I live in an area that is prone to power outages and trying to make coffee by a flashlight or the light of the cell phone is not that great of an experience.
I felt that it would be prudent to have some sort of emergency lighting that can be powered by a 12v car battery (or jumper box).
With 3 segments of 5050 LEDs (3 LEDs per segment), this will draw about .16 amps (160 ma)
Step 1: What You Will Need
This particular build requires the following:
- a backlight panel from an older LCD screen (broken desktop LCD screens are a good source for these)
- some 5050 or similar led lights on a string (sourced on ebay), you can use smaller ones, but the style that can be cut every 3 leds is what you want.
- some wire (20 to 24 gauge), I recommend about 5' or longer, I used some spare wire I had
- connectors, alligator clips or a cigarette adapter would work, I used a line with male and female coax connectors and powerpole connectors on the other end to connect to my battery box
In addition the tools you will need:
- soldering iron/solder
- wire cutters
- wire strippers
- heat shrink tubing
- heat gun or other heat source for the heat shrink tubing
- hot glue gun
- Ohm meter to check polarity
Step 2: Prepairing the Light Strip
First thing to do is connect your power line to the light strip, the string I bought from ebay already came with some wire attached to the end already so I spliced onto the end of it.
A note about splicing: its better if you offset the splicing and wrap not only each line but both lines together. Offsetting the splices keeps the possibility of a short to a minimum. Wrapping both lines with heat shrink strengthens the joint.
After soldering everything together, test the leds with a power source and make sure they all light up.
Step 3: Prepare the Light String
The thing about the LED light string is that you do not need a ton of lights strung together one right after another, I opted to cut the string into 3 parts, with this string you must cut on the marked lines to separate the string into groups of 3.
Solder small bits of wire between the segments being careful to keep the polarity the same on all three segments.
With the LED string I got I found that 1/4" heat shrink tubing worked very well in sealing the ends
Step 4: Attaching and Testing
Attach the light string to the edge of the LED panel plexiglass, I recommend gluing only the ends of each segment as the LEDs can grow quite warm. I also drilled 3 holes along the edge where the wire comes out (on the left side of the panel in the pictures) and secured the wires to the edge with wire ties.
Once the glue sets turn off the lights and test out your panel!!! it might not throw off a lot of light but it should be enough to dimly light a room.
From here you can make a frame for the panel, or attach rubber feet to the bottom or install it with a modified ups or similar battery backup on a trickle charger.