

- stimulates the release of ATP / this is very interesting !

- rosacea, psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis, poison ivy, arthritis, ulcers, macular degeneration, diabetic neuropathy, fibromyalgia pains, myofascial pain, tendinitis......


and so many more to list here so few very good sources to start learning about red light therapy are;






and for more info, just type " red light therapy 660nm " into google and keep reading, there are tons of articles and studies on the subject...

Step 2: Parts / Tools

The only part that you need to order online is probably the lights so;

4 x 660nm 1W High Power LED(ebay $4.99 for 10)

1 x old lamp - free / i got mine from the thrift store, look at garage sales or other 2nd hand stores, or just around the house, i'm sure there is a non working lamp in a corner.

1 x heat sink - (about .99cents) since we are working with such low wattage, we won't be needing a big heatsink. a flat piece of aluminium will do the job. I got mine from the local hardware store under the ventilation, ac duct work section. make sure it's not thin, thicker the better for heat. it also depends how long you will keep the light on at a time.

1 x small piece of wood - free

1 x male usb port - free

2 x screws - free

also; metal epoxy, soldering iron/solder, screwdriver, scissors, knife, 22"wire, flexible DC wire, duct seal or hot glue


this should do it, let's get started already..>

Step 3: Frame

This part may differ for each person depending on the type of lamp they are modifying.


I needed my little light source to stand flat inside the lamp so I first bent the heat sink in to an upside down U shape. This allowed me to screw it to the wooden base.


Now you have a little holder for your lights, and it sits flat on the surface. This is what we need to aim for, so be creative and look around the house for parts.


go on for the electrical connections..>

Step 4: Electrical

Now is a good time to plug in your soldering iron so it can heat up while we are applying the epoxy.


Find some scrap cardboard and a toothpick, mix your epoxy on there. Apply a little amount under each LED and stick them to the heat sink. Apply pressure while turning the LED beads left and right slightly. This will assure no air holes and maximum stickiness. Wait at least 15 minutes for them too cure, or you can face a fan to it and speed up the process.


The 2nd picture of this step actually is my wiring schematics as well. We have the male usb going to the laptop, attached to the flexible DC wire which then connects to the LEDs in parallel (2 sets of series into parallel, will explain), and then the heat sink with LEDs go inside the old lamp case.


First lay out your LEDs so that each of them are facing the same direction with their + and - . Now we are going to make 2 sets of series connections. Take the first two and solder them in series, repeat this again with the remaining two. What you have left with now is 2 x 2W LED string lights. Now we want to connect them together, but this time we will do that via parallel connection.


WARNING; if you have no prior electrical experience first READ " Basic Electronics " and " LEDs for Beginners " - Don't get hurt, ask me any question you may have.


Now connect your two sets of lights in parallel. This way we will divide up the voltage and add up the mA. Lucky for us the LED beads you will be using are 2.5V @350mA each. so connecting them in series first gives us 5V@350mA and then two in parallel asks for 5V@700mA. A standard USB 2.0 offers 5V @500mA max. which is perfect. Our LEDs will be slightly dimmer (200mA) but that's ok, unnoticeable to my eyes.


Now we have to solder the other end of the cable to the male usb port. I have a very in-depth instructable focusing on this step alone, please refer to it. You will use it for other applications as well i'm sure in the future. It is one of my highest viewed instructable. USB power source hack - do the exact same thing that you see here and we are done.! - basically you will connect the cable coming out of the LEDs to the + and the - of the usb jack to power your new lamp. when facing the USB and seeing the 4 little strips of metal, the one on the right is always the + and left is - . the middle two are for data which we won't be needing.


Don't forget to seal everything with electrical tape, hot glue gun or my new favorite duct seal..!

Step 5: Conclusion + Possible Applications

It is extremely bright.! You can see in the second picture of this step, that it is the only light source in the room and lighting up the whole place. Or I can cover the top and make it dimmer. Very cool patterns around the room as well...


I first felt the effects of this light while I was using it to grow plants. I had many of these lights running all night in my bedroom to test my projects and after a few nights, I felt more relaxed. Warmer if you wish, not by heat but more like coziness, like a welcoming, calming effect and I thought that it had to be the lights.!


I now have a lamp designated just for this purpose. If you want to see what you can do with these lights and many other mind opening applications please check out my other posts;

- The Plant Arm

- The Plant Shelf

- USB Plant Shelf

- Portable Herb Garden

- The Life Seeder

- Wake up light

- Bamboo Torch

- Window Gardening

- Battery Powered LED grow light


don't forget to follow me and keep posted for new projects !


* I highly suggest checking out her channel - enjoy !


love & peace