Led Light Project

Introduction: Led Light Project

About: I like making something useful. And making stuff better.

Hello I wanted to explore the option of LED strips as a way to light my 2 1/2 car garage that I converted to a work shop. This instructable will cover information I had trouble getting answers to.

Always use caution when working with electricity! power supply's CAN KILL YOU!

Goals: Find a low cost way to light a work shop, without costing a fortune as well as having enough light to work.

When i bought the house a single light bulb in the center of the garage was all i had. I stapled temporary work lights to the ceiling. The string was 10 bulb and at first incandescent. i slowly moved over to CFL. now im looking for other ideas and i will share what i know so far. reason i spend at least 8 hours and up to 16 hours a day out there. the whole time i never turn the lights off. i added brighter lights over critical areas work bench, lathe, grinder.

The Numbers

10X100w incandescent light bulbs=cheap, but 1000w of power.

10X100w equivalent CFL's using 26w= bulbs ~$1.00 a piece, were at 260w but i had to add a light over the work bench using a salvaged T8 balist and 4 bulbs 64w. (im not counting cost this is a i need alot of light to work thing you may not feel the same way) but that brings me to 624 watts.

LED type 5050 daylight~6000 according to paperwork. 60 LEDs per meter 10 meters long use ~55 watts .72 amps and cost $26. the power supply is NOT included.

I had the Power supply, on/off switch and backer material already so keep those things in mind.

Now for the build

Step 1: LEDs I Used.

Cost= $12.99 X 2 free shipping from amazon. These are 5050 leds color Daylight.


With these LEDs you need a power source. I'm not going into to much detail with that because i feel there are other people who covered it better then i could. Most LED strips tell you what to buy anyway.

Paperwork supplied buy manufacture states you need for 1 strip at full length (16.5' or 5 meters) a 75w 5 amp power supply. I used a salvaged power supply from a old wireless router (the only thing i DON'T regret about using Comcast). i also added a switch on the supply side of the power supply. this was so when I turn it off the LEDs drain the capacitors. This power supply gives off some heat so i opted not to cover it yet.

Step 2: How I Put It Together

I first stapled the strings to the ceiling to see if it would work. mixed feelings...... i have 2 strips at 16 feet and i feel i would need at least 4 more to get the kind of light I would be happy with.

So i decided to go ahead with the testing and put lighting the whole garage on hold.

I had some clear double wall plastic left overs i cut it ~6" wide and 4' long. Its thin and light and ridged enough for this project. The strip it tells you where you can cut so you don't damage it. so i stuck all the LEDs on the plastic and soldered the connections (you can buy connectors if needed). I opted to mounted the power supply on the back side. Over all its about 1 1/4 in thick picture above it's sitting on a 3/4 hard wood shelf.

I sure there are better ways of assembly, this works for me and what i'm doing here.

Step 3: Usage

This is the information I was having a hard time finding the answer to. how much power does it use? everyone had something different to say and the paper work does not tell the actual draw just recommended. So running over night. ~8 hours this is what the box tells me.

2 X 16.5" or 5 meter strips totaling 33' or 10 meters configured in this meaner use 55 watts and draw a current of .74 amps. those numbers are way lower then the manufacture states.

From what i understand the power supply is rated higher then the LEDs require so I believe this is the max the LEDs will consume. comment if this is untrue.

Step 4: Finally Light!

First is the temp light set up. the reason we are all here!

OK work bench this is ware i want to see the goodest.......

I used my Sony Xperia Z3V's light sensor to take all the measurements, its not scientific or anything just for reference i did no calibrations i just thought it would demonstrate the different brightness levels. Picture in your mind on top of that beautiful Red Bull on the center of the bench sits a smart phone taking readings. (i had to use it to take pictures too so. just picture it there.)

measurements read in lux

1. 8 LUX = is temporary lights 10 CFL 100w equivalent

2. 307 LUX= 4X T8 florescent lights mounted across the bench (end to end not side by side)

3. 527 LUX = LED panel we just made together, placed at the same height as the T8s. i know its a dense light panel only 4 foot wide but you get the picture.

Closing if i were to try and attain lighting happiness i think i would need 6 total LED strips and even then I dont know for sure. these LEDS are very bright but is using LED STRIPS to light your work area as well as save money i have to say not for this guy. If all you needed was light to get to and from the car or to find that can of paint for the back room then ya maybe this is for you....

Please let me know thoughts feeling concerns in the comments.

added some pics of the end under better light. I didn't do much to finish the ends.

Tools Contest

Participated in the
Tools Contest

Be the First to Share


    • Puzzles Speed Challenge

      Puzzles Speed Challenge
    • "Can't Touch This" Family Contest

      "Can't Touch This" Family Contest
    • CNC Contest 2020

      CNC Contest 2020

    5 Discussions


    4 years ago

    Just to let you know: 12V won't kill you


    5 years ago on Introduction

    I thought of trying something like this when I first saw these strips last year. In fact I bought some to experiment with. Recently I discovered a different type that might work better. I have been accumulating enough of them to get started. Initially I hope to pull the tubes and ballast out of a florescent fixture and replace them with these. So this is a work in progress for me. But it looks very promising.


    Companies are now using these to retrofit signs for buildings. The ones that have the big light up letters. They strip out all the old lights and stick these all over the inside.

    The benefits are many. In addition to saving power they are not effected by cold, don't flicker (which drives me crazy) are instant on and can easily be dimmed.

    This is one of the controllers I am using.


    It is RF and uses a remote which can go from very dim to full brightness. The power input can be anything from 12 to 24 volts. The unit converts it to what the LED's need,

    The LEDs are actually little plastic waterproof strips with 3 lights each that are hooked together with double stick tape and electrically connected with wires. The tape can be cut and the LED's spread out. They are very bright, and you can get them in colors or even a RGB unit. I am guessing that it is going to take about 8 or 9 of them to replace the florescent tubes, (20 strips in a module so that's 60 LED's per module) times 8 modules will be 480 to 540 LED's.

    The worst part is waiting the 2 or 3 weeks for them to get here from China.

    Anyway I will deffinately be doing an instructable on it in the near future.


    5 years ago

    Glad someone finally posted one of these. We built these in our shop at work and made some for family member garages. They're awesome, and the cool white looks so clean. Great job

    Jeph Diel
    Jeph Diel

    5 years ago

    very cool. I also have a z3v so hurray I'm not the only one who liked it. :)