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.
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!
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.