LED Dimmable Lightbox




About: Autistic person who's interests include utility cycling, recreational cycling, cycling safety, electronics, gardening, Arduino, and LEDs.

Build your own 18 watt LED light box to fight the winter blues. This lightbox is diffused and dimmable using PWM. If you have a lamp timer, you can use it as an alternative to an alarm clock.

Step 1: Materials

Light Box
  • 6 x 3W white LED
  • Heatsink
  • Metal box
  • on-off switch
  • 2.1mm DC power jack
  • 12V 2A power supply
  • Cable ties
  • Epoxy putty
  • Twist ties
  • Plastic diffuser
  • Epoxy
  • Wires

Dan's PWM LED Driver
  • 1 x NE555 Timer
  • 2 x IRFZ44N N-channel MOSFETs
  • 2 x 2N3904 transistors
  • 1 x 0.01 uF ceramic capacitor
  • 2 x 0.1 uF ceramic capacitors
  • 1 x 50k potentiometer
  • 2 x 100k ohm resistors
  • 2 x 0.82 ohm 1 watt resistor
  • 4 x  1N4148 diodes
  • PCB
  • PCB standoffs

Step 2: How Many LEDs Will I Need?

For white light, 10,000 lux is recommended. Lower lux levels may be used but it may take longer. For green light, 350 lux is equivalent to 10,000 lux of white light. One lux is equal to 1 lumen per square meter. Note that diffusers also block light. A lux meter would be useful.

Lux/Lumen Converter

Step 3: LED Driver

I used this driver because it allows PWM dimming. It was modified to allow the dimming of multiple LED strings. For power supply voltages above 15 volts, the gates and 555 timer will need a voltage regulator. The LM7812 may be used.

Step 4: Mount LEDs to Heatsink

Mount the LEDs with epoxy.

Step 5: Cut Holes in Box

Cut  holes for the DC power jack, screws, switch, potentiometer, and heatsinks.

Step 6: Cut a Square for the Cover

Step 7: Attach Diffuser to Lid

Cut the diffuser. Drill holes on both the metal lid and the sheets. Attach to cover using metal wires.

Step 8: Sand the Inner Surface of the Box

Step 9: Wash Metal Box

Wash box with soap and water to remove metal shavings.

Step 10: Mount Components to the Box

Mount the heatsinks, switch, and DC power jack with epoxy putty.

Step 11: Enjoy the "Sunshine"

Instructables Design Competition

Participated in the
Instructables Design Competition

Reuse Contest

Participated in the
Reuse Contest

Make It Glow

Participated in the
Make It Glow



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    4 Discussions


    5 years ago on Introduction

    hi. im new to electronic. i want to ask this. how about the maximum effiency of your driver? thanks

    3 replies

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    then if i use a higher voltage supply i use buck converter so the efficiency will decrease more right?
    what is the rating for your adapter?


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    You can add more LEDs so their forward voltages add up closer to the power supply's. I used a 2A 12V adapter.