A Guide to Wall Washers

Introduction: A Guide to Wall Washers

About: I make things because its fun and I like the challenge.


I recently got hold of the Elemental LED, PAR 64 RGB wall washer, as a prize for the Instructables LED Contest. I have therefore been messing around with it, to find the best placement for it in my room.

In this brief instructable I hope to give you some useful tips on setting up your own wall washer at home. Albeit for a party or for your man cave, what ever that is?  I will cover the process of setting up the Elemental LED wall washer but I will try to make this a useful guide for generic wall washers as well.

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Step 1: Setting Up: Power

Power Coversion

This step is required if you have a light that runs off a different mains voltage.

As I live in the UK our outlet voltage is 230VAC but my wall washer was from the US and required 110VAC. This was not a big problem to get over due to the invention of the transformer.

If you require a different voltage you can use a simple step up or step down transformer. Here are a couple of thing to remember if you need to buy one:
  • Make sure that you get a step down if you live in the UK and want to use a US lamp and a step up if you live in the US and have a UK lamp (quite unlikely).
  • Make sure the Power consumption or VA (Watts) of the your wall washer is less than the recommended max wattage of your step up or down transformer 
  • Be sure that you get one with the right plug and socket for you country and lamp
The Elemental LED 64 PAR RGB wall washer uses around 55W so I purchased a step down transformer that was advertised as 100W however it only said 70W on the safety label....so be careful when buying online.

Step 2: Setting Up: Auto Run

Setting Up Program Modes on the RGB PAR 64 lamp From Elemental Led:

If you are not using a dmx controller you will want to run your wall washer in an automatic standalone mode. The wall washer I am using is simple to setup as it only uses 2 buttons. Image 3 shows a diagram of the screen and the location of each button.
  1. On first power up you will be presented with a 001 on the screen.
  2. Press button A multiple times until a letter P appears on the left part of the screen and a flashing letter or number apears in the middle part of the screen.
  3. Now press button B until the middle number becomes an 8. This will run program 8.
  4. Use button A to select the right part of the screen.
  5. Press button B  to select a number from 1 to 9 to determine the speed program 8.
  6. Repeat this process for programs 8 to 9 then A and B.
  7. Once you have set up the programs, you can select program C, which cycles through the above mentioned programs.
  8. The number next to the C determines how many time the programs will run before switching to the next program.

Step 3: Positioning: 1 of 3

Choosing The Best Place For Your Light:

Where you place your light can make all the difference to the effect. It is therefore very important that you get it right.M

Image 1 shows the light facing up creating a nice plasma effect on the wall. This is a nice effect but if you are having a party, nearby guests will be blinded by your pretty lights. People don't like being in pain so they will create an exclusion zone around it which effectively reducing the amount of floor space you have.

Step 4: Positioning: 2 of 3

Choosing The Best Place For Your Light:

Image 1 shows the light positioned up on a book shelf. This keeps the light from blinding people but the effect is not as dramatic as the first. 

Now take a look at image 2. Notice how dark it is at the other end of the room. This can be both a good thing and a bad thing.

If you are planning to have games and people mixing with each others, more light might be better but if you were planning on having people dancing, it would be best to have a darkend room. This is because people tend to be less self-conscious when the light level is reduced.

Step 5: Positioning: 3 of 3

Choosing The Best Place For Your Light:

Image 1 shows the light positioned up on a book shelf. Again this keeps the light from blinding people but now the light has been angled to face the central ceiling rose. This angle highlights the detail of the plaster with contrasting shadows on the opposite side. This looks really great in person but it may not be best as it diffuses the light evenly around the room.

Step 6: Safety

Here Are Some Minor Safety Issues That May Be Of Concern To You:

  • Make sure that the lamp is stable and that its not going to fall on to someone if they bump into it.
  • Besure that your transformer is kept dry as it may not be IP65 rated like the wall washer I am using.
  • Make sure you don't have the lights on a flashing mode If you have a party with friends of friends. This is because sone of them could be epileptic. Its unlikely but it could happen!
  • Don't put your wall washer in a place where it is likely to have drinks spelt on it. Even If yours is waterproof, I probably wouldn't want to test it out.
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    2 Discussions

    looks awesome, what's you favorite color that it makes? I like the purple


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I certainly has to the deep blue / purple colour. I really like how the blue leds make uv stuff fluoress