Bias Lighting on the Cheap




Introduction: Bias Lighting on the Cheap

In this instructable, I'll show you how to install bias lighting on your LCD monitor. Bias lighting can really help to improve your perception of contrast, and make panel monitors much easier on the eyes.

Step 1: This Is Simple

Most expensive bias lights are 6500K (which is the colour tempature of white on nearly all LCD and Plasma screens) Fortunately, most daylight simulation bulbs are that too.

For this you'll need :

1 cheap clip on spotlight (mine came from Ikea)
1 C clamp
1 Daylight flouroescent bulb

Easy really just clamp the C clamp on the rear of the arm of your monitor, you're looking to get it as central as you can. Then fix the spotlight onto the clamp. It's got to throw light evenly behind your monitor when on.

Then fit bulb, and switch on.

Step 2: Here Is the Bulb I Used.

1 GE 9Watt (it's the same brightness as a 40W regular bulb) daylight bulb

I got mine mailorder, but I've since found that they're not hard to buy at DIY stores

Step 3: Done!

Total cost :

5UKP for Ikea lamp
4UKP for clamp
15UKP for bulb.

So, for around 25quid, I've made sitting at my desk a lot nicer. Shown here behind a Dell 2007WFP



  • Fix It! Contest

    Fix It! Contest
  • Metalworking Contest

    Metalworking Contest
  • Tiny Home Contest

    Tiny Home Contest

40 Discussions


8 months ago

Nice, I did wonder if a diffuser might be an idea. Oh, and II recognise those speakers - got a set myself!

this is pretty cool. but i also looked up bias lighting and found a product that is designed for it. it's called the antec 6 LED lighting. i think it's listed at $12 bucks, but i got mine for 9 at has anyone else used their product? i think it's pretty decent since i play in low light settings.

1 reply

I recently used those as a replacement for my idealume but they are far too dim, and color temperature is too "cool". I found a dimmable LED Bulb(6500k) works significantly better as you have more control.


11 years ago

Bought two cold cathodes and wired them up to the molex power cables inside the PC... the photos are not very good - but it really does make a difference when working in the dark!! (at the moment they are held on the back with insulation tape... very high tech!)

3 replies

It makes me wonder: If I've already got a cold cathode light inside my monitor, why get another one to tape on the back? Is there any chance I could draw light out from the internal backlight to bias the screen? To be worth it, The backlight must still do its original job at 100% capacity.

Only problem with this is that the case keeps all that light radiating in the right direction and keeping making sure you don't see things behind the LCD. If the case was removed, the LCD would be seen as semitransparent instead of a solid image, which might actually be kinda cool, like a minority report kind of thing. This is a long time since you've posted this. Have you tried it out??

I'd remove the back cover of your monitor and see what light comes out - you never know, it could work!

I am using two $10 gooseneck lamps from Target behind my monitors. I just point them up and away from the screen to illuminate the walls/ceiling behind the screens. One of them has an 11 watt yellow-ish CFL from Home Depot, the other one has a 6 watt white-ish CFL, also from Home Depot. Both of them are on X10 controllers so I can control them from sitting down without getting up and walking around the desk. Not very hacky, I suppose, but works well enough.

£15 for the bulb??? thats expensive. we get them for free and the most iv ever seen them cost is £5.

Haha, I've had the same set up behind a big old CRT cabinet TV, and it provides enough light so it's not stressful on the eyes, but not distracting from what I'm watching. Lovely.

Heh. I actually set up something similar to this without having a clue that there was a name for it or why it made computing at night more comfortable for me. I'll probably switch to yours now though. My current setup is a full-spectrum desk lamp pointing at the wall with a wire tied to the touch-knob and it'd be nice to have something strapped to the back of the monitor arm (dual monitor setup with a home-built monitor arm using a pair of $5 VESA-standard mounting plates off eBay) and a proper switch.

a nice cheap alternative that still looks good from the side is a cheap grono lamp from ikea. it is a rectangular open top block of translucent glass.

Nice information on the science. As I was reading this I was inspired to try putting LED string along the back edge of the desk - provides 2 benefits, 'backlights' the wall, and makes it possible to see under the desk (with a monitor on top of the desk, of course there is a computer under the desk). Should be low watts. The trick of course will be to easily secure the light string to the desk edge.

I'm trying this with a 5-watt CF bulb at 2640K temp. It is a mini bulb supposedly made for inside refrigerators. Normally my office has two overhead 12-watt CF bulbs, of the same color. I'll try this backlighting just to change things up. My business is to transcribe data from paper to a database, so the overhead light is a must. The mood light will be for after hours and watching TV. I put the 5-watt bulb in a trouble light I had sitting idle in the garage. The cord is only 18 inches long so it fits perfectly plugged into the power strip for my router and DSL modem. Normally the steel shielding on a trouble light is hotternblazes, but this runs at room temp. Does the bulb color make that much difference if you have red walls?


11 years ago

I really like this idea... I wonder if you could wire up the lights using the power from the PC? I have a cold cathode lying around from the old modding days - now wondering whether it'd be an option to buy a few white ones and use those - although, they'd be on all the time - unless you add a breaker switch maybe.... possible you think?

4 replies

That Dell I use has a USB hub bulit in, and I gather that's reasonable common, maybe power it from the USB?

If I remember right, the drive power connectors carry both 12V and 5V, so desk lamps would be a no go.

That's easy to do with almost any kind of switch. Likewise, you could do the mod describe above and add a switch to the line.

another thing - can you buy 1metre long molex leads?! Or would you have to make your own possibly?

what's the power output from the PC power cables.. I mean, could you plug a standard desk lamp for example to these?