Bias Lighting Using the IKEA Ledberg Light




Introduction: Bias Lighting Using the IKEA Ledberg Light

I spend a lot of time on computers and currently have six monitors on my desk. My office is also located in a dark basement. Between these two things eye strain is a constant issue for me. So a couple of weeks back when I read about bias lighting I decided I wanted to try doing something similar.
On a recent trip to IKEA as I was gazing longingly at the Dioder I noticed the Ledberg sitting near by for a much more reasonable cost. It was hard to get a good grasp on the light out due to being in a retail store at the time but I figured for $15 each I could give it a shot.

Step 1: Test Em' Out

The first thing I did was open them up and connect them to each other to see how bright they are. I was actually surprised that it was able to light up a two car garage pretty well.

Step 2: Expose the Solder Contacts

After making sure they all work out of the package I decided that I wanted a system that would fit entirely behind a monitor. Since I have so many monitors i could have probably left them as just one strip but that wasn't what I wanted. So my assistant gathered up the LED bars while I setup the Dremel grinding wheel.

The concept is pretty straight forward. Take your cutting wheel and go around the plastic sheath without going in deep enough to hit the circuit board. The only tricky part is the vertical cut necessary to get the sheath off. I used a flat headed screw driver to spread the piece apart at the vertical cut

Step 3: Make Them Easy to Position by Adding Wire

Now that the plastic has been cut back we can proceed to making the connector a little bit more "flexible". I threw it in a vice and then used a soldering iron to remove the plastic connector. Removing it is easy enough with the only tricky bit being that the metal strips aren't held on with anything beyond the little plastic stress tabs. I recommend just melting them to help hold them on the metal strips.

Once I had the plug off all I did was take 3 inches of wire (24awg alarm wire I had a spool of) and add it. The only thing that can go wrong really at this point is reversing your polarity so make sure you keep the orientation of the plug correct. The good news is that you only have to do this twice per three strip pack.

Step 4: Creating a Mount

As I was thinking about how to orientate the three light bars it occurred to me that I wanted to spread the light a little bit and not just direct it straight back. Not that there's anything wrong with that but my walls are unpainted concrete so I need every bit of help I can get. After pondering on it for a while I came across the idea of using some spare 11/16" quarter round trim I had lying around. It's easy to work with, lightweight and best of all curved.

the Ledberg lights come with mounting clips and tiny little screws. Initially I scoffed at them but in the end they were actually perfect. Believe it or not I flattened the back of the 11/16" quarter round with my bench grinder just to give the double sticky tape some place to grab onto. To install the clips I used precision screwdrivers and good ol' fashioned elbow grease. Everything pretty much just fit.

Step 5: Put Them on Your Monitor!

Once you get everything put together there isn't much to do. The only thing I attempted to do on purpose was to stagger the led's when i put them in the clips. Again just another attempt to spread the light around.

I put a little double sticky side tape on (the red stuff) and then slapped it on the back of my monitor (I built two for this prototype). I plugged them on and voila, bias lighting

In the final two pictures you can see the light output with my monitors both on and off. They aren't as bright as I'd like and the color isn't anywhere close to 6500k (daylight) but for the cost I think they turned out pretty well. I'd honestly like to build a few more for my other monitors. There are a few things I could improve on. For example I wonder if the entire thing would run off a single power supply. The two of them together only pull 3 watts so I bet it probably would. For a prototype though I'm currently pretty happy with the finished product.



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    23 Discussions

    I found this to be interesting. I had never done this before
    with a TV. I never thought about doing this before with a TV. I read about it
    on my rss feed (source:
    ) and it mentioned it was good for defining the “depth” between your TV and the
    wall behind it, and that it lowers eye strain. I spend a lot of time behind the
    PC at work, so eye strain is a common thing for me. I had already taken the
    brightness down on the TV itself which helped a little. Then I decided to try
    this out. It does create a cool effect around the TV and doesn’t seem to be
    distracting. It does seem to relieve our eyes a slight bit. Who comes up with
    this stuff? So many thinkers in the world.

    I bought 2 packages of Ledberg, gives me 2 x3 strips and 2 power supplies.
    I first joined 3 strips, connected the PSU, and measured the current. My multimeter said I=130 mA. The PSU says it can supply 0,25 A. So I figured one PSU could power 2x3=6 strips.
    Just to be sure, I included one ballast resistor (R=3,9 Ohm, 5Watt). I then connected the 6 strips (and the resistor in series) to one PSU and measured the Voltage drop over that resistor, which was 0,7 Volt. This makes for a current of about 180 mA, which is well below the specified maximum on the PSU of 250 mA.
    Conclusion: you can buy 2 packets of Ledberg, connect them to a strip of about 1,6 meter of nice warmwhite light and power it all with one power supply.
    So far nothing seems to overheat.
    I live in The Netherlands, by the way.

    If you are careful you can also remove the plastic connector and re solder it to a length of wire to allow the light to be moved and still work as a plug in to the strip.I took my soldering iron and melted the little circular tab to remove the strip as indicated and very carefully un soldered the connector. I re soldered wire to the light strip and replaced it in the plastic. If you re heat the original tab, it will hold the strip in place. I then re soldered the connector onto the wire and covered the whole thing with heat shrink tubing. Be careful to match the polarity of the wire when re doing the connections.

    Ikea Ledberg hack 001.jpgIkea Ledberg hack 002.jpg

    check out mine :D

    1 reply

    I solved a similar problem for myself at work over 10 years ago with a #10 food can, a piece of melamine-clad shelving board, a surface-mount melamine light socket, a 60W incandescent bulb, a cheap 12-foot extension cord and an in-line dimmer. I mounted the light socked on the board, used the extension cord to provide a power supply to the socket and some of the spare wire from the cord to run off to the dimmer, which was wired up pendant-style and lies on the desk next to the computer monitor. I cut both ends out of the food service can and set it over the light socket so it acts like a "can up-light", and placed the contraption behind the monitor. It illuminates the wall behind the monitor and the ceiling above, giving soft, indirect light in the desk area. I still use a pantograph-arm desk lamp to provide high intensity task lighting when I need to read printed material. A commercial can light (see image) could have been modified to work with an off-the-shelf pendant dimmer just as well for a little more money, but less effort. The key is that the light source is hidden from direct view by the computer monitor and all the illumination is indirect.


    Why do you need to take the ends out? I thought by default IKEA have the extension connectors that allows you to connect multiple strip together.

    1 reply

    If you buy the expensive, $50 for 4' version, yes you get adapters. The cheapo version has 1 short power cable and no extenders.

    They do use the same power supply (with a different connector). I had two expensive sets, and 7 cheap sets wired/soldered together to lite up some shelves. Saved over $100 by using the cheap sets for the same amount of lighting.

    It's fun to make things like this. When I wanted to put bias lighting behind my big old flat screen TV, I wanted instant gratification more than I wanted this kind of fun (and it's 25 miles for me to go to IKEA :-).

    Antec produces something almost exactly like this specifically for bias lighting behind monitors. You can find a meager description of them at their brand web site: It's a 14 inch strip of 6 LEDs with a USB plug for power. The strip is adhesive on one side, so you can just stick it on and plug it in.

    They are available for sale at a lot of retail and online places (at least in the US). For example, the local Staples sells them for $12 or so.

    Unfortunately, Antec doesn't say what the color temperature is in the literature, and I have no easy way to figure it out. Since they specifically call it bias lighting, I hope it's near 6500k (and that I'm not just falling for the placebo effort of a cool looking white glow ... ooooh, pretty :-).

    1 reply

    yeah I totally saw those but the reviews on Amazon were really mixed. I think for v2.0 I'd really like to "roll my own" basically and build pretty much the same thing expect spec out my own LED's.

    It would awesome to power them off USB...heck I suspect they might even turn off while my computer is in sleep mode. I tried originally testing out using the 5v rail but it slowly burnt out a few LED's because I didn't put the proper resistor on it.

    Also since they only use a single strip then I think it relies a little to much on the back surface reflecting and spreading the light. My concrete walls make that a poor choice....but who know they might be super bright enough to compensate.

    Have you looked at the EBAY LED Strips? Look for 30cm 5050 led strips. I put these in my truck tool box and they light everything up. I put some in the bed and It looks like day in there. with just 4 strips. Make sure they are the 5050 LED bulbs,

    if it's 12V then even a 500mA supply would suffice .
    I was thinking about this , then i decided , no .
    Because i use a laptop .

    Ive used four sets of these LED lights glued across the roof lining of my motor home, throw out the switchmode power supplies and connect them direct to the house 12V system, they light the bus up a treat and also make it look like a million dollars.

    It's interesting. I didn't notice any plug to remove them from the sheath but I might have been a little to eager to use my Dremel. :) If somebody doesn't feel comfortable with a Dremel your method would be a good choice.

    It's interesting that by your estimate you could run up to 5 lights off one power supply. Since I'm using all 6 that wouldn't have necessarily worked for least on paper.

    Good to see somebody else who played with these. I wish I had the resources to have tried it your way too!

    Interesting tidbit: at 0.6 watt per strip, and 7 lights per strip, that means each individual LED only uses around 0.086 watt, a rater brilliant invention the LED indeed.

    It's a bit difficult to see from the photo with the unopened package, but by the looks of it it doesn't say 0.5-3watt as it does here, it looks like it says Max 5 watt.

    So it looks like it varies by region (or even production runs?) what the specs are.

    5watt / 0.6 watt = 8.33333333

    This means that if your power supply states max 5 watt then you could run 8 strips off one power supply... But 9 strips would be too many for example.

    Please note that there is no way of knowing if the max or range printed is with margin or without. I assume there might be a margin in addition, but why take the chance of the box overheating or shutting down (due to a blown non-replaceable fuse or overload prevention circuit), so treat what is printed on the supply to mean exactly what it states, just to be safe.

    Very Cool Instructable! I've been wanting to do something with IKEA LED's.

    this is really cool. i'll think i'll do this at home.
    now as an architect i'm not a big fan of the dark computer room. to reduce eye strain you want more balanced general light levels (ambient light). it's the contrast between light and dark that causes eye strain.
    if you can increase the overall light level without having hot spots or glare you can greatly reduce eye strain.

    Very cool. How has has it been working out for you? Have you found it easier to look at?